Martha’s Vineyard: 2007


I knew that Martha’s Vineyard was part of the itinerary of my holiday to New England, but I hadn’t really thought about what exactly Martha’s Vineyard was.  My two thoughts were: it is where Chappaquiddick Island is, where Edward Kennedy was involved in a car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne.  That was July 1969, yet I could still remember the name of the place and the girl involved.  I also remember the ‘scandal’ that was allegedly part of the story.  Martha’s Vineyard is also the place that Alexandra Cooper, heroine of Linda Fairstein’s crime novels, retreats for a break from the stressful life she lives.

If I had done my research, Martha’s Vineyard is actually a small island off Massachusetts, just south of Cape Cod.  It is a New England summer colony with harbour towns and lighthouses, sandy beaches and farmland.  It is the 58th largest American island (now there’s a fascinating fact for you!).  It is home to one of the earliest known Deaf Communities and where a particular form of sign language was developed – Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language.  56% of the properties on the island are seasonally occupied; this is where the cost of living is reputedly 60% higher than the national average, while property is 96% higher than the national average.  Martha’s Vineyard was where the film ‘Jaws’ was filmed.

I loved Martha’s Vineyard because of the delightful little towns, especially Edgartown which had a wonderful, quintessentially English tea room with fine bone china and loose leaf tea.  It was here that I was introduced to the books of Philip R Craig, who had died a couple of months before my holiday.  He wrote about the island in a lot of detail and as I read his books I felt I was back there, in the tea room, having a chat with the locals.  It is a huge disappointment to me that Philip R Craig’s books are not available on Kindle.  One of my best buys was a Martha’s Vineyard hoodie which is warm and has worn so well.  Martha’s Vineyard is definitely one of those places that takes you back in time, to a more peaceful age where ‘people watching’ was to be encouraged.  This honeycomb tea towel is excellent for wiping up and holds good memories; it is a tea towel with a lot of information and all the reminders that you want.

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