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.