MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…

East/West, Down/Up !!!

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  The eastern half of Martha’s Vineyard is called Down-Island and the western half is called Up-Island.  Why you ask?  To confuse you, that’s why.  No, not really, at least not on purpose.  There is a very logical reason and here it is according to the MV website.  ” Up-Island is the western area, which comprises the three rural towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury.  Down-Island is the eastern portion, home to the larger historic villages of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury).  The two terms come from the rich seagoing tradition of Martha’s Vineyard, which once sent its whaling ships circuling the globe heading “up” in nautical terms takes you “west” because it’s further from zero degrees of longitude in Greenwich, England, home of the Prime Meridian.”  Got all that !  Me neither. 

Well then, according to the Guide to Martha’s Vineyard we have this explanation.  “When a ship sails in an easterly direction, it is decreasing or running “down” the degrees of longitude toward zero at Greenwich, England.  A westbound vessel, on the other hand, is running “up” its longitude.  Thus the Down-Island town are those on the eastern and northeastern end of the Island.  The Up-Island communities are at the western end.  A ship moving through Vineyard Sound sails “up” to New York and “down” east to Maine.”  Ah ha.

OK, I’m still confused but I do know how to get from Down-Island to Up-Island and not get lost… it’s an Island, how lost could one get anyway.


Author: mvobsession

I'm married, I have two daughters and two grandchildren and they all love MV. Enjoy my MV blog and contact me if I can answer any questions. This blog started out as strictly about Martha's Vineyard but over the years I've branched out to include other obsessions and interests. I enjoy photography and like sharing my photos here as well. Hope you enjoy :)

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