Share photos using the rule of thirds.
The Islander was retired in the winter of 2007 and the last time I sailed on her was that February.
Even though not sleek or graceful, for 57 years the Islander brought her own special beauty to the waters surrounding the Vineyard. The Islander will continue to exist through paintings, photographs and in the memories of those who loved her.
Early morning …
The beloved work horse of a ferry, the Islander plied the waters between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard for 57 years before retiring in the winter of 2007. There was just something about this tub of a boat that endeared her to all who sailed on her… she wasn’t a great beauty but she had a regalness about her.
Her blue plastic outdoor seats certainly weren’t known for their comfort, but comfort wasn’t necessarily what one was after for the 45 minute sail from America to the Vineyard, which was more of a transition from the everyday to the magicalness awaiting you. The Vineyard is many things to many people and in many hearts the Islander was the emotional connection.
Fond memories ❤
February 1989 was the first time back to the Vineyard in winter since I was a child. Following are excerpts from my travel log about that trip and also pictures taken with a non-digital camera… which does have relevance in this post. So come join me in a trip down a cold, snowy very wintry memory lane.
Picture of the Islander in dry dock in Woods Hole from aboard the ferry, Eagle.
One of my favorite places is the Campground in Oak Bluffs. I love the gingerbread cottages but most of all I really really love the Tabernacle… every time I’m on the Vineyard I take a few moments…or hour… and sit quietly there and enjoy just being. Winter is no exception and cold as it was it was warm in my heart.
Let’s wander through Oak Bluffs a little … notice Christmas tree is still in the Bandstand.
Christmas trees along the dunes at South Beach/Katama where they are brought after the holidays.
Then to Aquinnah to see the Gay Head cliffs.
excerpt from travel journal : ‘it was cold on the cliffs, maybe 26 degrees…but off I went to see them anyway. Down the road I traipsed over the dunes and onto the beach… what a sight. Thousands of rocks all shapes and sizes, and there in the distance… the cliffs… I was very excited. Took some shots and scurried back to the warm car. Noticed camera had opened a bit, closed it and didn’t think much about it. After lunch in Edgartown I rode out to the ‘bend in the road beach’ to take some pictures and noticed that the picture counter on the camera said #1 !!!! When I had gotten in the car in the morning it had said #16 !!! Something was wrong. I turned around and headed for the camera shop. Everything seems to be okay with the camera but maybe it got too cold and lost its memory and reverted to #1… or perhaps when the camera opened just that little bit it caused it to revert !! At any rate I’m having what was in the camera developed.’
The following day I picked up my photos and not only were they all fine, there was this one…. actually, these two…
shot of the cliffs taken before camera opened …
shot after I closed the camera … I’ve always kind of liked it… can’t do this with a digital camera …
After a long first day headed back to Edgartown but not before stopping at Sengekontacket Pond for the sunset…
I love the Vineyard no matter what the season but there’s a quiet, ethereal beauty in the winter.
The song is: ‘Never Been Gone’ by Carly Simon.
Every trip I make to Martha’s Vineyard this song plays in my head when I’m on the ferry because I truly feel like I’ve never been gone. Carly Simon actually wrote ‘Never Been Gone’ on the ferry Islander on her way home to the Vineyard 🙂
36 years ago in August 1982 was my first trip back to the Vineyard in too long a time. I was excited, anxious and also looking forward to showing my family the place I love so much. Both my teenage daughters were supposed come, however, my older daughter Patty decided she didn’t want to, so that meant my younger daughter, Deb would have to face the vacation alone with her parents. Not a situation a teenager really looks forward to, especially when your mother turns into a crazy woman for most of the trip. Talk about embarrassing, I was the definition of it in her eyes… and quite frankly, I was a tad embarrassing once in awhile. Deb survived the trip mainly by escaping into her books… she can tell you what she was reading and where we were at the time… she still does that.
Aug 1… We drove to Falmouth and stayed there overnight. Why, I don’t know. The fact of being so close to the Vineyard and not actually on it seemed like torture. We actually drove to Woods Hole that evening just so I could look at the ferries and see the Vineyard.
Aug 2 – 6… I awoke early, okay, not really awoke since you can be sure I didn’t sleep much at all. After a quick breakfast, we drove to Woods Hole to await the arrival of the ferry. I was thrilled to be landing in Oak Bluffs, the town I grew up in as a summer kid.
(The pictures from 1982, the originals are 3×3.. they are somewhat blurry and the colors are not vivid. I took pictures of them with my digital camera today and have not altered them).
We drove into Edgartown and checked into the Kelley House. The Kelley House hasn’t changed much at all.
Unpacked, rested maybe 10 minutes and then back to Oak Bluffs to see the sights and maybe do a little reminiscing… maybe a lot.
Oak Bluffs – Lower Circuit Ave… and Circuit Ave
2009 (below) lower Circuit Ave Circuit Ave 2017
Ocean Park… the Flying Horses.. and yes, I did take a ride on them 🙂
Then into the Campground where seeing the Tabernacle for the first time in so many years was kind of emotional for me. Anyone who reads reads my blog or knows me knows I have a deep attachment for the Tabernacle.
dragging leading my little group around town for quite awhile I took pity on them and back to the hotel we went to relax. It had been a long first day and there were still 4 more to go. Yippee.
The next morning we headed Up-Island to see Gay Head. Look closely at the pictures to see the difference in the cliffs from 1982 to 2010. There’s been erosion and the colors have changed but they’re always an awesome sight to behold.
On our excursion the next day out to Menemsha we drove past my mother’s relatives house in Indian Hill. This is where I unknowingly at the time, embarrassed my daughter Deb. I wanted to get a picture of the house and while doing so notice a man in the backyard I thought I knew. To get the picture of the house I was standing half in the car and half out… I thought I was being inconspicuous. The man in the back yard didn’t see me but my daughter did and buried her nose deeper into the book she was reading. I can safely say she laughs about it now, but back then, major mother embarrassment.
On arriving on the Vineyard I was thrilled to find out we’d be there for Illumination Night. It had always been my favorite event of the summer (still is) and I was beyond excited to be there for it. (Cue another embarrassing moment or two) When the community sing began I was amazed at how quickly the words to all the songs came back to me. I sang, clapped my hands, and was 8 years old again… and my daughter sat as far away from me as she could get… can’t say I blame her, I was a little on the excited side. I cannot believe I only took ONE picture.
Our four days on the Vineyard came too quickly to an end. I was sure that I would never get back again… I still feel that way after each trip.
Was I a little on the frenzied side? Yes. I had dreamed about being back on the Vineyard for a long time and the reality of it was intense for me. Quite frankly I still get a touch of it each trip. My heart still beats quicker the closer to Woods Hole I get and try as I might I just can’t not burst into smiles.
Has my daughter Deb gotten over the embarrassment of her mothers behavior? Yes she has. She and I have made more than 20 trips to MV by ourselves and she smiles at, and enjoys my Vineyard persona.
Did my daughter Patty ever make it to the Vineyard? Yes, finally in 1996 she, her husband Mike, their daughter Tiffany, and son Tyler joined me on the Vineyard. I loved showing them everything and passing my love of the Vineyard on to my grandchildren.
But I truly cannot believe the paltry number of pictures I took in ’82… I mean really. ONE picture of Illumination Night. ONE picture of the Tabernacle. ONE picture of Gay Head. Well, things have definitely changed and now with digital cameras I can snap up a storm… and I do… and sometimes with two cameras.
Mid-June every summer of my childhood my mother and I would start our trip to the Vineyard.for the entire summer There was no I-95, not that we had a car anyway… no, our train travels would begin in Newark, New Jersey and end in Woods Hole. Yes, WOODS HOLE, trains used to go right to the ferry.
We would take a train from Pennsylvania Station in Newark, NJ to Pennsylvania station in New York city where we would have to run from one end of the station to the other to board the New York/New Haven & Hartford’s train on the Old Colony line called the Day Cape Codder, which would take us all the way from New York City to Woods Hole, MA. That’s right, all the way to Woods Hole. Pennsylvania Station was built in 1910, covered nearly 8 acres, extended 2 city blocks and was one of the largest public spaces in the world. Its 3 year demolition began in October 1963. It was replace with another Penn Station which Madison Sq Garden sits atop… it’s functional but not as beautiful as the original 🙂
The trains had dining cars with each table dressed in fancy tablecloths and crisply ironed napkins. The waiters and conductors were always the same and seemed to remember me from year to year… made me feel special and grown up. Train service to Woods Hole ended in the 1960′s.
The train stopped at what is now the staging area for cars waiting to get onto the ferries. The tracks ran under the overpass in the left corner of this photograph. It was literally only steps from train to boat. A comfortable and luxurious way to travel in the days when lots of people didn’t have cars and the road system left a lot to be desired anyway.
(Woods Hole circa 1890’s) (circa 1950’s)
The ferry, the Nobska/Nantucket would take us to MV.
We’d land in Oak Bluffs and our relatives would be there to greet us, and three glorious months on the Vineyard would begin.
We traveled light, I would have my favorite doll, Beverly, and my teddy bear with me and my mother would have a small suitcase with a few belongings in it, the rest of the things… like ALL my toys we sent to and from the Vineyard by Railway Express.
It took days for the rest of our things to arrive and Beverly and I would watch every day for the Railway Express truck to arrive at our house…
…and then summer on the Vineyard would officially be under way 🙂