Memorial Day Weekend the official beginning of summer season on Martha’s Vineyard includes patriotic remembrances of the brave soldiers who responding to our nation’s call of duty gave their lives for our country. On the Friday before the Memorial Day weekend it’s a tradition for some of the school children on the island to honor the men and women who have served with an annual Walk to the Sea. And all over the island ceremonies to remember not forget our heroes are taking place.
As restaurants and hotels have gradually opened throughout May after a long winter’s sleep, by Memorial Day Weekend the island is wide awake, open for another beautiful summer on this magical island. If you are not familiar with this jewel of an island off the coast of main land Massachusetts you would be surprised to find out that starting after Labor Day weekend restaurants, hotels, and shops commence shuttering their door for the season with staggered closing until Edgartown’s Holiday Stroll. After the stroll and though January, February and March, the island hibernates with only the heartiest New Englanders remaining on the Island to face fierce Nor’easters battering the shores with gale force winds along with a light snow coating the island like an insulating blanket that you never want to pull back until spring. Driving down the streets of the three major towns, Edgartown, Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs store windows are covered with brown paper and closed signs greet visitors giving thanks for your business and see you next Spring. Summer residents close up their homes, pack their island memories away wrapped in dreams of next summer, looking back for one last fleeting glance before shutting the door until next year when the island beacons, the call too strong to resist they return.
My husband Chris and I do visit the island during the winter to check on our home and to enjoy, abet frozen, winter’s beauty on display. I find the quite cold hovering over the island a peaceful reminder of nature’s power that we cannot control or contain signifying for me that life is transient, always changing, inviting acceptance not resistance. And in April with spring starting to peek fearless like the early snow crocuses we begin readying our home for, pulling back the thermal covers, for the summer. All over the island the song of renewal can be heard, as workers with hammers, saws, paint brushes, repair the ravages of winter returning the island to pre winter condition as if the island was untouched by the harsh winter’s rest. At our home we spend much of the weekend readying our outside – shedding the last resulting vestige of winter as summer’s promise like morning awakening light floods our home with renewal. Our work finished – we claim our reward – a visit to Memensha Fish Market home of the freshest fish on the Island. Our bag filled with Lobsters and mussels we return home, fire up the grill, relaxing by the pool eating our simple meal along side a cold bottle of Rose. The long cold winter’s wait, a distant fading memory, erased by the wave of a sorcerers’s wand as the island once again cast a magical spell over all who set foot on her shores.