Tuesday, November 6, 2007

The Capelin Islands Chapter (1)

Yes. “The Capelin Islands” . We’d never heard of them either, but they kept being identified on every radio weather broadcast. Adjusting our ears to eastcoast accents, we finally realized we were getting the temps for “The Cape” and “Islands”. This is where we headed after Vermont and where we spent the next week (October 21-27). Though Elizabeth had taught school south of Boston in the late ‘60ies’, her time on the Cape had been minimal, and she had never been to Martha’s Vineyard or Nantucket islands.

The re-occuring “theme” of this chapter had to do with “whales”,“whaling”, “whalers” & the oil industry that “lit up the world”until the end of the Civil War. Whaling consumed the hearts and minds of Atlantic seaboard mariners and drastically diminished the whale populations of the world, to the point of near extinction for some species. This life style, coupled with the abolitionist/peace promoting ethics of Quakerism, made for a strange cultural mix and a constant ethical battle between prophets and profits.

The two of us were on our own during this chapter in a kind of honeymoon encounter with the beauty of these places in the off season. But since pictures say it so much more effectively, let us toss a collection your way. Perhaps they will inspire you to find your way here some day, some way …

aeronautical performers on the ferry ride from Woods Hole to
Martha's Vineyard

pulling into port

On our way from Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs

Arriving at the harbour at Oak Bluffs

An inn on the harbour

The early Methodists came to Martha's Vineyard for their summer camp meetings, held under a great tent. Eventually this open 'tabernacle' was built, still housing speakers, hymn sings, and concerts every summer.

Congregational groups circled together in tents. In time these were replaced by clusters of gingerbread houses, all seeking to outdo one another in coloured combinations.

Here is Mr. Hart. He is one of the 30 cottagers who remains every winter after the 290 others have returned home. Notice the name of his cottage. It has to do with the rest and spiritual renewal he experiences in this place. No doubt it also has to do with the security of his investment. These little gems sell for half a million dollars, that is if you can find someone willing to sell.

In what used to be the General Store that supplied these cottages, we came across a wonderful gentleman by the names of William Blakesley. We happened into his studio with 'crafts' on our mind and the hope of some momento of the cottages. What we found instead, was a true artist, a man who has spent a career capturing the character of islanders and those who come to the Island every summer. We entered finding whatg seemed a sole figure. We left realizing he was a part of the great communion of colourful saints that surrounded him. We also left with some great prints.

The view from our bikes as we headed toward Edgartown

The heat of biking and the gulf stream made this dip irresistible. Would you believe this is October 21st?

The lighthouse at Edgartown, whaling town

The three car ferry to Chappiquidick

The beach at Chappy

The view from a porch swing we stopped to enjoy

Here we are at the dike bridge. "Chappies" call it "Kennedy's carwash".