Let’s face it: A really perfect day would be free of the ever-present threat of COVID-19; we’d meet up with friends, have a romantic dinner at a restaurant, catch a flick at the Film Center. Still, even within the constraints of staying safe, life on Martha’s Vineyard is already so rich and full of opportunity that pickings for the perfect day are plentiful. Truth is, most days here could count as “perfect” days.
We begin this particular day with breakfast and a vicarious biplane ride at the Right Fork, where we haven’t been for a long time. Before leaving the house, we make a quick reservation with The Trustees at Long Point for a swim later that morning. We haven’t been there all summer either. I enjoy strolling the Edgartown streets and popping into the galleries, but we’ll skip the parking headaches and head back via Morning Glory for some fresh corn before turning down the long, dusty road to the beach.
The ocean water will finally be warm enough for this boy raised on the waters of the Delmarva Peninsula and the Outer Banks. Probably no bodysurfing for me these days, but we’ll enjoy treading water and bobbing with the waves, and then give our calves a workout walking up and down the beach, making a detour to the kiddie pond along the way, where parents are settled under their umbrellas while their kids splash around in the quiet waters. Wary of sun exposure, we don’t stay long — another Island treasure now beckons.
Continuing on toward West Tisbury, we stop off at the airport for some fish and a dry white, and weigh whether there’s time to poke our noses in at the Granary or Field Gallery or both. It’ll break my heart to have to pass up the semi-shuttered W.T. library, but just thinking about it warms my heart.
With lunch in the back of our mind, we head down South Road to Menemsha. Of course it’s a lobster roll we’re after. If the Galley back deck is open, we’ll buy it there and settle down to savor it and the restful view.
Since we drove up South Road and are on Middle Road often, it’s back via the less-well-traveled North Road, and zip over for an after-lunch walk at the Polly Hill Arboretum. There can be no more restorative spot on the Island. That grand copper beech and so many other beautiful trees and shrubs will be putting on their fall finery, grasses and sumacs alive with color, and we’ll choose to hug the shadows or cross the open fields depending on our mood. We’ll sit for a spell on a bench given in memory of a dear friend. The view of the Far Barn, the Library, and the Botany and Education Lab reminds us the Arboretum has intellectual resources to match its horticulture riches.
I’ll leave it to my wife to drive the car back home, just up the road, while I mosey back through the Ag Hall grounds, another Vineyard and West Tisbury institution that means so much to the Island and to us. I hope I still have an hour for some reading — along with many others, I’m attacking “Ulysses” under Phil Weinstein’s expert tutelage.
Then there are green beans to pick from the garden and corn to shuck. Fish goes on the grill in a bit, but now it’s time for a well-deserved cocktail on our deck. We end most days this way, sitting quietly, enjoying the view out over the Whiting Fields to the hedgerow beyond. Nature watching might bag us a deer or two, a hawk soaring with lazy purpose far above, and even higher up, a jet making its way from JFK to CDG. We can dream. There may be dinner on the deck or in front of the TV (Netflix consumes almost as much of our time as Zoom these days), but this quiet hour together in the place we’ve made home is the fulfillment of our perfect day.