Alison Shaw

My perfect Vineyard day begins on the beach, and ends there too. The albies are running along Lobsterville so it must be fall and I’m there as early as I can bear to get up and am of course tight to a monster and the backing is screaming off the reel. Someone brings me a breakfast sandwich and coffee from Beetlebung Coffee House as soon as the Menemsha Bike Ferry gets going, and we sit there in the morning sun and our waders wondering how it got to be another fall already. Later in the day, however, it’s August and there are perfect little old man longboard waves at Squibby and my friend Mike has a Chilmark parking sticker so we put the boards in his beat up Volvo and head over. It’s downright weird that there are no crowds in the lineup on an August afternoon with perfectly clean waves, but we’re not asking questions until we ask if it isn’t time to go get a couple of slices of pizza at the Chilmark Store. By late afternoon it’s mid-July and Tony and I have finished playing tennis and Ed calls and has already walked his damn dog and wants to go look for bluefish in his Sea Ox, which he has moored at his mother-in-law’s house in Vineyard Haven. Wouldn’t you know it, there are fish everywhere! Which is good because Ed and I are both invited to some potluck beach bonfire down some private road at some friend of his wife’s beach in West Tisbury, and if we don’t catch bluefish to put on the grill we’re going to be eating hot dogs again. It’s late June now, so the sun doesn’t set until past eight, and yes, I will have another of those famous butterscotch brownies my own wife makes, while we sit together listening to the small north shore waves roll the rocks around and wait for it to get dark enough to see the shooting stars.

— Paul Schneider is the author of, among other things, The Enduring Shore: A History of Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, and Nantucket and Old Man River: The Mississippi in North American History. He lives year-round in West Tisbury. Beetlebung Coffee:;