Chilmark never ceases to amaze. I must admit I have never been to a less-than-memorable town meeting here — all standing out for different reasons, but always part of the beat of the ever-changing life of Chilmark.
Last Monday night our able moderator Everett Poole took us through 27 warrant articles that involved the spending of sizable dollars with no questions asked and unanimous votes until we came to article #28. It was the much-anticipated plan to reconfigure the Squibnocket Beach area. It called for removing the stone revetments along the shore, the construction of an elevated roadway leading into the Squibnocket homeowners' area and the construction of a new parking lot for the beachgoers, who would also have a larger stretch of beach. The whole package was offered at a better-than-reasonable rent fee for 99 years.
Voters were divided as to whether all this was a good idea or not. An amendment was offered that, when passed, essentially voided the selectmen’s plan and called for a new committee to be named by the moderator, and that committee will now work on a new plan or plans to be presented to the voters at a future town meeting. The amendment passed, after an Australian ballot, 83 to 81. The moderator’s committee choices will be forthcoming.
The beach at Squibnocket has been eaten away by the surf hitting the revetment. There is sand only at very low tides. The beach has been a town asset and for a number of years the town has had the revenue gained from the sale of beach stickers. The loss of the beach represents a loss to the town in that revenue, as well as the possibility of lower rents around town because of limited beach access in town. The selectmen’s plan was intended to remedy some of these potential problems. We hope the new committee will be able to find a compromise for all.
I had the good fortune to see a beautiful watercolor painting of Squibnocket Beach done in the early 1930s by Adolf Dehn. It depicted a wide sandy beach with some Noman’s Land dories pulled up above the high tide line. There was a time when codfish came into the waters between Noman’s and Squibnocket headland. The fishermen traveled to Noman’s, built temporary homes there and took their families over to that island for the duration of the fishing season each year. They even took a school teacher with them. The families were all involved in the catching and preparing of the cod for sale to boats that came from New Bedford.
When the fishing thinned out and the men found it no longer profitable to go over there, they brought many of the small houses back to Chilmark. They were floated over from Noman’s to Squibnoket Beach, where many took them to new locations around town. There are many homes standing today that were originally a small house floated over from Noman’s. Needless to say, a long gradual sandy beach was required to land a small house. It is sincerely hoped that something can be done to bring back the lovely beach we all remember.
And now for some really good news. The Galley, popular restaurant in Menemsha run by Frank, Merrily and Barbara Fenner, has been notified by the Yankee Magazine that they have been awarded the Editor’s Choice for Best of New England in the Yankee New England Special Travel Guide for May/June 2014 for Best Casual Dining. Hooray for the favorite restaurant of many of us for many years. The issue will be out now and the Galley will open on May 15. Congratulations to all!
Welcome home to Roz Glazer who is back from a winter at her Key West home. She enjoyed visits with her family and grandchildren and is now settling in for more visits with them in Chilmark.
John Jacobs sends word that he will soon be in Chilmark, having recently returned to his home in Littleton, Colo., following a most exciting photo safari in South Africa with his son Jake and family.
Wendy Weldon, Chilmark artist, will be displaying some of her newly finished paintings at the Chilmark library from May 3 to May 22. She will show acrylics on canvas and mounted monotypes. The show is open to the public during regular library hours. Wendy’s work may also be seen at the North Water Street Gallery in Edgartown, and on her website, wendyweldon.com.
Merrily Fenner tells us that her Doo Wop group, Serendipity, has been playing around the Island all winter and will next be playing at the Portuguese-American Club in Oak Bluffs on May 9 at 7:30 p.m. The group is made up of Merrily, Janis Syslo, Christine Box McClean, Mark Maxer and Chris Seidel. They will be playing at the Wharf in Edgartown tonight. Lots of oldies but goodies to be sung and danced to.