You may have forgotten how blue the sky can get. Fresh paint in the hot sun smells great, unless you’re the one with the brush of course. One wonders if all the folks on their knees around town are actually tending gardens or supplicating in thanks to be back in Oak Bluffs.
Rocking chairs appearing on porches give a hint of the season to come but the returning rosa rugosa along Beach Road truly reveals summer. And then comes the rainbow colors of cars parked at State Beach. One of the many accomplishments of Oak Bluffs state Rep. Joseph August Sylvia (8/19/1892 to 12/2/1968) was to pass legislation for the state to acquire the beach and maintain it in perpetuity.
Representative Sylvia’s father Albert Augustus Sylvia was born in Santa Maria, Portugal. His mother, Barbara Louisa Cardoza, was born in Pico in the Azores. Albert Sylvia came to Martha’s Vineyard to become a market gardener. His son worked his way through Suffolk Law School and then served as state representative from Oak Bluffs for over 30 years. He also served the town of Oak Bluffs simultaneously as a selectman and on other town boards. He owned the Oceanview Hotel for a time, too.
Joseph Sylvia helped put the old Navy airport under the control of Dukes County, which eventually became the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. His legislative skills secured the state police barracks on Temahigan avenue and he helped establish what was to become the first state lobster hatchery. That’s quite a legacy of leadership, and another reason to be proud to be from Oak Bluffs.
If you’re making plans for the summer save the date of August 14 when Martha’s Vineyard Magazine presents Oak Bluffs — A Place of Pride and History. The event takes place at Union Chapel. The Smithsonian announced that Oak Bluffs will be featured in an exhibit in the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the magazine is hosting a public panel to showcase the effort. Cong. Barbara Lee will introduce museum director Lonnie Bunch, curator Dr. Paul Gardullo and longtime Vineyarder and museum specialist Kevin Strait. There will be more details as we get closer to the date of the event.
Our popular Dockside Inn received a shout out on NBC’s Today Show last Wednesday. Oak Bluffs has had a good year on the Today Show. Lifestyle expert Sissy Biggers has been featured on the show twice and Charlayne Hunter-Gault at least as many times, most recently following the death of her friend Nelson Mandela.
Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School students have become guest curators of a new exhibit at the Martha’s Vineyard Museum’s Spotlight Gallery entitled Women and Crime: Victims and Perpetrators. The exhibit will be at the museum until June 1. Another new museum exhibit, Sea Change: Martha’s Vineyard in the 1960s, opens today at 5 p.m. The decade of the sixties was defined by change — politics, music, civil rights, technology — and the museum show explores life on Martha’s Vineyard during those turbulent years. I understand there are pictures of Oak Bluffs denizens not to be missed. Go to mvmuseum.org for information.
Due to the leadership of our board of selectmen, town officials and the concerns and action of a disparate and diverse group of citizens, it seems the potential problem of the less than appealing sand nourishment at the Inkwell and town beach has been successfully alleviated. Congratulations all.
The busy season is at hand. Circuit avenue (for the most part) glistens with new places, decor and excitement. Welcome home, snowbirds.
Keep your foot on a rock.