Of 52 Island beaches (by my count—e-mail yours and I’ll e-mail mine), only the Inkwell has been the subject and title of a movie, bad as it was, with not a frame shot on the Island. The 1994 feature film about a young man coming of age in 1976 included such visual malapropisms as sand dunes and palm trees on the beach, and a lobster (apparently on Xanax) caught by hand. One redeeming feature of The Inkwell was that it was recent visitor Jada Pinkett’s second film. Historical reports indicate that Martin Luther King, Jr. swam at the Inkwell and it is easily one of the two most photographed beaches Island wide. The other is Aquinnah beach, ironically labeled the Pinkwell by up-Island fans, in part for its clothing-optional practices. The popular Polar Bears have added to the Inkwell’s notoriety on television, in newspapers and the June 2003 National Geographic. Google helped me find an Ink Well Beach in Santa Monica, Calif. — a 200-square-foot part of Santa Monica State Beach once favored by local black visitors in the forties and fifties and made famous by the first acknowledged black surfer, Nick Rolando Gabaldon, who died there at age 24 on a 10-foot wave that slammed into a pier. With a lot of opinions as to why one of our seven town beaches is called the Inkwell, mine is based on many older pictures that show its water filled with seaweed, especially after storms that, even today, make it look like, well . . . an ink well. Along with being the most renowned Vineyard beach, the Inkwell is a great mom’s beach; it is the closest to local homes, has room for bikes and easy parking, and is surrounded by parks.

Robert Morris Copeland (1830-1873), who designed the Inkwell’s nearby Oak Bluffs Copeland District, is widely credited as being the first person to design an entire residential community that is amidst and is the focal point of the Cottage City Historic District. Mr. Copeland — an avid supporter of women’s rights and the abolition of slavery — tried to develop a training site for a black regiment during the Civil War that interrupted his career. After the appeal for Union support caused his dismissal for insubordination and his pleas to President Lincoln failed, he moved to Vermont. He was employed by the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company in 1866, and it is thanks to Robert Copeland that Oak Bluffs is noted as one of the towns with the highest number of parks per capita in the world. Robert Copeland died at age 43 in 1873, the year after my family’s house (originally built by William Hart, who moved on to begin Harthaven) on Pequot avenue, was completed.

Woodworker Bob Gatchell — he of the Lynn Gatchell family fame whose home lights up Christmas on County Road and raises funds for the Food Pantry — stopped by to tell us about their twin books, Painted Ladies: Balusters & Columns, and Painted Ladies: Corbels & Gingerbread, each of which has over 600 pictures of features of many historical Camp Ground and Cottage City homes. These collections are the most complete pictorials of the finest woodworking in America, and are painstakingly sourced to include an index of addresses. I got one of the last at Phillips Hardware but they are available at Island bookstores and would make a fabulous gift from a summer house guest (hint).

In a recent New York Magazine article with Oak Bluff’s Spike Lee about his new Brooklyn-based movie Red Hook Summer, a portion of one of director Lee’s prescient quotes (although about New York city) has Island relevance: “And people want to stay here, but they cannot afford it. People have to be able to feel that they can afford to live here and their children get a good public-school education.” Well said.

A Vineyarder since she was three months old, Shayna Seymour, a producer/reporter for Boston WCBV-TV 5’s “Chronicle” lovingly featured Martha’s Vineyard in last Monday night’s show that included Cousen Rose Gallery. We watched it with Zita Cousens and friends at Nancy’s — and it was nice seeing local scenes and boats in the harbor, like the annual visiting yacht Just Another Habit, while simultaneously watching them on TV. Chronicle’s amazing photography of the Island had a substantial portion devoted to Oak Bluffs — with the Inkwell prominently featured.

Fifty-five-year Oak Bluffs visitor Joan Freemen Boyken corresponded about a recent column; she has a blog,, that is delightful. Click on “houses.”

The Cottager’s 8th Annual African American Cultural Festival has a series of events starting at 10:30 a.m. this morning at Cottager’s Corner, 57 Pequot avenue.

Vineyard Men for Abuse Prevention are standing on the Vineyard Haven seawall, just past the bridge, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. tomorrow, demonstrating (with signs available there) that they (we) are willing to take a stand against domestic violence. If you don’t stand for something you might fall for anything — and this cause’s Saturday event is worth a standing ovation.

Della Hardman Day is tomorrow at Ocean Park featuring guest Nikki Giovanni. Della Louise Brown Taylor Hardman (1922-2005), a granddaughter of slaves, for years helped us all “Savor the Moment.” I miss Della writing this column.

The movie Martha’s Vineyard Othello, was filmed in the 1960s by the Shearer Cottage Summer Theater Troupe and will be shown for the first time on-Island at Union Chapel Thursday from 7:30 to 9 p.m., courtesy of the museum, which has a month-long slide show of other summer theater productions narrated by Olive Tomlinson.

Deal of the moment: $62 Vineyard Vines golf shirts with the Flying Horses logo can be had at the Flying Horses for $20!

Apocryphal stories indicate the huge boulder labeled Lover’s Rock that used to be at the Inkwell is buried beneath the new jetty, or that the flat granite rock there today was its replacement. Do you have more accurate information to share? That’s a rock I miss.

Keep your foot on a rock.