The land bank’s eponymous new sign on County Road indicates the Southern Woodlands Preserve is open. Take time for a walk there and you’ll be amazed that you’re still in Oak Bluffs. The Southern Woodlands contains classic ancient trails used by the original people and early settlers like we use County and Edgartown-Vineyard Haven roads today — well, except for the cars.

The Chaise Road connects Pulpit Rock Road at the northeast corner, runs through Meadow View Farms and intersects with the Cross Oak Bluffs trail. The Cross Oak Bluffs trail connects with the Road to Farm Neck and Holmes Hole Road running parallel with the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven road behind the YMCA. Chaise Road continues on to the Weatauque Preserve across Barnes Road. The original people used these trails to get fresh water from the lagoon and from Fresh Water Pond in Sengekontacket. Although many have never heard of these trails, they are collectively called “special ways” by the Martha’s Vineyard Commission in order to preserve their historic value, visual character and diversity of landscape. I haven’t been since the Land Bank completed its work. I am hoping it included small signs because it’s an easy place to get lost. The preserve is 233 acres — amid a more than 400-acre woodland — so when you visit, take a compass; east takes you to County Road and south to Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road. It’s deer season, so you may want to plan to visit midday on a Sunday, a day when folks aren’t supposed to hunt, or at a time when hunting’s not that great. Wear bright orange just in case.

Anne Cummings was a Pequot avenue person, and coincidentally, Marilyn Hodge — still another Pequot buddy — was here for the holiday. Big news in the Hodge family: son Adam, who works with the Democratic National Committee in Washington, D.C., is engaged to be married to sweetheart Cara Camacho in June. They met when Adam was working for New York’s U.S. House of Representative member Ed Townes and Cara was working for New Jersey Senator Bob Melendez. Cara now works at the Treasury in D.C. Marilyn’s daughter Ashley just passed the bar and starts work at the prestigious Latham & Watkins law firm in San Francisco next week. She is engaged to Keith Trudeau, who works at Oracle. Warm wishes, and what wonderful gifts for mom!

Ocean Park’s lifestyle expert Sissy Biggers sweetened up the Today Show with Kathy Lee & Hoda on Tuesday with an array of chocolates that would choke Chilmark’s. Congratulations to Sissy and hubby Kelsey, whose daughter Lucy is the new morning anchor person at WABG-TV in Greenville, Miss.

Our P.A. Club steps up once again for an Island family in need, tonight from 6 to 10 p.m. with a Christmas party to raise funds for Jim Moore, who is fighting cancer with off-Island trips for treatment with his wife Shannon. The $20 donations, silent and live auctions and a raffle will help provide funds for the Moore family of five. Additional contributions are welcome.

Linda Alley of the West Tisbury Farmers’ Market reports that tomorrow, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Oak Bluffs’ Frosty Hollow orchids, Andrea Rogers’s lavender products, MV Honey Company, Enchanted Chocolates, Island Alpaca and Little Rock Farm will be at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. They’re serving hot lunch next to a roaring fire for folks to relax and chat. Sounds like Currier and Ives-type family fun.

Tomorrow at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m., children in the arts on Martha’s Vineyard present the 15th annual Nutcracker Gala at the high school Performing Arts Center. The gala is an opportunity to experience ballet and live theatre. The performances feature the Atlantic Coast Ballet with a cast of 14 professional dancers directed by Tanya Vincent. Also performing are children from the Martha’s Vineyard School of Ballet directed by Beth Vages. Tickets are $15, $25 for priority center seating and $50 for a family of two adults and three children. Tickets are available at

While the West Tisbury Library is under construction, the talented Nelia and Amy are hosting Mother Goose on the Loose story time for children age newborn to three at the Oak Bluffs Library on Dec. 6, Dec. 20 and Jan. 1 at 10:30 a.m.

Speaking of reading, Secret Garden’s new holiday display window is outstandingly creative with a Clifford the Big Red Dog motif. Clifford’s celebrity author Norman Bridwell is a longtime Vineyarder.

The holiday decorations around town say ’tis the season — thanks to all involved for your effort!

Keep your foot on a rock.