From the Vineyard Gazette edition of Feb. 16, 1973:

“How the Island is seen and what policies would ensure that we will continue to like what we see” - in these words the survey staff of the Vineyard Open Land Foundation describes briefly the scope of the report which appears in full in the third section of today’s edition of the Vineyard Gazette. The report deals perceptively and constructively with the visual criteria which, along with those of water supply, ecology and others, should guide the development — the selective development always — of Martha’s Vineyard.

The professionalism of the report is obvious, but there is nothing cold or abstract or remote about it. Here we have a basic document in Vineyard terms for lovers of the Vineyard, embodying a feeling for Island character and discrimination as to future uses that lend it much excitement. Standards are clearly set forth, and application to specific areas and problems will make it continually useful to individuals, town officials and builders.

It will be quickly noted that the report says a firm good-bye to conformity — “normal mainland rules can be followed at peril” — and the cult of modern highway construction is neatly dismissed in references to the reconstructed back road between Vineyard Haven and Edgartown — for instance, “the American standard road”.

The Gazette offers its special section as a public service to assure the widest possible circulation of the Vineyard Open Land Foundation report, and our production staff has cooperated enthusiastically in its publication.

February isn’t always a relaxing month, but it can be, and with all the problems and tensions pushing around in human society these days it’s good to be let off something. When almost an inch and a half of rain falls on the second day of the month instead of snow, and temperatures rise to the neighborhood of 50 degrees, we are left off a good deal.

Some things simply happen on schedule. On the first day of January the sun rose at 7:14 a.m. and on the first of February at 6:59, and this scheduled gain was happier because the sun had greater initiative. Mrs. George Reid of Edgartown had snowdrops in bloom on Jan. 15, the usual date, but it seemed somehow earlier this year. Others reported punctual snowdrops, too, and some who had them weren’t even noticing. Cardinals sang on the coldest morning yet, because the time had come. They knew.

The January thaw was prolonged, or else it came in installments, but the first real polish of the year was put upon the sky and the horizon and even the earth in February. Sunrises and sunsets seemed unusually bright because they were seen through clear air, and the sea at times assumed a genuine April blueness.

This brings up the subject of spring. It feels its way toward us. The scent of it is in the air, and also the softness. It remains true that if spring comes in February, winter cannot be far behind, but who cares? Well, it turned out that a lot of people cared when the gale broke loose Saturday night and roared its wintry way through the familiar bitter chill of a February that was itself again.

The republic is in a ferment, the world is shrouded in dark fog and is also in a tizzy, and as for the Vineyard, our sun promises to go under for good, but at the outset of 1973 let it be said that Island cooks still know how to make filled cookies.

Old fashioned sugar cookies were likely to be pretty dry going, though they were decidedly better than nothing. But let a youngster of bygone days discover that the cookie was filled with mysterious succulence, then life became as bright as poets said it was. (They don’t say so any longer, and the trouble isn’t all with the poets.)

There were different recipes for fillings that could go into cookies, but the principle ingredient had to be sheer inspiration. Doubtless some Vineyard housewives had more of this quality than others, but they all had some, and the product was much more light-hearted than the more seriously conceived mince pie. Raisins were in the filling, of course, and some more secret things nicely blended.

If any filled cookie ever leaked, we never heard of it, and this tight quality must have required a particular degree of moisture. Succulence is, in fact, the only word. A sure way of telling a filled cookie without plumbing its interior is by the crimp in the top, usually a single crimp which is all that the simplicity of the cookie requires. Crimps on pies run to larger size and numbers. But artifice being what it was and even more so still is, some cooks produced a sugar-cookie crown without a sign of a crimp. The mystery could be thus sustained, and from a plateful of cookies you took a filled one only through good luck. We hope this kind of good luck will be recurrent in 1973.

Compiled by Hilary Wall