Of 52 Island beaches only the Inkwell has been the subject and title of a movie, even though none of it was shot on the Island. Historical reports indicate that Martin Luther King Jr. swam there, along with countless other celebrities, film and television personalities. It is easily one of the most photographed beaches Island-wide, particularly on social media. The popular Polar Bears have added to the Inkwell’s notoriety on television, in newspapers and the June 2003 National Geographic.
WCVB Boston’s award-winning television show Chronicle featured Martha’s Vineyard in a July 2012 story that had a portion devoted to Oak Bluffs, with the Inkwell prominently featured. Last summer an Inkwell Book Club was announced and named to draw attention to books by black authors.
Oak Bluffs has two other modest public beaches, Eastville Beach and the quickly eroding beach I call end of the wall beach at its southern end. Depending on the tide, good swimming can be found on both sides of the ferry dock, but even taxpayers cannot use the private East Chop Beach Club or Harthaven beaches. We have 16 lakes and ponds, few of which — except Sengekontacket — are good for swimming, much less going to the beach. After a long absence, the lifeguard stand was returned to the Inkwell last summer.
Alongside Waban Park, the Inkwell is a great mom’s beach that is adjacent to our famous Cottage City Historic District with room for bikes and easy parking. The United Methodist Church held an Easter sunrise service at the Inkwell and it’s a good place for seasonal morning yoga classes.
Historically, the Inkwell was the location of the Island’s first airplane landing when a Curtiss Seagull arrived from the Navy base at Chatham in July 1919. The old Martha’s Vineyard railroad tracks ran from the Steamship Authority dock from 1874 to 1895, along the Inkwell all the way to Katama. Until the 1940s the beach was covered with hundreds of bathhouses that blocked the water from the street.
Lovers’ Rock, the huge glacial boulder called an erratic, is no longer visible. Too big to be moved, it was covered with sand in 1973 in an early effort of saving the beach. Due to the public outcry, a gray granite rock a fraction of its size was placed above it, marking the spot of an Oak Bluffs landmark. Lovers’ Rock was part of the social life in Cottage City when ‘“bluffing” was in fashion, when people strolled along the wooden boardwalk to catch the moonrise. The Island day starts in Oak Bluffs with the sun rising out of Nantucket Sound and ends with starry nights with the moon rising over the water at the Inkwell.
Taxpayer Richard Seelig made a presentation at the recent selectmen’s meeting citing the quality and smell of material he gathered at the Inkwell that included rusted pieces of metal he found in the sand recently dredged from under the bridge in Vineyard Haven. That was discouraging. No one wants to see our popular town beach marginalized. I’m sure our selectmen will exercise the perspicacity of due diligence before the season to mitigate any concerns. The ‘T’ and ‘R’ missing from the privately owned Strand Theatre is one thing, the Inkwell is another.
Oak Bluffs’ Harvard professor, Charles Ogletree is becoming a regular on CNN’s Don Lemon show, last week speaking on the Clippers basketball controversy and this week on Monica Lewinsky.
Featherstone’s fabulous Garden Party and Fashion Show starts tomorrow at 2 p.m. Get those hats ready and check featherstoneart.org for more information. Marla Blakey again curates the fifth annual party and the theme is 50-plus and fabulous.
Those cool folks at the Oak Bluffs library are hosting a luau next Friday from 6 to 8 p.m., featuring grass skirts, Hawaiian shirts, ukulele music and a pig roast. This is for adults only — and by that they mean families are invited next Saturday at 11 a.m. for Kids Luau Day for hula dancing and crafts.
Welcome back to Kathy and Paul Domitrovich. Lola’s has reopened for it’s 20th year and introduces chef Chad Ford. See you at Lola’s! The folks are back at Giordano’s Pizza and Clam Bar — the proud family restaurant opens Thursday, May 22.
Keep your foot on a rock.