I think I’m partially responsible for the winter population explosion here. And this is my formal apology. Over the years people have asked in that incredulous voice, how are the winters out there? Isn’t it freezing? You get away for a few months, right?

I’m afraid I have been honest and said it’s so gorgeous on the Vineyard during the off-season, you can’t even imagine. Because of the ocean, it’s actually milder than you’d expect. And there’s no traffic and no lines, and lots of things are still open and the community is so alive. You get the best of a small town and the best of a big city; you get support if you need it and privacy if you want it. There are concerts and plays and movies and, well, it’s kind of utopian.

I know its my fault because they all moved here. And now I can’t get a parking spot in front of Mansion House mid morning, mid winter.

I remember in the early 1970s (I know, I know I’m still a washashore), after Labor Day you didn’t see a car up-Island. And after January? Forget about it! The snow stayed white for weeks. And even though the stores were closed, it made me have to make do with what I had. Which I love doing. I love making do. Soup with whatever’s in the larder. Now all that’s changed. I just saunter down to the Chilmark store and get lunch off the food truck from my favorite chef (my son), give my tip to my favorite daughter in law and wait for the plethora of cars to pass so I can take a left back into my own driveway.

But I have learned a few things. Now I have new responses to those old questions. Because people still ask. They email me or they call. I’m sure after hearing about Clinton and Obama, and Carly and James, and Geraldine and Tony, and Brooke and the other Tony, and Bob Brustein and Peter Farrelly, and Harold Ramis and, and, and . . . they understandably just want to come out and be a part of the Island, too. Bring their kids, and move them into all the great schools I’m afraid I once told them about. Isn’t that exactly what I did?

If you were to eavesdrop now, however, you’d be so proud of me. They ask, how are the winters out there anyway? I say OMG you think Buffalo is bad? You can add two feet easy. My husband’s back is still sore from last year and he had to shovel us out this morning.

This morning? they ask. You had snow this morning?

Oh yeah, I say. They don’t even report it anymore. Phone lines are down. Internet, no way. Television? Once in a while we can get a little cable. That’s why there are so many babies born in October around here.

Jeez, they say, we were thinking of coming out and looking for a little something to buy.

Yeah, well, I say, you know who has some really good real estate bargains and their winters are much milder?

Where? they ask.

Nantucket, I say.

Nancy Slonim Aronie is the author of Writing from the Heart (Hyperion/Little Brown). She is a commentator for National Public Radio’s All Things Considered and founder of the Chilmark Writing Workshop.