Andrea Bocelli’s Con Te Partiro would be the best theme song for the disappearance of Farm Pond’s sea serpent, Vanessa, last week, signaling to all that the busy 2015 season has ended. It’s only natural that Oak Bluffs, built from the two Hansel and Gretel-like storybook neighborhoods of the Camp Ground and Cottage City, would have its own sea serpent.

Grandpa Guy R. Clements, who died in 2005, was the first keeper of Vanessa and the author of the children’s book Vanessa: A Sea Serpent. Born in Montreal in 1917, Mr. Clements graduated from the Oak Bluffs High School in 1933. He was honorably discharged as a captain in the Army during World War II and was a member of the Oak Bluffs Breakfast Club.

One of his daughters, Mindy L. Kendall, discovered Vanessa in Farm Pond in 1983, and it has been well taken care ever since by the family. Mindy’s niece, Amelie Loyot, (Guy Clements’s granddaughter) is now the head caretaker and her daughter Alexandra is a caretaker-in-training. Amelie is the author of Vanessa: The Sea Serpent of Martha’s Vineyard, whichwas published last year, a beautiful book with the story in rhyme that should be required reading by grandparents to children. From Memorial Day to at least Labor Day, from sunrise to sunset, Vanessa and a host of geese and swans play in Farm Pond along the bike path. According to her website,, Vanessa is as “real as rainbows.”

Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt again warrants attention and he must have received quite a bit when visiting Dering Harbor on his destroyer-sized yacht, the North Star. Dering Harbor is a village located on the north side of Shelter Island (population 2,392) at the end of Long Island in New York. Dering Harbor, with 11 inhabitants, is the least populated village in New York State. It is surrounded by Shelter Island Heights which has a population of 1,048.

Shelter Island Heights was developed in 1871 as a summer resort for camp meetings by the Shelter Island Grove and Camp Meeting Association of the Methodist Episcopal Church. They built a wharf, a bathing pavilion, a camp tabernacle and a restaurant. Does this sound familiar? Its Prospect House Hotel opened in July 1872 and a month later, a group led by our own Erasmus Carpenter formed a company that bought Locust Point that became Shelter Island Park. He brought Robert Morris Copeland to design the park and the Heights. The plans had several hundred small plots that never came to be, but along the way, Mr. Copeland designed their Union Chapel, built in 1875. In 1984 it was added to the National Register of Historic Places.

The Shelter Island Heights planned development was designed in classic American styles: Stick-Eastlake, Queen Anne Style and Colonial Revival. From 1872 to 1880 camp meetings were held there and about 70 summer cottages were built. The well-defined district hasn’t changed much since 1890 and Shelter Island Heights was listed as an Historical District by the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. Wouldn’t it be nice if our Cottage City Historic District was too?

There’s a Fall Fun Festival for Kids on Saturday at the library from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. featuring a hay bale maze, crafts, animals and more. Next Thursday the Martha’s Vineyard Environmental Education Alliance celebrates National Fossil Day at the Oak Bluffs Library from 4 to 7:45 p.m. Admission is free. Folks are invited to bring fossils to show others. By fossils they specifically refer to bones, not buddies. There will be several experts on hand.

On Saturday and Sunday, October 10 and 11, from noon to 4 p.m., Featherstone Center for the Arts begins fall with a sweet event, The Art of Chocolate. Island bakers, artists and chocolate lovers join together for the 12th annual festival with a preview party on Friday. Admission is free and then its $5 for two tastes and $10 for five. Sweet!

In English, Con Te Partiro means Time to Say Goodbye. On Tuesday, Oct. 13, at 10:30 a.m. at the Oak Bluffs Public Library hosts a special farewell storytime for Sondra Murphy, our sweet librarian whose last day with the library is next Friday.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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