One bright, cloudless, Chamber of Commerce day, after making the turn off of Healey Way, after a post office stop, I couldn’t help but notice the new railing along Sea View avenue glistening in the sun. Amazingly it matched the contour of the gradual hill lining Nantucket Sound. I thought to myself, we have been taking the old rusted version for granted for a long time.

Once upon a time the Methodists (to keep the temporal members of Oak Bluffs separate from the spiritual campers) built their own dock for ferries to stop at before traveling another 1,000 yards to the original depot. They followed this up by building the majestic Highland House Hotel (where the East Chop Beach Clubhouse is today) to compete with the Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company’s Seaview Hotel. Travelers were delivered to the Camp Ground by a horse drawn trolley.

Back then, Squash Meadow Pond was closed to the sea. Also called Lake Anthony, it was opened to form our harbor. Before then, the Methodists had built a 3,500-foot wooden boardwalk from the Highland House Hotel to the North Bluff that they used to access their 200 bathhouses — again separate from the eastern facing ones lining Town Beach across from the Seaview. Cottage City enjoyed a one and a half mile boardwalk lining its northeast coastline. This availed itself to the signature Oak Bluffs activity of moonlight strolling to Lover’s Rock known as “bluffing” and which inspired the song The Oak Bluffs Galop (sic) written by Etta Godfrey in 1872.

Two and a half years ago town administrator Bob Whritenour convinced the State Seaport Advisory Council to select Oak Bluffs as one of 11 seaport community projects to receive funding to install a boardwalk extending from the Steamship wharf to the harbor. The construction, all but finished, has ameliorated potential damage by Mother Nature with a steel retaining wall that, while perhaps costing us a beach, leaves us with a wooden boardwalk from the harbor entrance to the Steamship Authority and connects with the new fishing pier. Compared with days of old, the new boardwalk from the harbor jetty to the end of the seawall is just over 1,500 yards (.87 miles).

Soon we can also look forward to antiqued or at least historically correct street lamps lining Seaview avenue. And who knows, maybe “bluffing” will come back too?

It won’t be long before the heralded sidewalk is constructed along Dukes County avenue from Tony’s Market to the harbor, making for a healthy walk, alongside the serenity of the Camp Ground, the colorful marina activity and the breezes of Oak Bluffs’ shoreline and beaches. I’d be remiss not to proffer thanks to superintendent Richard Combra Jr. and his highway department and crew for the great work, the planning board, OB downtown and our board of selectmen who all work to achieve the town’s goals.

The Martha’s Vineyard Author Series has announced its line-up for the season and there is more information available at The events will be held at the Chilmark Community Center on Thursdays and Sundays throughout July and August. On Sunday, August 7, at 7:30 p.m., Margo Jefferson will discuss her bestselling book Negroland: A Memoir, which looks at race, sex and American culture through the prism of her rarefied upbringing and education among the black elite in Chicago. That will no doubt be of interest to a large part of Oak Bluffs’ summer community.

I ran into Charlayne Hunter-Gault and found out that the honorary degree I mentioned last week was her 35th since the 1970s. Congratulations to Farm Neck’s Shelley Stewart Jr. a vice president at DuPont, who was awarded his first honorary Doctor of Business Administration from the University of New Haven.

Biscuits is open for the season and MV Allston has moved to the space on Circuit avenue formerly held by the Yellow Dog Gallery. The Strand is open (remember to support it at along with the Corner Store. The name of the new restaurant behind and underneath the Lampost is Down Island — an excellent choice for Oak Bluffs, the get down town.

Keep your foot on a rock.

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