For the 62 years our family has been blessed with living in Oak Bluffs family tradition allows our kids to go to “town” unaccompanied at night. Town of course was Circuit avenue with different curfews as time went on. They started at 9 p.m. but gradually extended to 10 and 11 by the time we were 15 or 16. So I was stunned to see a letter to the editor in last week’s Gazette where an elected official of Vineyard Haven wrote: “Our town is safe. Would anyone feel the same about unsupervised kids being left off on their own in Edgartown or Oak Bluffs during the evening hours?”

Wait, what? How condescending. What a cheap attempt at embroiling our Victorian town in Vineyard Haven’s Victorian politics.

We grew up in a place when the Island was at its busiest. We were charged with getting the mail from the post office and used the laundry where Offshore Ale is now. We brought jelly donuts home from the Old Stone Bakery and milk, bread and eggs from Reliable. We picked up hardware from Phillips while the Dads were working on weekend fixit projects. Freedom to roam Circuit avenue at night taught us how to interact with adults, handle money, learn from others and develop self-respect without fear of any kind.

Today, Oak Bluffs hosts a Pirate Ship, the Skipper and My Brother’s Charter that all welcome kids. Sweets and treats are widely available for our consumption. The Island’s best and widest selection of children’s clothing and accessories are available at retail stores including Vera & Alex, C’est la Vie, The Corner Store, Basics and Third World Trading. Ryan’s Amusements is the sole kid oriented Game Room post graduating from the Flying Horses, and The Barn Bowl and Bistro which, coexisting with a myriad of children’s activities and events, serves adult beverages. So do Giordano’s and Sharky’s, the Vineyard’s two most family oriented restaurants.

Oak Bluffs is a town known for the most parks per capita worldwide with 54. One of those, Niantic, was one where neighbors and friends chipped in to build an imaginative playground with basketball and tennis courts. Two others, Veira and Penn host the Island’s Little League. A little farther away from Circuit avenue of interest to children is Norton Farm, Island Alpaca, Vineyard Youth Tennis, a skate park, an ice rink and our Sailing Camp, almost all of which are connected by bike paths. Then there are those seven family friendly public beaches. Featherstone Center for the Arts and the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association each have special activities for children and it’s my guess everyone Island-wide appreciates our annual fireworks show, kite festival, Illumination Night and Dr. Sullivan’s Fun Walk and Run event that this past summer included a derby for crawling babies and a kids’ fun run.

To sum up, I am totally comfortable leaving my kids, grandkids (and this summer our first great-grandkid) unsupervised during evenings in OB when he’s 10.

Tuesday, May 16 the Oak Bluffs library’s Nate Luce is the featured Armchair Traveler. He will share photos and discuss his recent trip to Cuba at 6 p.m.

Last Sunday the Federated Church selected Rev. David Berube as its next minister. Not only is he from Oak Bluffs but Reverend Berube is a member of the Oak Bluffs Police Department of which our chief Erik Blake is President of the NAACP. The Federated Church, where Frederick Douglass spoke in 1857, is ironically in Edgartown. Reverend Berube officially becomes pastor July 31.

Happy 171st birthday to the Vineyard Gazette, founded 5/14/1846. I’ve been honored to be a part the family.

Happy Mother’s Day to all moms and single dads. It would be hard to find a better town to raise children. Remember, rhapsodizing and rhetoric were responsible for the repression of River City, not pool or alcohol. Vineyard Haven’s kids may be as safe as ours.

Keep your foot on a rock.

Send Oak Bluffs news to