On State Beach in Edgartown Wednesday afternoon, two dots in the distance gradually transformed into Steve Parachini and Kathy Kitsock as they made their way across the vacant sand.

At Duarte's Pond in West Tisbury, only the swans know you are there. — Mark Alan Lovewell

There were no cars parked along Beach Road, no sounds aside from the wind and the water, just herring gulls overhead and sandpipers darting around.

Aside from two other tiny dots, Mr. Parachini and Ms. Kitsock were the only people on the beach.

“As we were crossing the bridge, Kathy just stopped and said I can’t believe we live here,” Mr. Parachini said.

With school vacation starting Monday, this was one of the quietest weeks of the year on the Island. This time of year, you wake up early to make a trip down the road to feed the neighbors’ chickens while they’re away. Out-of-office emails fill up inboxes. Sunset pictures from Florida, Costa Rica, Hawaii fill news feeds.

For those left behind, the Island itself becomes a kind of sanctuary.

“I was here Saturday and there was no one here,” said Mr. Parachini from State Beach. “Yesterday we went to see whale bones at East Beach [on Chappaquiddick] and there was nobody.”

Delicious soup and good company for lunch courtesy Island Grown Initiative. — Holly Pretsky

Free lunch was served every day this week at rotating Island libraries thanks to the Island Grown Initiative. The organization provides lunches over the summer, but this year they added school vacation week too.

Tim Connelly of Island Grown Schools described this week as “the last bit of serenity before things get crazy.”

People of all ages stopped in to share hot soup, bread, vegetables, apple cider and homemade granola bars. Mason jars on each table were filled with slips of paper with hand-written conversation topics.

Pat Szucz of West Tisbury went to three of the lunches in a row, meeting new people, exchanging recipes. As she ate her red lentil and butternut squash soup, she said the slow week doesn’t bother her one bit.

“I love it,” she said. “It’s my favorite week of the year.”

There’s no traffic, no getting stuck behind school buses, and there’s always parking, she said. She plucked a conversation topic from the jar. “If you could have dinner with anyone, who would you have dinner with?”

She’s not a huge football fan, but she’d still thinks it would be interesting to have dinner with Bill Belichick.

Not open yet but summer is coming. — Timothy Johnson

Kat Soni works with the Island Grown Initiative, so she went to each library lunch, helping to ladle soup and doling out hugs too. This is her first winter on the Island.

“I love driving this time of year, the sense of space. I went to Aquinnah public beach and no one was there. The sun was shining,” she said. “It depends what the Island means to you. For me, the charm is in the natural beauty.”

Year-round restaurants have closed up shop for at least part of the week: staples like the Ritz, 7A, Scottish Bakehouse, the Wharf and Waterside Market were all among them. Ms. Soni said her parents were planning to visit this weekend.

“They were like we’ll go out to eat! And I was like, will we?”

On an empty number 13 bus leaving Edgartown Thursday morning, the bus driver said this time of year reminds him of what the Island used to be like all winter, when the season ended abruptly on Labor Day weekend.

“For me it’s not bad,” he said. The sun poured through the windows. “I don’t mind. It gives you time to think.”

While many have gone away, those left behind bore witness as spring quietly began to unpack its suitcase on the Island. Daffodils and crocuses poked up through the soil. Forsythia and witch hazel began to bloom. The sun peeked through the windows earlier and earlier each day. On warm afternoons, coats were shed or left at home altogether.

As the quiet week draws to a close, a powerful storm approaches the Island, bookending this private preview of spring, reserving that pleasant window for those who stayed behind.