The shortest day passed months ago and minute by minute the days lengthen out and then, to hurry the process along, many of our friends and neighbors have just returned from far away lands where the sun shone brightly and the powdery snow enticed even the youngest of skiers to take one more run.

Sarah (Mayhew), Charlie, and Tyler Shipway have returned from a warm and relaxing escape to the Florida Keys where they visited with Sarah’s folks, Judy and Ted Mayhew. They read books, swam in warm water, did a little sailing, visited the Florida Keys Aquarium Encounters and dined at Tyler’s favorite eatery, Bucktooth Rooster on Big Pine Key, more than once.

Marshall, Brooks and I also visited the grandparents in the Florida Keys. Kathie and Emmett Carroll were top notch hosts ready to hop on board any adventure we opted to go on. Some highlights were spending an afternoon snorkeling and wandering around an uninhabited mangrove key, fishing the 80-degree crystal clear waters, partaking in Key “Weird’s” Mallory Square sunset, grabbing lunch at Sloppy Joe’s, touring the Ernest Hemingway house and enjoying the company of Bradley who was able to join us for a couple of days.

Julie Flanders and daughter Bella Thorpe also headed south to the Sunshine State. Bella spent her week in Loxahatchee riding various horses, doing barn chores and thoroughly enjoying her lessons on Danish Warmblood Grand Prix, Lamborghini, with trainer Pam Goodrich. Bella was lucky to have her hometown trainer, Tracey Amaral Olsen of Woodbe Farm in West Tisbury, in the mix, too.

Mae, Nell and mom, Zoe (Pechter) Thompson, have returned from a visit to see their adoring grandparents, Mimi and D, known to most adults as Kayla and Dick Pechter.

Arlan Wise and Jay Ayer have just returned from a month in India. Arlan was a speaker at an astrology conference sponsored by the Krishnamurti Institute of Astrology in Kolkata, India. It was a large, week-long conference that brought together Indian and Western astrologers. Arlan and Jay then traveled to the holy cities of Varanasi and Bodh Gaya, went to a tea plantation in Kerala and ended the trip in the ruins of Hampi.

Tim Carroll and Genc Brinja are back home after a memorable cruising adventure to New Zealand and Australia. Scenic vistas, museums, touristy highlights, Cher in concert and more were truly enjoyed.

Jennifer and Lenny Clarke have returned to the East Coast after participating in the 33rd American Airlines Celebrity Ski Weekend on the slopes of the Beaver Creek Resort, in Colorado, raising money for cystic fibrosis research and development.

Ella Oskan, eighth grader at the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School, is hoping you’ll purchase a ticket to the fundraising dinner her class is hosting at La Soffita in Vineyard Haven. On March 14 there will be two dinner seating opportunities, at 5 and 7 p.m. Proceeds go towards the annual eighth grade trip to Italy. Track Ella or her dad, George, down for tickets or call 508-693-9900.

The Chilmark School PTO’s annual fundraiser is Saturday March 10 from 7 to 11 p.m. For $25, the 21+ crowd can dance to Johnny Hoy & the Bluefish. Funds raised directly support the Chilmark School Outing Program.

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