I’m just back from a visit to pre-Christmas New York. Fifth avenue was bustling with shoppers. The soaring Norway spruce was up above the skating rink at Rockefeller Center. Grand Central Station’s holiday market was already open. A steady stream of visitors was going in and out of St. Patrick’s Cathedral. Outside Trump Tower, a Donald Trump look-alike was posing for pictures. New York takes on a new caste at Christmastime, one I always enjoy.

But it wasn’t until I got back to the Vineyard — to a rainy-night dinner at a friend’s newly cozy 1870s house in Chilmark, and to my customary walks on Music street, that I realized how glad I was to be back among neighbors.

On my early morning walk on my first day home, I was greeted with a hug by writer, roofer, baker and guitarist Joe Keenan. He was cycling up to Alley’s for an early coffee, but got down from his bicycle long enough for the hug. When he learned I was baking Thanksgiving pies, he passed on a few personal tips for how to make really good pumpkin pie. Then Joe set off for his coffee.

Next, Johnny Athearn waved me down as I passed his house on Music street. He wanted to let me know that when he was giving my grass a last-of-the-season mowing while I was gone, he noticed a leaking outdoor faucet. It ought to be repaired before the winter freeze sets in, he said. He also told me he had met the buyers of the late Carol Craven’s house on Music street. He was delighted that the new owners were a family with children. About time there were some young people on the street, Johnny murmured.

Just before dusk that first day home, I set off on foot again, this time headed for the Panhandle. Susan Block, a regular afternoon walker whom I asked to accompany me, had turned down my request. She said it was almost dusk and too late for a walk. I decided to go anyway.

After I passed Middle Road, a car slowed down. Fellow West Tisbury resident Ginny Jones suggested it was too late for me to be out walking unless I was wearing something brighter than a blue jacket and my gray Andrea Hartman hat. I leaned through her car window and began to tell her how a homeless man camped outside Saks Fifth Avenue had called out to me how pretty the hat was. But she didn’t want to listen. She was concerned about my getting home to Tiasquam Road before darkness fell. I nodded in agreement, and said my walk was only going to be a short one. With a sigh, she drove on. Her late grandfather, Joe Howes, was an old friend whose stories of a long-ago Vineyard always captivated me. I was pleased at her concern for my safety.

A few minutes later, neighbor Lynn Christoffers pulled up in her red car and issued the same warning as Ginny had. I admitted it was almost dark, and promised not to go out again so late in the day without a flashlight. I turned around to head home, and confronted a young man I did not recognize. He was holding a bright orange reflective vest for me to put on.

“You really need this if you’re walking at night,” he admonished in a friendly way as he helped me into the vest. He said he had passed me in his truck and had barely been able to make me out.

I did make it home safely. In the future, I will gratefully don my new vest whenever I go out at twilight.

I had only been home a day when the transmission failed on my car. Brigitte Cornand, who lives at Flat Point Farm with her kitten Andre, learned that I was carless and called to ask if she could help. She offered to pick up my trash on her way to the West Tisbury dump, where she is deputy in charge of the Dumptique three mornings a week. Ann Burt, my next-door neighbor, offered me daily rides to the post office in North Tisbury and to Up-Island Cronig’s any time I needed a grocery run.

New York was nice, but it was even nicer to have such a thoughtful Vineyard welcome home.