Welcome. Edgartown News was born from the simple fact that I have ink and Dektol in my veins and I need to write and photograph more than I need air or food, and from my love for this little town where I grew up and raised my family, the town I have left a few times but can't quite shake for good. Here you will find wanderings and musings, photographs and commentary; the people, places, and happenings - past and present - of a small island town: my home town.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Wasn't That a Mighty Storm

A cursory glance at the aftermath of Sunday's storm which amounted mostly to lots of wind, rain, sleet, and slush, along with some power outages, including, as usual, the "Katama Line" (crosses Main Street at Pease's Point Way and runs between Plantingfield and Katama). I was unaffected on Main Street, but I had my hurricane lanterns on stand-by, just in case. The wind is still howling today, Monday, and is starting to push the clouds on out of here. I saw some bright sky this afternoon in the northwest, including a few blue patches - the sun was even out for a while - so by tomorrow we'll probably be clear. I know Boston and NYC got hit hard with a ton of snow, which made for some interesting holiday weekend traveling. Luckily I had no place to go these two days, so I made the best of a couple of cozy days at home.


Edgartown News




Edgartown News




Edgartown News




Edgartown News




Edgartown News

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas from Edgartown News

Yes, merry Christmas, whatever the words mean to you, from the most religious interpretation all the way to its simply being a greeting of kindness and good cheer, an opportunity to get outside of our own concerns  for a brief moment.  God knows, we can all use all the kindness and human connections we can give, and make, and get these days, don't you think - more than ever, it seems to me - and I do believe that whatever one's religion or faith tradition happens to be, warmth and kindness and human connections are at the heart of the true meaning of Christmas. So yes, may we all have the happiest and merriest of Christmases, and everything good for the New Year.

Christmas, Edgartown
My favorite Christmas decoration - anywhere, and for all time - is the Star of Bethlehem that shines over Edgartown every year above the town clock. Its simplicity, and the fact that it sits above the town as a beacon, and that it is always there - since before I was born, even - begin my list of reasons why.

Ode to Snow

More often than not, I check the weather report for Edgartown prior to my departing Brookline on Monday mornings to get an idea of how to dress and what clothes to pack, but this past Monday I did not. Skies were gray in the city, so I at least thought of tossing my snow boots into my bag, just in case, and lucky for me I did, because by Duxbury - to my surprise and partial delight (I say partial because though I do love snow, I had not given myself any leeway, time-wise, for bad-weather driving) - there was already a coating of snow on the ground and it was coming down hard.

Anyway, here is a short verse, penned by my dear mother a few years back, a ditty I often quote - in elevators, in the check-out line at Trader Joe's, on the street corner - when people say they hate snow (followed by a few photos from Tuesday).

Sign of Age         by Alison Boylston Piazza

If you don't feel a thrill at the news that it's snowing,

Don't look now - your years are showing.


Edgartown, Snow, Christmas




Edgartown, Snow, Christmas




Edgartown, Snow, Christmas





Edgartown, Snow, Christmas





Edgartown, Snow, Christmas





Edgartown, Snow, Christmas





Edgartown, Snow, Christmas





Edgartown, Snow, Christmas





Edgartown, Snow, Christmas




Edgartown, Snow, Christmas





Edgartown, Snow, Christmas




Edgartown, Snow, Christmas






Edgartown, Snow, Christmas





Edgartown, Snow, Christmas

Friday, December 3, 2010

Slow News Week

All was quiet on the front earlier this week when I had a chance to scout around a bit. The conch season is winding down, scalloping is piddling along with reports of plentiful seed stock but not too many keepers. There were a number of construction and repair projects going on around town, including the drilling beneath the harbor that continues; closing the hole and preparing for new construction at #8 Pent Lane; utility line repairs on Morse Street; and dredging the channel that runs between Big Bridge and Little Bridge in Sengekontacket with its companion project, the ongoing renovation and bolstering of the beach at Cow Bay.





Edgartown News
Conch pots, retired for the season, Fishermen's Pier.







Edgartown News
Dougie Benefit calls it a wrap for conch fishing, for this year anyway.






Edgartown News
Local color.






Edgartown News
Memorial Wharf







Edgartown News
#8 Pent Lane, awaiting the next phase.







Edgartown News
As a frequent walker to the post office, I have often thought that it would make sense to install a pedestrian walk-way nestled safely between the fronts of the cars and the bank building (above). As it is, once you've headed into the parking lot from the sidewalk on Vineyard Haven Road, you're forced to walk in the roadway, directly behind the frequently-backing-out cars. All that would be required would be to move the parking spaces back toward the parking lot a few feet and create a little sidewalk. This makes infinite sense to me. Stay tuned.






Edgartown News
Bend in the Road






Edgartown News
It appears that Mother Nature is taking care of that pesky rock problem at our beach. The sand on the left is the original (smooth) Bend in the Road sand; the sand on the right is the pebble-filled detritus that was dumped here last year. Seeing this makes me wonder, what is the point of dumping all this sand here - truck-load after truck-load - if it's only going to wash away anyway (maybe you've been following the story of Plum Island's losing battle in the news).? Oh well, thank God for small favors I guess, because that stony soil ruined the beach, in the opinion of many beach-goers.






Edgartown News
The end of the public beach, where Cow Bay begins.






Edgartown News








Edgartown News
This sand is smooth and soft and obviously has been graded (now, does this make sense, to put properly graded sand on a private beach that no-one uses and dump a pile of stones on our much-loved and highly utilized public beach?) I was told that this sand actually comes from New Bedford - foreign soil - shipped over on Packer's barge.






Edgartown News
The dredging operation at Big Bridge, with our own Donnie Benefit at the helm.







Edgartown News
This is the "wet pit," where the spoils from Sengekontacket are initially deposited. The backhoe scoops out the wet sand - under the watchful eyes of the seagulls lined up on the banks, waiting for clams and other goodies to spew from the pipe - and creates nearby piles; the water drains out and the now-manageable sand is loaded into trucks, for transport either to Cow Bay or to the Pay Beach in Oak Bluffs. This project's main purpose, according to field coordinator, Mark DeFeo, is to open up the channel that runs parallel to the road between both of the bridges so as to increase the circulation, and thereby the health, of Segekontacket Pond. The beach projects are secondary to this purpose.







Edgartown News

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Pent Lane House is History

Pent Lane, Edgartown   

      The dismantling and subsequent removal last week of a house on Pent Lane has at least one Edgartown woman feeling wistful and nostalgic.
     The house in question had deep sentimental value to Jeanne Perry Andrews, who lived in the little house at what is now #8 Pent Lane (house numbers have only been in use in Edgartown for the past thirty years or so - since right around the time we stopped knowing each other - but I digress)  for the first four years of her life. 
     According to Jeanne, her maternal grandmother, Mary C. Enos, moved the little house - which Jeanne thinks was built in the late 1800s - from its original location on Pine Street (then called St. Michael's Way because of its large Azorean enclave) to the small plot of land she owned on Pent Lane. Jeanne says, "The first thing she did was plant hydrangeas because the color blue reminded her of the old country." The year was 1905.
     Jeanne's mother, Emily, was born in the house in 1907. When Emily married Manuel Perry in 1938, they stayed on with her mother. In 1940 the household expanded to three-generations when Jeanne was born; two years later, Jeanne's brother, David, came along (their sister, Kathy, would be born a few years later, after the family's move to Pierce Lane).
     Jeanne recounts, "We lived with Nana until 1946. We moved to the big house on what was then called Pierce Avenue [now the home of the Christopher Scott family] - my mother always said, 'It's not an avenue, it's a lane;' eventually the name was changed to Pierce Lane. Nana stayed at Pent Lane.
    "One day, when David was four years-old, he disappeared. In those days, Pierce Lane wasn't paved, so they followed his wagon tracks in the dirt down Cottle Lane. They eventually found him at Nana's. He said he wanted to help Nana bring in 'chop-wood,' as he called it. She kept the dry wood in the chicken house. Nana always had chickens - she didn't like to kill them, so she asked the milkman to do it. The house was heated with a combination kerosene, coal, and wood stove.
     "My mother and grandmother - as was typical for that time period in Edgartown - did laundry and housekeeping for the hotels and private parties in town, and Pent Lane was filled with children - the Bettencourt kids: Arthur, Rita, David, and Susan; and the Arnold family - Mildred Arnold ran her little yarn store right out of her front room.
     "Nana lived in the house from 1905 until she sold it in 1955.  St. Elizabeth's [across the street] was built during the time she lived there, and she was very happy when the church was built.
     "I can't believe it - a part of my life is going to be destroyed."

Pent Lane, Edgartown
Jeanne Andrews reminisces about her early childhood, living with her Nana on Pent Lane.

Pent Lane, Edgartown
This archway is a more recent addition to the property and will be preserved by the new owners, reportedly.





Pent Lane, Edgartown






Pent Lane, Edgartown
Mary C. Enos and Emily Enos Perry, on the kitchen steps. Photo courtesy of Jeanne Andrews.

Pent Lane, Edgartown
Jeanne Perry Andrews, sitting on the same kitchen steps - well, not exactly the the same steps, but the same location -  November 2010, just weeks prior to the house's scheduled destruction.
Pent Lane, Edgartown
The windows and other vital house parts were salvaged and donated to Habitat for Humanity, according to Jeanne.
Pent Lane, Edgartown
The week of November 15 found the little house finally meeting its demise. Jeanne says that the new owners, who also own the property adjacent to the back yard, will be building a bigger and wider house that will extend all the way back, spanning both properties, with a garage on the side.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Simpson's Lane

Simpson's Lane
Simpson's Lane
Am I the only one in town who is of the opinion that this style of architecture is totally out of place in this neighborhood? How did this slip past Edgartown's watch guards?

Autumn Prayer

by Alison Boylston Piazza

When raking leaves becomes such a chore
That you really think you can't rake anymore,
That's the time that you pray very hard
That they'll all blow into your neighbor's yard.


Edgartown News

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Drilling to Chappy

And speaking of utility lines - I happened upon the crew that was setting up its equipment to begin laying a new conduit in order to repair damaged electrical lines to Chappy the other day, a project which has since commenced (full Gazette story here).

David Scott, foreman and owner of Bay State Piping Co., Inc., explained to me that they would be blasting out a channel (hydraulically, I believe - kind of like pumping for clams with Cy Norton) some thirty feet beneath the bed of the harbor.

Being a techno/gadget/gizmo geek, I found the equipment, as well as the whole prospect of drilling beneath the harbor, quite fascinating. I mean, who on earth invented these machines and devised the method for this kind of project?

So, plan on lower Dock Street and Memorial Wharf being in a mess for a while.






drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy
David Scott







drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy








drill to chappy
The drill's entry point.







drill to chappy