Our last morning on Martha’s Vineyard was gorgeous. I enjoyed a quiet run and cherished the three miles of solitude. I was so pleased to see all the students packed up and ready to get on with their day when I returned to the hostel (if you’re looking for a inexpensive but comfortable place to stay on Martha’s Vineyard, the hostel is really great). We spent the morning exploring the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge on Chappaquiddick Island with rangers and guides from the Trustees of the Reservations. “Chappy” is a small island that is part of the town of Edgartown and accessible by a small ferry. There are less than 150 year round residents on Chappy and some do not have any electricity as the power lines do not extend to here. Peaceful and remote, Chappy is a great place to escape and be off the grid.
We headed out to the barrier beach in the dune buggies, which are open air trucks. Usually we head out to Cape Poge Lighthouse, but this area was off limits due to nesting piping plovers (Charadrius melodus), endangered shore birds. We heard stories of how Chappy is still being molded by erosion and shaped by storms, and how the area residents have to contend with a changing ecosystem (some even had to physically move their house). There’s a strong focus on both preservation and conservation of this natural system, a common theme on Martha’s Vineyard. The students enjoyed two stops along the beach, even though the weather was getting cool.
After our time with the Trustees of the Reservations, we took a walk along the streets and beach of Edgartown to the lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper told us about this and other lighthouses on MV and we enjoyed climbing up to the top. Afterward, we released the students into the town and everyone had free time to enjoy. I had some whole belly clams, this was in lieu of ice cream (note: I regret this decision and should have had ice cream for lunch, but I have to live with that decision). At this point, the sky started to threaten inclement weather and sure enough, a light rain started. After lunch we gathered up all the students and walked along the bike path to Morning Glory Farm. Thankfully, we only had to contend with a cool, light drizzle and no torrential downpour. This did not stop most students from asking “how much longer” about every five minutes. I always am amused when my students complain or get anxious about walks on trips, especially since New Yorkers walk everywhere. I kept translating the walk in blocks (“we have 10 city blocks left to go”).
Since it was raining, we did not get to enjoy the farm grounds as much as in past years, but the students loved all the baked goods. One student bought some edible flowers, which he promptly ate. I enjoyed the rocking chair on the porch as I sipped a much needed coffee. After the farm, our crew headed to the airport. The highlight of the airport? Spike Lee was on our flight!! I was surprised (and proud) to see that many of the students knew who he was and two of the students (of course) approached him for “selfies”. He was kind enough to be in the pictures, which I’m sure were immediately all over the Facebook and the Snap Chat and all the social media. Next time you’re in MV, “Do the right thing” (see what I did there?).
I got home late, after traffic on the Van Wyck was painful. I’m sad to report, no ice cream BUT I did enjoy a passion fruit sour ale from Transmitter Brewing that I got after brunch last week (Transmitter Brewing is awesome, the beer is great and the people are super nice, check them out in LIC!). Seemed like the perfect way to celebrate another successful Islands of Tolerance trip. And to celebrate my last trip with students for this academic year! Monday is the last day of classes and I’m really looking forward to wrapping this school year up and getting my summer adventures started. Summer is so close now….I can see the finish line.