Yesterday was partly cloudy with a light wind and a tiny hint of autumn in the air and in the bits of brown and red on the tips of the leaves. We had come over from Chappy to run some errands, then found ourselves on a road to Chilmark, an unfamiliar part of the island, looking for Lucy Vincent beach because we had heard of it but had never been there.
As we drove along it felt more like the countryside than other parts of Martha’s Vineyard—the trees and farms and meadows and the quietness. And it could have been all of that and the patches of gray in the sky that led us to a cemetery where many of the tombstones were actual stones (boulders, I should say) left in their natural state with small rocks arranged around them as shrines and little gardens planted of daisies and wild grasses and Queen Ann’s lace. I had never seen anything like it.
When we got to the road that led to the beach, we were told that only Chilmark residents were allowed beyond the point where we had stopped. We had stopped at a small gatehouse with two women—one was reading a book and the other one told us about the exclusiveness of the beach without any explanation, just a nod and a slight smile. She was standing next to a whiteboard that had FAQ listed on it, and the second question on the whiteboard was: “Can I just go and look?”. So I asked the lady that, and she still said no… (later I thought about that whiteboard and how I hadn’t bothered to use it properly, saving the woman at the gatehouse from having to say no over and over and over again, which must get very tiresome).
On our way back toward town we stopped at a place called Grey Farm because there was a sign that said “Open”– but there was no one there when I went inside and the shop was bare except for some cheese and milk in glass bottles in a refrigerator and a few cardboard boxes of tomatoes on the counter. My husband said there was a woman with a cat, but I never saw a woman with a cat. Two women did pull up in a car as we were pulling away and one got out to go in the store and I was thinking that she either knows something that we don’t about this place, or she will leave empty-handed and baffled by it like us.
Just in front of the farm there was another small building with a pale green door that turned out to be an artist’s gallery. In the fields of grass and wildflowers around the building there were paths cut that led to sculptures—some of stone and some of metal—but the door to go inside was locked and when we drove away we saw that the sign said it was open from 11-4 Tuesday thru Sunday and it was Wednesday, but it was ten minutes to eleven.