The parallel universe known as Martha’s Vineyard

by Kerry on May 31, 2010

I was at a cookout last night with friends, both Islanders and Away-ers. One of my Islander friends asked one of my Away-er friends where she lived, and she said ” you mean in real life? Manhattan”. And such is the perception of Vineyard vs Off Island to many Visitors, homeowners or not. View to Ocean Vineyard

Notice that I say Off Island (F’Island to the locals). That covers alot of ground, but is actually only one place…not here. Off Island is Connecticut, Boston, Cape Cod and France. It is Belgium, Lithuania, Canada and Greece. It is all that is not Martha’s Vineyard. Visitors covers alot of ground as well…you can come for the weekend, a week or a month. You can own or rent property, unless you live here full time, you are visiting and therefore a “Visitor”.

I used to be a Visitor. I felt like a local, was attached like a local, kept coming back like a local, but was really visiting from Off-Island. When I hit the ferry and made the crossing my brain did a slight adjustment and the social and political norms of my life Off-Island merged into something less structured.

A little freedom mixed with relaxation surrounded by enjoyment and flavored with excitement. This was not how I felt in my “real life”. I became less organized, less contained, less rigid…more open.I distinctly remember the feeling of letting go. There was something foreign about it that I could not recreate back in Off-Island.

In my youth all my barriers came down when I got on that ferry and it was a complete disregard of even attempting to behave like a normal person. It translated into much debauchery (partying) and a whole lot less self discipline than I (or my poor parents) was accustomed to.  I had always been a little lost, a little sad, a little impulsive and my boundaries were further challenged by the foreign concept of vacation and more freedom.

The Vineyard can be too open for some. For those of us who struggle with having enough, getting enough, wanting more, it can be an opportunity to fully examine that aspect of our personalities. There are a surprising number of people who’s “full register” is broken. For whom one is too many, and a thousand never enough. If it is possible to tilt (adjust, recover) that desire it is evident that there is so much more than enough available. Once that demon is contained, the possibilities are endless.

For those who can drink and retain some control (this does not describe me), this is the nirvana of cocktailing and indulgence. It is a license to drink (…I’m on VACATION…) and socialize and relax with abandon.  It represents an alternate lifestyle that is not reproduced elsewhere. Hence it is not “real life” to most Visitors.

My world changed so completely when I moved here, it was starting over and adjusting my corporate mind to accommodate some fluidity in my world. The black and white, right and wrong morphed into the gray. The flexibility and compromise of adjusting to a new way of life. A very real way of life.

Because I went from Visitor to Local, I can tell you with confidence that this is in fact, real life. It is different life, requires some creativity and determination, but it is real life. Beyond my wildest dreams my family and I have accomplished so much and continue to find new areas for growth, both personal and vocational. It is like someone put out a blank canvas and said…paint your dream… and it will become real.


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Joan May 31, 2010 at 12:15 pm

Hi Kerry – enjoyed your post a lot. There is a true Vineyard state of mind that is impossible to totally recreate off-Island. There definitely is a mental and almost physical transformation that happens on the ferry between America and the Vineyard… I love those 45 minutes of metamorphosis. My mother was raised in Oak Bluffs and I’ve been a visitor since I was less than 2 years old. The Vineyard is part of my being and always will be… thus the name of my blog…lol.

Kerry May 31, 2010 at 6:04 pm

Hi Joan,
Are you back home(here) yet? It has been glorious, and we all need to follow our hearts!

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