Saturday, April 26, 2014

W is for West Tisbury

My family's cottage, The Rookery, is located in the town of West Tisbury near the center of Martha's Vineyard. West Tisbury, like Chilmark and Aquinnah, is considered "up island."

It's a rural community that embodies the charm of an old New England Village. The town hall, shown below and surrounded by red maples and a white picket fence, epitomizes this charm.

Swans are regular residents of the town's Old Mill Pond, shown in the top photo. While they look pretty, their personalities are anything but. They have been known to chase bystanders, including my mother and me when I was a child. A swan at full height with his wings outstretched is not a friendly sight, trust me.

The pond gets its name from the textile mill that was built next to it in the 1850s. Workers at the mill manufactured a variety of materials from island wool and, while the mill itself is no longer in operation, sheep farms are still prominent in the Vineyard's up island communities today.

My A-Z of Martha's Vineyard theme is inspired by my book, The Ghosts of Aquinnah, which is set on the island. Click here for all the info on the book.


  1. I'm glad you told us about the origin of the name of the Old Mill Pond or I would have been looking for a water mill.

  2. That's the town hall? Yeah, that's quaint all right.

  3. That sort of town reminds me of "Star's Hollow" from Gilmore Girls (love that show).

  4. Hi Julie - it's a picturesque setting isn't it - quite delightful to look .. but I'd like to visit too.

    Being chased by a swan is pretty anxious making .. fascinating area .. cheers Hilary

  5. What a lovely place and how wonderful for you to get to spend your childhood summers there.

  6. All of the areas on the Vinyard seem picturesque and peaceful.

  7. This is so pretty and the top photo looks like it was taken in New York State. I am amazed, actually, at the different landscapes on this small island. Oh yes-swans are nasty and territorial-very protective so view their beauty from afar:)

  8. Lincoln, the city where I went to university, had a lot of swans, so I know exactly what you mean; they definitely are not friendly creatures.

  9. West Tisbury looks and sounds peaceful. I love swans, but I wouldn't get too close. I can just picture the swan-butt-biting scene from Looking for Alaska by John Green. haha

  10. I've always loved the fact that New England houses near the sea are often painted gray and white - like the Town Hall. Adorable!

    Swans are freaking scary! Thank goodness they don't have teeth 'coz with their bad temperament, there'd be a lot of injuries. :O

  11. All of your posts have made me want to visit Martha's Vineyard. It's on my list and you've given me a great itinerary.

  12. Aw. I'd love a get-away like that. We don't get swans around here. Instead we get cranes, and all kinds of other tropical birds. I tell you what, a 3 or 4 foot bird strolling through you yard can be a rather intimidating thing.

    True Heroes from A to Z

  13. Such a beautiful place! I think Ann Rivers Sidons (sp?) wrote the book, Up Island, and there were swans. It was a great story, but she is amazing, so what else is expected!

  14. So lovely and serene...

    You must have had THE most amazing summers there!

    Enjoy your weekend Julie! Hope all is well!

  15. @Bob, LOL. I didn't even know the origin myself until I was looking for something to write for this post.

    @Alex, isn't it? I love it.

    @Trisha, oh, that's true!

    @Hilary, yeah, it was scary but since he didn't catch us it's funny to look back on now.

    @Inger, I didn't realize how lucky I was when I was a kid but now I definitely do. :)

    @Nana, they really are.

    @Birgit, I never thought about it, but it is very diverse as far as landscape. LOL I definitely learned to give swans their space.

    @Laura, I guess they have the same reputation everywhere.

    @Chrys, LOL, I don't know about that! Now I have to check it out.

    @Lexa, I know, I love that about NE too. It's so different than around here.

    @Lee, oh, I hope you do visit!

    @Crystal, I'd be staying away from the cranes too! I would love to see all the different kinds of tropical birds but would keep out of their way for sure.

    @Elizabeth, I haven't read that one but now I'm curious if the swans were nasty LOL.

    @Michael, thanks and same to you!

  16. Such a beautiful place, no wonder you are inspired from it. Nice to meet and follow through atoz

  17. Hi Julie,

    Certainly captured the ambient charm of a New England village.

    Have a good Sunday. Gary, typing from the ambient charm of an Old England village :)

  18. I adore the pictures you've been posting of MV.

    I went to Millersville University, which had swans, and let me tell you they are a surly bird. I could tell you stories of an unsuspecting naive, college freshman girl walking past the pond, just trying to make her way to class and being accosted. **shivers**

  19. @Comley, so nice to meet you too, thanks!

    @Gary, I hope you are enjoying your Sunday there and soaking in the charm. :D

    @Ava, LOL LOL I'm glad you made it through college in spite of the swans. What is their deal, I wonder? LOL.

  20. I love up island. It's so peaceful, and quaint! How lucky that that's where your family's cottage is.

  21. I love the classy home styles like the one in the picture. They've begun imitating them elsewhere, but it's not the same away from water!

  22. What a beautiful spot. I miss New England.

  23. Looks like a lovely place. I enjoyed the pictures.

  24. Such lovely pictures! Shame on those swans, though, LOL...


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