With the first day of Spring, March 20th right around the corner, it’s nice to watch the Vineyard come out of its state of muted hibernation. Though our Winter wasn’t terrible, many of us are just ready for it to be over, and there is a noted level of excitement all around. Luckily, there are lots of things we love and love to do happening now.
And I certainly don’t mean snow! In mid-March, the Dairy Queen in Edgartown opens, and boy is it an event that I will be so bold as to call a phenomenon. Typically on a Wednesday, this year March 14th, at 11am, Dairy Queen opens its doors. School just happened to have a half day, and I have to tell you that the line to get a DQ fix started at the cash register inside, and went all the way to the back parking lot. There had to be over 100 kids in line, waiting with an excitement that could rival Christmas morning.
Of course, I had to share in this experience, so I parked across the street at Stop & Shop, walked over, and realized that I would have to come back later for my DQ. Most adults stay away from DQ on opening day, but being 8 1/2 months pregnant, once you get it in your head that you want a Heath Bar Blizzard, you know it’s going to happen.
So, I came back when the line was a little shorter, with a friend to share in the fun, and I got my Blizzard. I have to admit that it was absolutely delicious and I immediately regretted getting a “mini” size, should have got a medium at least. It was actually a lot of fun to see so many kids, of all ages, enjoying a Vineyard tradition as a sign of Spring. Lucky for us all, DQ is open everyday from 11am-9pm, and the lines will not be like they were on opening day.
Spring has sprung at Felix Neck, the Mass Audubon wildlife sanctuary in Edgartown. If you haven’t been to Felix Neck in a while, you should visit. With four miles of trials through different habitats, it’s really a nice way to spend some time outdoors any season but now is special. Their daffodils are about to bloom, plants are starting to leaf out, and the barn owls have four eggs being brooded. You can visit the Nature Center and Discovery Room where you can see the male and female barn owls on the “owl cam.” Dad is busy keeping watch while mom keeps the eggs warm. There are live frogs, turtles, fish, and crabs to check out as well.
On one of the trails, you may be lucky enough to see a woolly bear caterpillar. Also, there are a number of birds who have come back to their Summer home. The red-winged blackbirds and robins are back again, along with a number of other birds. When walking on the Sassafras Path, I couldn’t help but notice the flurry of bird activity going on around me. Something especially exciting for bird enthusiast, the Oystercatchers have come back to our beaches, and Felix Neck was lucky enough to get a photo of a 7-day old chick, so cute!
Now that the days are longer, and the sun is shining, and bathing suit weather is right around the corner, it’s a good time to get outdoors to Felix Neck and to any number of the trails the Vineyard has to offer. There is something so rewarding about spending time outdoors here.
One of the most wonderful sounds to hear as it gets dark on Martha’s Vineyard is the melodious sound of the Pinkletinks, our name for the Northern Spring Peeper, one of the smallest frog species. Something we take for granted all Summer long, their sound is a welcomed sign of Spring. My backyard abuts a wooded area, and the other night I had to take my dog on his final walk of the day, which is past my bedtime, but my husband was out of town for work, so there was no one else to do it.
Begrudgingly, I walked out the door, but was delighted to hear the faint sounds of our beloved Pinkletink. I thought I might be crazy because it seemed a little early, but I confirmed that they were back with Suzan Bellancampi, from Felix Neck — they are indeed here already. Just one more thing to confirm that Spring is coming.
Chilmark Chocolates is open once again! As of March 15th, you can swing by their up-island location form 11:30-5:30, Thursday through Sunday (closed Easter), and indulge in some of those ridiculously delicious chocolate goodies. I usually only head to Chilmark Chocolates when I have a celebration or a holiday, and lucky for me, Easter is right around the corner.
My family, all of whom live off-island, look forward to these chocolates as part of our Easter tradition. I love to visit the sample basket soon as I walk in, even though I know that I am going to get a number of pieces for myself. So, it’s time for all you chocolate lovers to get in your car and make the pilgrimage to Chilmark for those pieces of homemade heaven. I have to mention that they will be shutting down again after Easter until April 26th, and then we’re set for the season.
With a wishy-washy Winter almost behind us, we are all hoping for a “real” Spring on the Island. Everywhere you look, things are opening, being spruced up, and gearing up for the Summer. Luckily, things are still slow enough that there is time to spend with friends, and enjoy the changes of this beautiful Island.