Great Rock Bight

All work and no play makes Susanna a dull girl and Travvy a bored boy, so after we’d done our banking and our post officeing yesterday, I decided a trip to Waskosim’s Rock was in order. So what if it was less than 45 minutes till sunset? Live dangerously, I say.

Well, we got to Waskosim’s and a fellow in a blaze orange cap reminded me that Waskosim’s — one of the bigger properties in the M.V. Land Bank’s collection — was closed for shotgun deer season. Duh! I wasn’t ready to live that dangerously. The fellow mentioned that Great Rock Bight, a mile or so up the North Road, was open.

OK, I thought, we’ll go there, never mind that for me Chilmark is “here be dragons” territory, over the edge of my psychic map. Waskosim’s Rock reservation, straddling West Tisbury and Chilmark as it does, is practically home turf. Great Rock Bight is wholly in Chilmark, the town where I invariably get lost on dark dirt roads and then whack my bumper on a stone wall trying to find my way out.

So I’ll live dangerously enough to risk a whacked bumper but not dangerously enough to risk being mistaken for a deer. To Great Rock Bight we went. Here’s proof.

stone wall

If you don’t see at least one stone wall, you aren’t really in Chilmark.

bulletin boardYou could spend quite a while reading all the signs on the bulletin board. I didn’t bother. I did note the handwritten copy on the NO DOGS sign: it said no dogs on the beach between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Summer hours and summer prohibitions don’t apply in December.

The trail from the trailhead down to the beach is steep and uneven. Lucky me, my canine companion is good on leash, even when that leash is a Flexi. Otherwise I might have bumped down the trail on my butt.

facing eastThe hour before sunset may be the most beautiful time of day. Especially if you’re on a beach in December with no people in sight.

paw waterConsidering he lives on Martha’s Vineyard (and is a bona fide Vineyard Seadog — we have Lisa Bibko-Vanderhoop’s calendar to prove it), Travvy doesn’t get to see much of the ocean. He was fascinated by the waves, and not at all hesitant about wading in them and even wooing at them.

sea dog 1shore dogdunes signNeedless to say, we obeyed the sign and just looked at the dunes.

dunetrav & signThe one person we ran into on the beach was coming back from beyond the sign. He said there was a dead dolphin beached about half a mile up. If the sun hadn’t already gone down behind the water, Trav and I would have gone exploring. In the off-season you can say “No, thank you” to “Please turn back.”


About Susanna J. Sturgis

Susanna edits for a living, writes to survive, and has been preoccupied with electoral politics since 2016. She just started a blog about her vintage T-shirt collection: "The T-Shirt Chronicles." Her other blogs include "From the Seasonally Occupied Territories," about being a year-round resident of Martha's Vineyard, and "Write Through It," about writing, editing, and how to keep going.
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10 Responses to Great Rock Bight

  1. Barb says:

    Someday I’m going to get that dog so I can explore the more out of the way spots like you and Travvy. Got two of Lisa’s calendars to bring with me off island. One for Eileen, my off-island veterinarian who had the pleasure of meeting Rhodry, and the other for another dog-loving friend. Seems like I’m telling everyone I know about “Mr January”! What a fantastic photo. Only one problem I forgot to get a calendar for myself. First thing on my agenda when I get back to the island next week.


  2. Hello, Susanna – Great pics! There is a special serenity on the Island during the winter months, unlike any other time of year, especially during the ‘high’ season. Isn’t it liberating to be able to ignore the directives posted on signs? Unfortunately, it goes to show you how territorial people can be. Enjoy!



  3. Ellen Withers says:

    Travvy is such a beautiful and photogenic dog! My own Malamute, Kloe, is now 14 years old with all the white on the face that goes along with that. She’s still pretty spry though and enjoys life 🙂


    • 14 is a ripe old age for a Mal! Carry on, Kloe! Both Travvy and his predecessor, Rhodry Malamutt (1994–2008), are/were terminally photogenic. I don’t think a bad photo’s ever been taken of either one.


  4. Shirley W. Mayhew says:

    Great photographs!


  5. Anda Divine says:

    I love these kinds of photo stories! Thanks for taking the time to assemble it. I feel like I have been briefly transported very far from the Blue Ridge Mountains, although to a much colder place(!). Glad to come back to my wood stove.


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