I don’t think I’ve ever been on a more exciting ferry crossing than this past Tuesday evening during the big blow. As Skip Bettencourt’s front page Gazette photo last week showed, the opening at Norton Point has grown — now more than a mile wide (and probably wider after the wind on Tuesday) making the channel current even stronger than it has been.

Walter Streeter was at the helm on Tuesday evening, and seemingly without hesitation he headed the ferry out into the whipping white caps. The current was racing like I’ve never seen it, and so was my heart! About halfway across we hit the strongest current and, with the ferry pointing into the harbor, we were headed backwards — at first — toward the lighthouse. I tried to remember what great care of the ferry engines Peter has been taking, as I tried not to picture what would happen (really quickly!) if we lost power. The waves broke over bow and whipped down the whole length of the ferry sloshing even the third car as we went directly into the storm. Somehow Walter got the bow into the slip and then it was smooth sailing for the last few feet, except that the water blew all the way across the extra slip onto the cars even as we docked.

Thanks to fire captain Peter Wells for making sure we had an ambulance brought over to Chappy on Tuesday night, just in case.

The big wind blew off a lot of the leaves, but the island has been looking beautifully autumnal in the past week; I don’t think I’ve ever seen the leaves more colorful than they have been — the sassafras bright yellow and the poison ivy a brilliant red. Finally even the oaks admitted it’s fall, and the leaves are turning lovely shades of yellow and reddish-brown. The temperatures have shot back and forth between summer and winter a few times, just to remind us where we’ve been and where we’re going.

Our garden is still producing green beans, husk tomatoes and a few other warm weather crops, because we live up on a rise and the warmth lingers a little longer in our yard. The seven-foot-tall marigold tree is still blooming. Last week, a shimmering layer of frost covered every surface of the old peat marsh down in front of the house, making it clear that we should have our acorns stored by now, metaphorically speaking, if not in actuality. I did make some white oak acorn cornbread one year and it was delicious, but lots of work.

As I drove down Edgartown’s Main street the other day, I noticed various fishermen with poles, standing or slumped over, in chairs or leaning against buildings. I thought: the scarecrow contest must have a sea theme this year. This is the ninth annual Scarecrow Contest put on by the Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School. I don’t know who won, but as far as I’m concerned, the Sea Dragon next to the Chappy ferry house, made by the Anastacio family, is number one. It’s a purple dragon with great teeth, glowing yellow eyes, a green belly and wings or fins that vibrate in the breeze. A little straw stuffing sticks out the back where the tail connects to the rest of the chicken wire structure. Sally and Peter like it so much, they are wondering where they can store it until next Halloween

After four years in the old Marshall farmhouse, Kim Bennett and Brad Woodger will be moving back to their former house on North Neck Road. The Preservation Trust, which owns the farmhouse, is hoping to find a farmer as the next tenant. At North Neck, Brad and Kim are expanding the golf course to nine holes. They are in a “grow in” phase now; they hope to open by July, 2009, if the grass is not still fragile.

A new path committee has formed to consider the idea of a mixed-use path on Chappaquiddick. Members are Bob Colvin, chairman, Melissa Kagan, co-chairman, Will Geresy, Richard Knight, Joe Sullivan, Tom Tilghman and Peter Wells. In an Oct. 18 update, the committee says it’s decided to seek funding for a feasibility design for a mixed-use path from the ferry to the Dyke bridge.

They also have applied to the Edgartown Community Preservation Committee for funding to engineer a design study and construction of a demonstration section of the path on the Gardner property. They hope this project will “catalyze and inform the discussion among Chappy residents by providing specific, feasible options and demonstrating the benefits of a path in the most congested area.” The path committee folks say they’d like to talk with fellow Chappy residents to get their input, suggestions and support. If you’d like to receive e-mail updates about the path, advise Melissa Kagan at

The next potluck at the community center is Wednesday, Nov. 5 at 6 p.m. Judy Buss and Paul Cardello will host and bring appetizers. All welcome!