The Beach Plum Inn had an unusual guest this week.
Quiet, reserved, and ready to explore the Island, this four-legged visitor cozied up in the lobby of the inn for the past week, enjoying the scene and posing for pictures too.
It’s not a dog, nor even a cat. Nope, it’s a chair.
The traveling Red Chair has made its way from Woods Hole to Provincetown and back, taking a special trip to the Island as its last stop.
“There’s no way it wasn’t going to come visit me in Menemsha,” said Sarah Nixon, owner of the Beach Plum Inn.
Friend and fellow innkeeper Beth Colts at the Woods Hole Inn found the red chair last year at the Falmouth dump. On a gloomy winter morning she took her sons out to the pond near her house to ice skate, and brought the chair along for them to tie their skates on.
Almost forgetting the chair on the pond, Ms. Colts looked back and saw a pleasant photo opportunity of the crisp red chair on the smooth, foggy pond. The picture taken with her iPhone went viral; a professional photographer from California even asked to come stay at the Woods Hole Inn and borrow the chair.
“It made me realize the power of the artistic dialogue that you can have with strangers that check in with you at your inn,” Ms. Colts said.
Wanting to further explore this dialogue, Ms. Colts sent the chair on a journey to willing inn keepers across Cape Cod who had a chance to show the chair their particular landscape and lifestyle.
“When people hear about it they think it’s really strange, but then they are drawn into the photographs,” Ms. Colts said. “The color red is relatively unusual in nature, so when it’s offset with the brown of the sand, or the grey of a frozen pond, or the blue of the ocean, it kind of excites the eye.”
The chair has been photographed doing everything from practicing yoga to playing baseball to reading a book on a hammock.
“I was astounded by how people got excited and into the challenge of what to do with the chair,” Ms. Colts said. “It was inventive and continually surprised me in many ways.”
The chair traveled more than 200 miles along the Cape, visiting local breweries, beaches and lighthouses at a handful of inns in between.
Martha’s Vineyard is the last stop, and the Beach Plum Inn staff has more than enough “must-see” spots for its honored guest.
“The chef wants it to spend time alone on a jetty. My children want it to sit at the end of Squid Row with the rest of the crew. And Dennis wants it to go to a wedding,” Ms. Nixon said.
Joel Sheveck, front desk man at the Beach Plum Inn, gave the chair a thorough tour of Menemsha.
“We went all over the village, to the Homeport Restaurant, Squid Row, the fish market and Texaco,” Mr. Sheveck said. “It definitely needs to make its way over to the beaches, maybe go to Squibnocket and catch a wave.”
Virginia Yorke from the Menemsha Inn wants to put the chair to work, giving ladies from the Aquinnah shops the opportunity to take turns resting in it.
“It needs to watch the sunset, too. Will you put in an order for a sunset?” she laughed.
The chair has already checked off a Vineyard sunset when it arrived last week, experiencing a purple-packed end of day moment overlooking the Menemsha Harbor.
Most of the chair’s stops have lasted just a couple of days, but by the time its visit comes to a close, the chair will have spent two weeks on the Vineyard.
“The red chair has decided to extend its stay,” Ms. Nixon said. “Like most people that come to the Vineyard, it never wants to leave.”
Keep up with the red chair and its photographs at redchairtravels.com