Giant tour buses line up outside the visitor center in Edgartown, letting out scores of tourists who wander streets where leaves now fall thickly and stray roses still bloom on fences like summer holdouts. Along the Beach Road in Oak Bluffs fishermen of all ages cast into the chilly, wind-roughened waters as the derby enters its final days. Up-Island farms are decked out for weekend weddings with white tents set against green fields, a distant blue sea and woolly sheep that graze, oblivious to it all.
These are the signs of the shoulder season, the Island’s other summer, when crowds of a different sort jam the ferries with Martha’s Vineyard as their destination. It might be a bus tour from Omaha. It might be an SUV full of fishermen from New Jersey. It might be a caravan of cousins coming for a family reunion.
Traffic numbers are not in yet from the Steamship Authority, but on the surface it certainly appears that fall commerce has been robust this year, extra blessed of course by dry days and warm sunshine. Businesses that were smart enough to stay open longer this year should see a boost.
The glory days of autumn have lingered this year. Even the foliage has turned slowly, like a time-lapse video where we can watch the elegant shift from green to orange and scarlet in slow motion. Next stop: the gales of November. But time still to savor this gem of an October.