A sharply divided gathering of 270 West Tisbury voters agreed to take the first step to allow the sale of beer and wine in restaurants on Tuesday night. It was an annual town meeting when nothing seemed to come easily and voters bogged down frequently, and when it came time to vote on the beer and wine question late in the evening, tempers had begun to fray. “It’s totally unfair, we are being ambushed by this whole scenario,” said Kell Hicklin, owner of the Lambert’s Cove Inn and one of the backers of the petitioned article. “No, I feel like I’ve been ambushed — we’ve had no real discussion on this issue,” retorted Virginia Jones, a lifelong town resident.

Voters agreed to buy the Field Gallery from the Maley family for $625,000 after a wide-ranging and poignant discussion about the intrinsic value of the property to the historic town center and also the wisdom of using up every last dollar in the Community Preservation Act open space fund to pay for it.

And when it came to school spending, voters turned their backs on the recommendation of the town selectmen and finance committee, refusing to cut the Up-Island Regional School District budget for the coming fiscal year.

There was a warm welcome at the outset for West Tisbury School principal Michael Halt, who has just returned from a tour of duty in Afghanistan.

A complete story about the West Tisbury town meeting will appear in the Friday Gazette.