Chilmark has its scenic moors, West Tisbury its tree-shaded Middle Road. Edgartown has Chappaquiddick’s North Neck, Tisbury has the headland at the West Chop light and Aquinnah has the Gay Head cliffs (even if rain and sea have washed away the colorful clay that gave them their name). What a pity it would have been if the most scenic natural attraction in Oak Bluffs had simply been allowed to crumble and wash away.


Oak Bluffs was recently denied FEMA funding for repairs, in part because the majority of the bluff is owned by the East Chop Association. The road is owned by the town.


Oak Bluffs town officials have entered negotiations with the East Chop Association to take ownership of the coastal bluff on scenic East Chop Drive, following a report which concluded the slope is in danger of imminent failure.

The takeover plan is still in the very early stages, but those on both sides of the negotiations believe transferring ownership of the East Chop bluff to the town is the only way to secure state and federal funding for repairs of the fragile coastal bank.

An engineering report examining the stability of scenic East Chop Drive in Oak Bluffs concludes the fragile coastal slope is extremely unstable and showing signs of distress and imminent failure.

The eight-page draft report from the firm of Stearns and Wheler recommends that the town repair the bluff as quickly as possible by both reshaping the coastal bank and installing stabilizing materials such as a concrete block system, heavy riprap, sheet piling or a specially designed mechanically stabilized earth wall.


The Baptist Temple on the Highlands has been sold by the Massachusetts Baptist Association to the Highland Property Trust, thus bringing the historic structure and its site to possession of the group of summer residents who a few years ago took over the old Vineyard Grove company holdings.