Gay Head Light Poetry Books, Other Items at Midnight Farm

nancy aronie, midnight farm

Nancy Aronie at the Legacy of Light poetry reading, Midnight Farm

Island poets and poetry lovers gathered on November 1st at Vineyard Haven’s Midnight Farm to share poetry about the Gay Head Lighthouse.  A collection of lighthouse-themed poetry, “Legacy of Light”, is available in hand-bound or digitally printed versions.  Gay Head Lighthouse tee shirts, mugs, and totes are for sale at Midnight Farm and Aquinnah Town Hall. You can also order the poetry books by clicking here. Any of these items would make a perfect gift for those who love the island and want to help save the Gay Head Lighthouse.

To inquire about any of these items, please use our contact form, below:

Contact Us


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Saving the Light: A Year in Pictures

Since the Save the Gay Head Light project began in the summer of 2013, we’ve raised over half of the $3 million needed to move and restore the lighthouse. We’ve had concerts and a footrace and a solo kayak circumnavigation of the island and two summer solstice parties. We’ve sold mugs and tee shirts (lots and lots of tee shirts), bumper stickers and tote bags.  A tennis tournament, art show, winter solstice party, poetry project and even lemonade stands rounded out the year of fund-raising and awareness-building. We’ve had big donations from all the towns on the island, and donations of all sizes from islanders and visitors. Here are a few memories of the past year:

You may hover over the photos to see the larger version.

  • Dawn beneath the Gay Head Cliffs: Dana Gaines begins his 52-mile kayak trip around the island
  • West Chop rip
  • Mitzi on the chase boat
  • Wake off East Chop
  • Approaching Light
  • The finish line is in sight
  • Beneath the Light
  • Dana Gaines at the finish
  • Dana Gaines and Len Butler after the finish
  • Meg Bodnar, Mitzi Pratt, Dana Gaines, Len Butler
  • Circumnavigation route by kayak
  • Legacy of Light poetry book cover colors
    Legacy of Light: Poems for and about the Gay Head Lighthouse, hand-bound books. Click photo to order!
  • Summer Solstice Party, June 2014
  • Smiles at the Light: Richard Skidmore, Len Butler, Derrill Bazzy, Jim Pickman
  • Grand entrance of The Green Man, Summer Solstice Party
  • The Green Man
  • Rosanne Cash
    Rosanne Cash performed in July 2014 to help save the Gay Head Light
  • Gay Head Light tee shirt
  • 1st Annual Gay Head 10K, 2013
  • At the start: Gay Head 10K
  • After the 10K
  • Happy runners
  • We love the Gay Head Light!
  • Len Butler thanks all the race participants
  • Gay Head 10K route
    General route of the Gay Head 10K
  • child tee shirt
    More love for the Gay Head Lighthouse
  • Close to the edge!

~ Dana Gaines on-water photography by Tad Thompson


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2nd Annual Gay Head 10K Race A Rousing Success

Watch our new 10K video! Click here.

  • Volunteers Dottie and Barry Sullivan and Betsy Blake give out race numbers
  • Jamie Smadbeck, overall winner
  • Lianne Swanson, winning female runner
  • Isaac and Alexandra Taylor
  • Cheering them on
  • Beverly Wright congratulates Spencer Booker
  • Dana Gaines, island kayak circumnavigator, also ran the 10K
  • Medals for the winners
  • Beverly Wright, Barry Sullivan, Martha Vanderhoop

Under sunny skies and facing a stiff autumn wind, 146 runners followed the scenic State Road/Moshup Trail course for 6.2 miles on Sunday, starting and ending at Aquinnah Circle in the lee of the Gay Head Lighthouse. Overall winner was Jamie Smadbeck, 27, of Edgartown and Worcester, with a time of 40:18:00.  The female leader was 24-year-old Lianne Swanson of Somerville, MA, who came in at 42:08:00. Click here for overall results and here for age group results.

According to Save the Gay Head Lighthouse Committee chairman and Gay Head 10K organizer Beverly Wright, the race will return next year. Co-director Martha Vanderhoop said, “It was a fantastic day for the lighthouse and we could not have pulled it all together without everyone’s hard work and time. The plan is to move the lighthouse to its new, safer location in the spring of 2015. The proceeds from this event help us climb further toward our fundraising goal. We hope all the runners will join us again next year and for many years to come.”

“We’ll keep holding the race as a community event and also to keep raising money to maintain this historic structure,” said Ms. Wright.


Volunteer Betsy Blake, visiting from Wellington, FL, marveled at the community spirit she saw on race day. “Everybody is just so kind and happy to be here, and they made me feel at home. I hope I can run the race next year and also see the lighthouse in its new location.”

See MV Gazette and MV Times articles



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After Debate, Aquinnah Approves Purchase of Land Near Lighthouse – MV Gazette

Marjorie Spitz addresses the floor at Aquinnah special town meeting Thursday.

Marjorie Spitz addresses the floor at Aquinnah special town meeting Thursday.

After a lengthy and emotional debate Thursday, Aquinnah voters narrowly approved the purchase of two properties near the spot where the Gay Head Light is expected to be relocated next spring.

The two properties, known collectively as the Manning-Murray property, consist of about .37 acres and will be purchased for $590,000. About half the cost will be paid for by community preservation act funds and the half will be borrowed in notes and bonds.

The final vote on the article was 29 in favor, 12 opposed and 1 abstention. The article required a 2/3 majority vote, and passed by two votes.

Town clerk Carolyn Feltz counts Australian ballots for vote on Manning-Murray property. — Ivy Ashe

A total of 42 voters attended Aquinnah’s special town meeting Thursday evening at the old town hall. There were seven articles on the warrant.

Discussion focused on purchase of the Manning-Murray property, specifically the importance of the property to the heirs of the original owners and the property’s value for tourism.

June Manning spoke passionately about her sister Jill’s childhood home, which stands on the land. “Our family built that property,” she said. “That was our legacy.” She said the property, which was owned by her stepmother, Helen Manning, had earlier been placed on the market for $2 million.

Ms. Manning said her stepmother had intended for the property to be left to Jill Manning but that she had been coerced in a “fragile state” to sign a will stating otherwise.

Some voters sympathized with Ms. Manning, but others argued that purchasing the two properties would prevent unwanted development in an area that is central for tourism.

“As tourism comes to Martha’s Vineyard, everybody benefits,” said Berta Welch, who owns a shop at Aquinnah Circle.

“It’s a trickle down effect,” she said. “It’s for all of us to benefit, to have and to enjoy.”

Wendy Swolinzky questioned whether .37 acres was worth the price. “We’re not a rich town,” she said. She also worried about the cost of further development at the site. “It’s just the beginning of a money pit,” she said.

Bettina Washington argued that $590,000 was a relative bargain. “That’s a million dollar view, and I think we need to think about that,” she said. She worried that a private development might detract from the site’s appeal to visitors. “We need to start bringing money here,” she said. “We need to put our minds together to make this a place that people want to see.”

Len Butler also worried that a private development could ruin the site. “This is an opportunity to protect that land by making it part of the town. And what better tribute would it be if the town decided to make its use connected with the lighthouse?” He suggested using an existing building as a museum dedicated to the heritage of Aquinnah residents who had connections to the lighthouse.

The vote on the land purchase was done by handwritten Australian ballot.

All other articles passed easily.

Voters unanimously approved an article asking for up to $2.5 million for the restructuring of the Martha’s Vineyard Refuse District transfer station in Edgartown. Based on an assessment, Aquinnah’s contribution is 3 per cent, or up to $75,000 over the life of the bond. The project needs approval from all four refuse district towns; Chilmark approved the project at a special town meeting this fall, while Edgartown and West Tisbury have not voted. The district is aiming to begin the project next fall.

An article allocating $5,000 in community preservation money for restoring a historic stone wall behind town hall and $20,000 for restoration and emergency repairs to the Old Parsonage Building had one abstention, with all other votes in favor. The Old Parsonage is rented for affordable housing.


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Legacy of Light Poetry Reading, Nov. 1, Midnight Farm


Thanks for a Great 10K!

The Save The Gay Head Lighthouse Committee would like to thank everyone who helped to make the second annual Gay Head 10K, a Race Against Time, the resounding success that it was.

The race would not have been possible without our generous and supportive sponsors: Cronig’s Market, WBUR, Artforms, Rotary Club of Martha’s Vineyard, Cape Cod Five Cents Savings Bank, Flanders Up-Island Real Estate, Hinckley Lumber, Martha’s Vineyard Savings Bank, Santander, South Mountain Company, Thunderbird, Wynn and Wynn, Beetlebung Tree Care, Cape Air, CB Stark Jewelers, Heartbreak Hill Running Company, Martha’s Vineyard Insurance, Coca Cola of Martha’s Vineyard, DaRosa’s MV Printing Company, Island Source, Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing, Orange Peel Bakery, Stop & Shop, Tilton Tent Rental, the Tisbury Farm Market, and the Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah).

Volunteers came from every island town and included: the Aquinnah Police and Fire Departments, Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head (Aquinnah), police officers from Chilmark, West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, Tri-Town Ambulance, MVRHS Cross Country Team, and anyone else we may have inadvertently missed.

Joe and Marylee Schroeder added a wealth of information and help up to and during the race. And the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce also rallied for our cause.

We would also like to extend special thanks to the Aquinnah Police Department, especially Chief Randhi Belain, and Jay Smalley, Frank Perez and their crew. Thanks also to Paula and David Eisenberg for donating & manning the pace car. And a very appreciative thank you to Marshall and Joseph Lee for putting in the time and effort to measure the course for certification by USA Track and Field.

And, of course, many thanks to all the runners, for without

Continue reading Thanks for a Great 10K!

Gay Head Light Project Will Bypass MVC Review – MV Gazette

Next step in relocating Gay Head Light involves intensive archeological survey.

Next step in relocating Gay Head Light involves intensive archeological survey.

The project to move the Gay Head Light will bypass a major hurdle in the regional planning process. The Martha’s Vineyard Commission decided Thursday that the project will not need review as a development of regional impact, or DRI.

The Aquinnah planning board review committee had referred the project to the MVC in September due to the archeological sensitivity of the site. But the committee had recommended that the MVC not review the project, since local, state and federal processes were already in place to protect any archeological resources.

“We feel there are more than adequate measures in place to deal with the concerns that you would have,” said Aquinnah planning board chairman Peter Temple who attended the MVC meeting Thursday night along with town administrator Adam Wilson.

Click here to continue reading

MVC Is Next Stop for Gay Head Light

gay head lighthouse relocation location

The process unfolds. ~ courtesy Len Butler

The Gay Head Light relocation project will be referred to the Martha’s Vineyard Commission for possible review as a development of regional impact, the Aquinnah planning board decided this week. And discussions remain ongoing between the town and abutters who will be affected when the lighthouse is moved sometime next year. “This whole process is in motion,” planning board chairman Peter Temple said at a public hearing Tuesday. The board voted formally to refer the project to the MVC, although the commission has already said informally that it may pass on the review since the project is already under detailed review by the town, state and tribe.

Continue reading……

Gay Head 10K Runners: Island Lodging Discounts Announced

Coming to the Vineyard for the Gay Head 10K? The race is on Sunday, Oct. 5, and several island inns are offering runners discounted rates for the race weekend. In Aquinnah, Vineyard Haven and Edgartown, you’ll find sweet deals if you click here to view the list of participating lodgings.