MV Moonrise

Sunday night, we walked into town to have dinner and even in the middle of January, the island was SO beautiful, the harbor was SO alive — I couldn’t help but show you!   Reminded once again that the best things in life are free!

Here we are, just three blocks from home in Vineyard Haven, on the town dock at Owen Park. The thing about living on Martha’s Vineyard is the island ambience!  You’re always surrounded with shore lapping, rippling water, flags flying, people going in and out of the light at the Steamship Building, the salty smell of the sea.  A feast of beauty for the senses.

It’s like we have island props!  This bit of horn-blowing ambience is docked in front of the building in the first photo — when we got there, the ferry was loading up, getting ready for the forty-five minute trip across the sound to the mainland. The water moved perfectly to catch the dazzling reflection from the boat windows . . . I can’t even believe we were standing right there, with such a beautiful sight!

Water like glass for the sailboat masts too . . . this is supposed to be winter, but so far, it’s been hovering near the 50’s on most days; clear and cold at night.

And behind us, the lights were beginning to come on in the little houses that hug the shore.  But, believe it or not, I saved the best for last . . .

Oh, yes I did!  There it is!  It’s the night before the full moon — by the time we got to the dock it had made it fairly high in the sky.  And there goes the ferry.  When we left the house, we really weren’t expecting this, we were just going to dinner. . . but when we saw what was happening . . .

We became moonchasers, compelled to follow the moon, the ferry, the stars!  We got the car and drove out West Chop to the Meadow for a clear view of the sound in time to see the ferry steaming toward Woods Hole.

A little further down, we came to the West Chop Lighthouse and there was the moon, giving us a beautiful shot. All of these photos were taken without flash.  For some reason, there is a very strong light shining on the front of this house.  This photo reminded us of an Edward Hopper painting.  But we wouldn’t want to live here . . . who could sleep?  See the stars?

Thought you might like to see a daytime photo of the lighthouse (built in 1817) . . .  just as wonderful!

Finally back home, and there’s the moon, peeking through the linden trees over the roof of our house.

 I think you can see why, first thing the next day, we Googled “time of moon rise on Martha’s Vineyard,”  and planned our day around 5:09 pm and the rising of the full “Wolf” moon.  When the time finally came, we put on lots of warm clothes and drove to East Chop.  We were so worried about being late that of course we got there early and then had to wait, sitting in the car, so excited, as it got darker and darker.  We scanned the water line; put the window down, then up; asking each other 10,000 times, “Where do you think it will be?” And, “Do you see a little light over there?”  Trying to pinpoint the spot it would rise.  And then, finally, “There it is!!!”

Why is this so exciting?  I don’t know.  But most of what you’re seeing in this photo is just reflection on the water; it’s really a little sliver of a moon, so far, skimming the water line.

And then we were treated to a bit of a light show. . . sparking pink on the water . . .

Then turning yellow.  Hello.

Lighting the ocean on fire for one perfect moment in time; how could it get any better than this?

Here comes a fishing boat going home to Menemsha, about to cross the path of the moon; how must it feel to be on that boat?!!!  The put-put sound of the engine, the clanging of the rigging, the smell of the sea in the cold wind, the water rushing past the bow, and then, caught by the light of the moon.  Lucky!

I hope they did! 

So, after taking about 200 photos of this view :-), we got back in the car and drove along the north shore taking more pictures as we went . . .

What a view — I wonder if the owners of this house are inside but turned off the lights to watch this???  I would.  And I’d be playing this music too!  Bella Luna!

This is the Edgartown Lighthouse . . . see the red light?  It blinks!  I can’t believe I was able to get this photo when the blinking light blinked ON!!  🙂  So wonderful that we are digital now . . . otherwise I would have gone totally broke on the film for this little outing!  The shape of the lighthouse is reflected in the light on the water!

And yet, I will publish an out of focus picture like this!  But how could I not?  We were “coming to” from being moon drunk, and began to notice how beautiful the Edgartown architecture looked in the moonlight, details gleaming white in the dark.

Edgartown is a very pretty little New England town.  But it’s a summer town; almost all the businesses close down in the winter, and many of the homes are occupied only during the summer.  If you are ever looking for peace and quiet, Edgartown in the winter is the place to go.  This is part of the Charlotte Inn, one of the prettiest Inns on Martha’s Vineyard.

And just a block down, the beautiful Federated Church . . . built in 1828; the congregation was established in 1642.  But I digress.  How can I help it?  We brake for sublime beauty.

It was a wonderful drive back to our neighborhood on the other side of the island . . . the moon shined its light on us the whole way, following the curving shore, down main street; and here it was, waiting for us as we pulled into our driveway. 

Full moons wake me up…. I think I have thin eyelids or something, because I’ve always been able to sense or “see” light even with my eyes closed!  Here’s the moon around 2 am this morning.

If you have my calendar, you already know that Native Americans called the first moon of the year the “Wolf” moon.  They had nature-inspired names for all the moons; next month it will be the “Snow” moon.  Here’s a Bookmark that includes the dates of the full moons for 2014 and all the Native American names for them.  You can print it out and become a moon chaser yourself.  It was really fun; next time I’m packing a picnic!  I think a soft little roast beef and lettuce sandwich, heavy on the mayo, lots of salt and pepper, would be very nice in the warm car along with the moon shine.  (Notice moon shine is two words!)

26 Responses to MV Moonrise

  1. Charlene says:

    The pictures of your full moon outing are quite beautiful! There where times I thought it was the sunset and not the moon rise! I’m living in southern California, and unfortunately a two hour drive away from any beach! So these pictures of the boats are so nice to see.

  2. I love all these moon shots. Sometimes I look at them at work. They are so peaceful. Takes the stress out of the day. Thank you, Susan.

  3. Yvonne says:


  4. Kathleen Newton says:

    I LOVE a full moon and especially one over the water. To see a moon rise over the ocean or even a lake is a treat that is beyond words to me. I treasure those times in my heart and bring them back when I need a moment of calm and order. Thanks so much for taking the time to get these amazing shots…I know it’s not easy as I’ve tried many times myself.
    I have purchased your calendars for years and always loved them….so much so that I can’t part with them!! I even sometimes cut them up and use them in scrapbooking for the individual scrapbooks that I keep for each of my six grandchildren. I also enjoy looking at your cookbooks and the drawings for each page. What an amazing talent you have…thanks for sharing with those of us who love the kinds of things that you draw and are refreshed by your creations.

  5. Jo says:

    Lovely in the middle of summer to see such beauty. Thanks again.

  6. Kate says:

    HI Susan!

    I am just browsing your blog and haven’t been on here in a while. I was LUCKY — so lucky — to finally visit MV this summer. I think a few years ago reading your posts I was finally able to commit to it and voila! FInally~! Our whole family got to spend two weeks there as that is how we decided to celebrate our 30th anniv!!! What a TREASURE.
    And, more unbelievable luck. I stayed at the same place as a friend of yours, Cheryl. In talking to her, I randomly asked her if she had ever heard of you!!! ha ha ha Well…..!!! Lucky lady am I. She told me about your blog and all sorts of things and I was tickled. How lovely a person she is.
    So thank you to you; I have ‘followed’ you for years! We always celebrate the full moons in our house I think because of your calendars naming them for us!
    These full moon shots in January are absolutely priceless. I feel a huge PULL to just sell it all here in Chgo. and move there full time. (all my babies are in their 20s now!) One never knows.
    And ! Huge goosebumps that I can’t wait to email Cheryl: my kitchen is “Woodlawn Blue”!!!!!!!!!!! And it’s gorgeous! We are starting to think about painting our whole house (yikes), but my hubby said, “But not the kitchen. I love it.” :))
    Take care Susan, and thank you.


    • Lisa Muncy says:

      Yes, Kate, Susan has inspired me to paint my house, too! I LOVE her home inside and out. I hope to have a garden someday as lovely as hers. I just completed painting my kitchen and dining room, which is one continuous large room, a lovely color called Persian Seed Pearl. It’s the lightest gray I’ve ever seen, and goes well with my pewter and crystal chandelier. I love the way Susan’s blogs inspire me to decorate, and inspire me to take notice of nature and all its gifts. Glad to see there are plenty of other “girlfriends” who follow her blog, and love “hanging out” with her as much as I do!

  7. christy says:

    These pictures of the moon rise and the moonlit landscapes are just beautiful! Thank you for sharing them. I love your blog too!

  8. Mary Ellen Miller says:

    We live in the beautiful dunes of Lake Michigan and the only thing I miss is seeing the moon rise above the horizon. By the time it gets over the dunes it is in full light. Thank you so much for filling that void with your BEAUTIFUL photographs of the moon rising over the water – they are absolutely gorgeous.

  9. Connie Sue says:

    Breathtaking views!!! I’m speechless!

  10. Ann Jane Koerber says:

    Again, through your dedication to following that exquisite full moon, your girlfriends sit at their screens in awe of what you are sharing with us!

    I was waiting for your musica (by the light of the silvery moon – Doris Day) I took it upon myself to youtube it and go over your blog one more time with the musica. Tears, happy tears….. and chill-bumps…….. that’s what I got! Thank you, and on that note, I’ll say Good Night Susan……. Good Night Moon!

  11. Fran says:

    I loved to watch the sunrises and sunsets at MV when i visit. Just so beautiful!!!

  12. Mornin! Susan,

    Do you know where the old Mayhew house is?
    i stayed there for a weekend back in the early 1980’s When the descendant Elaine Mayhew and her husband, can’t remember his name at the moment, lived there in Summer, her son was Allen Cosgrove.
    The house is right near the nude beach.
    Can not remember the Road name as i don’t think there was a real sign, you just had to know from Descendancy where it was.
    Just a little history as Mayhew was one of the first settlers .

    • sbranch says:

      Mayhew is one of the oldest (English) names on the island. Thomas Mayhew bought the island from the English Crown in 1641. The nude beach would probably be the one in Gay Head, which is now called Aquinnah. But I’m really not sure which was his house. Sorry!

  13. Linda says:

    I’m just now taking time to peruse your website to see something other than the recipes where I usually stay! The moonrise is so beautiful. It reminds me of the moon rising over the Broad River in the Low Country in South Carolina. Your photos gave me a nice walk down memory lane.

  14. Bobbi-Lynn Lambert says:

    Sweet Susan,
    I am absolutely mesmerized by moon sightings, too! Hello there! I have loved your work for around 25 years now. I was a bookseller once upon a time and came across the first two books back then. No one could understand why someone like me was so interested in cookbooks since I was not much of a cook back then. Something about your artwork captured my senses and reminded me of the Little Golden Books I loved as a child. Well, I am happy to report that I have become quite the cook having been inspired over the years by your recipes and, well, you just make the act of eating/drinking a ritual that can be fun and so magical. I had the honor of meeting you in Vroman’s Bookstore in Pasadena back in 2000. Sadly, I won’t be able to make the pilgrimage over there on June 8th as I have much family to tend to and I am planning a memorial service for my stepson for the following day. I know, it’s been sad times in our house lately, but God is good and life can be a healing journey. I will be thinking of you and channeling your vivacious spirit from Hermosa Beach, CA. I have been wondering if you will be writing/painting/creating books to go with “Autumn” and “Summer”… oh, say, “Spring” & “Winter”? Just a thought. Happy and safe travels, my friend. I hope to meet you again someday. Thank you for all of your inspiration and love in everything you do for us girlfriends. <3 <3 <3 (hearts)

    • sbranch says:

      Thank you back Bobbi-Lynn. I’m sorry for the sad days you’ve been experiencing. Life just does that to us, apparently (I learn more all the time). Love hearing about your cooking adventures, yes, it’s just one of the better things in life, that giving thing that cooking/food/family/friends/table seems to inspire. I’m definitely thinking about the next book project, but am letting myself fill up with quiet inspiration right now, as we travel a lot for the rest of this year. Thank you for writing! Happy moon watching!

  15. George Adams says:

    Hi Susan: What a simple wonder Web site.

    I doubt that anyone else has captured the beauty of Vineyard Haven as well as you have.

    Than k you,

    • sbranch says:

      I am happy to hear that, and I was only able to do half of what I feel…which is very hard to catch through a camera lens, but the heart knows all.

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