I am so lucky that I have the greatest husband in the world, and we have now been married 25 years, May 2015. We decided to go somewhere special for our anniversary. We have spent many summers on Cape Cod with my husband’s family, and several years ago we went to Martha’s Vineyard for the day and took a little tour around the island. This tour just wetted our appetite for more. I’ve always wanted to explore Martha’s Vineyard because it is a mythical place of 1970s lore. Jaws was filmed there. John Belushi is buried there. 70s rock stars like Carly Simon live there. We spent the week on Martha’s Vineyard, rented a car and rolled all over the island.
I knew from the start that I wanted to stay in Menemsha since I found out it was used as the setting for Quint’s workshop in Jaws. This was my favorite place on Martha’s Vineyard. It is a tiny fishing village with a water street filled with wooden shingled shacks, stacks of lobster pots and fisherman unloading fresh catches right into the back doors of the fish markets. We rented a house behind the coast guard building and could see the water from our deck. Every night we went to the fish markets, bought fresh lobster and ate off the giant wooden spools behind the shacks on “Squid Row.” Menemsha is also known for the most beautiful sunsets in New England. No argument from me.
Oak Bluffs is the town everyone is familiar with on Martha’s Vineyard because this is where the ferry comes to unload throngs of tourists. My favorite place in Oak Bluffs is the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association (MVCMA) or the Campgrounds, it was the first summer religious camp established in the United States. It is famous for its many Carpenter Gothic cottages. Oak Bluffs has a bit of a carnival atmosphere with its Flying Horses Carousel (the oldest merry-go-round in the United States), brightly colored gingerbread cottages and miles of pristine beach which ends at the “Jaws bridge” (the scene in Jaws where the fin goes under the bridge).
Edgartown is very elegant with its row of white captain’s houses and beautiful harbor. Margaret Hamilton (the Wicked Witch from the Wizard of Oz) used to live in Edgartown. Every Halloween she would paint her face green, put on her witch costume and stand in front of her house to scare the hell out of the children. Also, once again many scenes from Jaws were filmed on the streets of Edgartown.
Take the “Chappy Ferry” in Edgartown to get to Chappaquiddick. Chappaquiddick is wild. There are no stores, no gas stations. It is beautiful but underneath I felt as though Chappaquiddick was saying, “I’ll kill you. Stay out here long enough, and I’ll kill you. Your car could get stuck, you could run out of food, you could drown, but one way or another, I’ll kill you.” Of course, this is the scene of the infamous Ted Kennedy incident. I don’t know if that influenced me, but I felt something dark in Chappaquiddick.
The Chappaquiddick incident involved the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a young colleague of U.S. Senator Edward M. “Ted” Kennedy, in a tidal channel on Chappaquiddick Island, Massachusetts on July 18, 1969.
According to his own testimony, Kennedy accidentally drove his car off a bridge and into the channel, before swimming free and leaving the scene, and not reporting the accident for nine hours. Meanwhile, Kopechne had died in the car through drowning or suffocation. The next day, Kopechne’s body and the car were finally recovered by divers. Kennedy pleaded guilty to a charge of leaving the scene of an accident after causing injury and later received a two-month suspended jail sentence.
After seeing the bridge, I think somebody could have waded in and gotten the girl out. A fisherman found the back end of the car was of sticking out of the water. We were told that she did not drown, but suffocated. She was alive in the car for up to 3-4 hours.
Martha’s Vineyard if full of farms and miles of giant, nearly Neolithic, stone walls. The drive from Menemsha to Edgartown took us by these fields every day. This daily drive took us past the grave of John Belushi. Also in Abel’s Hill Cemetery, the playwright Lillian Hellman is buried.
I already miss it as I look at these photos. I can’t wait to go back and shoot again. I have a great plan for a mermaid shoot there. Found the perfect beach!