Martha's Vineyard: An Artist's Haven in the Off-Season

Martha’s Vineyard: An Artist’s Haven in the Off Season

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We moved to the island of Martha’s Vineyard in September. It was just the start of the “off-season.”

Many people only think of Martha’s Vineyard as a summer destination. They’ve seen vacation photos of the Obama family enjoying the island’s beautiful beaches, stopping for ice cream, and perusing the unique artisan shops. But there is so much more to Martha’s Vineyard than the bustling tourist season.

This is my third time living on “the rock” (as true islanders affectionately call it). Trust me when I say that the Vineyard in the off-season is a very special place.

Once the manic summer crowds leave, the island settles into a quiet sanctuary for the hardworking community.  Summer homes get boarded up. Traffic doesn’t exist. Any many restaurants and businesses close.

There is little to do but embrace solitude or connect with community. For introverts, it’s a time to catch up on reading, household projects, and creative endeavors. For families and the socially inclined, there are game nights, school fundraisers and pot luck dinners. Anything to keep boredom and the winter blues at bay.

For nature lovers, the off-season is the perfect time to enjoy this amazingly beautiful place we call home. The island has hundreds of hiking trails through beautiful conservation land. And many of the wooded paths lead to breathtaking ocean landscapes. Our daily walks make the off-season a wonderful time to reboot and connect as a family.

Martha's Vineyard: An Artist Haven in the Off Season

Martha's Vineyard: An Artist's Haven in the Off-Season

Martha's Vineyard art jewelry designer Coco Paniora Salinas of Rumi Sumaq


Martha's Vineyard Jewelry Designer Coco Paniora Salinas of Rumi Sumaq with his family

Surrounded by beauty and tranquility, the island is a haven for artists. It’s why we came to live here after all. For creative types, the off-season is the perfect time to push limits, expand horizons and create a new line of work.

In the winter, there are no art shows to do on the island because the Vineyard Artisans Festivals take a hiatus from Christmas through Memorial Day. Five months off from exhibiting is the exact opposite of our early days of Rumi Sumaq, when we travelled the country pushing 50 art shows per year. It was a chaotic lifestyle. And though fun, it quickly wore us down.

This year, staying “on island” allowed for quiet time to work and reconnect creatively with our business.  I was able to work on shifting our business plan to focus more on locally made sales. Meanwhile Coco had more studio time than ever to create new macrame jewelry.

Amethyst Macrame Necklace Martha's Vineyard art jewelry designer Coco Paniora Salinas of Rumi Sumaq

Spring has recently sprung and the island is slowly awakening. Like in small towns everywhere, islanders are pulling grills out of storage, tuning up bikes and cleaning off the deck furniture. Little League practice will be starting soon. Soon after, there’ll be yard sales and barbecues in the backyard.

The island energy is shifting as folks emerge from their winter hibernation. Everyone is mentally preparing for the summer mania that is to come.

Coco is excited to share his new work with customers at the Vineyard Artisans Festivals. Mayu (6) has some new fishing gear he can’t wait to try out. Enzo (nearly 2) wishes for more boats in the harbors so he can call out his favorite word, “Boat! Booo-aaaat-ttt!” I  yearn for sunset picnics on the beach. And all of us can’t wait for daily ocean swims (our dog included.)

But July is still a few months away. We’re happy to be present— here and now— on Martha’s Vineyard in the off season. We are going to enjoy our quiet sanctuary just a little bit longer.

Martha's Vineyard: An Artist's Haven in the Off-Season


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