Classic films like "Jaws" and "The Inkwell" were based in Martha's Vineyard. Maybe a trip here will inspire your next project!
I've often pictured summertime being lived out on a wide colorful porch near the ocean water—lying on a hammock, drowning in music, and putting pen to paper. And nearby, there's a glass of spiked lemonade to quench my thirst.
Fortunately, I was able to experience just that on a week-long vacation to Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts. It was, hands-down, one of the most relaxing vacations I'd been on. For once I wasn't looking to jam my schedule up with events; instead, I took a more easy-going approach—but at the same time, I did just enough to have compelling stories to share with my friends when I returned home.
Martha's Vineyard was on my list of places to visit because of the annual Martha's Vineyard African American Film Festival—an event that premiered 70 films in six days! It was just my luck that a family friend opened her home and invited my family and me to stay for a week. I arrived on the very last day of the film fest but made it to the closing event. Although I got a small taste of extraordinary talent from all walks of creative life, it set the tone for the remainder of my trip.
Martha's Vineyard, particularly Oak Bluffs, was a creative retreat for me. I'd recommend visiting not only for the lobster rolls and colorful homes but for regrouping and recharging.
Here are four reasons Martha's Vineyard should serve as your next writer's/creative retreat:
1. It's a remote location.
Getting to Martha's Vineyard is an excursion on its own if you don't fly directly to the island. Your travel could consist of a flight, a shuttle ride to a ferry, and then a ferry ride to the island. This speaks a little to the exclusivity of the island. The Obamas have spent many summers there if that gives you any insight. Other than the Obamas, you'll learn that influencers from entertainment to Congress own vacation homes there. It's exclusive and quiet—a perfect place to be freed from distractions so you can focus on your next piece of work.
2. History will ignite passion.
Photo courtesy of Shoppe Black
In Martha's Vineyard, I connected with historic events near to me while on the African American Heritage Trail. It was there that I learned about the economic and creative contributions of African American families that lived on the island year-round—families like the Shearer family who owned and operated a laundry service and a cottage that welcomed African American families during segregation. The Shearer Cottage still remains today and has been family-owned and operated since its inception in 1903.
And I'd be remiss if I didn't mention The Inkwell— a 1994 coming-of-age classic that was set in Inkwell Beach of Martha's Vineyard. Though today Inkwell is a beach where patrons practice morning yoga and meditation, its origin isn't all that picturesque. Inkwell Beach was for blacks only during segregation and received the contemptuous name "The Inkwell" by whites when referring to African American visitors. Over the years, islanders have given new meaning to "The Inkwell" by referring to it as a place where prominent writers congregate.
3. The array of colors will inspire.
Photo courtesy of massvacation.com
There are colorful homes across the island, but particularly in Oak Bluffs Campground. There you'll find quaint little homes called "gingerbread houses" that are painted in every shade you can imagine. And not to mention, the look of these homes are reminiscent of childhood folklore. Taking a stroll throughout Oak Bluffs to discover the architecture and vibrant colors will definitely prove that there's psychology behind the color wheel. The bright yellows, greens, and blues will definitely uplift your mood and spark some creativity.
4. It's an oasis of serenity.
Photo courtesy of Harborview Hotel
Nature is all around the island (no kidding). It's not depleted with high skyscrapers and scooters covering the concrete. Here you can smell the ocean water, see fields of grass, and feel the sun. The island has over 44 miles of bike trails that stretch across towns, 19 beaches, and more than 14 miles of hiking trails. Most activities include nature, whether its riding a bike off the beaten path, lounging on the beach, or enjoying a boat ride. Nature is believed to increase one's creativity, reduce stress, and improve brain health. Many studies, like one found in Psychology Today, have been conducted to find a correlation between brain health and nature. Scientifically proven or not, there's nothing quite better than experiencing the beauty of outdoors.
Have you been to Martha's Vineyard? What travel destination do you find the best for refueling your creativity? Tell us in the comments!