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Where we’re at: I’m recapping my travels in 2019, including this time at our family home in Martha’s Vineyard in August.

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It feels like I’ve been blogging about summer of 2019 forever and well, considering our circumstances, it turned out to be a busy one. Between work and weddings, I was on-the-go more than I’d been all year. Which meant the quiet weeks when we were at home in Albany or on Martha’s Vineyard felt more special than ever. 

Summer in Martha's Vineyard

Summer in Martha's Vineyard

By August, when we made our last trip out to the Vineyard, my mom was in the late stages of her battle with brain cancer. We were all searching hard for joy, and this was one place we always know we can find some glimmer of it.

And while she wasn’t able to really communicate with us well, we hoped it did for her too. 

Summer in Martha's Vineyard
Summer in Martha's Vineyard

Summer in Martha's Vineyard

We had a familiar routine, there. Our sweet island caretaker would come over in the morning and give us a third set of hands while we took turns tapping out to work and get out of the house for a bit of exercise.

Ian soon joined us, and we swapped my fancy fitness classes around the island for jogs up to the East Chop lighthouse with a few strength circuits on the way (better for August anyway, when traffic and parking get crazy.)

Summer in Martha's Vineyard

Jogging to East Chop Lighthouse
Jogging to East Chop Lighthouse

In the evenings, we’d sit out on the porch and watch the world go by, or stroll down to the harbor to watch the sunset.

Vineyard Haven Harbor

One very special night, the whole clan descended for the 150th anniversary of Illumination, the most magical night of the year in Oak Bluffs.

It’s so special, and has been so sadly under-reported here on Alex in Wanderland, that I have a full post on the subject coming up tomorrow. 

2019 Illumination in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard

In addition to writing blog content, planning and marketing my retreats, and all the other work tasks I was juggling at the time, I was refreshed by a fun creative challenge — several product shoots. And seriously, how lucky was I to have this island as my backdrop?

First, a collaboration with my bestie Amy of Amy Jennifer Jewellery (spelled the British way!), who I’ve interviewed here before, and who I teamed up with for an Instagram giveaway. 

Amy Jennifer Jewellery

Amy Jennifer Jewellery

Amy Jennifer Jewellery

Amy Jennifer Jewellery

Next up, Leaf Shave, a company I was over the moon to work with after proactively pitching them myself. I’m always working to be a more eco-friendly consumer, and pass anything I love on to all of you.

This is definitely one of those cases — I was really proud.

Leafshave Review
Leafshave Review

And finally, my year-long Instagram partnership with KIND, one of the opportunities I’m grateful came my way as a result of being stateside for the year. 

KIND Snacks Collective

KIND Snacks Collective

Halfway through our time on the Vineyard, Ian and I went to Boston for a night so that I could go to the passport office and so we could have some time alone together before his flight the next morning out of Logan International.

It was an emotional goodbye — perhaps better touched on in my next roundup

Night in Boston
Night in Boston

Back on the island, I had the perfect distraction to throw myself into: my nephew’s first Vineyard visit.

Kirsten is more like a sister to me than a cousin and so I’m ashamed to say it was our first time meeting her little man in person. (By the way I looked it up and apparently technically this kid is my “first cousin once removed.” Well, I’m calling him my nephew. So there.)

Summer in Martha's Vineyard
Baby's first beach trip

We were itching to meet Beckett since he came into the world on New Year’s Day, but it took us until August to get the whole family under one roof. And lucky we have this little guy’s whole life to make up for our absence in the first eight months of it!

We missed many milestones but all my aunt-guilt was wiped away when we got to share an amazing milestone: Beckett’s first beach trip. Can you think of a bigger honor for me? As you can see, he totally loved it. Ha.

Baby's first beach trip

Baby's first beach trip
Baby's first beach trip

Baby's first beach trip

Baby's first beach trip
White Claw on the beach

Most of the time, we all just rolled around at home. It was a different kind of Vineyard vacation, with almost all the highlights taking place around the dining room table.

Baby's first Martha's Vineyard trip

But mostly, wow, did it mean the world to all of us that Beckett got to meet my mom. My mom and Kirsten always shared an incredible bond, and getting to meet her long-awaited first born was overwhelmingly emotional. My mom wasn’t responsive to much as this point, but her eyes lit up when she saw that sweet baby.

As did mine. Family is precious. I can’t wait to travel the world with this lil guy someday.

Baby's first Martha's Vineyard trip

Baby's first Martha's Vineyard trip

In the meantime — what a fun new toy.

Baby's first Martha's Vineyard trip
Baby's first Martha's Vineyard trip
Baby's first Martha's Vineyard trip

When the family headed home, Miller and I found ourselves feeling restless one day and ambitiously aimed for an outing. It was always a regret of mine that I hadn’t visited the original location of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Edgartown, and so when they opened a new, wheelchair accessible version in Vineyard Haven, we decided to check it out right away. 

It’s my new rainy day recommendation go-to. It’s beautifully designed, well-sized (read: not overwhelming) and touches on so many fascinating facets of Vineyard life and history.

Martha's Vineyard Museum

Martha's Vineyard Museum

I’m really grateful we did this. Sometimes we got so bogged down in the day to day of care taking, we just didn’t have one ounce left for outings like this. So it’s one of those small memories I’ll cherish.

Martha's Vineyard Museum
Martha's Vineyard Museum

Martha's Vineyard Museum

You know, so many times I said to myself, this is our last trip to Martha’s Vineyard together as a family. And this time, I was right.

But I am starting to see that my mom gave us the gift of a family that she lives on through, and a place where we can always come to be together and remember that bond.

May we gather there again soon.

Goodbye Martha's Vineyard
Goodbye Martha's Vineyard

Thank you mom, for our happy place.

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16 Comments...
  • Mary B
    May 17 2020

    <3

    • Alex
      May 17 2020

      Thanks for reading Mary <3

  • Courtney
    May 17 2020

    Alex, this is such a beautiful post. As always, I’m so touched by your ability to convey such vulnerability and authenticity through these memoirs.

    I’ve been reading your blog for years and years, back when I was a college student in a small town in Ohio who dreamed of something bigger, but I’ve rarely commented and I’m not really sure why! (In fact, the only other one I can remember leaving was on your post about the 2016 election and you were so generous and thoughtful in your response to me…I think of it often.) Back in 2018, I quit my dream job in Manhattan at 26 and moved to Paris for a year, then did my 200-YTT in Bali this past fall before coincidentally returning to the States just a few months before the pandemic hit. Yours and Rachel’s paths were so inspirational to me and genuinely through your blogs gave me the confidence to take the leap, which turned out to be the best decision I ever made. It was such a transformative year, to say the least, and now more than ever I’m so happy I did that while I had the chance.

    I wanted to take a moment to send you so much love and gratitude. How you’ve chosen to share your life and travels has very earnestly changed my life for the better, and I hope you know the impact you’ve had does not go unnoticed, even when readers like myself are lurking for years without comments.

    Sending you so much love and peace and thinking of your mom and family! Everything you’ve written about her has proven she was beautiful in the truest sense of the world, and the apple has clearly not fallen far from the tree. All my best <3

    • Alex
      May 17 2020

      Wow Courtney this touched my heart this morning <3 Thank you so much for sharing your story, and for being part of this journey for so many years! I really enjoyed reading this so much.

  • Tessa Faure
    May 17 2020

    💛💛💛
    I’m glad your mum let you snap so many pics – my mum would rarely let us snap any with her no hair/short hair/ doekies (headscarves) so i only have a few with her over the couple of years

    • Alex
      May 21 2020

      I am grateful for them too. I prefer to remember her without, of course… but this is a part of our story too, and as a writer, she understood that better than anyone, I think.

  • becky hutner
    May 18 2020

    Oh Alex, you really got me with this one. Tears streaming. Bless your heart x

    • Alex
      May 21 2020

      Thank you sweet Becky <3

  • Janice
    May 18 2020

    Brought a lump to my throat and a smile to this Mumma’s heart.

    • Alex
      May 21 2020

      Thanks for reading, Janice…

  • Ramona Puckett
    May 24 2020

    Thank you ❤️This was really touched me, your mom is so special ❤️

  • Aussie Jo
    May 24 2020

    Another wonderful post

  • Emma
    June 9 2020

    This is lovely, and such great memories with your mum, emotional and heartfelt writing.

    • Alex
      June 22 2020

      Thank you Emma, it means a lot to share them here.

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