Hours: Dawn to Dusk
Brightwood Park is an 8.8 acre sanctuary on the west side of Lagoon Pond in Tisbury. Brightwood Park directly abuts Ramble Trail Preserve, a 7.3 acre property owned by the Martha’s Vineyard land bank commission. A public walking trail loops around both properties, and also crosses private lands whose owners have granted trail easements to the land bank. The trail totals 0.9 mile in length.
Brightwood Park occupies a steep ravine, a ravine that plunges at its eastern end almost to the shore of the Lagoon. Not coincidentally, the steepness of this ravine is the reason for the land’s conservation. In 1872, a plan was drawn that would have placed 500 houses on a 120-acre section of Tisbury. The area was named “Oklahoma” and the rugged ravine was designated “Brightwood Park.” Come the 1950’s, island realtor Henry Cronig bought the remaining lots and the unbuildable ravine of Brightwood Park. Mr. Cronig donated Brightwood Park to Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation in 1971, thereby permanently protecting the land. It is worth noting that Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation was the only organization at that time on the island willing to accept the gift of such a small parcel.
The upland portions of Brightwood Park are shaded by a canopy of oaks and pitch pines and clad in an understory quilt of huckleberry. Trailing arbutus, better known as mayflower, and wood anemone bloom along the trail in abundance in April and May. Winter visitors should keep an eye out for the evergreen foliage of wintergreen and spotted pipsissewa. At the foot of the ravine, water stands year-round. Red maples and beetlebungs crowd the edges of this bottomland and shade sweet pepperbush, highbush blueberry and swamp azalea. Brightwood Park and Ramble Trail Preserve are frequented by birds; observed here have been the great crested flycatcher, catbird, yellowthroat, pine warbler, chickadee, golden-crowned kinglet, white-breasted nuthatch and the downy, hairy and red-bellied woodpecker.
The trailhead parking area for Brightwood Park is found at the land bank’s Ramble Trail Preserve. From State Road in Vineyard Haven, take the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road 0.4 mile to Winyah Lane. From Edgartown or Oak Bluffs, take the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road toward Vineyard Haven, and take a right onto Winyah Lane just after the telephone company building. On Winyah Lane, turn right after 0.6 mile onto Weaver Lane. The trailhead is on the right at the end of Weaver Lane.