From a Gazette edition of 1930:
There is no place on Martha’s Vineyard that seems so far apart from the earth as Cedar Neck, the miniature promontory that juts it cedar and juniper crested bulk into Lagoon Pond.
Perhaps a quarter of a mile in length, and less in width except at the inshore end, the long, narrow point rises abruptly from the rippling waters with steep cliff-like banks that show very little gravel or raw earth, so covered are they with scrubby brush, cedars and shrubbery. The beach is very narrow, and in the shallow water the gravel is golden. In spots there is golden sand, and where the bottom is suitable, there is a growth of eelgrass and weed in which may be found scallops in their season. Some clams lie in the mud, and there is fishing in this water as well.
But the Neck itself, the summit of this promontory, that is the land of elves and fairies, gnomes and sprites.
The point proper is all one estate, owned by the Hine family in whose possession it has been for many years. Several dwellings and other buildings were built on the point in years gone by and were occupied by members of the family. But for years the place has been forsaken except for the occasional visit of a hunter or clam digger, and it is only within a short time that activities have begun toward preparing the houses for occupancy once more. That the buildings suffered from the years of neglect there is no question, but the point itself has become even more bewitching than before.
To leave Vineyard Haven, with everything modern, paved streets, electric street lights, and spic and span lawns, and within minutes set foot inside the boundaries of the Cedar Neck estate is comparable only to entering a new country. The roads are mere cart paths across a small pasture at first and then plunge into a dense growth of trees and shrubbery so thick that in spots it is difficult to force a passage through. Every variety of tree and shrub common to the Island is there, with the addition of the cedars. Only on Chappaquiddick are larger trees of this species found, and there they are tall, straight giants.
But those trees! Those are the curious, the interesting and weird. Those are the landmarks that call to mind the tales of gnome and dwarf. Hans Andersen himself might have been inspired by the sight of such trees, dwarfed in height by the fierce winter winds that sweep across the harbor and pond, twisted and gnarled until their great trunks appear to be writhing in pain, and with their tops spread, umbrella-shaped, shading large expanses of the ground. The diameter of the trunks and heavy ridges in the outer wood indicate the great age of those trees, and there are some that may have shaded the Indian clam diggers of long ago. For they were there, the Indians. Scrape away but an inch of moss and grass, and there on the steep slopes that overlook the pond may be found the tell-tale shell splinters that indicate the Indian midden.
Paths and roads wind through the woods, passing the houses and leading to boat-houses, arbors and the beach. Winding paths seem to have been laid out by one who wandered aimlessly among the trees, admiring each scene unfolded by the successive turning and twisting necessitated by the clumps of juniper, blue with their waxen berries. Even and anon the winding trails swing close to the lofty banks, where a view of pond, harbor and sea is unfolded for miles, with the town of Vineyard Haven lying green and white in the middle distance against the background of woodland.
Wandering down a gentle slope, beneath a growth of cedars, straight as the lodge-pole pine and closely set, a hoarse croaking attracts the wanderer’s attention. It is a quawk roost, and the habitants of the place protest against the invasion of humanity.
Scores of these awkward cousins of the heron lift themselves clumsily on their blunt wings and flap slowly away, croaking as they go. Their nests are in every tree-top, in all stages of decay, some just the bare platform of twigs upon which the structure of the nest rests, while others are apparently suitable for uses at another nesting time. The trees here have a peculiar appearance as if the bark had been peeled from them, and there is almost no shrubbery or grass on the ground below.
Here, in the nesting season, the birds lay their eggs and hatch their young, bringing food for the chicks from the beaches below, and holding undisputed possession of the domain. It is a witching spot, there on the edge of the cedar-grown bank, only a short distance across to where cars are spinning by and all is modern, light and bustle. But face in the opposite direction, and there is nothing to be seen save the straight boles on the cedars, with a curtain of twining vines beyond. Even the sky overhead is nearly obscured and a twilight effect pervades the scene.
No sound can be heard save the splashing of tiny wavelets on the gravel below, the soughing of the breeze among the cedar boughs and the croaking of the quawks . . . .
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner