Inkwell Beach

Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

Inkwell is a small beach located in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. The name is pejorative; a name given white beachgoers in Martha's Vineyard in reference to this strip of beach that was visited by Black residents and tourists. During the era of segregation Oak Bluffs became the location of the first Inn where African Americans could lodge in Martha's Vineyar. Charles Shearer, the son of a slave and her white owner, turned a beach cottage into Shearer Cottage. Oak Bluffs attracted Black Americans looking for a great place to enjoy the beach and holiday during the era of segregation. It has been a place of empowerment for over 100 years, and numerous Black artists, political and social leaders, writers, and musicians.
Reach more about this rich history in Angela Dennis' Six Historically Black Beaches to Visit This Summer: https://medium.com/@AngelaDennisWrites/six-historically-black-beaches-to-visit-this-summer-46045aa3e348

It is centrally located and easy to get to, which means it can get quite crowded.

Photo: The Inkwell, Oak Bluffs circa 1973, DONALD C. PRESTON/GLOBE STAFF/BOSTON GLOBE

COVID-19

Keep your distance from other people.

Practicing social distancing is essential right now. Follow the advice of the health experts. If your community has asked that you remain indoors and away from others, do so. Heading to the beach should only be considered an option if social distancing practices can be followed. Spending a day in any crowded place is the worst thing we can do for our most vulnerable right now and will counter the efforts to curb the virus’ spread.

For more information, please visit the World Health Organization public resource on COVID-19.

Water Quality
  • Meets water quality standards

  • Current Status
  • This status is based on the latest sample, taken on August 3th, 2020. The Swim Guide - Massachusetts updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on August 4th, 2020 at 10:42 AM.
For water quality icon legend, click:  
Current Weather
19°C
Cloudy
Monitoring Frequency

Inkwell Beach is sampled weekly from June 10th to September 1st.

Source Information

The Oak Bluffs County Department of Health, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation collect water quality samples from June through September. In Oak Bluffs beaches are tested weekly on Monday, while others are tested monthly. Infrequently used beaches or beaches that historically have had very few, if any, water quality issues are tested less often, while high-use or historically problematic beaches are tested more often.

The water is tested for Enterococci to determine water quality in brackish and marine water environments. Enterococci is a group of bacterial species typically found in human and animal intestines and are therefore present in sewage. Enterococci is also referred to as indicator organisms. Indicator organisms are used to predict the presence of pathogenic, or disease-causing, organisms associated with fecal contamination.

Swim Guide checks for the latest information daily, Monday - Friday during the swimming season.

A beach is marked Green when less than 104 units of Enterococci / 100 ml of water is present in a single sample, or when the geometric mean of 5 samples contains less than 35 units / 100ml of water.

A beach is marked Red when more than 104 units of Enterococci / 100 ml of water is present in a single sample, or when the geometric mean of 5 samples contains more than 35 units / 100ml of water.

A beach is marked Grey when there is no current or reliable monitoring information available.

Water Quality Graph

Inkwell Beach

Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts

COVID-19

Keep your distance from other people.

Practicing social distancing is essential right now. Follow the advice of the health experts. If your community has asked that you remain indoors and away from others, do so. Heading to the beach should only be considered an option if social distancing practices can be followed. Spending a day in any crowded place is the worst thing we can do for our most vulnerable right now and will counter the efforts to curb the virus’ spread.

For more information, please visit the World Health Organization public resource on COVID-19.

Water Quality
  • Meets water quality standards
  • Current Status
  • This status is based on the latest sample, taken on August 3th, 2020. The Swim Guide - Massachusetts updates the status of this beach as soon as test results become available. These results were posted to Swim Guide on August 4th, 2020 at 10:42 AM.
For water quality icon legend, click:  
Current Weather
19°C
Cloudy

Inkwell is a small beach located in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. The name is pejorative; a name given white beachgoers in Martha's Vineyard in reference to this strip of beach that was visited by Black residents and tourists. During the era of segregation Oak Bluffs became the location of the first Inn where African Americans could lodge in Martha's Vineyar. Charles Shearer, the son of a slave and her white owner, turned a beach cottage into Shearer Cottage. Oak Bluffs attracted Black Americans looking for a great place to enjoy the beach and holiday during the era of segregation. It has been a place of empowerment for over 100 years, and numerous Black artists, political and social leaders, writers, and musicians.
Reach more about this rich history in Angela Dennis' Six Historically Black Beaches to Visit This Summer: https://medium.com/@AngelaDennisWrites/six-historically-black-beaches-to-visit-this-summer-46045aa3e348

It is centrally located and easy to get to, which means it can get quite crowded.

Photo: The Inkwell, Oak Bluffs circa 1973, DONALD C. PRESTON/GLOBE STAFF/BOSTON GLOBE

Monitoring Frequency

Inkwell Beach is sampled weekly from June 10th to September 1st.

Source Information

The Oak Bluffs County Department of Health, and the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation collect water quality samples from June through September. In Oak Bluffs beaches are tested weekly on Monday, while others are tested monthly. Infrequently used beaches or beaches that historically have had very few, if any, water quality issues are tested less often, while high-use or historically problematic beaches are tested more often.

The water is tested for Enterococci to determine water quality in brackish and marine water environments. Enterococci is a group of bacterial species typically found in human and animal intestines and are therefore present in sewage. Enterococci is also referred to as indicator organisms. Indicator organisms are used to predict the presence of pathogenic, or disease-causing, organisms associated with fecal contamination.

Swim Guide checks for the latest information daily, Monday - Friday during the swimming season.

A beach is marked Green when less than 104 units of Enterococci / 100 ml of water is present in a single sample, or when the geometric mean of 5 samples contains less than 35 units / 100ml of water.

A beach is marked Red when more than 104 units of Enterococci / 100 ml of water is present in a single sample, or when the geometric mean of 5 samples contains more than 35 units / 100ml of water.

A beach is marked Grey when there is no current or reliable monitoring information available.

Water Quality Graph

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