The Vineyard Gazette Media Group

East Chop


Once people played croquet on the bluff at East Chop. There were tennis courts, too, on the seaward side of one of the Island’s most scenic public roads.

Today there is a narrow strip of land between East Chop Drive and the bluffs that slopes down to Nantucket Sound, with barely any grass to stand on let alone enough for a series of wickets.

Erosion at East Chop isn’t really new, and the loss of croquet space is hardly the problem. Erosion has been documented there since the 1800s, a natural process for the high, sandy outcropping unprotected from the waves. But over the last few years storms have eroded the bluff to the point that it is undermined, threatening the town road on top. Plans were being developed to stabilize it last fall when Hurricane Sandy delivered yet another blow; the town now finds itself struggling to find solutions that will be approved by state environmental agencies and funded by the federal disaster management program.

There are two distinct issues facing East Chop Drive, each with its own potential solutions and stumbling blocks. On one end the undermined bluff imperils the road and potentially some houses. On the other end,...



"We know that the (East Chop Drive) bluff is pure sand. We’ve had cores done down 40-odd feet and it’s pure sand. There’s nothing holding that there but beach grass and vegetation. So we know we have a problem. So the question is, what has to be done and how much will it cost?"

— Craig Dripps, president, East Chop Association

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