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2018 Annual Guide: Cuttyhunk

Seth Garfield. Photo by Josh Shortsleeve

A day in the life of: Seth Garfield, owner of Cuttyhunk Shellfish, third-generation islander and wearer of many hats

By Allyson Plessner

Longtime Cuttyhunk aficionado and native Seth Garfield is truly the go-to guy for all things island related. Cuttyhunk’s local fire chief, landscaping professional, highway surveyor, Coast Guard boathouse caretaker, Emergency Management Director, and the proud owner of Cuttyhunk’s renowned floating raw bar and shellfishing company, he also serves on the finance and harbor committees for the island. In between all these responsibilities, Garfield teaches classes at Friends Academy in Dartmouth—“just for fun,” he jokes.

Garfield is a third-generation resident of Cuttyhunk, and his three children grew up as fourth-generation islanders. His grandfather won his Cuttyhunk home in a way that is indicative of the laid-back lifestyle of the island—at a cocktail party house drawing. The man who owned most of the island at the time came up with this creative way to distribute his property holdings and expand his community. Garfield’s grandfather ended up with his very own island home that day, and many years and homes later, his family’s presence continues to enrich the area.

“The pulse of the island,” as Garfield refers to it, is the cornerstone on which he has built his life. In the summer, he spends his days managing a crew of eager young workers on the island, helping them navigate tasks ranging from yardwork to shellfishing. In the winter, his trips between Dartmouth and the island, bringing with him a few hardy employees, are less frequent, but he and his wife still manage to spend the majority of their time on Cuttyhunk—a feat that becomes increasingly difficult as the lone market and the few food establishments on the island shut down for the season, but one important for a man whose heart is intrinsically tied to his island home.

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