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Saturday, August 27, 2016

Martha's Vineyard -- Oak Bluffs and Gingerbread!

We started our Tuesday with Rick going to work and me going where?


I wasn't quite sure yet! But as I got ready to leave, I saw Nancy, our host, sitting on the deck. Since we hadn't met, I introduced myself to her and we began to chat. And it turned out there was a lot to talk about!


Nancy is Nancy M. Clarke, a wonderful artist whose work has appeared often in "Just Steampunk" and has her jewelry in some of Martha's Vineyard's shops (as well as on her website HERE).



Here are a few pages from some of the "Just Steampunk" items featured. I was able to see some of these in person and they are exquisite. As those of you who do assemblage know, if you don't have the right knack for putting things together, it can just look like a pile of junk glued together. Nancy's work is anything but that. I saw the hairbrush in this photo (or one like it) in person, along with some of her rat traps, whimsically titled "The Beheading, I and II." They are beautifully done. (Click on the photos to see them larger -- or better still, check out her website!)

               

John had mentioned I might want to go to the campground and I had politely nodded but thought "Campground? Well, I'm not exactly a camping kind of girl." I had visions of the state park grounds or something and while I like the nature, there is much of it everywhere on Martha's Vineyard. But when Nancy brought it up, she explained more fully and together we went to Oak Bluffs to visit the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (aka, the Campground and originally known as Wesleyan Grove).


This is no state park, lovely as they are. This spot is on the National Register of Historic Places and ranked a National Historic Landmark -- and with good reason. It is also known for its...


It is one Victorian-era gingerbread house after another, built in concentric circles close together around a large open-air tabernacle and green space.


Think Walt Disney's "Pollyanna" or other films set in towns of the late 1800s. They look too charming to be true.



This one is. Really, truly, true.



The area began in 1835 as a summer campground for Methodists who pitched their tents in an oak grove around the central church tabernacle. In the 1860s and '70s, charming wooden cottages replaced the tents. (There are now 318 of them.)


The area was established by Methodists but today is an interdenominational area, with services held in the Tabernacle on Sundays. It also serves as the home for special events. Nancy told me that her daughter's high school graduation was held there and they rented one of the buildings for her open house.



The homes are now privately owned, some for generations and they are maintained beautifully. Each one is unique, a cotton candy collection that looks like a walking color sample card for Sherwin-Williams! And they are all perfect.


As we walked through the area, people were sitting on their porches, reading. We'd smile or say hello -- or walk on. They are used to being on display!


There was a definite trend toward white wicker, which I love! Rick would later comment it looked like they all got their furniture at the same store.


Maybe, but I suspect much of it has been in the family for years, carefully repaired and kept away from cats like Lizzie who could take out a wicker bench in no short order!


One place even had a mini-version of their house on the porch!


Another thing we noticed was the charming way that home owners kept eager tourists off the porches! When you have that many people in love with your house, everyone wants a look but you may not want them peeking through the windows! So graceful "porch blockade swags" both looked appropriate and served a fine purpose!

 

The owner of the Pink House, quite a famous one and on a number of postcards, talked with us about his home. It was period down to the hardware.


(Later in the day I found an antique postcard of this house which showed it prior to the porch being added. A day or two later when I returned, I asked when they put the porch on and I believe he said in the 1980s. It looked as though it had been there from the beginning.)


And, if you peeked through the window, you saw the cake his wife made. Not real. Just really perfect!

         

This was Nancy's favorite house and it's not on the "main drag." I'm glad we found it! It was one of my favorites, too!

          

I knew I would have to return to this little slice of heaven. Maybe today, definitely tomorrow.


Nancy left me at Featherstone, an arts center, that was having a flea market that day. Good finds included a Coronation plate for Queen Elizabeth II to add to my Royal Family collection of china (and books, tea towels, stamps...) and a French postcard book picturing WWI sites at Verdun. I wouldn't have expected to find either. During this time, I shopped to folk music provided by a live band.


And, I admired the large kiln and some of the outdoor sculpture.



After lunch, I returned to Oak Bluffs for some sketching time by the water. I'll share that later.


 Then it was dinner time and back to Edgartown for...

 

Yes, I'd been eager for lobster. At lunch I had my first lobster roll of the trip. This was the real deal. Both Rick and I indulged.

                   

After, we walked around the town, enjoying the evening and each other, pinching ourselves to be sure it was real.



We weren't in Michigan anymore, and maybe not Oz.


But we were definitely someplace special.


Like a dream.

This post will be linked with Thoughts of Home on Thursday, Share Your Cup and Pink Saturday. Click on either of these fun blogs for plenty of other links to things creative and decorative!

47 comments:

Marilyn Miller said...

I want to go here now for sure. I have seen pictures of these little sweet houses all lite with lanterns and have dream ever since of going there. Now your photos entice me again.

Mae Travels said...

That's an amazing corner of the Vineyard! Your photos make it look amazing.

best... mae at maefood.blogspot.com

My name is Erika. said...

Wow. How beautiful. Love these homes. What a great day you had! Hope you have more to share! Hugs-Erika

Lynne said...

Oh my the porches . . .
And PINK . . .
And Lobster . . .
Love!

Valerie-Jael said...

What a wonderful pace to visit, love all the gingerbread houses, so pretty. And that lobster looks fantastic, too.Have fun, hugs, Valerie

BeachGypsy said...

I have always been fascinated by these cottages! They are just amazing and every one is so unique! Just love the creativity. When do they do Illumination Night? Were you there for that? thanks for sharing these great photos,I love them!

shoreacres said...

Just leave me at the beach, with a lobster pot. This is amazing -- but, oh, my. You know me. I'd be huddled under a tree in a fetal position. :-)

I need orange said...

Wow, what an amazing place! :-)

Victoria Zigler said...

I'm glad you found out that the camp ground wasn't what you thought it was, and didn't miss out on seeing it.

Jenny Woolf said...

Those gingerbread trims are beautiful. I would love to see all the different houses. The lobster looks amazing too but I can't eat lobster, I have some kind of allergy which makes it taste like it has gone rotten and brings me out in spots! so I am not envious of that part :) I'm glad you're having such a good time!

Lisa from Lisa's Yarns said...

Oh my gosh. This is like Disney for adults!! What a beautiful and charming area to walk around. I just love old homes with porches and so much character! I could spend hours just walking around and taking in all of that beauty! That pink house is just divine, too!!

And the lobster - yum!! You have to have lobster when you are in an area like that!

What a wonderful and magical getaway for you!!

Joanne Huffman said...

mmmmmm...charming houses and lobster rolls!

La Table De Nana said...

We loved it also!I have photos..I did not have a digital camera at the time..we think we are going back next summer.
I miss it so!

Valerie CottageMakingMommy said...

Oh what a dreamy trip. I pray I get to go one day. The cottages are my favorite.

Valerie CottageMakingMommy said...

Oh what a dreamy trip. I pray I get to go one day. The cottages are my favorite.

Maggie said...

Such a beautiful, whimsical place, I want to visit immediately! What a fascinating impromptu tour, thanks for letting me tag along.

Wandering Wren said...

What amazing houses, I spotted the cutest little Birdland, all pretty in pink! That lobster looks incredible, I've never got anywhere close to having such good lobster as I had in New England many years ago.
Have a great week
Wren x

Decor To Adore said...

I have always wanted to go to Martha's Vineyard. Those cottages are just darling. I hope you have a wonderful week!

~*~Patty S said...

Looks like you had a perfectly charming AND delicious time Jeanie!
For lack of a better adjective...those wonderful colorful houses look like "doll" houses!
What fun to stroll around with so much to discover and enjoy.
oxo

Bleubeard and Elizabeth said...

I have a friend who took a temporary nursing job on Martha's Vineyard and loved it. She was very impressed, but also admitted the pay didn't quite live up to what it did elsewhere, because everything was so very expensive.

I would say you had a wonderful time and meeting the lady who makes steampunk must have been a joy, too. Seeing those houses reminds me of where I used to live. They are certainly colorful and all postcard worthy.

The French Hutch said...

Oh my goodness Jeanie, I love this and I feel like I've been there with your gorgeous photographs! I love those houses dripping with the gingerbread trim and the white wicker. Beautiful, beautiful! You and Rick had a gorgeous trip...........sigh!

Mary Rose's said...

All. The. Gingerbread!

Bella Rum said...

Jeanie, this has to be the most charming post I've ever seen. It has been so many years since we've been to Martha's Vineyard. I remember the little shack that sold cups of clam chowder where we got off the ferry. Wonder if it's still there. I would love to go back.

Kitty said...

A special place for two special people. I am so glad you have these memories and the wonderful photos and words to share them with us.

Jacqueline~Cabin and Cottage said...

I would be thrilled to get up close and personal to these adorable cottages! Good move!

Summer said...

I love the wicker chairs! Beautiful photos ♥

summerdaisycottage.blogspot.com

Sandra Cox said...

What beautiful homes! Didn't you just have a perfect vacay?

Barb said...

Those Bluffs houses just ooze charm! I'm not sure I'd like to be on display all the time if I lived in one though... My favorite photos are of you and Rick with your enormous lobsters! Looks like a fabulous getaway.

Red Rose Alley said...

These cottages are so charming, Jeanie. The cotton candy one is so cute. I've heard Martha's Vineyard was very pretty. All the signs caught my eye, as I'm a sign lover myself. The 'Precious Porches' is sweet. You travel to the most interesting places, my friend.

~Sheri

oh, I liked your story on my school days post. So sorry you got picked on by Bobby. It seems that we all have some good stories to tell, some funny stories, and some that were not so pleasant. That's special that you're still friends with the same girl you knew at age 5.

Jemma@athomewithjemma said...

Goodness me! This is like fairy tale land and I can certainly see why you had to pinch yourself!
Lobster and these homes! I don't think I would ever want to go home.
Jemma

Jann Olson said...

Oh my, the porches seals the deal for me. . .I must go there some day! Hubby and I ate our first whole lobster in Maine last fall. Always just had the tail. It was a fun experience, but I think I prefer the tail. lol! Glad you had such a great time!
hugs,
Jann

BeachGypsy said...

Hi Jeanie! glad to see you stopped by! are you on instagram?

Colehaus Cats said...

So beautiful. All your photos are gorgeous! Looks like you captured the very best of your trip. AND lobster!

bj said...

my heart is beating faster, looking at these magical houses...omygosh...i would LOVE to go there.
Our daughter and her hubs went there last year and she is still talking about it...
they were on a business trip near there so they took a few days and ate lobster rolls til their eyes bugged out...hahhaa...

Sandra Cox said...

That pink house is just perfect. I'm glad you shared these with us.

Stacey said...

That just looks like a dream of a vacation, Jeanie. President Obama has been in Dallas a few times lately. Unfortunately he's not usually here for great reasons but at least he's taking care of business.

I sure have enjoyed living vicariously through your pictures. We didn't take a vacation this summer and I'm missing that time away!

Molly said...

Oh that pink house is something special

Mollyxxx

Jean | DelightfulRepast.com said...

Jeanie, I love looking at houses with gingerbread, but I sure wouldn't want to own one. Just think how difficult it would be to paint all those different colors or how expensive it would be to pay someone to do it! (My Grandma would be so proud of me for being so practical!)

Anne's Attic - Design said...

Thank you for sharing at SYC! xx Jo

Sylvia said...

I love all the Victorian homes! Beautiful and I would love to visit there also. I am visiting from 'Pink Saturday'.
Have a blessed weekend

Carol @Comfort Spring Station said...

beautiful cotton candy houses

Sandra Cox said...

I know it goes with the territory but wouldn't you hate to spend a vacation being the center of attention like that?
Thanks for stopping by Yvette's the other day!

Beverly said...

Happy Pink Saturday, Jeanie. Thank you so much for joining us and sharing this amazing trip. We have never been, and I so hope to go some day.

And, wow, wow, wow! Those homes are amazing!!! I can't even imagine how thrilling this must have been.

This post is being featured on my Pink Saturday post this week as "the one with the most clicks".♥

Anonymous said...

I am so happy to finally have been able to read your blog. As you could see, our summers are full of constant work. It was a pleasure to show you around our beautiful Island. The "Campgrounds' so familiar to me certainly must sound odd to those who are not familiar. The "Boston Pops" have appeared at the Tabernacle and so many other great orators. I appreciate my home a bit more now after reading through your description of your visit and the lovely comments made by many. We have lived on this little piece of heaven for over thirty years. It is here where we had our one and only child - Katie. A true Islander, born and bred. However, at 25 she is in Grad School in Boston. I am happy she moved on but the Island is home. We are all a close-knit group on Martha's Vineyard. I have so many wonderful friends and have known all of my daughters friends since birth. It is truly a blessed place to live. Full or art and wonderment. I discovered my own love of the arts here and Katie is quite a famous Island actress in our theaters. So happy you enjoyed your stay but there is so much more to see and take in with awe. I hope you and Rick will return. I love your pics and description of my art. Thank you for loving it so much. Ahoy - Nancy

Anonymous said...

Dear Bella Rum - That little shack you remember is now a guest house in the back yard of a good friend of ours. They had great hot dogs too. It is a great little shack

Nancy

Anonymous said...

Jeanie - How distinctly you have described the place I call home. Thank you for visiting with me and more thanks for reminding me that the Vineyard is a special place. It is a place where you will find kindness from all your neighbors, understanding from your bosses, friendship from the teachers of your children, companionship with your Parish priest. We are always there for each other in good times and certain horrific moments that occur in any town. Every day for 30 years I have been sure to drive by a beach or see a glimpse of our beautiful ocean in all seasons. It helps me to remember that yes, life is good and I am fortunate to live in this incredible community. Thanks for reminding me, Jeanie. Gratefully,


Nancy Clarke

Pam Richardson said...

Jeanie, how much fun to see this all again. The little cottages are so unique and I took so many photos that I couldn't wade through all of them! Thanks for visiting with me and I am glad we share the excitement over Martha's Vineyard! Pam @ Everyday Living

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