"The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in
its net of wonder forever."—Jacques Cousteau

July 16, 2013

July 15 - Martha's Vineyard, MA

Lake Tashmoo - Anchorage

We woke up to a beautiful day...hot but beautiful. No fog, no clouds and no rain. We rode our bikes into Vineyard Haven and wandered around, it has a cute little downtown filled with little shops and cafes. We then rode along the water to Oak Bluff. A very quaint little town that is noted for its "gingerbread cottages" and well-preserved late-nineteenth-century buildings. Beaches, boats, parks, boutiques, cafes, and tourists…a real fun place, a little something for everyone.

Oak Bluffs was part of Edgartown until 1880, when it was officially incorporated as Cottage City, changing its name to Oak Bluffs in 1907. It was the only one of the six towns on the island to be consciously planned, and the only one developed specifically with tourism in mind.

In 1866 a group of New England developers were hired to design a planned residential community in Martha’s Vineyard. The site, a large, rolling, treeless pasture overlooking Vineyard Sound, was adjacent to the popular Methodist camp meeting, Wesleyan Grove, a curving network of narrow streets lined with quaint "Carpenter's Gothic" cottages, picket fences, and pocket parks. Seeking to take advantage of the camp’s seasonal popularity. Five hundred lots were sold between 1868 and 1871. Oak Bluffs is one of the earliest planned residential communities in the United States

Some of the earliest visitors to the area were Methodists, who gathered in the oak grove each summer for multi-day religious "camp meetings" held under large tents and in the open air. As families returned to the grove year after year, tents pitched on the ground gave way to tents pitched on wooden platforms and eventually to small wooden cottages. Small in scale and closely packed, the cottages grew more elaborate over time. Porches, balconies, elaborate door and window frames became common, as did complex wooden scrollwork affixed to the roof edges as decorative trim. The unique "Carpenter's Gothic" architectural style of the cottages was often accented by the owner's use of bright, multi-hue paint schemes, and gave the summer cottages a quaint, almost storybook look. Dubbed "gingerbread cottages," they became a tourist attraction in their own right in the late nineteenth century. The campground's gingerbread cottages are cherished historic landmarks as well as very expensive real estate. Many are still family owned and passed on generation to generation and are a designated a National Historic Landmark.

It was a very warm afternoon so swimming was the best way to stay cool. Sally came by with her paddleboard and I gave it another try. It was much easier to use in this peacefully anchorage than it was in Block Island.

A few pictures of the cute little gingerbread cottages in the campground area of Oak Bluffs
Beautiful water off of Oak Bluffs
Enjoying the anchorage on a warm day

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