Oak Bluffs developed as a religious colony...and people there built a wonderful old church...worth seeing the interior. They later built a canopy for outdoor religious services in the middle of the commons. The entire commons area is now on the National Register of Historic Places...Small cottages in perfect "gingerbread" style create a circle around the public green. These houses are really precious. It's worth a walk around the district if you are into early American architecture. A cool and relaxing spot.
My 2nd pic is from a book on the history of the settlement. "Wesleyan Grove became a permenant summer community which was still a religious space and it achieved this without a professional designer. It was a popular or folk created work of environmental art."
Ellen Weiss writes, "With their festive human pageantry and architectural fantasies of turrets, towers, pinnacles, and wooden lace, they were pure and beloved expressions of an ideal urbanity."
Once called "A Feast of Tabernacles, the camp grounds have evolved from a tent village organized in very orderly fashion (see front page here) to the built environment which we can enjoy today. This summer religious retreat was duplicated throughout the country and became extremely popular in the 1800's. We can see these religious settlements in Oak Bluffs as well as in Mt.Tabor, New Jersey and elsewhere. The gingerbread houses that developed after the tents became a glorious collection of architecture which has a revival building as its center. The revival building which grew from outdoors to tent to an octagonal structure... is repeated in many of these settlements. For those of you who study architecture, this is an interesting era which the Methodists have created for us.
THE CAMP GROUNDS AT WESLEYAN GROVE, OAK BLUFFS HAS BEEN LISTED ON THE NATIONAL REGISTER OF HISTORIC PLACES
Favorite thing: Oak Bluffs has a different character, style of architecture, and vibration than does Edgartown. Started as a religious colony, there are a number of old wooden churches and a great outdoor meeting space in this town. You can find an original Merry Go Round which is now listed on the Nat'l Register of Historic Places. There is a lot of hustle and bustle around the bars and restuarants....great tourist shops. Interesting streets to ride a bike.
Favorite thing: Edgartown is about as sophisticated as any spot on Martha's Vineyard. There are wonderful shops and restaurants to explore, as well as great New England architecture to enjoy. The housing stock here seems more substantial than in Oak Bluffs. My daughter, Susan and I brought our bikes and checked out all the nooks and crannies.
Favorite thing: This is in Edgartown. There are several towns with different personalities, which is what I like about this island. When you go to Block Island, RI or Nantucket, Mass....they are wonderful..., but all the same. Very uniform. I like the variation on M.Vineyard.
Favorite thing: The Vineyard is more about relaxing than getting wild and crazy. Go between May and September, but book ahead. Leave your car on the mainland and take the ferry. Once on the Island, you can take a bus or rent a bike or moped. I like to stay in Edgartown, and its best to stay in a B&B, as there are several. walk/bike around town at your own pace. Everyone there is on vacation (even the workers for the most part) so there is no 'rushing' like you find everywhere else. At night open the windows, no matter where you are, you'll enjoy an ocean breeze.
Favorite thing: On Martha's Vineyard, there are so many good pictures waiting to happen. These are the types of views you find as you bicycle through Edgartown. I particularly like the least obvious to capture the flavor of a place. Old fashioned plantings and weathered buildings hit the soft spot in my heart.
Favorite thing: Defintiely a "can't miss" place to visit on Martha's Vineyard is the village of Oak Bluffs. With its great waterfront and to-die-for gingerbread cottages, I found it to be the most enchanting place. I really felt like I had stepped into a storybook town. I will definitely visit again and again!
The island is fairly long (22 miles at its widest) yet the roads are narrow and do not go everywhere. There are some bike paths, otherwise you'll have to share the road with cars and buses, bicycles and mopeds. It's not really practical to ride bicycles all the way, it's just too far. Buses are infrequent. I think mopeds are a great way to get around. Many island residents are opposed to mopeds, and we see quite a few "mopeds are dangerous" stickers. In my opinions, in the hands of a cautious rider, they're only marginally more risky than bicycles. And they certainly emit less pollutants than cars.
Fondest memory: The mopeds, of course.
Favorite thing: It's not like I'm a marsh enthusiast (if such a thing exists), but I am learning to recognize the opportunity for a good photo. And that's why I snapped these. Ah yes... nature at its finest!