Founded as a Methodist religious camp in 1835, the town evolved into the island's first summer resort. Canvas camp tents gave way to a permanent cluster of brightly painted Victorian gingerbread cottages.
If you happen to be in Oak Bluffs on a certain Wednesday evening in mid-August (the exact date is not announced until a few days before), don't miss the visual feast known as Illumination Night. The cottages are adorned with glowing Japanese lanterns that transform the town into an enchanted fairyland.
These pictures were taken by my dad c 1947. The first picture shows the lighthouse in the distance. In the second picture, my sister is close to him (age 7) and I am far down the path wearing an identical sunsuit (which my mom made for us) at age 9. Climbing on the cliffs is prohibited now.
The Chamber of Commerce website says:
" Some beaches are open to the public without restriction, while others are reserved for residents and summer visitors who are staying in the towns where the beaches are located. To use these town beaches, one needs a parking and/or beach permit...
On the west side of the island is
8. Gay Head Cliffs and Beach: Off-limits. The Gay Head Cliffs are a National Landmark and are seriously endangered by climbing on the cliffs and removal of clay (both prohibited by law).
9. Gay Head Public Beach (Moshup Beach): Surf beach off Moshup Trail. Extends from Philbin Beach to just before the cliffs. The beach is approximately a ten-minute walk from the parking lot on a cleared trail. There is a $15 parking fee in summer.
10. Lobsterville Beach: Two miles of beautiful Vineyard Sound beach and dune land along Lobsterville Road. Includes a seagull nesting area, and is a favorite fishing spot. Open to all, but parking is prohibited on Lobsterville Road.
11. Philbin Beach: Surf beach off Moshup Trail. Gay Head residents only. "
You used to be able to buy glass test tubes or other items with layers of the colorful sands in them.
You can put your bike on a funny little barge which takes you across to Chappaquiddick. We did that...and rode some of the wooded lanes on the other side.
(You may remember that this area was in the national news when Ted Kennedy's car ran off a bridge.)