MV Obsession

ALL MARTHA'S VINEYARD, ALMOST ALL THE TIME …


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Tripping New England …

I’m taking a girl trip later this month to New England with my daughter Deb and our friend Dawn and there will be a post or so about it… but in the meantime I want to re-post  part of a trip Deb and I made 20 years ago to Newport, Rhode Island.

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We had spent the earlier part of the week on Martha’s Vineyard but that’s a re-post for a later date.  We left the Vineyard and headed for an over night stay in Newport, Rhode Island, a place Deb had never been to and I raved about.

I had made reservations at a bed & breakfast, which is NOT pictured here… this is the beautiful Rosecliff mansion.

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We figured we’d check in and then go have lunch by the harbor.  The best laid plans often go astray as we were finding out

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We pulled into the circular driveway of what once had been a gorgeous mansion.  The operative word here is… once.  The first thing we noticed was the roof being torn off and being tossed onto the driveway.  OK, a little renovation is a good thing.

There were no other cars in the driveway (an omen perhaps).

There were spider webs by the front door, not such a good thing, even if Halloween was only days away.

The door was bolted so we rang the bell.

Lurch opened it.  All right, it wasn’t Lurch, but this man was big and wore an eye patch and had a low gravely, grumbly voice.  OK, maybe there wasn’t an eye patch but there should have been.

 We entered with trepidation what at one time years ago had been a beautiful mansion but was now drab, threadbare, and frankly creepy.  The beautifully carved wood circular staircase was  covered by the most horrible ugly green carpeting imaginable.  We signed in and were lead  upstairs to our room (cue ominous music). I think on the way up we were warned told not to ever venture into the east wing !  Or maybe that was from ‘Beauty and the Beast’… at any rate I remember hearing some words of caution, or welcome, or whatever.

Walked into the room… it was large, there was a queen size bed, also a cot, the floors were bare, nothing matched,  everything was worn out looking, it was dusty and unwelcoming, there was also the constant banging on the roof, or was it coming from the closet !

I didn’t want to put my suitcase down, I paced nervously around clutching my bags.  Deb looked at me and I at her mumbling things like “I don’t know about this”  “I don’t like it here” “this is spooky”.  She asked if I wanted to go home? I nodded.

We made a beeline down the stairs, mumbled a few words to the owner, flung open the seemingly stuck front doors, threw our luggage in the car and high tailed it out of there.

We did however have one of the best lunches ever.  We drove to the harbor and ate outside at the Mooring.  The whole time we were eating we were laughing and talking about the weird B&B and the seemingly spooky owners.  Our waitress came over to ask the usual “how is everything” question and before I knew it I was telling her about our … um, episode at the B&B.  She told us she’d heard some weird stories about the place.  We agreed we’d definitely made the right decision in leaving.

We left Newport with 3 minutes to spare on the parking meter and headed home to NJ.  This trip was one for the books.

Wonder what our upcoming girl trip will bring in the way of adventure.. perhaps a visit to the past !!!


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Outing To Clinton, New Jersey …

Clinton, New Jersey, a picturesque town set in Hunterdon County isn’t far from where I live and so daughter Deb and her dog Chappy and I set off to explore a bit.   Clinton is most recognized by the iconic picture of the red mill… it pops up on many NJ websites, calendars and is a favorite subject for artists and photographers.

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Here we are, let’s explore…

 

mosaic357a50e68c8076bffe1938e55b50d3b507a28165First up, as always on a Saturday is coffee.  We found a cute little place by the river and settled down to relax and enjoy the scenery.  Chappy even made a new friend.

mosaic82f3209de547717f38366625f02883eef9b4e7f0We walked over the bridge to the other side of the river to get pictures of the Red Mill and the Stone Mill which is now the Hunterdon Art Museum for Craft and Design…

mosaic5fdca8936ae2ba117fc7bc8844aae317b5405556Outside the museum is a chalk board wall, how clever is that…

mosaic7a152ef3c721efad7d45e9d4432aaea03f533d9eMore of Clinton…

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 One last picture of the Red Mill.

 

IMG_1356Another nice outing exploring the beauty and charm of New Jersey :)

 


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End Of Summer Travels …

It was always sad when my summers as a child on the Vineyard would end… it’s still sad for me when I have to leave the Island

My parents and I always left the day after Labor Day, we sailed from Oak Bluffs, and usually on the Nobska.

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Back in the 1950’s my parents and I traveled to and from Martha’s Vineyard by train… the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad’s Cape Codder went from Pennsylvania Station in NYC right to Woods Hole… or vice versa at the end of the summer.

Day Cape CodderThe train stopped at what is now the staging area for cars waiting to get onto the ferries. The tracks ran under the overpass in the left corner of the photograph below.  It was literally only steps from boat to train.  Train service ended in the 1960’s.


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I loved riding on the train, still do. The trip to NYC took about 5 hours and then we arrived in Pennsylvania Station in NYC.

 But we weren’t done with our train travels yet, we still had to take a train from Pennsylvania Station in New York to Pennsylvania Station in Newark, New Jersey.  From there I think we took a taxi home.

We traveled light on our way home, I would have my favorite doll, Beverly, and my teddy bear with me and my parents would have a small suitcase with a few belongings in it, the rest of the things… like ALL my toys we sent to and from the Vineyard by Railway Express.

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It took days for the rest of our things to arrive home and I would watch every day for the Railway Express truck to arrive.

It was bittersweet seeing that truck as I was happy to have my toys and things back but it also meant the official end of summer for me.

There were always dreams of the next summer and the next one and the next one…


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Summer Cottages …

Newport, Rhode Island

101_4980   The Elms

101_4982  The Breakers

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Nice places to visit but I wouldn’t want to live there.

I could however settle nicely into any of these houses on

Martha’s Vineyard…

In fact I did live in one of them :)

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To read about the special school house above please CLICK HERE

(Which house do you think I lived in ?)


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My Yearly Illumination Night Post …

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Illumination Night is Wed, Aug  19, 2015

It has always been my favorite event of the summer… going to Illumination Night is a thrill for me no matter what my age is.

 

  I think I was 2 and 1/2 the first time I went to Illumination Night.  I’m embarrassed to say that even with my annoyingly good memory, I don’t remember it. My first memory of Illumination Night involves wearing a particularly pretty dress so I’m thinking I was around three or four, which would have been around 1946.

My dad, mom, god-mother and I would have an early supper and then walk to the Campground. My dad and I would stroll around looking at all the beautifully decorated gingerbread houses while my mother and god-mother would chat with friends and relatives.

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  At 8 o’clock the Vineyard Haven Band would begin playing and the always fun community sing would start. Patriotic songs like, America The Beautiful, Yankee Doodle, Battle Hymn of the Republic are always stirring and emotional. It took me a couple of years to learn the words to all the songs and I still get messed up on a couple of the rounds like John Brown’s Baby. The band playing the Star Spangled Banner and the rousing Stars and Stripes Forever are always a crowd pleaser.

But as much fun as that was it was only a precursor to the main event. The Tabernacle and Campground go dark… the crowd cheers. The lighting of the first lantern and then all the gingerbread houses are simultaneously aglow with Japanese lanterns.
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Everyone oohs and ahhs and stream out of the Tabernacle to walk through the magical fairyland the Campground has become.
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My dad would carry me on his shoulders so I could see everything… I felt like I could touch the stars.
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 After seeing all there was to see we’d head out onto Circuit Ave to either the Frosty Cottage for ice cream or Darling’s for popcorn, a tasty ending to a perfectly enchanting night.

No matter your age, Illumination Night is fun for everyone, I myself morph into an 8 year old.

  Illumination Night as described in the Vineyard Gazette:

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If you’re on the Vineyard this Wed, Aug 19, 2015 you should go and experience Illumination Night.  101_3011


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Winking and Dancing …

The Tivoli building… Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard (circa 1920)

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The two story, full block Tivoli Dance Hall stood from 1901 until 1964 where the Oak Bluffs Town Hall is today.  The bottom floor housed shops and an ice cream parlor.  My godmother worked in the ice cream parlor and I always enjoyed visiting her there… one time in particular jumps to mind.

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I was 3 years old and had newly mastered winking and was anxious to put it to use.  Sitting at a table behind my mother and facing me was a sailor.  Being that I was wearing a sailor dress I figured we had something in common and so I began winking at him… it did not take long for my mother to notice.  She turned around and as she did the young sailor headed for our table.  He smiled and said he was alone on the Vineyard for the day and wanted to tell my mother how charming he thought I was (blushing here).  Not only did my mother invite him to join us at the table but she invited him home for dinner (this was mid 1940’s). I was amazed at how powerful this winking thing was.  I don’t think we kept in touch with him but obviously I’ve never forgotten him… I do however keep the winking thing to a minimum.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~

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The entire second floor of the Tivoli Dance Hall was just that, the dance hall.  It was huge, at least in the eyes of a 4 year old being dragged there against her will for a dance lesson.  I did like all the windows and how far you could see out of them, I liked the clicking sound my shoes made on the floor, I loved the brand new sundress I had on …
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… but, I did NOT like the group dancing part.  I remember reluctantly getting in line with the other victims children, but my feet did not move, they planted themselves firmly in one spot and stayed there.  Everyone danced around me but I did not care to join in, not only didn’t I dance I wouldn’t talk to anyone either.  My mother was not happy with me… we did not stop for promised ice cream at the Frosty Cottage on Circuit Ave for ice cream and we didn’t come home with a sailor for dinner either.


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Trinity Circle, Trinity Park and Bells …

In the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard, in the Methodist Campground are Trinity Circle and Trinity Park.

Sharing Trinity Park for almost 140 years are the Tabernacle (erected in 1879) and Trinity Methodist Church (built in 1878).

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Over the years both have undergone changes. This is just one of the changes for the Tabernacle.

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A major transformation for Trinity Methodist Church

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DSC_0034  A look inside the Tabernacle and Trinity Methodist Church

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Tabernacle from inside Trinity Methodist Church… I love this picture.

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Trinity Park is a perfect place to enjoy some quiet time… to indulge in some contemplation, read, maybe snooze, enjoy a game of catch, or wander around with a camera.

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100_0643According to the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Assn. website:

“The original layout of Wesleyan Grove was a simple formation of a circle enclosing the preaching area and the society or church tents.   In 1859 a road, now known as Trinity Circle, was built which encircled that area.   In 1864, the Association purchased the 26 acres it had been renting.   As the area continued to expand (additional grounds were purchased in 1866), it developed in a radial-concentric pattern which was little used in America at that time.   Paths radiating from Trinity Circle led to smaller circles where large groups of tents had been located – County Park (Wesleyan Grove), Forest Circle, Washington Park (Victorian Park), Cottage Park Avenue (Cottage Park), Crystal Park (Vincent Park), Washington Avenue (Butler Avenue), Rural Circle and Clinton Avenue, which, at one time, had been the main entrance to the Campground.   The smaller circles, some surrounded by larger circles, had small paths radiating from them leading to other circles or parks.   The method of the grounds layout was an additive one of discrete neighborhood units, each built around small various shaped parks.   Some street and park names (current names are in the brackets) have been changed for various reasons over the years”.

 I spent my childhood summers on Martha’s Vineyard and many of those summers I spent my mornings at Bible School in the Tabernacle.  As was the custom a girl and a boy would be chosen each morning to walk from the Tabernacle to Trinity Church and ring the 8 o’clock bell.  I waited almost all summer to hear my name called, I didn’t think it was ever going to happen.  Finally it did and off across the lawn my partner and I scampered.

Inside the vestibule tied to the staircase railing was the thickest rope I’d ever seen.  The rope was attached to the bell way, way, way up in the steeple and the longer we stood there and pondered the situation the higher up the bell seemed to get.

First though we had to untie the rope, it did not go well, we fumbled along and finally the rope was free from the railing.   Time was ticking but neither of us were aware of how close to 8 o’clock we were coming.

Now all we had to do was pull the rope and the bell would ring and … well, that did not go well either.  Neither one of us had enough weight to pull the rope hard enough to ring the bell.  Rope burn was the least of our problems though as now we were sure it was after 8 o’clock and we’d failed our mission.  With what strength we had left we both grabbed the rope, stood on one of the steps and jumped.  Just as our teacher walked in the door to see what the problem was we heard… bong, bong, bong… it was ringing, the bell was peeling loud and strong, we had succeeded…  we had only missed the 8 o’clock bell by… oh 10 or so minutes.  Who would notice!

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  When I got home at lunch time the first thing my mother said was “the 8 o’clock bell was a bit late this morning, do you know who was ringing it this morning?”  I said it had been me…  she shook her head slowly and said nothing but I did notice a little smile.  By the way, I was never asked to ring the bell again.

:)

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