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The Flying Horses, the oldest carousel in the United States, are housed in this building at the intersection of Circuit and Lake Aves in Oak Bluffs. They came to the Island in 1884 from Coney Island.

The Flying Horses are not a carousel, or a merry-go-round, they don’t go up and down just round and round. They are flying horses, like Pegasus, and fly to wherever you can imagine . They don’t actually have wings, but as you make the first circuit you feel like you’re about to fly out the open windows.

Look closely at the horse’s eyes, inside each one is a tiny hand carved animal.

(My picture didn’t capture the animal in the eye so I cheated just a little)

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I flew on these beautiful horses every day when I was a little girl. The ticket taker was a young man who would never take my tickets ! We tried everything to get him to take them… we brought him candy and cookies and tried slipping the tickets in with them… nothing work. At the end of the summer I said I wanted to buy him a gift, so off my mom and I went to purchase what I thought was a novel idea .. a tie. I was 5 years old, what did I know about buying gifts for men… he, by the way was about 13 but in my eyes he was a grown up. We put the tie in the box with all of summer’s uncollected tickets. As he came around to NOT collect my ticket I handed him the box. He smiled. Ah ha, success… or so I thought. As we were leaving the Flying Horses he came over and thanked us for the tie and as we turned to leave he handed us the tickets. I won’t say who he is, just that he turned out to be an official in Oak Bluffs in later years… and someone I’ve never forgotten.

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RecentlyI found this little booklet of MV photos from around 1959.

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Let’s take a look inside.

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“The Basin, landlocked harbor of Menemsha fishing village on picturesque Martha’s Vineyard. Summer headquarters of the lobster and swordfishing fleet.”

Picture below is from 2013.

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“Ocean Park and Bandstand on the water front at Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard Island.”

Picture below is from 2010.

Ocean Park is beautiful any time of day and any season. I took the picture below around 6pm on an October evening.

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Ocean Park 2013

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“Beautiful homes overlook the broad harbor in Vineyard Haven.”

Picture below is from 2012.

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“Edgartown harbor lighthouse in the beautiful whaling port of Martha’s Vineyard.”

Picture below is same area today.

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“Picturesque lobster gear at Menemsha.”

Below is picture from Oct 2010.

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What do you think… much of a difference or not ?

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“Gay Head cliffs on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard Island. Bright clay souvenirs are made by the inhabitants of Gay Head Village, a link with the past that stirs the imagination.”

Below is picture from 2010.

 

The cliffs have certainly receded and lost some of their vibrant red and orange colors, and the houses are gone now. They still remain an awesome sight and one of the prettiest photo-ops on the Vineyard

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“Ferry Islander, of the Steamship Authority fleet serving Martha’s Vineyard with frequent and dependable schedules the year round. The Islander carries 50 autos and 700 passengers and has the most modern equipment including two-way radio phone and radar.”

Below is picture of Islander in 1998.

I see a few changes in the Islander…there are a lot more antenna’s and it looks like there used to be a door near the front.101_5199

 

Happy 4th of July

 

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- by Joan -

 

A few of my memories of childhood summers in Oak Bluffs …

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My friend Will Jones and I were always looking for things to keep us busy and out of trouble during our summers on MV. Someone showed me how to make little flowers by using yarn and forks… I immediately showed Will. We set about our tasks, me at my house, he at his.

The next morning Will’s mom called my mom asking if he was at my house ? Seems she went looking for a fork and couldn’t find any !!! A few moment later Will was at my door, and yes, he had all his mother’s forks with him and they were filled with yarn. Seems I had neglected to show him how to get the yarn off the forks to make the little flowers…

 

   Will had carried those forks from his house way on the other side of Oak Bluffs …

  …  up Circuit Ave

 

 

 

…to my house where we freed his mother’s forks of their yarn. I have no recollection of what we did with the yarn flowers.

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(Will’s mom – my mom)

Our moms were childhood friends, as were Will and I. Our moms graduated from Oak Bluffs High School together (long before the regional high school was built). Our moms moved to Newark, NJ after graduation and it was there that they met their future husbands, our dads, who were also childhood friends. (In 1907 Will’s mom, Bertha Carter, was the first girl baby born in Oak Bluffs after its name change from Cottage City.)

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(my dad – Will’s dad)

Will and I spent every day of the summer together. We went swimming, rode the Flying Horses, read, drove our parents crazy and were inseparable.

100_4910  For many years his parents owned a bowling alley in Oak Bluffs across from the Flying Horses. Long before automation the pins had to be set by hand, I even did it from time to time myself.

Being a summer kid on the Vineyard was the best thing in the world… it still is.

Will and I live near each other in NJ and when we see each other we do a lot of talking about the Vineyard.

 

Ahh, memories…  :)

If you’re looking for a summer read about the adventures of a summer kid growing up on the Vineyard in Oak Bluffs  in the 50′s and 60′s…. this book is for you.

Even if you’re not on the Vineyard and just want to read a really, really charming,  and interesting book, this book is for you.

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My creation

I just finished reading this book “The Vineyard We Knew: by Kevin Parham . I enjoyed it immensely because like Kevin, I too was a summer kid on the Vineyard in Oak Bluffs during the 50′s and early 60′s. Our paths never crossed, and even though I’m quite a bit older than Kevin, we did do some of the same things and go to the same places. Flying Horses, Darling’s popcorn, Oak Bluffs beach (now known as the Inkwell) but I only knew it as … the beach … lol. If you enjoy stepping back into time little bit and reading about Martha’s Vineyard the way it used to be then treat yourself to Kevin’s book.
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** (photographs used by permission of Kevin Parham)

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Here’s a little of Kevin’s introduction which pretty much says the way I feel about the Vineyard too :

“The Island of Martha’s Vineyard is a magical place filled with enchantment and wonder.  For more than half a century I have been under its whimsical spell – one that continues to lure me back year after year.

Just as  a migrating bird is compelled to return to a specific geographic region each spring, I gravitate back to the Vineyard.  I do this not only to reconnect to a time gone by, but also to reenergize my soul so I am inspired to reach the full potential of my life’s purpose.

Those who visit Martha’s Vineyard for the first time often develop an irresistible urge to come back, an urge most people don’t readily recognize, perhaps because it resides at the subconscious – or even deeper molecular – level.   Just as is true when one is addicted to a powerful drug, once you are hooked you reach a point at which you can no longer do without it.

I have long since crossed that line of demarcation in my relationship with Martha’s Vineyard. “

**  (excerpt used with permission of Kevin Parham).

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Sketching with photo shop is always fun …

 

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In the Campground in Oak Bluffs sits the Tabernacle and across from it is Trinity Methodist Church. Trinity Methodist was built in 1878, a year before the Tabernacle was erected. They have shared the same grassy circle known as Trinity Park for over 130 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.

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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 were saved … 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.

I saw this shirt in a window on Martha’s Vineyard… it says  …

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… and this where I’d love to be doing that right now.

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Bring something that you like doing to relax and come join me.

 

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Oak Bluffs ~ Martha’s Vineyard

 

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