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It all began with this little snippet in the Vineyard Gazette in September of 1990. My daughter Deb likes Harry Connick Jr and I’m a huge fan of Carly Simon, I have been even before I knew of her Vineyard connection. This seemed like a perfect weekend getaway for us but how could I manage to get tickets when I live in NJ and they were only on sale on the Vineyard !
I did it. I was determined and when it involves the Vineyard my determination is un-stoppable. So off we went. There were a few glitches along the way concerning MV accommodations and ferry reservations so we decided to stay in Falmouth on the mainland and just go to the Vineyard for the day of the concert.
It was a spectacular September Sunday afternoon on the Vineyard, the Campground was filled with happy concertgoers bustling around.
Before the concert began we were talking with a woman sitting next to us who was going on and on about how excited she was to be seeing Carly Simon. She said she had chatted about it with her seat mate on the small plane she had flown over to MV on that afternoon. She told him she had no idea who Harry Connick, Jr was, but that she was mainly there to see Carly.
When Harry stepped onto the stage she gasped and said “oh my god, that’s the young man I was talking to on the plane.” Just a tad embarrassing.
At 3pm Harry stepped on stage and the concert began. His band was fantastic and Harry’s voice velvety smooth. After about an hour or so of great music the lights were turned off. The only illumination was the sun shining through the stained glass windows around the perimeter of the Tabernacle !! And out stepped…..
CARLY. I was beside myself. In actuality though the person beside me was Carly’s mother!! I have seen Carly in concert several times since then but seeing her on the Vineyard and at the Tabernacle was something really special for me. Harry and Carly sang a few songs together, their voices meshed beautifully.
Carly did a few songs alone and then way too soon it was over. What a fantastic day, one we’ll never forget.
The reviews of the concert were glowing, much like the talents of Carly Simon and Harry Connick Jr. as they stood side by side on the stage of the Tabernacle.
After the concert we had ‘drinks’ with the band at the Oyster Bar in Oak Bluffs… us and about 100 other people… then we headed to Edgartown for dinner.
Too quickly our lovely day on the Vineyard was coming to an end. We drove back to Oak Bluffs for one last look at the now darkened Tabernacle. We had booked a late ferry and it’s one of the few times I’ve sailed at night. The sky was star filled, a cool breeze was blowing and a young man on board was strumming his guitar and singing softly. Perfect day.
I”ve seen Carly 6 or 7 times but this was the first time and there couldn’t have been a more perfect place.
Upcoming Illumination Night is Wed, Aug 15, 2012. It has always been my favorite event of the summer
Going to Illumination Night is a thrill for me no matter my age.
I think I was 2 and 1/2 the first time I went, 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.
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 crowd pleasers.
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 simoutaneously aglow with Japanese lanterns. Everyone oohs and ahhs and stream out of the Tabernacle to walk through the magical fairyland the Campground has become. My dad would carry me on his shoulders so I could see everything… I felt like I could touch the stars.
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. Always a tasty ending to a perfectly enchanting night.
Like I said, no matter your age, Illumination Night is fun for everyone. Just look at these faces from 1998…
August 1982 was my first trip back to the Vineyard in too long a time. I was excited, anxious and also looking forward to showing my family the place I love so much. Both my teenage daughters were supposed come, however, my older daughter Patty decided she didn’t want to, so that meant my younger daughter, Deb would have to face the vacation alone with her parents. Not a situation a teenager really looks forward to, especially when your mother turns into a crazy woman for most of the trip. Talk about embarrassing, I was the definition of it in her eyes… and quite frankly, I was a tad embarrassing once in awhile. Deb survived the trip mainly by escaping into her books… she can tell you what she was reading and where we were at the time… she still does that.
Aug 1… We drove to Falmouth and stayed there overnight. Why? I don’t know. The fact of being so close to the Vineyard and not actually on it seemed like torture. We actually drove to Woods Hole that evening just so I could look at the ferries and see the Vineyard.
Aug 2 - 6… I awoke early, okay, not really awoke since you can be sure I didn’t sleep much at all. After a quick breakfast, we drove to Woods Hole to await the arrival of the ferry. I was thrilled to be landing in Oak Bluffs, the town I grew up in as a summer kid.
(All pictures in this post are from 1982, the originals are 3×3.. they are somewhat blurry and the colors are not vivid. I took pictures of them with my digital camera today and have not altered them).
We drove into Edgartown and checked into the Kelley House. The Kelley House hasn’t changed much at all but the buildings that we saw from our window definitely have.
Unpacked, rested maybe 10 minutes and then back to Oak Bluffs to see the sights and maybe do a little reminiscing… maybe a lot.
Lower Circuit Ave… and Circuit Ave
Ocean Park… the Flying Horses.. and yes, I did take a ride on them
Then into the Campground where seeing the Tabernacle for the first time in so many years was kind of emotional for me. Anyone who reads reads my blog or knows me knows I have a deep attachment for the Tabernacle.
dragging leading my little group around town for quite awhile I took pity on them and back to the hotel we went to relax. It had been a long first day and there were still 4 more to go. Yippee.
The next morning we headed Up-Island to see Gay Head. Look closely at the pictures to see the difference in the cliffs from 1982 to 2010. There’s been erosion and the colors have changed but they’re always an awesome sight to behold.
On our excursion the next day out to Menemsha we drove past my mother’s relatives house in Indian Hill. This is where I unknowingly at the time, embarrassed my daughter Deb. I wanted to get a picture of the house and while doing so notice a man in the backyard I thought I knew. To get the picture of the house I was standing half in the car and half out… I thought I was being inconspicuous. The man in the back yard didn’t see me but my daughter did and buried her nose deeper into the book she was reading. I can safely say she laughs about it now, but back then, major mother embarrassment.
On arriving on the Vineyard I was thrilled to find out we’d be there for Illumination Night. It had always been my favorite event of the summer (still is) and I was beyond excited to be there for it. (Cue another embarrassing moment or two) When the community sing began I was amazed at how quickly the words to all the songs came back to me. I sang, clapped my hands, and was 8 years old again… and my daughter sat as far away from me as she could get… can’t say I blame her, I was a little on the excited side. I cannot believe I only took ONE picture.
Our four days on the Vineyard came too quickly to an end. I was sure that I would never get back again… I still feel that way after each trip. There have been 46 trips since then and one schedule for October so I think that fear was unfounded.
Was I a little on the frenzied side? Yes. I had dreamed about being back on the Vineyard for a long time and the reality of it was intense for me. Quite frankly I still get a touch of it each trip. My heart still beats quicker the closer to Woods Hole I get and try as I might I just can’t not burst into smiles.
Has my daughter Deb gotten over the embarrassment of her mothers behavior? Yes she has. She and I have made more than 20 trips to MV by ourselves and she smiles at, and enjoys my Vineyard persona.
Did my daughter Patty ever make it to the Vineyard? Yes, finally in 1996 she, her husband Mike, their daughter Tiffany, and son Tyler joined me on the Vineyard. I loved showing them everything and passing my love of the Vineyard on to my grandchildren.
I cannot believe the paltry number of pictures I took in ’82… I mean really. ONE picture of Illumination Night. ONE picture of the Tabernacle. ONE picture of Gay Head. Well, things have definitely changed and now with digital cameras I can snap up a storm… and I do… and sometimes with two cameras.
(Click on pictures to enlarge)
These are just a few of the bazillion pictures I’ve taken of the Tabernacle. Seriously, a bazillion of them.
I live in NJ but my heart and soul live on MV… and on MV they like to live here at the Tabernacle in the Campground . It is my favorite spot on the Island… an oasis of serenity and calmness in the middle of the Vineyard’s most bustling and lively town, Oak Bluffs. This magnificent iron structure was built in 1879… in 1979 was listed in the Natl Register of Historic Places… in 1999 a major restoration began, and in 2000 it became a project of Save America’s Treasures. Those are some of the facts of the building but not necessarily what constitutes the heart and soul of it.
Inside the Tabernacle is a banner that says “truly God resides in this place” and so he does. I am profoundly attached to the Tabernacle and visit it several times every time I’m on MV whether it’s in the heat of the summer, or the cold of the winter… I just magnetically gravitate there, I have no choice.
Many events take place at the Tabernacle. There are of course religious services held during the summer months. The Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School holds its graduation there. There are concerts also and what a magnificent setting for a concert. Three that I particularly enjoyed were… Harry Connick Jr and his special guest Carly Simon in Sep 1990 and two Boston Pops concerts.
One of the best events of the summer is Illumination Night in the Camp Ground… it’s a magical fairy land and for me it’s hard not to become 8 years old again. The evening starts with a rousing community sing… the band plays… the whole Campground is alive with the sounds of happiness and joy. All the gingerbread houses are decorated with Japanese lanterns… many of them handed down from generation to generation and some still being lit by candles. Suddenly all lights are extinguished and the ceremonial first lantern is lit…. it’s walked up the aisle of the Tabernacle and illuminates it… as that happens all the gingerbread houses come alive with lanterns… it takes my breath away every time.
So there it is… a little bit about my favorite place on MV. I shall end this post by simply saying… amen.
One of my favorite things to do on Martha’s Vineyard is to roam around with my camera and take pictures of whatever captures my attention. This trip I was decked out with my Nikon D60 and my handy-dandy Kodak Easy Share (which I’m never without).
Took some pictures Monday and some on Tuesday morning. Met with a dear friend on Tuesday afternoon to share coffee and to give her a gift I’d made for her. We took a few pictures of us and that evening at supper when I was checking my camera to see how the days pictures had come out, this is what I saw:
My picture card was blank. B-l-a-n-k. I took it out, shook it, blew on it, begged it to restore at least the pictures of my friend and me. It staunchly refused. I’m not a novice with a digital camera, I’ve had two Kodak’s and love them, I’m familiar with how they work and how to delete and NOT delete pictures. I wanted desperately to blame this malfunction on anyone but myself.. but I knew that it had to have been me somehow.
First thing next morning I went to the camera store in Vineyard Haven hoping they might find a way with their magical machines to find the pictures. They could not. Somehow the card got re-formatted and well, there went the pictures.
At least it happened the first day on the Vineyard as I was able to retrace some of my steps and retake some pictures, along with new ones of course.
Here are a few I’ll be using in upcoming posts.
You know, I’ve read where there’s some sort of magnetic force that surrounds the Vineyard and thus make it a perfect place for creativity. I’ve also read that Martha’s Vineyard sits on a separate tectonic plate from the United States. I’m wondering if either of these could have erased my pictures !!! Yes, I’m digging deep for something or someone to blame other than myself .
Wait a minute, wait just a minute… look what I found in the camera !!