Another Ferry Tale …
The Islander wasn’t the first of the ferries that plied the Vineyard waters to find its potential new lease on life dashed (read article from Gazette here.) There was the Nobska.
The Nobska was launched on March 24, 1925. She made her maiden voyage on April 9, 1925 and sailed the waters between New Bedford, Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard until 1973.
As this article from the June 2, 2006 Vineyard Gazette mentions, she was state of the art for her time and the Islanders immediately fell in love with her. The Nobska was one of the last coastal steamers in America, she made her last run in September 1973…the following May of 1974 she was listed on the National Register of Historical Places. In June of 1975 she was sold and stripped of everything except her main engine and became a restaurant in Baltimore. The restaurant failed and the Nobska sat alone and neglected for several years.
In 1988 the Friends of the Nobska acquired her and she returned to New England. During the next 10 years support for her ebbed and waned but eventually efforts to restore her came to an end. In 1995 the Nobska was towed from New Bedford to the Charlestown Navy Yard and there she stayed until June 2006 when the dock was needed for the Constitution.
I remember trips on the Nobska and the Islander and to me they were vessels of dreams and promises of adventures to come. There’s just something about that 45 minute sail from Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard that transports you not only physically but mentally to another time and place.