MV Obsession

My obsession with Martha's Vineyard.. phototography..genealogy and life in general and this and that…


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Vineyard Februaries …

I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard in February and I love it.  I love it any time but February is as different from summer on the Vineyard as you can possibly get.

There’s a  cold crispness in the air, the colors are more vivid, the Island is quiet and yet speaks volumes to those who take the time to look, listen and drink in the beauty and wonder that is the soul of Martha’s Vineyard.

February 1989…  a light dusting of snow made everything look like powdered sugar had fallen all over the Island.

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February 1995…  no snow that trip but bitter cold.  Did not stop me from visiting the Gay Head cliffs in Aquinnah on the western most tip of the Vineyard… or hiking through the woods of Christiantown to visit the tiny chapel there.

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I also  experimented a bit with black and white film. From top left… Edgartown harbor, Christiantown stone wall..Sengekontacket Pond and South Beach.

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February 2007… bitter cold, dusting of over night snow, icy ponds and harbors… and brilliant sunsets.

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My birthday is in February and sadly the only one I’ve ever spent on the Vineyard was in 1950 when my beloved godmother, Gertrude Norris passed away.  But I’m not anywhere near done having birthdays so who knows what the future will bring 🙂


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NYC Matinee Day …

My daughter Deb, our friend Dawn and I went to NYC last Saturday to see…tah dah… the funniest, most hysterical musical comedy I think I’ve ever seen… and despite the title… it was not rotten 🙂  Come along and join us on our matinee day in the city.

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After getting coffee we headed to Times Square…

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You can always count on seeing a lot of characters roaming Times Sq, for example take a look at the characters in the last picture, crazy looking bunch 🙂

You might even see a proposal taking place, although I wonder if the one we saw was a real one or staged since there was a camera crew there !  At any rate it picture worthy.

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 Next up was lunch.. Junior’s Restaurant & Bar was our choice and it was a good one… we all chose sandwiches which were huge and delicious, the side dishes of pickles and also beets were great…but the icing on the cake, or in this case the blueberries on the cheesecake was oh so good… one piece shared 3 ways was perfect.pizap.com14531643690312

and now the main event…  I present …’Something Rotten’..

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Inside before the magic, and the laughter began…

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Plymouth, MA – This and That …

Part 4 of our trip..

This is the National Monument to the Forefathers

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The monument lists the names of the Mayflower Pilgrims and also on the four buttresses are seated figures emblematical of the principles upon which the Pilgrims founded their Commonwealth; Morality, Law, Education and Liberty.

According to Wikipedia : {The National Monument to the Forefathers, formerly known as the Pilgrim Monument, commemorates the Mayflower Pilgrims

 CLICK HERE

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And this is the Pilgrim Hall Museum ..CLICK HERE

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The nation’s oldest continuously operating public museum, Pilgrim Hall Museum houses an unmatched collection of Pilgrim possessions telling the story of brave and determined men and women building lives and homes for themselves and their children in a new world. See William Bradford’s Bible, Myles Standish’s sword, the only portrait of a Pilgrim (Edward Winslow) painted from life, the cradle of New England’s first–born, Peregrine White, the great chair of William Brewster, and the earliest sampler made in America, embroidered by Myles Standish’s daughter.

The only thing we were allowed to photograph were these beautiful stained glass windows

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And that….  that’s two of the most delicious, mouth watering, , heavenly New England lobster rolls… 🙂

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This concludes part 4 of our Plymouth, MA trip.. actually it may conclude this series all together, or it may not !!  Hope it’s been as enjoyable to read about as it was to have experienced it 🙂

(pictures are mine and Debs)


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Plymouth, MA – Standish and Alden …

Part 3 of our trip into the past to visit the Myles Standish Burial Ground and the John & Priscilla Alden House.

Our first stop in the charming and historic town of Duxbury, Massachusetts was the Myles Standish Burial Ground, the oldest maintained cemetery in the United States.

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It’s not a large cemetery, only 1.5 acres.  It is the resting place of several of the original Mayflower Pilgrims including Myles Standish and John & Priscilla Alden.   I felt a kind of peacefulness as I meandered around.  I felt respectful and humbled, it moved me more than I anticipated.

The Myles Standish grave site

pizap.com14454779088691The John and Priscilla Alden grave site

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Second stop in Duxbury… the Alden House Historic Site… CLICK HERE

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We arrived at the house only to find out that tours had stopped at the end of September so unfortunately we weren’t going to be able to go inside the house !

We wandered around and took some pictures  but of course it wasn’t like being inside.

pizap.com14454824657531As we were leaving we noticed two cars in front of the administration office so decided to walk over and say hello.   We were SO glad we did.  Not only were the two young women pleasant and smiley and full of information but… they said they’d give us a tour even though the house was closed.  Golly, wow.   So off we went… back into the past into the house of  John & Priscilla Alden.  I don’t know what they a actually looked like but I like this painting of them.  He was 21 and she 18 when they married.  They had 10 children.

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mosaica87ee7b48553477f85f6c668a051d66c06edb741Our tour guide (Trish) was terrific, she peppered historical facts with humorous family stories.  Why wasn’t history like this when I went to school… it was all about names and dates and not about people’s lives and adventures.

For instance the reason for wall paper and newspaper on the walls in this small closet, or as they called it, a clothes press.  The walls were covered with newspaper to protect clothing from getting snagged or caught on the rough walls.  Later on someone covered the newspaper with wall paper.  I believe our guide said the newspapers were from the time of the War of 1812.

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We did some quick gift shopping and Deb joined the AKA (Aldin Kindred of America) while we were there.   We hated to leave but we alas we had to come back to the 21st century.

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🙂  🙂  🙂

This concludes part 3 of our trip and I thought this was going to be the last installment… but no, there’s a bit of ‘this n that’ still to come !!

(pictures are mine and Deb’s)


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Plymouth, MA – Plimouth Plantation …

Part 2 of our trip into the past to visit our ancestors..Plimouth Plantation…

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DSC_0092Our visit to Plimouth Plantation was interesting and fun, I wish history had been this alive to me when I was in school eons ago 🙂

According to Wikipedia:

{Plimoth Plantation, founded in 1947, is a living history museum in Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA, that shows the original settlement of the Plymouth Colony established in the 17th century by English colonists, some of whom later became known as Pilgrims. They were among the first people who immigrated to America to avoid religious persecution and to seek religious separation from the Church of England.

In the 1627 English Village section of the museum, interpreters have been trained to speak, act and dress appropriately for the period. At Plimoth Plantation they are called historical interpreters, and they interact with their ‘strange visitors’ (i.e. the modern general public) in the first person, answering questions, discussing their lives and viewpoints and participating in tasks such as cooking, planting, black smithing and animal husbandry.}

Let’s begin…

Before we got to the Pilgrim settlement we stopped at the re-creation of a Wampanoag home site where modern day Native People from a variety of nations, dressed in traditional dress demonstrate how their ancestors lived and interacted with the settlers.

pizap.com14452951552681Onward now to the village, founded in 1947,  where we see how the Pilgrims lived…

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and talk with some ‘historical interpreters’…

Governor William Bradford and friend

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William Brewster, Ruling Elder of the Plymouth Church

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and Myles Standish

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 We sat down to rest and two ladies walked by and smiled and said we looked so happy and would we like them to take our picture… tah dah…

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🙂 🙂 🙂

This concludes part 2 of our trip… next up… Miles Standish burial ground and the John & Priscilla Alden House…

(pictures are mine and Deb’s)

 


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Plymouth, MA – The Mayflower…

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Part 1 of our trip into the past to visit our ancestors.

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My daughter, Deb, our friend Dawn and I headed to Plymouth, MA to visit, and to learn more about our ancestors who came to America on the first voyage of the Mayflower, or as I like to call it, the mother ship 🙂

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We recently learned that we are descended from Peregrine White who was born on the Mayflower in Cape Cod Harbor, he was the first English baby born in New England.   It had always been family legend that we came on that first voyage but having documented proof made it finally seem real.  I had a teacher once who told me I was wrong, that everyone who had relatives or ancestors in New England claimed they came on the Mayflower and that they actually didn’t.  Talk about squelching a dream.  So I put the information in the back of my mind and now, many many years later it turns out my mother’s legend was right. The girls and I did so much in our 3 days away that I’m going to break it down into a few posts rather than try to get it all into one very, very, very long post… you’ll thank me for this later 🙂 So… let’s begin…. welcome aboard the Mayflower II

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 We all know that the Mayflower landed in Plymouth in 1620 and that there had originally been 102 Pilgrims on board.  But something I didn’t know is where the Mayflower II replica came from !  According to Wikipedia in 1954 Warwick Charlton from England conceived the idea to construct a reproduction of the Mayflower to commemorate the wartime cooperation between the United Kingdom and the USA as a symbol of Anglo-American friendship….

To read more of this article CLICK HERE please

Let’s start our tour…

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pizap.com14451126844141Going below deck we met some of the crew members who told us many stories of the voyage of the Mayflower… 102 passengers and a crew of 25-30  began the journey, only 51 survived it.  Two babies were born, Oceanus Hopkins while at sea and Peregrine White (our ancestor) when the ship was anchored in Cape Cod Harbor.

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pizap.com14451252144451It’s hard to imagine life on board the Mayflower II no matter how vivid an imagination I have.  The cramped quarters, the noise and smells, the sickness, the lack of privacy.  But they made it and there were still more Pilgrims to come in future voyages.  I feel kind of empowered knowing somewhere deep inside of me I might have that kind of fortitude.

If you’re interested in knowing more about life on board, the history of the ship itself and about the voyage… CLICK HERE to read about the Mayflower…

The Mayflower Compact... signed by Myles Standish, John Alden, and Deb and me 🙂

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 You can’t visit the Mayflower without visiting Plymouth Rock as well….

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This concludes part 1 of our trip… next up… Plimouth Plantation.

(pictures are mine and Deb’s)


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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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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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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.

🙂