MV Obsession

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


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Ups and Downs Of The Vineyard…

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The eastern half of Martha’s Vineyard is called Down-Island and the western half is called Up-Island. Why you ask? To confuse you, that’s why. Not really, at least not on purpose. There is a very logical reason and here it is according to the MV website.

” Up-Island is the western area, which comprises the three rural towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Down-Island is the eastern portion, home to the larger historic villages of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury). The two terms come from the rich seagoing tradition of Martha’s Vineyard, which once sent its whaling ships circuling the globe heading “up” in nautical terms takes you “west” because it’s further from zero degrees of longitude in Greenwich, England, home of the Prime Meridian.”

Well then, according to the Guide to Martha’s Vineyard we have this explanation. “When a ship sails in an easterly direction, it is decreasing or running “down” the degrees of longitude toward zero at Greenwich, England. A westbound vessel, on the other hand, is running “up” its longitude. Thus the Down-Island town are those on the eastern and northeastern end of the Island. The Up-Island communities are at the western end. A ship moving through Vineyard Sound sails “up” to New York and “down” east to Maine.” Ah ha.

OK, I’m still confused but I do know how to get from Down-Island to Up-Island and not get lost… it’s an Island, how lost could one get anyway.

Got all that… me neither 🙂

But that’s not the only confusion about the Vineyard … she had an identity crisis at one time involving Massachusetts and New York.

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Martha! Martin! New York! Massachusetts! How many aliases and states have claimed this 100 sq mile island? The Wampanoags named it Noepe and that stuck until Bartholomew Gosnold came along in 1602.

No one seems to know who the Martin was whose name was once attached to the Vineyard… so let’s move ahead to Martha whose identity is still shrouded in myth. Was she one of Gosnold’s daughters, or his mother, or the name of an English royal. Whoever she was her name stuck and in my opinion has a nicer ring to it then Martin’s Vineyard.

According to the book “The History of Martha’s Vineyard” by Arthur R. Railton, in 1664 Charles II gave NY, NJ and the islands to the east to his brother, the Duke of York. In 1670 Thomas Mayhew, Jr and his grandson Matthew of Massachusetts traveled to NY to ask Gov Lovelace which colony his Island was under… New York or Massachusetts. Gov Lovelace made Thomas Mayhew “Governor for Life” of Martha’s Vineyard and gave him the authority to collect rents from all who lived within its bounds. Voila, Martha’s Vineyard Massachusetts. History lesson over. 🙂

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The Vineyard Gazette Parody Issue…

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Long ago and far away in the year of 1984 a staff of very clever, creative and whimsical people put out a parody issue of the Vineyard Gazette ingeniously titled ~ “Not The Vineyard Gazette”.  I, collector of all things Vineyard actually have a copy of this one time parody edition.

3191230935_5c9f57b791_m  One of the articles on the front page is about the discovery of a baby Vineyard named Arthur’s Vineyard after the helicopter pilot who accidentally found it. There were  several theories of how the baby Vineyard came to be, one of which was that it was the baby of MV and Nantucket and that a recent rain storm had been the baby shower.  So funny.

Another article is,  “Oak Bluffs Changes Name to Oaks Bluffs.”  Apparently the name change was due in part to the fact that too much time was being taken correcting people who were getting Oak Bluffs name wrong and it was decided to just not fight it anymore.  Of course that would never ever ever happen.

3192078522_6ecb29dfc5_m Amusing article on Edgartown hiring fashion police.  Apparently a glitch in getting the fashion police out on the streets is the inability to agree on a color scheme for their uniforms.  Tawny brown and mocha versus cranberry and puce.  I would think they’d have trouble recruiting anyone if they had to wear those combinations of colors.

3191231429_a540b4269c_m   Take your pick of a Vineyard themed movie.

3191231071_1d22cd4706_m  Vine was an actual drink on the Vineyard.  It was grape flavored water and it was delicious.  I wonder whatever happened to it… I wonder why I didn’t keep a bottle of it, or the label at least.  Here’s to the memory of Vine.

Clever real estate ads…or are they un-real estate !

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Sadly the one and only edition of ‘Not The Vineyard Gazette’.


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Walking Over The River …

Recently on my daughter Deb’s birthday we went for a walk over the Hudson River on the beautiful Walkway Over The Hudson,

(the above photo is from Google, all others are mine)

The walkway is in Poughkeepsie, New York… it was a former railroad bridge built in 1889, the bridge deck stands 212 feet above the river’s surface and is 1.28 miles long, making it the longest, elevated pedestrian bridge in the world.  The day we were there was sunny, cloudy, breezy, windy and as you can see still lots of beautiful foliage.   Here we go…

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pizap.com14471878998221Deb & Chappy                                        Deb & best friend Dawn

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view up river …
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down river towards NYC which is approximately 85 miles away…

IMG_1663 looking straight down …

pizap.com14475459731561half way point…

pizap.com14475460666361and another stunning view of the Mid-Hudson Bridge..b

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barge coming up river…

pizap.com14475461502601After we had lunch and rested for a bit we started back across the bridge..

I want to give honorable mention to 14 year old granddog Chappy who never once slowed down and enjoyed every moment of the bridge walk. IMG_1696
One last look…
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This was so much fun and if it were closer than almost 2 hours from where I live I’d walk it more often.

Here are links to Walkway Over the Hudson:

http://www.scenichudson.org/parks/walkway

http://nysparks.com/parks/178/details.aspx


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A Review Of “The Vineyard We Knew” …

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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Trains, Planes, Automobiles …

(Counted cross stitch done by my daughter Deb)

Martha’s Vineyard has an airport and it certainly has its share of cars.  But did you know there once was a railroad on the Vineyard? In the the book:  The History of Martha’s Vineyard by Arthur R Railton, you’ll find that indeed there was one, the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad.

It was built in 1874 and ran along the beach from Oak Bluffs to Katama.  Storms often washed the tracks out and expensive repairs were needed. It had its share of problems and eventually in 1900 the bankrupt railroad stopped running.

There was actually another railroad that’s sort of connected to MV.  The old  New York/New Haven/Hartford railroad.  Its Old Colony line used to go all the way to Woods Hole.  The station was located where the parking lot for the ferry is today.


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Aquinnah (Gay Head) …

On the southwestern most edge of Martha’s Vineyard sits the town of Aquinnah which means ‘land beneath the cliffs’ or ‘land under the hill’.  It was settled in 1669 and incorporated as Gay Head in 1870, in 1998 the town changed its name back to Aquinnah.  Aquinnah is home to the native American tribe, the Wampanoag’s.

The Gay Head cliffs were registered as a National landmark in 1966.  They were formed by the same glacier that formed the Vineyard some 20,000 years ago.  The cliffs continue to be a source of geological and scientific information… not to mention a beautiful and awesome attraction.  Fossil bones of camels, wild horses and whales as well as campfire remnants have been found in the cliffs.

Moshup Beach is the public beach beneath the cliffs.  There is also the private  Lucy Vincent which is for town residents and their guests, it is also a clothing optional beach. Moshup Beach was picked as one of the top 10 beaches in the US a few years ago.

Lighthouse and lightkeepers house 1960…and lighthouse 2006.

Views to the east ………………. and the west.

Any visit to the Vineyard should definitely include a trip out to Aquinnah.  Spend the day at the beach or just go to see the cliffs and visit the charming shops and enjoy a bite to eat overlooking the sea and cliffs.

You might enjoy these posts I’ve done, just click on the links :

The Cliffs

The Lighthouse