Mid-June every summer of my childhood my mother and I would start our trip to the Vineyard.for the entire summer There was no I-95, not that we had a car anyway… no, our train travels would begin in Newark, New Jersey and end in Woods Hole. Yes, WOODS HOLE, trains used to go right to the ferry.
We would take a train from Pennsylvania Station in Newark, NJ to Pennsylvania station in New York city where we would have to run from one end of the station to the other to board the New York/New Haven & Hartford’s train on the Old Colony line called the Day Cape Codder, which would take us all the way from New York City to Woods Hole, MA. That’s right, all the way to Woods Hole. Pennsylvania Station was built in 1910, covered nearly 8 acres, extended 2 city blocks and was one of the largest public spaces in the world. Its 3 year demolition began in October 1963. It was replace with another Penn Station which Madison Sq Garden sits atop… it’s functional but not as beautiful as the original.
The trains had dining cars with each table dressed in fancy tablecloths and crisply ironed napkins. The waiters and conductors were always the same and seemed to remember me from year to year… made me feel special and grown up. Train service to Woods Hole ended in the 1960′s.
The 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 this photograph. It was literally only steps from train to boat. A comfortable and luxurious way to travel in the days when lots of people didn’t have cars and the road system left a lot to be desired anyway.
(Woods Hole circa 1890’s)
The ferry, the Nobska/Nantucket would take us to MV.
We’d land in Oak Bluffs and our relatives would be there to greet us, and three glorious months on the Vineyard would begin.
We traveled light, I would have my favorite doll, Beverly, and my teddy bear with me and my mother 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.
It took days for the rest of our things to arrive and Beverly and I would watch every day for the Railway Express truck to arrive at our house…
…and then summer on the Vineyard would officially be under way 🙂
Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard fishing pier… views from front, side, rear.
Baby sheep and goats at the watering hole.
Sheep and goats.
Kids in a bucket.
My daughter Deb is a twin. Sadly her sister Susan was only here for a few hours.
Katy (Katama) was Deb’s first Boykin Spaniel. She was the first dog to go on vacation with Deb and me, no big surprise that it was to MV. Katy left us after 20 months and we feel that she’s now with Susan.
Chappy (Chappaquiddick) was Deb’s next Boykin Spaniel.
We took lots of pictures of Chappy’s first trip to the Vineyard, especially on the beach and in the water. He really enjoyed splashing about and barking at waves. These pictures show a little of his fun at the beach.
And then there’s this picture:
Is this a double exposure, or is it Deb and Chappy with Susan and Katy ? You be the judge. Just let me say that my camera, not a digital one, had never, until that day, taken a double exposure and never did so afterwards.
Happy Halloween !!!
When I saw the word bluff my mind went directly to Oak Bluffs, my favorite town on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. It’s the town my mother grew up in, the town where I spent all my childhood summers, where my grandmother is buried and where you can wander amongst gingerbread cottages, take a flight of fancy on the Flying Horses the oldest carousel in the US, where you can party hearty, enjoy great food, enjoy the beach, or sit quietly by the Tabernacle in the Campground. Can you tell I love this place 🙂 If you’re wondering how it got its name of Oak Bluffs, The first inhabitants of Oak Bluffs were the Wampanoag people, who have lived on Martha’s Vineyard for approximately 10,000 years. … The town re-incorporated in 1907 as Oak Bluffs, named because the town was the site of an oak grove along the bluffs overlooking Nantucket Sound.
Bluff: a cliff, headland or hill with broad steep face.
Ocean Park – The Flying Horses – Methodist Campground gingerbread houses.
Upper left gate is at the Breakers mansion in Newport, RI. Upper right are from Plimouth Plantation in Plymouth, MA. All other pictures are various fences and gates on MV, in NJ and PA.
The bottom right picture is a house boat sailing on the Hudson River in NYC. All other pictures have been taken on Martha’s Vineyard 🙂
The Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard are the oldest platform carousel in the United States. It was made in 1876 by early American carousel manufacturer, Charles Dare. The Flying Horses Carousel was originally built for the Coney Island amusement park in Brooklyn. In 1884 after eight years there the Flying Horses Carousel moved to the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard where it still remains in operation as one of only two surviving carousels fabricated by Dare. The carousel became a National Historic Landmark in 1986, the same year it was acquired by local conservation organization the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.
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.
There are two ring dispenser arms situated next to the carousel that offer gold rings and the lucky rider who grabs the coveted brass ring gets a free ride
The last time I flew on the Flying Horses a few years ago my granddaughter Tiffany was with me. I thought it might be my last time ever to ride them (I think that every time anyway)… and as my horse came around to the arm shooting the rings out I could see that the next one, the one waiting for me was the GOLD ring. What a fantastic way to possibly end my Flying Horses ride…
But I missed it … my fingers slipped and I couldn’t grab it. But… right behind me was my granddaughter and she got it. She offered me the free ride but it meant more to me that she should have it. Perfect ending, if indeed it was.
Rings of gold are good luck I’m told…
as for riding Flying Horses you’re never too old 🙂
Two other carousels…
New York city’s Bryant Park
Newark, New Jersey’s Military Park