MV Obsession

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


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The Carly Simon/Harry Connick, Jr Concert Revisited…

It all began with this little snippet in the Vineyard Gazette 29 years ago in September of 1990. My daughter Deb liked 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 !

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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.’

At 3pm the concert began.  Harry’s 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 then… 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 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.  Afterwards 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.

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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.

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I’ve seen Carly 6 or 7 times but this was the first time and there couldn’t have been a more perfect place.

 

 

 


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The Mayflower II ~ Restoration and Launching…

My interest in the Mayflower is more than historical, it’s personal as well.

My ancestors, William and Susanna White and their baby Peregrine White were on the first voyage of the Mayflower in 1620. Baby Peregrine was born on the Mayflower while it was moored in the harbor,  he was the first English baby born in New England.

Four years ago in 2015 I visited the Mayflower II in Plymouth, MA before it began it’s journey to be restored.   Please CLICK HERE to read that post.  https://mvobsession.com/2015/10/18/plymouth-ma-the-mayflower/

This ship, the Mayflower II set sail from Plymouth, England on April 20, 1957, with a crew of 33 men. On June 13, after 55 days at sea, the ship arrived in Plymouth, USA, to the cheers of 25,000 spectators.  Since then, more than 20 million people have boarded the iconic ship, and millions more have viewed her from the shore. Today, even as Mayflower II undergoes a necessary restoration to fulfill her educational mission for years to come, she has lost none of her luster. (CLICK HERE to read the article how this replica came to be.)

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Two months after I was there in Oct 2015 in December 2015 the Mayflower II left Plymouth, MA to sail to Mystic, CT for restoration, to replace timbers, planking, structural frames and beams that have deteriorated from saltwater and exposure over the past six decades.  You can read the full article by CLICKING HERE.

On Saturday, September 7, 2019 The official launch and recommissioning of the restored Mayflower II took place.  The Mayflower II was lowered into the Mystic River where it will float while refitting work is finished.

It will leave Mystic Seaport in the Spring of 2020 making its way north to Boston for a 6-day maritime festival (May 14-19).  The replica of the ship in which the Pilgrims sailed to the New World is scheduled to arrive in Plymouth Harbor on May 21 – in time for the town’s 400th anniversary commemoration of the original landing, a homecoming celebration is planned with a series of events and activities.

So off I went to Mystic, CT on Saturday, Sep 7, with my daughter Deb, honorary daughter Dawn and our friend Sam to see the launching, the rechristening, hear the speeches and enjoy the festivities.

The Mayflower II

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It was an absolutely gorgeous day,  mid 70’s, light winds and sun and some clouds. There were hundreds of people there and since we didn’t buy seats we would have to stand in the area behind them to watch everything.  The ceremony was to start at 2pm sharp and we were advised to get good spots early… which we started to do.. and then we noticed that at the very back of the standing area there were some huge cement blocks that people were starting to sit on.  Ah ha, great idea so we scurried over there around 12:30 to stake out our spots.   While sitting there I was spotted by a BBC TV reporter who saw my shirt that said ‘Mayflower Descendant’ and asked if she could interview me on camera. I was a bit nervous but it was fun doing it.  That’s the first and second pictures below.

The third picture is my daughter Deb, Dawn, me and our friend Sam on our concrete perch.

The fourth picture is not mine as it’s taken from the Mayflower II but it does show the seating area, the standing area and then at the very back on the right side by the red building is where we were sitting, with, I might add, a great view.

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The ceremony started exactly and 2pm and it was really very nice, or at least what I saw of it !  Only about 20 minutes into it I sort of um, wound up in an ambulance for about an hour!  Sitting in the sun for 2 1/2 hours with not enough water caused me to pass out.  So I missed the actual launching into the water of the Mayflower II which was mostly our reason for going to the event.  But on the other hand I met some terrific EMT’s who took great care of me.

All in all it was a really nice day with people I care about, and celebrating the Mayflower II which holds a special place in my heart and in my heritage.

 

 

 


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Illumination Night On Martha’s Vineyard…

Every few years I post about my favorite summer event on Martha’s Vineyard…

Illumination Night

Illumination Night this year is Wednesday, August 14, 2019

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It has always been my favorite event of the summer… going to Illumination Night is a thrill for me no matter what my age.

I think I was 2 and 1/2 the first time I went to Illumination Night.  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 a crowd pleaser.

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 simultaneously 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.

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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, a tasty ending to a perfectly enchanting night.

No matter your age, Illumination Night is fun for everyone, I myself morph into an 8 year old.

 

If you’re on the Vineyard this Wed, Aug 14, 2019 you should go and experience Illumination Night.  101_3011

 

 

 


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Honoring My Great-Grandfather On This Memorial Day 2019…

 Joseph Pettey Littlefield

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My great grandfather Joseph P Littlefield was injured in the Civil War. He was a member of Co. C, 9th Maine Regiment. He was wounded at the battle of Cold Harbor in Virginia and sent home to Maine to die. He died on Sep 3, 1864 of his massive injuries but also of typhoidal pneumonia. His wife and the 3 oldest of his 8 children died within months of him from it as well leaving my grandfather Charles G Littlefield at age 9 the oldest of the five remaining children. A tragic story and once we learned about it felt compelled to find their graves and honor them. Their small plot is off the beaten track in Rome, Maine we found it and traipsed through the brush to get to it. Worth the trip indeed.  This was very emotional in that Joseph, Martha Jane, Margaret, Adison and Atwood have become very real to us and we feel very close to them.  We weren’t able to bring them flowers but left 5 pennies to indicate we were there and remembering them.

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Take a moment to remember the original reason for Memorial Day and the men and women who fought for, and gave their lives for our country.

 

 


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Memories of the Ferry Islander…

The Islander was retired in the winter of 2007 and the last time I sailed on her was that February.

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Even though not sleek or graceful, for 57 years the Islander brought her own special beauty to the waters surrounding the Vineyard. The Islander will continue to exist through paintings, photographs and in the memories of those who loved her.

Early morning …

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The beloved work horse of a ferry, the Islander plied the waters between Woods Hole and Martha’s Vineyard  for 57  years before retiring in the winter of 2007.   There was just something about this tub of a boat that endeared her to all who sailed on her…  she wasn’t a great beauty but she had a regalness about her.

Her blue plastic outdoor seats  certainly weren’t known for their comfort, but comfort wasn’t necessarily what one was after for the 45 minute sail from America to the Vineyard, which was more of a transition from the everyday to the magicalness awaiting you.   The Vineyard is many things to many people and in many hearts the Islander was the emotional connection.

Fond memories ❤


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Martha’s Vineyard Trip February, 1989…

February 1989 was the first time back to the Vineyard in winter since I was a child.  Following are excerpts from my travel log about that trip and also pictures taken with a non-digital camera… which does have relevance in this post.    So come join me in a trip down a cold, snowy very wintry memory lane.

Picture of the Islander in dry dock in Woods Hole from aboard the ferry, Eagle.

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One of my favorite places is the Campground in Oak Bluffs. I love the gingerbread cottages but most of all I really really love the Tabernacle… every time I’m on the Vineyard I take a few moments…or hour… and sit quietly there and enjoy just being. Winter is no exception and cold as it was it was warm in my heart.

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Let’s wander through Oak Bluffs a little … notice Christmas tree is still in the Bandstand.

Christmas trees along the dunes at South Beach/Katama where they are brought after the holidays.

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Then to Aquinnah to see the Gay Head cliffs.

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excerpt from travel journal :  ‘it was cold on the cliffs, maybe 26 degrees…but off I went to see them anyway.  Down the road I traipsed over the dunes and onto the beach… what a sight.  Thousands of rocks all shapes and sizes, and there in the distance… the cliffs… I was very excited.  Took some shots and scurried back to the warm car.  Noticed camera had opened a bit, closed it and didn’t think much about it.  After lunch in Edgartown I rode out to the ‘bend in the road beach’ to take some pictures and noticed that the picture counter on the camera said #1 !!!!  When I had gotten in the car in the morning it had said #16 !!!  Something was wrong.   I turned around and headed for the camera shop.  Everything seems to be okay with the camera but maybe it got too cold and lost its memory and reverted to #1… or perhaps when the camera opened just that little bit it caused it to revert !!  At any rate I’m having what was in the camera developed.’

The following day I picked up my photos and not only were they all fine, there was this one…. actually, these two…

shot of the cliffs taken before camera opened …

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shot after I closed the camera … I’ve always kind of liked it… can’t do this with a digital camera …

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After a long first day headed back to Edgartown but not before stopping at Sengekontacket Pond for the sunset…

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Edgartown …

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I love the Vineyard no matter what the season but there’s a quiet, ethereal beauty in the winter.

 


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Maine – Meanderings and Museums Part II…

After spending the night in Waterville, Maine we headed to Portland.  It was too cold and windy to meander around so we went to the Portland Museum of Art which was lovely.

Good-bye to Portland and onward to Kennebunkport where meandering was a little warmer and less windy.  First stop was a coffee shop where we had tea and shared a delicious piece of blueberry crumb cake.  Kennebunkport is quaint and sweet, lots of nice little shops to poke around in should you be so inclined.

Leaving there we headed back to Ogunquit for our last night in Maine.  We stayed this time at the gorgeous Gorges Grant Inn. The room was lovely and our decision to have breakfast in their restaurant ‘Raspberries’ was a smart one. Yum.

After a good night’s rest it was time to say good-bye to Maine and head home to New Jersey.  But wait… who said we had to go directly home, how about a stop in…. Salem, Massachusetts. Woooooooooo.

First stop… the Salem Witch Museum which I found very interesting (and not scary at all)  🙂   Second stop… Jolie Tea Company.  The little cafe was a gem of a find, the tea was excellent as were the pastries… the staff was friendly and informative, we really enjoyed our short time there.  Did bring home some tea and also ordered more from them.

This trip was all I hoped for and more thanks to my daughter Deb ❤