Prompt: Do you have a secret spot that you seek every now and then? A location in a faraway city that brings you joy? We all have connections to these kinds of places: places of solitude, of refuge, of wonder.
Everyone who knows me knows my favorite place in the world is Martha’s Vineyard and here is my favorite spot to be when I’m in my favorite place.
I live in NJ but my heart and soul live on MV… and on MV they like to live here at the Tabernacle in the Campground . It is my favorite spot on the Island… an oasis of serenity and calmness in the middle of the Vineyard’s most bustling and lively town, Oak Bluffs. This magnificent iron structure was built in 1879… in 1979 was listed in the Natl Register of Historic Places… in 1999 a major restoration began, and in 2000 it became a project of Save America’s Treasures. Those are some of the facts of the building but not necessarily what constitutes the heart and soul of it.
Inside the Tabernacle is a banner that says “truly God resides in this place” and so he does. I am profoundly attached to the Tabernacle and visit it several times every time I’m on MV whether it’s in the heat of the summer, or the cold of the winter… I just magnetically gravitate there, I have no choice.
The Tabernacle.. Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard
These are only three of the memories I have of the Tabernacle.
As a summer kid I spent many hours here at Bible school…take a minu
te to read about my tussle with a church bell… CLICK HERE
The middle of August every year is Illumination Night. It begins with a community sing in the Tabernacle and as the skies darken the Campground is transformed into a fairy land. Every gingerbread house is decked out in Japanese lanterns… it’s a magical and special night. CLICK HERE
And then there was this concert, my very first time seeing my favorite singer/songwriter, Carly Simon who was appearing with Harry Connick, Jr. What better place then on the Vineyard and in the Tabernacle. I still get goosebumps. CLICK HERE
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.
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. (Christiantown link)
I also experimented a bit with black and white film. From top left… Edgartown harbor, Christiantown stone wall..Sengekontacket Pond and South Beach.
February 2007… bitter cold, dusting of over night snow, icy ponds and harbors… and brilliant sunsets.
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 🙂
I’ve been to Martha’s Vineyard around Christmastime many times but to my recollection there is only one time in my life that I actually spent Christmas on the Vineyard. I was probably around 5 or 6 and my mother and I went to MV to be with my godparents.
Edward and Gertrude Norris (Nana and Pop) were my godparents. They lived part of the year in their house in Oak Bluffs which is where I spent my childhood summers. The other part of the year they lived in Newark, NJ downstairs in the same house we lived in. They were the most important people in my life besides my parents. They never had children of their own and they thought of us as their family. When my mother graduated from high school on MV she moved to Newark, NJ to live with them and to find work.
One Christmas, in the early 1950’s, when Nana and Pop were elderly, having health problems and living year round on the Vineyard and missing us, my mother decided she and I should go and spend Christmas with them. I was too young to realize this might be the last Christmas for one or both of them, all I knew was that I was going to wake up Christmas morning ON THE VINEYARD. How great would that be. The only glitch was that my dad couldn’t get off work to come with us but he insisted we go. Talk about being torn.
I seem to remember there was a dusting of snow on Christmas morning… even if there wasn’t I like to think there was. There were presents… one in particular I remember because I asked for it every year. A nurses kit. It was a white square box with a red cross on the side. Inside were band-aids, gauze bandages, a wooden thermomenter and a stethescope, a name tag… and the most important article.. a nurses cap. I spent the most of the morning bandaging people up whether they wanted to be or not.
All of a sudden I heard a faint knock on the front door !! I ran to open it and let out a shriek… it was my dad standing there with a big smile and a shirt box. A shirt box !! Yes indeed that’s all he had with him. No suitcase. No duffle bag. Just a shirt box with a couple of clean shirts and other essentials inside it. He liked to travel light.
It turned out to be one of the most wonderful Christmases of my childhood.
I am blessed to have the memories of that one Christmas on Martha’s Vineyard and of Nana and Pop, two people who were such an important part of my life.
….and happy holiday memories to all. ❤
October is speeding along too quickly and if I’m doing posts about October on Martha’s Vineyard I’d better get going on them.
I was lucky enough to spend 5 glorious days on the Vineyard with my daughter Deb and our friend and honorary family member, Dawn. We packed a lot into the days we were there including meeting a new step-cousin and visiting with a dear friend as well.
In this first post let’s visit the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, better known as the Campground which is located in the town of Oak Bluffs. The Campground includes the beautiful and whimsical Gingerbread cottages as well as the Tabernacle, which is one of my ‘must’ visits places.
Hope you enjoyed this autumn walk through the Campground.
Stay tuned for upcoming exciting, fun-filled and picturesque adventures. 🙂
That’s Carly Simon and Harry Connick, Jr of course 🙂
It all began with this little snippet in the Vineyard Gazette 27 years ago in September of 1990. My daughter Deb likes 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 !
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 out stepped…..
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 really 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 and then 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. 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.
I’ve seen Carly 6 or 7 times but this was the first time and there couldn’t have been a more perfect place.
(sorry for the graininess of some of the pictures, they are copies of the originals)