MV Obsession

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


Newport, RI – Part 1 – Marble House…

As you may have guessed from the clues in the previous post ‘April Road Trip’.. our trip was to Newport, Rhode Island to visit the mansions of the Gilded Age.  And gilded they were.

Mansion #1- Marble House.



According to Wikipedia :  “The mansion was built as a summer “cottage” retreat between 1888 and 1892 for Alva and William Kissam Vanderbilt. It was a social landmark that helped spark the transformation of Newport from a relatively relaxed summer colony of wooden houses to the now legendary resort of opulent stone palaces. The fifty-room mansion required a staff of 36 servants, including butlers, maids, coachmen, and footmen. The mansion cost $11 million ($260,000,000 in 2009 dollars) of which $7 million was spent on 500,000 cubic feet (14,000 m³) of marble.”

The tours are audio guided which lets you progress at your own speed…  also now photos are allowed with smart phones.  You can use SLR’s without flash with written permission when you get there.  I used my SLR digital camera as well as my smart phone.   Let’s step inside now and begin the tour of Marble House…

Foyer and staircase….


Around the house..

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Alva was big in the Women’s Suffrage movement, you can find this ‘Votes for Women’ china in the gift shop.


One cannot leave Marble House without walking around the grounds and visiting the Chinese Tea House on the back lawn.


pizap.com14624870194831This is only a sampling of the many pictures we took.  This house, escuse me ‘summer cottage’ is incredibly beautiful and interesting.  To read more about it and the original owners, William Kissam Vanderbilt and his eclectic and interesting wife Alva… CLICK HERE and CLICK HERE

Coming next… the ultimate ‘summer cottage’.  Can you guess which it is ?

(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)



Trinity Circle …

On the island of Martha’s Vineyard – in the town of Oak Bluffs– in the Methodist Campground is Trinity Circle and Trinity Park.

Sharing Trinity Park for 133 years are the Tabernacle (erected in 1879) and Trinity Methodist Church (built in 1878).

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Both have undergone major changes.

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A look inside the Tabernacle and Trinity Methodist Church.

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Looking at the Tabernacle from inside Trinity Methodist Church… I love this picture.


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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According 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”.

Here are some links:

Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Assn. website

My ‘Bells Are Ringing’ Post

The Tabernacle

Trinity Methodist Church

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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


Christiantown …

Down a dirt road in the woods of West Tisbury lies Christiantown.

Christiantown was established in 1659 by Wampanoag sachem Takemmy as a home for Native American converts to Christianity.

A plaque on the above boulder commemorates “the services of Governor Thomas Mayhew and his descended missionaries who here labored among the native Indians.”

By 1600 there were two or three congregations of Native Americans on the Island.

The Christiantown Meeting House, or chapel was built in 1829.  There is a tiny altar and six pews inside… nearby is an old graveyard.

The Wampanoag tribe now owns the memorial, the chapel and the burial ground containing graves of early converts.

Christiantown is off the beaten track but worth the effort to find.

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Chappaquiddick …

Chappaquiddick is a small island off the bigger island of Martha’s Vineyard. 

  To get there it’s about a 2 or 3 minute ride from Edgartown on one of two On Time ferries.  They are called On Time because there is no schedule so whenever they run… they’re on time. 

 Once you’re on Chappaquiddick, otherwise known as Chappy, you’ll want to check out the beaches.

 This is my daughter and her dog Chappy doing just that.   

 See the beautiful Mytoi Japanese garden. 

 Visit Cape Poge lighthouse.

 Boating, biking, hiking, spending time at the beach… Chappaquiddick is a nice place to get away to… 

 … and then head back to Edgartown. 

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Fishing Village of Menemsha …

101_3493   Menemsha is a fishing village located within the town of Chilmark on the western side of Martha’s Vineyard.  In 1905 Menemsha Creek was dredged to form the working fishing basin of today.

  According to Wikipedia:

The village’s historic harbor serves as the point of departure for local fishermen, some from multi-generational fishing families, as well as charter boats to the Elizabeth Islands and elsewhere. Besides charter fishing and cruises, other possibilities for recreation are the public beach adjacent to the harbor and the bicycle ferry across Menemsha Pond to Aquinnah.  Menemsha is the location of a United States Coast Guard station and was once known as Menemsha Creek.

  This sculpture commemorates the sizeable fleet of swordfishermen who at one time called Menemsha home.


The beach at Menemsha is small and quiet with calm waters.  Great beach for finding stones and shells.

Menemsha harbor was used for location shots for the movie “Jaws” and was also where Vineyard resident, singer Carly Simon did her 1987 HBO special ‘Coming Around Again’.

 Menemsha is the best place on the Vineyard to enjoy the sunset.  And to catch a bite at the Bite.

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Edgartown …

  Edgartown was the Island’s first settlement in 1642.  Originally called Great Harbour it was a world center for the whaling trade.

 Many whaling captains built their homes in Edgartown, many of them today are private homes or beautiful bed and breakfasts.


 One of the most beautiful is the Capt Daniel Fisher house, built in 1840, now the home of the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.

The Old Whaling Church, called that because it was built with whaling money in 1843, is an outstanding example of Greek Revival architecture.

        It is used as a performing arts center and one of the highlights of the year is the Christmas Minnesingers concert during the Christmas in Edgartown weekend.

100_1604 The Federated Church is the Island’s oldest congregation, it was established in 1642.  This structure was built in 1828.

 The oldest known house on Martha’s Vineyard is the Vincent House now located behind the Whaling Church.  It was moved there from its original site The Great Plain area outside Edgartown on the South Shore.

 Memorial Wharf with observation deck on the top allows a stunning view of Chappaquiddick and the Edgartown harbor.

  Old Sculpin Gallery and hand sculpted Whale’s Tail are across from Memorial Wharf.

Edgartown is charming and elegant.



Walk down the street early on a quiet morning or pull up a chair by the harbor.  Edgartown has it all… beautiful places to stay, top notch restaurants, charming shops and art galleries to delight your senses.