MV Obsession

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


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Once Upon A Time There Was A Train To MV …

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.

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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 🙂

 

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100_8757The 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.

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.

(Woods Hole circa 1890’s)

(circa 1950’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.

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It took days for the rest of our things to arrive and I would watch every day for the Railway Express truck to arrive.

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and then summer on the Vineyard would officially be under way 🙂

 

 


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Newport, RI continued …

Believe it or not, no more mansions 🙂  just a little of this and a little of that.

The International Tennis Hall of Fame.

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Portuguese Discovery monument

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Sunset at Breton Point

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And this and that…

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This concludes my posts about the trip to Newport, RI … I think 🙂

(photographs by my daughter Deb and myself)


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Plymouth, MA – The Mayflower…

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Part 1 of our trip into the past to visit our ancestors.

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My daughter, Deb, our friend Dawn and I headed to Plymouth, MA to visit, and to learn more about our ancestors who came to America on the first voyage of the Mayflower, or as I like to call it, the mother ship 🙂

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We recently learned that we are descended from Capt Myles Standish and John & Priscilla Alden.   It had always been family legend that we came on that first voyage but having documented proof made it finally seem real.  I had a teacher once who told me I was wrong, that everyone who had relatives or ancestors in New England claimed they came on the Mayflower and that they actually didn’t.  Talk about squelching a dream.  So I put the information in the back of my mind and now, many many years later it turns out my mother’s legend was right. The girls and I did so much in our 3 days away that I’m going to break it down into a few posts rather than try to get it all into one very, very, very long post… you’ll thank me for this later 🙂 So… let’s begin…. welcome aboard the Mayflower II

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 We all know that the Mayflower landed in Plymouth in 1620 and that there had originally been 102 Pilgrims on board.  But something I didn’t know is where the Mayflower II replica came from !  According to Wikipedia in 1954 Warwick Charlton from England conceived the idea to construct a reproduction of the Mayflower to commemorate the wartime cooperation between the United Kingdom and the USA as a symbol of Anglo-American friendship….

To read more of this article CLICK HERE please

Let’s start our tour…

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pizap.com14451126844141Going below deck we met some of the crew members who told us many stories of the voyage of the Mayflower… 102 passengers and a crew of 25-30  began the journey, only 51 survived it.  Two babies were born, Oceanus Hopkins while at sea and Peregrine White (our ancestor) when the ship was anchored in Cape Cod Harbor.

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pizap.com14451252144451It’s hard to imagine life on board the Mayflower II no matter how vivid an imagination I have.  The cramped quarters, the noise and smells, the sickness, the lack of privacy.  But they made it and there were still more Pilgrims to come in future voyages.  I feel kind of empowered knowing somewhere deep inside of me I might have that kind of fortitude.

If you’re interested in knowing more about life on board, the history of the ship itself and about the voyage… CLICK HERE to read about the Mayflower…

The Mayflower Compact... signed by Myles Standish, John Alden, and Deb and me 🙂

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 You can’t visit the Mayflower without visiting Plymouth Rock as well….

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This concludes part 1 of our trip… next up… Plimouth Plantation.

(pictures are mine and Deb’s)


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Tripping New England Part 2 …

Or rather part one as this part came before Newport !!

 In October of 1995 my daughter Deb and I went to MV and Newport, Rhode Island for an autumn get-away.We were supposed to leave NJ on Saturday for Martha’s Vineyard but due to the forecast of heavy rain we left around 3 on Friday afternoon after Deb got home from work. We would stay over night in Mystic, Ct and continue to the Vineyard on Saturday morning as originally planned. Things were going smoothly for oh, at least an hour and then 7 or so miles before the dreaded Tappan Zee Bridge things came to a dead stop.  We decided to get off at the next exit and wend our way through the smaller back highways and eventually rejoin good old route I-95.  Sounded like a good plan.  Actually a lot of motorists thought so too and before we knew it we were stuck in a worse traffic jam.

And…. that rain that we were trying to avoid…well, it came early and it was heavy and oh, it was also getting dark !  Nine hours later at 11:30pm we arrived in Mystic, Ct… a drive that should have only taken 3 or 4 hours at the most.  And so our adventure had begun.

The next morning we arrived in Woods Hole and got an earlier ferry to Martha’s Vineyard… we like when that happens.

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We checked into the inn and spent the day walking and relaxing.  After supper it began pouring,  I half kiddingly said we should take a walk in the rain and before I knew it that’s what we were doing.  I never like walking in the rain, especially in the dark, but for some reason it just seemed the right thing to be doing.

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The following day after breakfast we rented bikes.

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Mind you it had been years since I’d been on a bike and I’d never used hand brakes… but how hard could they be !!   Off we trotted to the bike shop by the harbor in Edgartown. 101_5363  After a few instructions … most of which I’d missed we got on our bikes and headed out of the shop.   Somehow I wound up not on the road but heading for a hedge of flowers and before I knew it had made contact with them… it was all in slow motion so it seemed like an eternity until I hit the ground. 101_5364 I laughed and so did the rental guy, my daughter though, after showing concern for my well being was convinced I’d want to turn in the bikes and forget about our ride.  But no, I was determined to carry on after we’d gone back to the inn however so I could bandage my cuts and bruises.   So back on the bike I got and we headed to the inn just a block or so away.  I was doing pretty well until I turned into their driveway and sort of, well, bumped into one of the cars in their lot.  Finally    got myself put together and once again started off on our bikes… my daughter still wasn’t convinced we’d make it out of Edgartown.   I eventually got the hang of the hand brakes even though I automatically was using my feet too… sometimes dragging them on the ground as a back up maneuver. The road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs is 6 miles of scenic beauty… for most of the ride the ocean is on one side…

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and Sengekontacket Pond is on the other.101_5368

It’s one of the prettiest bike paths (or roads) on MV.   We stopped several times to take pictures and for me to catch my breath.

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At one point the bike path changes from one side of the road to the other… there are big signs telling you about this…  I missed them.   When I saw my daughter move across the road I figured I should follow suit… as I have a problem turning my neck I didn’t see the truck that was coming down the road.   I made it to the other side still not aware how close the truck had come… I do however remember the scared and horrified look on my daughter’s face.   She claims to this day that I gave her several grey hairs… I say, turn about is fair play.

It was a fun day… the company, the weather, the experience of hand brakes… I’m glad we did it ……. once.

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The following day was spent driving around the Vineyard.  Not too much walking was done due to the sore leg muscles one of us had… not mentioning names but I’m sure after reading about our bike trip that you can guess who it was !  Tuesday was also the most normal of our four day get away… a ploy perhaps to coax us into a false sense of security!  That remained to be seen as you read in part one about Newport 🙂


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Tripping New England …

I’m taking a girl trip later this month to New England with my daughter Deb and our friend Dawn and there will be a post or so about it… but in the meantime I want to re-post  part of a trip Deb and I made 20 years ago to Newport, Rhode Island.

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We had spent the earlier part of the week on Martha’s Vineyard but that’s a re-post for a later date.  We left the Vineyard and headed for an over night stay in Newport, Rhode Island, a place Deb had never been to and I raved about.

I had made reservations at a bed & breakfast, which is NOT pictured here… this is the beautiful Rosecliff mansion.

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We figured we’d check in and then go have lunch by the harbor.  The best laid plans often go astray as we were finding out

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We pulled into the circular driveway of what once had been a gorgeous mansion.  The operative word here is… once.  The first thing we noticed was the roof being torn off and being tossed onto the driveway.  OK, a little renovation is a good thing.

There were no other cars in the driveway (an omen perhaps).

There were spider webs by the front door, not such a good thing, even if Halloween was only days away.

The door was bolted so we rang the bell.

Lurch opened it.  All right, it wasn’t Lurch, but this man was big and wore an eye patch and had a low gravely, grumbly voice.  OK, maybe there wasn’t an eye patch but there should have been.

 We entered with trepidation what at one time years ago had been a beautiful mansion but was now drab, threadbare, and frankly creepy.  The beautifully carved wood circular staircase was  covered by the most horrible ugly green carpeting imaginable.  We signed in and were lead  upstairs to our room (cue ominous music). I think on the way up we were warned told not to ever venture into the east wing !  Or maybe that was from ‘Beauty and the Beast’… at any rate I remember hearing some words of caution, or welcome, or whatever.

Walked into the room… it was large, there was a queen size bed, also a cot, the floors were bare, nothing matched,  everything was worn out looking, it was dusty and unwelcoming, there was also the constant banging on the roof, or was it coming from the closet !

I didn’t want to put my suitcase down, I paced nervously around clutching my bags.  Deb looked at me and I at her mumbling things like “I don’t know about this”  “I don’t like it here” “this is spooky”.  She asked if I wanted to go home? I nodded.

We made a beeline down the stairs, mumbled a few words to the owner, flung open the seemingly stuck front doors, threw our luggage in the car and high tailed it out of there.

We did however have one of the best lunches ever.  We drove to the harbor and ate outside at the Mooring.  The whole time we were eating we were laughing and talking about the weird B&B and the seemingly spooky owners.  Our waitress came over to ask the usual “how is everything” question and before I knew it I was telling her about our … um, episode at the B&B.  She told us she’d heard some weird stories about the place.  We agreed we’d definitely made the right decision in leaving.

We left Newport with 3 minutes to spare on the parking meter and headed home to NJ.  This trip was one for the books.

Wonder what our upcoming girl trip will bring in the way of adventure.. perhaps a visit to the past !!!


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End Of Summer Travels …

It was always sad when my summers as a child on the Vineyard would end… it’s still sad for me when I have to leave the Island

My parents and I always left the day after Labor Day, we sailed from Oak Bluffs, and usually on the Nobska.

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Back in the 1950’s my parents and I traveled to and from Martha’s Vineyard by train… the New York, New Haven and Hartford railroad’s Cape Codder went from Pennsylvania Station in NYC right to Woods Hole… or vice versa at the end of the summer.

Day Cape CodderThe 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 the photograph below.  It was literally only steps from boat to train.  Train service ended in the 1960’s.


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I loved riding on the train, still do. The trip to NYC took about 5 hours and then we arrived in Pennsylvania Station in NYC.

 But we weren’t done with our train travels yet, we still had to take a train from Pennsylvania Station in New York to Pennsylvania Station in Newark, New Jersey.  From there I think we took a taxi home.

We traveled light on our way home, I would have my favorite doll, Beverly, and my teddy bear with me and my parents 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.

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It took days for the rest of our things to arrive home and I would watch every day for the Railway Express truck to arrive.

It was bittersweet seeing that truck as I was happy to have my toys and things back but it also meant the official end of summer for me.

There were always dreams of the next summer and the next one and the next one…