Friday, July 21, 2017

Through the Eyes of a Three-Year-Old

This past week members of Wendy's family came to the cottage for a visit.  Her sister (Nancy), her niece (Gretchen) and husband (Jon) and their 3-year old son, Nick enjoyed the hot, humid week on the Vineyard.  Nick is an adorable, sweet little boy with a vivid imagination.  As you can imagine, our activities were focused on fun things for Nick.  Let us enjoy the week through Nick's eyes.

Day 1:  We flew from NYC to Martha's Vineyard to be greeted by my Nana, Uncle Barry and Aunt Wendy.  When we got to the little cottage, we took time to get settled and to go through all the books and toys stored in their little chest.  Nana also had new toys for me.  My favorite?  Just to hung out on the porch!  What an awesome place.  The rocking chairs are nice but playing on the porch and in the front yard were my favorites.


Dance Class
Day 2:  Today was a busy day.  The Campground had two exciting events for children.  There was a dance class at lunchtime and a Marionettes performance at dinner time.  I was a bit shy for the dance class and only participated a little bit.  The puppet show was amazing.  I was mesmerized the entire time and even got to look at the homemade puppets after the show.  This campground must like children to have such cool events for us!


Day 3:  It was an easier day today.  We walked to a nearby park that is awesome!  It has new features that I explored; I jumped, climbed, slid down the slide, did the swing and "drove" the boat.  I really enjoyed this park and despite the hot, sticky weather, I had a ball.  After dinner on the porch, we went to the traditional Wednesday night Sing-Along in the Tabernacle.  We even sang songs I knew from school, like Bingo!

Day 4:  Today, I became a pirate!  We walked down to the harbor and joined the crew of pirates for a trip on the high seas!  I even got a tattoo of a skull and crossbones!  With my scarf and eye-patch, I was ready to sail the seas looking for treasure.  We found a treasure chest and I got to open it!  How cool is that??  We came home with a bag full of booty.  I especially liked the sea animal toys.

With my sword

Opening the treasure chest

With Daddy

Day 5:   Who wouldn't want to take a ride on the oldest carousel in the country?  I got to ride the Flying Horses Carousel two times.  First with Mommy and then with Daddy.  I am not big enough to really grab the rings but enjoyed watching my parents grab them.  It was fun!

Day 6:  Our time on the Vineyard had come to a close.  I enjoyed my time staying at Uncle Barry and Aunt Wendy's gingerbread cottage.  I enjoyed all the activities and just hanging out.  After some pictures at the house, we walked down to the ferry where we said our good-byes!  I look forward to returning to this little peace of heaven or as I call it, Marsha's Vineyard.


Saturday, July 15, 2017

Detailing a House

We have all heard the saying, "the devil is in the details".  Isn't it appropriate that the most detailed work on our cottage is painting our accents with the color Hot Tamale?  Wendy loves the color and it makes a wonderful accent color.  But oh, is it challenging to work with!

When we decided to repaint the front of the cottage, it meant there would be lots of painting the red accents.  Using artist's brushes, we painted the insides of the acorns which are cutouts in the rails.  We also painted specific rings on the porch posts.

But the most challenging was painting the tent post at the top of the cottage.  These design features are a reminder of when these were tents, not wooden cottages.  Our tent post is beautiful but very high and difficult to reach.  Barry painted the bottom portion from a ladder.  To paint the top half, he borrowed a long extension pole with a paint roller.

Our painting is finally done on the porches....this year!!

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Bracket Bonanza

In 1984, the Latham’s (previous owners) put a new porch on our cottage.  They removed an ugly double-decker, screened porch to install more appropriate porches for an historical cottage.  However, we felt that a Campground feature was missing from our porches.  We need brackets! 

Our cottage in 1890's
In 2014, we presented to the Architectural Review Committee an old photo from the late 1800's of our cottage with brackets.  We requested permission to duplicate those brackets and put them on our porches.  Upon approval, a local wood-crafter created our new brackets.  We have 10 brackets downstairs and 2 upstairs.  Due to perspective, we made the upstairs brackets 50% larger than the first floor. 

We chose to paint them 2 colors, Artichoke on the flat surfaces and Hot Tamale on the insides.  This year, we took them down, washed and sanded them and put several coats of new paint on them.  Because of all the rain, we did the work in our dining room!  Using small brushes, even artist’s brushes, we painted.  After painting a coat, we needed to wipe clean the spots where it bled onto the other color.  It was a time-consuming task that focused on the small details of each bracket.  The end result?  They look spectacular and we are thrilled to have them dress up our cottage.
Before brackets
With brackets

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Maintaining a Cottage: A Painter's Dream

When we purchased the cottage back in 2009, our daughter, Melissa, gave us several hours with a color consultant as a housewarming present.  We met with Hank, our consultant, to discuss our color preferences and the colors of our neighbors.  He used vintage wallpaper books to find several combinations for us to consider.  We selected the one that included the beautiful red, which Wendy loved.  Hank recommended a brand of paint with which we were not familiar:  C2 Paint.  It is a Canadian paint that holds its color over time.  We are using 5 different colors:  Halifax(blue), Shaker @ 150%(tan), Artichoke(green), Hot Tamale(red) and Silver Screen(pale blue, which is the porch ceiling color).  Hank also recommended different sheens:  solid stain, satin and semi-gloss.  The varied sheens give different textures, depth and interest.  The house sides/shingles are solid stain, the trim is a mixture of satin and semi-gloss.  The posts are all semi-gloss.

It has been 8 years since we first painted our porch and the colors are still strong.  However, there are chips and dings that prompted us to paint the porches again this year.  Unfortunately, this rainy weather has presented challenges.  On those rare moments when it wasn’t raining, we were busy outside.  Not only were we busy, but so were our neighbors!  Three cottages in a row had homeowners busy sanding and painting their porches!  Owning a Campground cottage means painting something every year! 

Despite the rainy weather, we had a fun time dog sitting the Hahn’s dog, Mason.  He is such a great dog and a pleasure to have.  We didn’t enjoy walking him in the rain but his enthusiasm brought joy to the house!  When he left us, the house seemed empty.


Monday, May 29, 2017

Memorial Day Weekend

A long weekend on the Vineyard, sounds lovely and relaxing....or maybe not.  A challenging commute through heavy traffic, taking different boats, and a dead car battery all in the rain, started our weekend off on an ugly note.  But it didn't dampen our resolve to have a wonderful time.

Barry serves as a Director on the Campground Board.  There are 21 Directors that meet 4 times a year and this Saturday, May 27th, was one of those meetings.  They are full-day affairs from 9:00-4:00.  While he was in his meeting, Wendy went to work.

After a trip to the grocery and the local gardening center, she spent most of her day working on the front of the house.  She mowed and raked the grass; weeded, planted some annuals and mulched the flower beds; and finally planted her containers.  A final sweeping of the porch and walkway could not impact the pollen film, so a hosing down was due.  Let's put up the flag and bunting and we are properly presentable for this special weekend!

Each Director on the Board must serve on committees and sometimes chair a committee.  Barry serves on 5 (Personnel, Historical Preservation, Nominating, Finance, and Architectural Review).  He is the chairman of Architectural Review Committee (ARC) whose responsibility is to review any renovations or changes to all campground buildings.  Because the MVCMA is on the National Register of Historic Places and also have National Landmark status, we agree to comply with specific historical guidelines.  When a campgrounder is considering any changes to the outside of their cottage, we complete an application for ARC.  ARC then reviews the application, decides to approve, disapprove or send it back for more information.  As you can imagine, this committee is NOT revered in the Campground.

Fortunately, we have eight volunteers who serve on ARC.  Five are Board members with 3 community members.  They hail from Ohio, California, Rhode Island, Maryland, and Massachusetts. They meet year-round, every other Sunday evening using Google Hangout.  They also use SLACK as their tool to share, comment and vote on applications.  It is a dedicated group that tries to consider all aspects of a request:  livability for the leaseholder but more importantly, the historical integrity of the cottage!

On Sunday, all eight members of ARC met face-to-face for the first time at our cottage!  After meeting online all winter, it was like a reunion to be together.  When their meeting was done, their spouses were invited to join us for an "after party".  Wendy made sangria and way too much food!  Everyone had a nice time socializing and enjoying what seemed to be a kick-off for the new season!

Memorial Day was a washout!  Despite our plans to paint aspects of the porch, we were forced to work indoors.  Wendy did computer work (like writing this blog) while Barry worked on scraping and painting the flaking spots of the ceiling in the dining room and kitchen.  It may not have been the most relaxing weekend but it is always a joy to spend time in our little gingerbread.