Thursday, August 31, 2017

Week of Summer Highlights

Grand Illumination is a summer highlight on Martha’s Vineyard.  This annual tradition has been happening in the Campground for over a century.  On the third Wednesday in August, cottages are decorated with Chinese lanterns.  Thousands of people descend upon the Campground for the event.  There is the traditional Wednesday night Community Sing, including the Vineyard Haven band.  At the end of the singing, a ceremonial lantern is lit and then poof, all 315 cottages light their cottages.  Visitors walk through the Campground admiring the decorations.  Many of the lanterns are old and date back to the late 1800’s.  Some folks still light with candles!!

Liz and Grace decorating
This year, our daughter, Elizabeth, and granddaughter, Grace, were here for the event.  They helped us decorate the cottage with lanterns.  This means climbing all over the cottage to string the lights and lanterns.  Grace became our “monkey” climber!  As she moved around the porch, perched on the rail, we handed her lights and lanterns.  After a little adjusting, the cottage was ready!

Another highlight of the summer is the Agricultural Fair in West Tisbury.  While Barry was at his Board meeting, Liz, Grace and Wendy went to the fair.  We had a great time watching pig races, lumberjack competitions, view animals and crafts in the barns and indulging in fair food.

The final highlight of this special week was the traditional Fireworks in Oak Bluffs.  Year-in and year-out, they are the best fireworks we have ever seen!  Ask anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing them and they will agree.  What a spectacular end to a very special week


Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Cottage Tour 2017

Each year, the MV Campground hosts a Cottage Tour.  It is an annual event where people interested in seeing the inside of a cottage pay $30 and are given access to tour 5-6 cottages.  This year’s tour was on August 9th.  Our cottage was selected as one of the 5 cottages on the tour!

We spent several days spiffing up the place and hiding the “junk”.  After some last-minute sweeping of the porch, we were ready for guests.  Interestingly, we are not supposed to stay in the cottage while visitors tour it.  There are docents upstairs and downstairs that answer questions and provide information.  We did leave our guest book out for visitors to sign!  Not everyone signed it but for those who did (62), it was fun to read who went through our cottage and where they were from.

Our docent, Ellen, with the first guests
While we were out of our cottage, we were able to visit the other cottages on the tour.  It is so interesting to see the construction of the cottages and how they are decorated. After the tour was over, campgrounders would see us and comment on our cottage, usually about the spiral staircase. 

It was an honor to be selected this year and we were thrilled to participate.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Family Time

The end of July was family time.  Our oldest daughter, Melissa, and her black labrador retriever, Daisy, came for a visit.  Daisy is a beautiful, sweet dog and we enjoyed having her at the cottage.  We were both amazed that she would climb our open, spiral staircase and climb back down!! We all took turns taking her on walks to Sunset Lake and along the harbor.  One hot, humid afternoon, we took her to the ocean for a swim which she thoroughly enjoyed.

While sitting on the porch,  a young man approached and asked to take a picture of Daisy.  This is not an uncommon request. However, this was not a normal tourist's picture.  This photographer was Elias Weiss Friedman, author of the New York Times best selling book, The Dogist.  He also has a Facebook and Instagram page devoted to his pictures of dogs.  We moved Daisy to the edge of the porch and Elias went to work, snapping pictures, squeaking toys, and flashing a tennis ball.  The picture he took was amazing!  If you check out his Facebook or Instagram page, you will find this picture of Daisy with a short description.  She's famous!

While Melissa was visiting, the Campground held a special historical event on Thursday night, Cottage City Through The Stereoscope.  A local man, Hal Garneau,  has been collecting stereoscopes his whole life.  He has over 1800 stereoviews.  At his presentation, he shared more than 100 vintage photos of the Campground and Oak Bluffs.  Everyone in the audience wore 3-D glasses to get the full effect of the stereoviews.  It was awesome!

Melissa left on the same day our two grandchildren, Ryan and Gabby, came for a visit.  The weather did not cooperate, so a trip to the beach was out.  Instead, we went for a drive up-island to Aquinnah, Chilmark and Menemsha.  They had never been to that part of the island.  Despite the fog and drizzle, we climbed the hill to view the Gay Head Cliffs, stood in line at Chilmark Chocolates and visited Alley's General Store.  Our picnic lunch was relegated to inside the car, looking out over the beach at Menemsha.

Every Friday night, there is a free concert on the green outside the Tabernacle.  This Friday was a group that sang more "country" music.  We listened to them while having dinner on the porch and then decided to walk over to see them from the front.  Gabby decided to climb a nearby tree (with alittle help).  When it came time to climb down, reinforcements were needed.

However, the standard Vineyard activities of hanging on the porch, happy hour and eating dinner on the porch, attending church in the Tabernacle and eating Backdoor Donuts.  If you have never enjoyed Backdoor, you simply must!  There is nothing better than waiting in line in the parking lot, ordering at the backdoor next to the dumpster and finally biting into a warm apple fritter.  Trust me, it is worth every last calorie!  Word of warning, don't eat a whole fritter by yourself, your stomach may not like it.

Dinner on the porch
Ordering at Backdoor

We also went to a Vineyard Sound concert.  This is an acapella group consisting of 10 college-aged men who sing a wide array of songs that can make you cry or laugh until your belly hurts.  This year they celebrated performing on the Vineyard for 25 years.  We always enjoy their concerts.

There is nothing better than spending time with family!

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Reconnections and New Discoveries

Hanging on the porch
The week of July 24th was the first visit to our cottage for our longtime traveling friends, Pat and Glenn Demanche. It was a long overdue visit.  Typically, we spent considerable time rocking and talking on the porch, where the people watching is exceptional (Are we watching them or are they watching us?).   In addition to time on the porch, we walked around Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, went to the beach, enjoyed a fritter at Back Door Donuts and an ice cream at Ben and Bill’s, participated in community sing at the Tabernacle, had dinner on the porch and at the Lookout.  These are normal Vineyard activities when we have visitors.

Community Sing
Dinner at the Lookout
However, our annual pilgrimage up-island to Menemsha, Chilmark and Aquinnah was the highlight of their visit.  We stopped at the West Tisbury Grange for the Artisans’ Fair.  The artwork is creative and awe-inspiring.  Wendy had a chance to visit with John Holladay, newly retired Falmouth High School teacher, who shows his work there.  We travelled to Menemsha for lunch, we had chowder and sandwiches on the docks.  We didn’t see Jaws in the water but one of the fish markets was preparing a thrasher shark that was caught that morning.

Artisans' Fair
Our next stop was at Gay Head, what a spectacular view!  The clay cliffs, Elizabeth Islands, Nomans Island, and Vineyard Sound are beautiful.  We even watched someone fly a drone over the cliffs while we were there.  We climbed to the top of the Gay Head Lighthouse, too.  Finally, after a quick stop at Alley’s General Store, we experienced Chilmark Chocolates.  This was a new find for us!  After waiting in line, we bought beautiful, yummy cashew clusters, Tashmoo truffles and butter crunch.  OMG!  This is definitely a keeper! 
Gay Head Light

Gay Head

A big thanks to Pat and Glenn for introducing us to Chilmark Chocolates!  We had a wonderful time reconnecting!