Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Who Was Martha Anyway?

Martha’s Vineyard . The name brings to mind a few differing images: easy summer days of boating and sunning, weathered grey shingle houses, and crisp white churches. Or perhaps you think of celebrity sightings, as it is also known as the “Hollywood of the East”. Or maybe you just picture giant sharks lurking just off shore. Whatever it is, Martha’s Vineyard evokes summertime.

We were lucky to visit a couple of years ago and stayed with a good friend and his family in a beach house that felt like home. In my last post, I described some of my childhood memories at the beach in Balboa, but I have no pictures that I can find of our own beach house. This house in Martha’s Vineyard comes very close to the feeling of what I grew up with.

Wicker Chairs

These wicker barrel chairs were just like those we had at our house. This photo is of a breezeway between the main house and a later addition which housed two bedrooms and a bath, hence the shingles on the “inside”. This is just the sort of thing that is so charming about houses that grow over time.
Living Room

The Living Room couldn't be any closer to how I remember the film: “The Summer of ‘42”. The vintage rattan, the simple wood furniture pieces and the driftwood lamps all have the most nostalgic feeling. Well lived in and loved. The haphazard papers, the book and magazine piles say “relax, plenty of time to get to this stuff later. Let’s go take a nap on the patio.”


The shells on the mantle, the big fireplace, the slightly tilted seascape painting….all things I remember growing up with and loving.

Rattan Chairs

I loved the built-in bookcase and daybed. Such a perfect place to curl up and read….or play backgammon. All of the furniture was covered in a red toile fabric, casual and so pretty with the Dutch blue accent paint.

Patio at house

Can one really get choked up over grey shingles next to crisp white painted trim? The absolute rightness of this place simply made my heart swell.
I am remembering the wonderful dinners out on this patio: fish stew one night, a clambake another, and fresh grilled fish, salad and blueberry cobbler.

Rowboat This was the house next door. Can you imagine a place any more picturesque? I spent more than a few hours just reading on the beach here. Beach


There are three main towns on Martha’s Vineyard. One of them is called Oak Bluffs, known for it’s charming Queen Anne gingerbread cottages and funky character. The main street is full of bohemian boutiques, tourist shops, ice cream stands and mouthwatering hamburgers places. Oak Bluffs is also home to the oldest running carousel in the country. In August, this conclave of summer cottages is host to an amazing event known as the Illumination Festival. All of the houses deck out their porches with vintage paper lanterns, and all are lit simultaneously with great fanfare. There is a huge band pavilion in the midst of the neighborhood which plays traditional band music all evening. Quite a beautiful spectacle.



Edgartown, in high contrast, is the quintessential New England sea town at it’s picturesque best. Church Steeples, American flags and picket fences around pretty gardens. The shopping is upscale and preppy, but there is definitely something for everyone. This is where “Black Dog” is found. We did buy T-shirts and sweatshirts here….did you doubt it? (I was going to link to the town website, but it was pretty dry. But if you are interested you can click here. Edgartown, you are such a beautiful town! It was very hard to find a link to show you off!)


Grey House

white house

Biking, eating ice cream, relaxing, eating pie, clamming, eating fabulous fish stew, watching stunning fireworks displays, eating lobster, shopping, eating clam chowder, swimming, ….OK, there is a theme here. Martha’s Vineyard is all the things summer is supposed to be.

Oh….Martha….. In 1602, English Explorer Bartholomew Gosnold sailed to a smaller island south of Martha’s Vineyard and named it Martha’s Vineyard, perhaps for his second child who died in infancy. The name eventually transferred to the bigger island. For other tidbits you can click here.
Find a time to come here. It's Bucket List worthy.


Callie Grayson said...

I have never been to Martha's Vineyard, but I would love too. It's charming and beautiful.
I grew up in Orange County California and know Balboa Island well.
thanks for the amazing tour of MV!!

Yansy said...

Wow, this reminds me that I better make it to the Vineyard before fall is here. Thanks for the beautiful pics. I love your blog by the way and your home is an inspiration.

Pigtown-Design said...

I have friends with a house up there and a group of us used to go for Thanksgiving weekend. In fact, we were just talking about taking the wee plane from Providence RI, this evening.

Alicia said...

An old friend whose gone for more summers than I cam remember overheard a little girl on the street, a couple years back, with her mom saying...Martha Stewart sure is nice to let us visit here!!!!
How funny is that.
Edgartown, my haven, my sanctuary... miss the the East Coast so much. Thanks for the memories.

Alicia said...

and I think I'll wear a Molly B skirt tomorrow.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

I remember the Bunch of Grapes bookstore especially. And that our cab driver was an extra in the movie, Jaws! A truly beautiful island, I particulary love the cliffs at Gay Head and the fishing shacks at Menemsha.

mary said...

Thanks for this summer post--it did get me in the relaxed summer mood--also made me miss the East Coast. Thanks for all of your sharing.

Beach House Dreamer said...

Martha’s Vineyard definitely evokes summertime, and not at all shark.

Vitania said...

I haven't made it to Martha's Vineyard either. What a delightful and picturesque read this was.

Thanks ... Vitania

Cote de Texas said...

absolutely adorable! what a wonderful house!!! how lucky you were to spend time there.

Dreamgirl said...

Absolutely beautiful!
I love your blog. The style, the feeling, the sense of beauty and peace... Ahh, what a dream!

Greetings from Norway

Joan said...

Love your post on the Vineyard... I've been going there all my life... it is my obsession...thus the name of my blog :)

Michelle said...

nothing like a good clam bake...I love summer! Also a fan of white trim with shingles, although there is a house with black trim and shingles in my neighbourhood that I love.

Have a great summer with the family!

marie cole said...

Your beach/summer theme blogs are making me long for those lazy summers I too spent at the beach with my family....Great times.

I haven't been to Martha's Vineyard, it looks like heaven on earth.

Linda at Lime in the Coconut! said...

Oh...your whole post just evokes lazy summers...and the summer of 42 I loved that!

Thanks for the blast of the past!

Lovely pictures, lovely place!

Linda Merrill said...

Thanks for the great tour! I live a short drive and a quick boat ride away and haven't been there in years!!

Marnie said...

we love the vineyard - as kids we learned that "it was martha's vineyard but nan took it or (nantucket)" !

katiedid said...

Hi Callie!
Balboa used to be alot like this once upon a time didn't it? I still remember how it was before the McMansions were built all over.

Hi Yansy! Thanks for the visit! And for your very kind comment!

katiedid said...

Hi Meg! Sounds like a plan! I hope we get to see your pictures. :)

Hello Alicia! You are lucky to have gotten to go so often. Where are you now?

Hi Pamela! Oh yes! Menemsha! Best clam chowder ever!

katiedid said...

Hi Mary! My pleasure! Where are you from originally?

Hi Beach House! Hahaha! No sharks that I remember either! Thank goodness. :)

Hi Vitania - Thanks for the visit! And you are welcome. :)

katiedid said...

Hi Joni-
It truly was wonderful. I hope we get to go back someday!

Hi Dreamgirl! It looks like I will have to go visit your blog! Thanks for the visit. :)

Hi Joan!
I will be hopping over to your blog too!

A Day That is Dessert said...

lovely photos of a lovely place! xoxo

Jenn said...

Summer in New England is really one of the most perfect things in the world. The photos from the illumination festival made my day.