Summer is here and I am missing my favorite place to explore, Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard. The town is sleepy most of the year, but in the Summer, the place explodes with summer residents and tourists, providing such a lively and diverse atmosphere. One of the most beautiful of the cottages in the Wesleyan Grove campground is the Kickemuit Cottage, built in 1869 for a family from Rhode Island. They so-named the cottage after the Kickemuit River which runs from Massachusetts through Warren, RI and spills out into the Mt. Hope Bay. The story goes that this double cottage was actually just a single peaked home until it was combined with another giving it the double-peaked appearance we see today. The cottage retains the turned posts, delicate gingerbread detailing, and the lancet windows and doors. Swoon!
Side note: If anyone has a cottage in Oak Bluffs that they’ll let me rent, I would love to be in touch!
Constructed by the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society at the crossroads of the island, this Grange Hall in West Tisbury on Martha’s Vineyard, is the center of agriculture and commerce for the Vineyard. Grange Halls are traditionally where farmers have gathered to learn new agricultural practices, develop strategic business partnerships, and barter for goods and services. The building was the hub of weekly farmers markets for decades and eventually owned by the Vineyard Trust in 1997, being restored soon after. The building is a vernacular Gothic Revival building with decorative bargeboard (gingerbread trim) and full-length porch.
Edgartown in the early 19th century was booming as one of the major whaling towns in America. As goods were imported and exported in and out of the burgeoning town, a Customs House was required to essentially tax the goods. Until around 1825, the Customs House in Edgartown was located in private homes until the demand grew for a stand-alone structure on Main Street. This Federal style building was constructed to house a Customs office upstairs with two commercial spaces on the ground floor.
This home on the idyllic Water Street in Edgartown (maybe my favorite town in Massachusetts) was built in two main phases in its storied history. What is now a rear ell, was built as a home around 1740 by “Squire” Norton, who ran the Customs office out of the house in his role as Customs Collector in town. The home was located in the current location of North Water Street, which had to jog around the home until the early 19th century when it was moved to the current location and altered as an ell of the new house standing there. The home was later owned by Captain Edward Coffin (1850-1917), a renowned sea captain. At just 15 years old, Edwin Coffin left Edgartown to be a cabin boy on his first ship. Through the end of the 19th century, he voyaged on numerous whaling vessels and served as captain on many. In 1902, Captain Coffin was chosen to command the steamer America, which carried the Fiala-Ziegler Expedition, a failed attempt at reaching the North Pole. The party remained stranded north of the Arctic Circle for two years before being rescued, yet all but one of its members survived.