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.