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Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts on the island of Martha's Vineyard

10 years ago3.5K views

INFO: http://www.SandpiperRealty.com - Oak Bluffs likes to celebrate the summer season – it's a classic beach town, filled with fun, music, and arcades. It has bars and shops and instant access to water and beaches. It has a spacious park, up on the bluff, overlooking the water. It has the Flying Horses, an old-fashioned carousel, and pizza carryout spots, tiny walk-in clam bars and a harbor that attracts hundreds of power boats.

And – in a Jekyll and Hyde moment that dates back a century and a half – it is home to the unique Martha's Vineyard Campmeeting Association, a collection of colorful "gingerbread" homes built as part of a Methodist summer retreat and now designated a National Historic Landmark.

It was with the Campmeeting Association that what locals call "OB" got its start. In 1835, when the land was all trees and forest and was a part of Edgartown, it was host to a two-or-three day Methodist religious revival meeting during the summer. The revival at Wesleyan Grove became an annual event, growing in popularity. At first, nine tents were pitched for the attendees. As the revivals got bigger – in 1858, 12,000 people attended the Sunday services – families started bringing their own tents and building often rough wooden platforms for them (there are examples of floors still supported by trees simply shorn of their limbs.) Finally houses – simple affairs, with inside walls that are also the outside walls, with no heat and tiny rooms but with elaborately decorated exteriors in a fantastic Carpenter Gothic style, were constructed on top of the platforms.

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