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Vineyard Haven (Tisbury), Massachusetts on Martha's Vineyard

10 years ago857 views

INFO: http://www.SandpiperRealty.com - If you're lucky, one of the first sights you'll see when you visit Martha's Vineyard is the magnificent schooners Shenandoah and Alabama under full sail – a thrilling reminder of the Island's maritime past.

The schooners, owned by the Douglas family who built the famous Black Dog Tavern, have been anchored in the Vineyard Haven harbor for more than four decades, and they ride at anchor a few thousand feet away from the big ferryboats that connect the Vineyard to the mainland at Woods Hole year round via a 45-minute trip.

Just beyond the schooners along the harbor is one of America's few wooden ship boatyards, Gannon and Benjamin Marine Railway. Here, beautiful schooners are still designed and built for people enthralled with creations that can only be done by hand. The launch of the boats, designed and constructed by Ross Gannon and Nat Benjamin, are minor holidays on the Vineyard. Hundreds of people come out to see the beautiful new boats, built with the same type of tools used for a century or two. As they slide into the harbors, the boats take their places among more wooden boats than in any other harbor in America.

As these emblems of Martha's Vineyard might suggest, Vineyard Haven – the village is the center of the town of Tisbury – has an extraordinarily deep maritime tradition. This was one of early New England's busiest ports. Coastwise shipping passed through Vineyard Sound and the boats docked here. Sailors from around the world knew Martha's Vineyard through the Seaman's Bethel here. First called Holmes Hole, the town only had three families in 1700. Just eighty years later, it had twenty-one inns, servicing visitors in the same way that many of the inns and hotels do now. The town was almost totally destroyed by fire in 1883, and the stores and homes along Main Street in the downtown area date since that time.

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