By David Lott
‘Porch living’ isn’t just a phrase describing one of the main ingredients of many of the homes in Oak Bluffs. It showcases a vibrant lifestyle that has carried its inhabitants through the decades and carved out a unique way of spending the summer.
You’ll get to see the many shades of porch living on Thursday, July 21 when the 33rd Annual Cottagers House Tour allows you to go inside and around some of the most iconic homes in Oak Bluffs.
This year the Cottagers are not only marking their 33rd year of the tour, but they are also celebrating the organization’s 60th year in operation.
Consisting of exactly 100 women of color who are property owners on Martha’s Vineyard, The Cottagers is a philanthropic organization whose mission is to raise money for local charities and organizations through a variety of fundraising efforts.
“In the early years we gave just to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital,” says Olivia Baxter, the current president. “But now it’s organizations all over the island. We have been doing it for 60 years straight and we are very proud not to have missed a year.”
Get Your Tickets Early
The House Tour, which will be held from 10 am to 3 pm, is a major fundraiser on the organization’s agenda. It is typically a sellout, so you are advised to buy your tickets early.
Tour goers will be treated to historical homes, classic Oak Bluffs Victorian gems and sparkling renovations that will ignite your imagination for possibilities within your own home.
Other recipients of The Cottagers’ largess include Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Oak Bluffs Police Department, Oak Bluffs Public Library, the Council of Aging, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School scholarships, plus selected programs for women and nonprofit agencies.
In addition, The Cottagers organize the annual African-American Cultural Festival, the Cottager’s Youth Programs, and this August 11, will feature AARP CEO Joanne Jenkins at the Tabernacle for a program on “Disruptive Aging.”
Advance tickets may be purchased in Oak Bluffs at the Cousen Rose Gallery and C’est La Vie, both on Circuit Avenue. Tickets may also be purchased on the day of the tour at Cottagers’ Corner, beginning at 9 a.m. The cost is $30 per person. Go to http://www.cottagerscornermv.org/ for more information.
44 Wamsutta Avenue
Life on the outside is taken to new heights at 44 Wamsutta Avenue where you can relax on porches on the first and second floor and climb to a third level observatory by ladder from the master bedroom.
The setting is idyllic for this renovated home that is surrounded by picket fence, artfully shaped bushes and lush green lawn. Hydrandeas bursting with purple flowers hug the foundation. Gray shingles and windows with green trim echo the rich greenery framing the property.
Around to one side is a peastone drive and a garage is topped by a guest bedroom and bath from which a bluestone patio leads you to fieldstone steps and into the house itself.
If you come in through the front porch, you are greeted by what appears to have been a wraparound porch that is now defined by 15 successive six-over-six windows and a light-filled living area. Multiple conversation areas dot the lower level highlighted by refinished hardwood floors and walls and ceilings of beadboard.
Don’t miss the master bedroom on the second floor which features a stucco fireplace, the observatory ladder and gothic doors to the deck. A waist-high wall creates a protected sense of privacy in which you can view the world below unobserved.
Faded black and white photos on the bedroom wall taken by earlier residents show the home in olden times. A dirt road sits in front with only air filling the space at the back of the house where the master bedroom, tower and private deck now stand. Oh, if they could see the place now!
See the entire article on the Vineyard Gazette website