USA, Massachusetts, Martha's Vineyard . Ancient houses at Oak Bluff

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Campgrounds & Tabernacle

Top choice in Martha's Vineyard

Oak Bluffs started out in the mid-19th century as a summer retreat by a revivalist church, whose members enjoyed a day at the beach as much as a gospel service. They first camped out in tents, then built some 300 wooden cottages, each adorned with whimsical filigree trim.

From bustling Circuit Ave, slip into the alley between the Secret Garden and the Tibet store and you'll feel like you've dropped down the rabbit hole. Suddenly it's a world of gingerbread-trimmed houses, adorned with hearts and angels and Candy Land colors.

These brightly painted cottages – known as the Campgrounds – surround emerald-green Trinity Park and its open-air Tabernacle (1879), where the lucky descendants of the Methodist Camp Meeting Association still gather for community sing-alongs and concerts.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Martha's Vineyard attractions

1. Cottage Museum

0.04 MILES

You can visit a typical Campground cottage, complete with period furnishings, thanks to the Cottage Museum. It's filled with Camp Meeting Association…

2. Flying Horses Carousel

0.21 MILES

Take a nostalgic ride on this National Historic Landmark, which has been captivating kids of all ages since 1876. It's the USA's oldest continuously…

3. Oak Bluffs Town Beach

0.25 MILES

Just south of the ferry terminal, a narrow strip of sandy beach runs unbroken for several miles, beginning with Oak Bluffs Town Beach. It's backed by the…

4. Martha's Vineyard Museum

2.08 MILES

This well-done museum has a fascinating collection of whaling paraphernalia and scrimshaw, and puts the history of Martha's Vineyard into context. Don't…

5. Joseph Sylvia State Beach

2.37 MILES

A mile south of the Oak Bluffs Town Beach is this popular spot, which has calm waters suitable for kids. The Edgarton-side portion of the beach is also…

6. Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary

2.77 MILES

Mass Audubon's Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, 3 miles northwest of Edgartown center, is a birder's paradise, with miles of trails skirting fields, marshes…

7. Eisenhauer Gallery

5.16 MILES

Gallery hoppers will want to make time to visit the Eisenhauer Gallery, which represents over 40 artists and is considered one of the best on the island…

8. Edgartown Lighthouse

5.35 MILES

It's not a long climb to the top, but the Edgartown Lighthouse does have a pretty spectacular panoramic view of the town harbor and Chappaquiddick.