The town of Oak Bluffs is a resort on the northeast shore of the island of Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts. Originally settled in 1642 and incorporated in 1880 as Cottage City, in 1907 the town’s name was changed because of the growth in the year round population and the changing face of the resort required an acknowledgment the town was not just “Cottage City” any more.
The rechristening marked the coalescence of all the elements that make Oak Bluffs unique as an oceanfront resort and distinguished its character in relation to the other Island towns.
With its diversity, density of population and the tradition of being the site of institutions that serve the Island-wide community, Oak Bluffs has proven itself to be the innovator and resilient flak-catcher in response to changing trends and conditions in the society at large.
Oak Bluffs is home to many historical and nationally recognized landmarks. Located at the foot of Circuit Ave, the Flying Horses Carousel is the nation’s oldest continuously operating carousel. It is one of the two known carousels built by Charles W.F Dare. The horses were hand-carved in New York City in 1876 and brought to Martha’s Vineyard 1884. This historic landmark is maintained by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust. The Flying Horses are enjoyed by Vineyarders and visitors alike and are open daily during the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall.
The Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, located in the center of Town, offers a unique experience for visitors. Consisting of hundreds of imaginative and colorful gingerbread cottages containing the most perfectly preserved collection of Carpenter Gothic style architecture in the world, these truly unique Victorian “gingerbread” cottages are just a stone’s throw from the famed Tabernacle.
Oak Bluffs operates the largest marina on Martha’s Vineyard, which not only has the most slips, but is situated in the midst of the historic gingerbread campgrounds, and offers easy access to the rest of the Island. “OB”, as it is sometimes referred to, is also home to several beautiful public beaches, a teaming shore of wildlife, fish and shellfish, fabulous public parks, a microbrewery, and the island’s finest golf course, Farm Neck.
Today, an active downtown is complete with exciting restaurants, charming inns, shops, movie theatres, and places to enjoy live entertainment and dancing.
Several annual event highlight Oak Bluffs calendar of events: The Harbor Festival, Summer Solstice, Tivoli Day, Camp Meeting Association Illumination Night in the Campground, and the August Fireman’s Association Fireworks.
Learn more about Oak Bluffs at www.oakbluffsma.gov