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Hansel and Gretel Were Here

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A tour of the gingerbread cottages in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard is like walking into a storybook. The perfectly preserved and elaborately decorated cottages were built in the mid 1800's as part of a Methodist summer campground. Tucked away in the middle of town and entered through a downtown alleyway, many of the more than 200 cottages encircle an open village green.
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Home of munchkins? Hobbits? Hansel and Gretel's witch? The cottages are privately owned. A few live in them year round but most are inhabited by summer residents who have hopefully adjusted to the tourists who come to marvel at the flower gardens, the tiny porches, high peeked roofs, dainty gables and balconies painted in lavender, pink, and robin's egg blue.
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One cottage owner looked to be doing a crossword puzzle on his miniature porch, another stopped to chat with us. The pre-Victorian cottages are an example of American Carpenter Gothic architecture, which coincided with the invention of the band saw, she said.
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Valentines, rainbows, butterflies, and angels were just some of the decorated cottage themes. Most cabins had a name displayed somewhere front and center. (Pictured above are my sister Sherry, me, and our mother.)
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As far as I can tell the term "gingerbread house" was named after the frosted filigree decorations on the cookies made popular by London sweet shops of the 1800s.
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The gingerbread cottages of Oak Bluffs look almost good enough to eat, but are best for photographing and for stirring up girlhood fantasies about white picket fences and dollhouse play.

Comments

A magical looking place..

Between this place and the carousels I was utterly delighted and felt like a kid again!

It's starting to feel like Summer.......It was a fun day!!xo

I guess I am way too practical because I found the cottages lovely but kept thinking of all the painting upkeep necessary.

Those are terrific and amazing. How great it is that we have such ecclectic architecture in this country.

Those little cottages are enchanting. They look like playhouses for grown-ups.
:-)

Now why does Alice in Wonderland come to mind with these pictures?

When I think Methodist, I think Plain Jane--not this! What amazingly lovely houses.

It started as a tent camp. The cottages were made from kits. And then the band saw got invented and that was it!

The bandsaw-gingerbread house connection makes sense when you point it out.
What a sweet little vacation spot.

Thank you for sharing these photos! I never knew such a place existed. LOVE. IT. How pretty!

i promise not to eat them - poem please about gingerbread houses and old friends and relatives??

What cute little cottages -- they're gorgeous! Thanks for sharing them.

Utterly Charming! And tiny, too! I liked your remark about Munchkins living there...lol! I LOVE seeing all these wonderful little colorful cottages, my dear. Thank You!

I was delighted to see that you photographed my cottage (the deep rose and sage green one at the top). It is as sweet inside as it is on the outside. Best of all, it is a very special, welcoming community.

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