The Flying Horses, the famous and historic Oak Bluffs carousel which has delighted generations of children and adults on the Island, is for sale and an Island preservation group is working to save it for the Vineyard. The Martha’s Vineyard Historical Preservation Society is negotiating an option to buy the carousel from owner James Ryan of Osterville. The Flying Horses is the oldest working carousel in the nation and is a National Historic Register landmark.
Mr. Ryan, who also owns Ryan Amusement Company in Hyannis, said he called the historical preservation society shortly after he decided to sell the Flying Horses and received an offer from the Shelburne Museum in Vermont. He said he is committed to keeping the carousel on the Vineyard. “It belongs there,” he said. Although nothing has been signed, both sides are hoping an agreement can be reached soon.
The Flying Horses was bought by Mr. Ryan in 1983 from Mary and Robert Lucas of Sandwich.
The Colonial Inn of North Water street in Edgartown was sold this week to a Connecticut family for $1,750,000. Brian and Damon Navarro of Hartford bought the inn from Oak Bluffs businessman Peter Martell, its owner for 13 years. Mr. Martell and three associates purchased the 75-year-old inn, which once played host to billionaire Howard Hughes and, in World War II days, writer W. Somerset Maugham, for $150,000 in 1973.
The Navarro brothers, seasonal residents of the Vineyard, own shorefront properties throughout New England, including a complex of stores and apartments in Watch Hill, R.I. The brothers do not plan to change the name of the inn, which has remained unchanged since it was first opened by Thomas Chirgwin in 1911.
The inn stood out as the largest in town when the Chirgwin family opened it in 1911. Mr. Chirgwin’s mother, Ann Cleveland, managed the nearby Edgartown Inn for several years as an annex to the Colonial. The Daggett House, across the street from both inns, was operated as a cooperative venture by family member Fred Chirgwin. After Thomas Chirgwin’s death in 1940, the family, including his daughters, Mrs. Ruth Look and Mrs. Stanley M. Look, maintained management of all the properties.
In guest brochures available the first summer season of operation, Mr. Chirgwin advertised the inn as “one of the best appointed hotels on the whole coast. The Colonial is electrically lighted, has Wintucket Spring Water, hot and cold baths, and all conveniences in modern plumbing. The hotel has a roof veranda, from which a magnificent view can be had, and this is a favorite retreat for guests of an afternoon or evening.”
In 1911, rates for a single room were “$16 and up. Two in a room, $14 each, and up.”
Now is the walking season, for each day there is so much new to behold. But what an art it is to walk! The gleeful child, taking his first steps, knows what an accomplishment it is. The aged remember longingly what it was like to walk freely and energetically. Those in the middle years too often forget the joys of it. To indulge in a long, thoughtful country walk is an art as well as exercise.
Walking in woods, the sense of touch can be invigorated by the pine carpet underfoot, the brushing of branches against one’s face; the sense of hearing by the rustle of the leaves, the soughing of the pines, bird songs. Invigorating the sense of sight are the gay colors of the birds — blues, reds, yellows, purples, russets, grays, browns, blacks, for the most part — in our Vineyard woods. There are stone walls rising and falling bordering ancient farmlands to be remarked on, too, and great gray boulders scarred like the hides of elephants or mottled as the shell of a tortoise is.
And, of course, there are the flowers that sprinkle the woodland floor. If they are not there yet, they will be before one knows it, waiting to be discovered gaily nodding and scenting the air.
Walking an ocean beach — south shore, Gay Head — the sense of touch responds to the firmness of the sand below the tide line and its soft warmth higher up; to the sting of the grasses whipping legs in a wind; to the sun warming one’s cheeks or the spray cooling them.
There is the thunderous sound of the sea to attend to, and the fresh salt air filling one’s nostrils. And oh, so much for the sense of sight to respond to — sandpipers and hermit crabs scurrying, sea gulls diving, grass and sideswept sand patterns; seaweeds and kelp in muted pinks and greens and browns.
What is important to remember is that the art of walking, like all arts, is one that increases in richness only as it is practiced.
Compiled by Cynthia Meisner