The spirit of community, fellowship and Vineyard charms permeate the walls of the five houses being presented by the Cottagers for the 28th annual Cottager House Tour on July 21. The houses represent a diverse group in style and age. Some remain similar to the original houses built around the middle of the 19th century, others are the newly built or refurbished homes of today with current amenities. The owners love their houses passionately and are engaged in the community around them. The names on some houses reflect the owners’ love of the Vineyard.

The Cottagers Inc. is an organization of 100 homeowners who plan fund-raising events to financially support institutions and programs that benefit the community. The Cottagers contribute to the support of the Oak Bluffs police department, the Oak Bluffs firemen, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, the NAACP, the Oak Bluffs Public Library and scholarships for Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School seniors, to name just a few.

Now for the houses.

Crystal Palace at 45 Pequot avenue is owned by Sue Weber and Pam and Tom Cavanaugh. This wonderful 150-year-old house is occupied from time to time by the six children and five grandchildren. Sue and Pam were both married on Martha’s Vineyard as was one of their daughters. The house was built by Henry Clark in the mid-19th century and was moved to its present location in 1875. Sue and Pam and their mother bought it in 1973. The Crystal Palace has seven bedrooms and a large wraparound porch where the family dines and entertains daily. There are interesting porthole windows and stained glass throughout. The downstairs is colorful with pink and white decor and an abundance of antiques. The family enjoys the proximity to Oak Bluffs center, the beach and the many shops and restaurants nearby.

Judy’s Jewel at 3 Tabernacle avenue owned by Judy and Wesley Mayo is a Camp Ground cottage. The Mayos bought the house in 2002 after Judy discovered it while bike riding and knew that she had found her pearl — hence the name. The house, which was formerly a dentists’s office, needed extensive renovations. Today upon entering, visitors may be surprised at the spaciousness of the house which has 11 rooms. The first floor includes a dining room, a sitting room with original built-in book shelves, a breakfast nook, one bedroom, a bath and a new modern kitchen. The second floor has three bedrooms and an additional bath with the original claw foot tub. Judy’s Jewel is one of 33 homes in the Camp Ground that has heat (the other 300 do not). This special pink and green house has numerous antiques and other items original to the house along with original work by local artists; outdoors there is an expansive garden with herbs.

194 East Chop Drive
194 East Chop Drive — Ray Ewing

Ann and Ted Lewis own the house at 194 East Chop Drive. When you enter this magnificent gray-shingled house you are standing in what was once the East Chop Lighthouse. In 1872, Silas Daggett built the private wooden lighthouse on the point where the present lighthouse stands. In 1875 the U.S. government purchased the property and moved the old lighthouse down the street to the present lot. In those days it was easy to roll houses down the street on logs as they had no water pipes, gas pipes, or electrical wires. In 1903 Ted’s grandfather, George Dowley, purchased the house and the continual additions began, along with indoor plumbing and wiring. The house has been in the family for more than 108 years, spanning four generations. Ann and Ted have five children and many grandchildren to fill up the house during the summer. Visitors entering the house will meander along a large manicured lawn with beautiful plants that Ann and Ted cultivate themselves. From the porch there is a sweeping view of the sea. Artwork, antique nautical charts, maps and weathervanes are displayed throughout the house. The original 1872 wooden spiral staircase leading to the lighthouse tower is a prominent feature.

12 Spruce Street
12 Spruce Street — Ray Ewing

Yvonne and Frederick Jackson own 12 Spruce street, a spacious, four-year-old house that replaced an old one that was torn down on the same spot. Many items from the old house were saved and used in this comfortable, air-conditioned home. In the kitchen bead board cabinets with century-old glass in the doors complement the modern appliances which include a large refrigerator with a television built into the door.

Jeff and Ardell Otten own 261 Barnes Road. The original house was built in 1986 and was rebuilt in 2005 as a shingle-style craftsman cottage designed for modern living and entertaining. A screened porch surrounded by natural wildflowers has a lovely a view of the Lagoon Pond. Mature pine and oak trees surround the property with abundant hydrangeas, perennials and annuals.


House tour tickets and directions may be purchased at the Cottager’s Corner on 65 Pequot avenue in Oak Bluffs on Thursday, July 21, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Advance tickets are on sale at Cousen Rose Gallery, C’est La Vie, and L’Elegance, all on Circuit avenue. Tickets are $25.