The Cottagers is a philanthropic organization comprised of about 100 women of color who are property owners on Martha’s Vineyard. The organization recently celebrated its 50th year of fundraising and continuing financial assistance to various programs on the Island. The Cottagers has contributed to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Windmere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Oak Bluff’s Police Department, Oak Bluff’s Fire Department, Oak Bluff’s Public Library, the Council of Aging, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Martha’s Vineyard High School scholarships and selected programs for women and other nonprofit programs.

On Thursday, July 18, the Cottagers will host its 30th annual house tour beginning at 10 a.m at Cottagers Corner, 57 Pequot avenue, Oak Bluffs. This year’s tour consists of five homes. Docents will be at each home to provide additional information. Homeowners have requested that young children not be included on the tour.

Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at C’est la Vie and CousenRose Gallery, located at 59 and 71 on Circuit avenue, and on the day of the tour at the Cottagers Corner. Visit

Aliys and Reggie Browne

18 Pacific avenue, Oak Bluffs

This lovely new house has several features that compliment the owners’ lifestyle. There is an outdoor fireplace and a patio where the owners entertain. There is also a widow’s walk on the roof. Many of the older houses have widow’s walks that would be used to watch for returning whaling boats and fishermen.

The house was built in 2005 by Luke Gurney and purchased by the Brownes in 2010. There are four large bedrooms, three bathrooms and a porch. Cedar shingles line the outside walls and dry wall was used for the interior.

The house is located in the highlands near East Chop.

Ann Patrick

24 Nashawena Park, Oak Bluffs

This is a lovely, well-cared-for and mature home that was built in 1880. It is built in the Victorian style and influenced by the craftsmen period. The exterior is cedar shingle and the interior walls are primarily tongue and grove vertical boards. It has a broad sweeping red roof and a large covered front porch used for small family gatherings and solitude. There are four bedrooms, one of which is located on the first floor, plus one office, two baths, a living room, kitchen and dining room. The kitchen and dining area has a high ceiling and expensive glass that brings in sunny views. The house has been in the Patrick family for more than 50 years; the first owners were Mel and Fanny Patrick. Mel and Fanny were party givers and the porches and yards were used extensively. Comfortable vintage wicker furnishing is used throughout the house. The current owner, daughter Anne Patrick, continues this tradition.

Anne, a second generation, is now retired and looking forward to spending six months in this inviting house.

This Vineyard pearl holds many wonderful memories for Anne. Her father, Mel, was the founder and well-known editor of Delegate Magazine. The magazine reported on the conventions of many important African-American organizations. In addition, Mel was a cofounder of the Oak Bluffs tennis tournament. Visitors to the Cottagers house tour will be able to see many of the awards as they enter the living room.

Donald and Joan Olson

137 Sea View avenue, Oak Bluffs

This inviting and comfortable house is situated near two bodies of water. It was refurnished in 1988 by Donald Olson and Sons and is a shingle style, high Victorian house with four bedrooms and one and one half baths. The exterior walls are faux painted: the owner painted several walls so they appear to look like bricks walls. The floor in the kitchen is a beautiful Mexican terra cotta tile and the foyer and living room have spruce wood floors. There is a back porch and breakfast room with a high ceiling and large window with a view of the water.

The furniture includes new and old pieces. There is a hutch in the breakfast room and two old hutches and an antique bench in the living room. Between the kitchen and dining room there is a lattice work arch built by the owner.

There are daisies planted all around the house and Montauk beach roses in all of the windows. In front there is a bike path. The third generation is on its way to adulthood and continuing to enjoy this Vineyard pearl.

Yvonne and George Bauer

131 Circuit avenue, Oak Bluffs

This large, wonderful and mature house was built in 1880. The kitchen was remodeled in 2006 by Joseph Peters and is the only room in the house that is insulated. The original back steps were changed to a screened porch and an outdoor shower was added. The remodeling continues today.

The downstairs bathroom was remodeled with a shower in place of a bathtub. The two front doors were changed inside with plaster board and outside with vinyl siding. Yvonne stated that prior to her parents purchasing the house, the whole house was covered with aluminum siding. George and son Lyle, covered the downstairs floors with Pergo flooring while putting ceramic tile on the floors of both bathrooms.

This large Vineyard pearl has 12 rooms. On the first floor there is a living room, an office, a dining room, kitchen and a workroom/laundry room. On the second floor there are five bedrooms and a full bathroom with a claw foot tub. The second floor has the original hardwood floors.

There is an interesting history surrounding this Vineyard pearl. It seems that the Tivoli Inn, next door to the Bauer house, used to be the rooming house and the Bauer house used to be the gambling house. Nearby was a restaurant, the Bradley church and a movie theatre.

Yvonne remembers going to the beach each morning at 6 a.m. with a neighbor, Mrs. Obrian. Yvonne was part of the original Polar Bears. Yvonne’s mother, Winifred, was a Cottager and an active Polar Bear, too.

Yvonne’s parents, William and Winifred Jones, purchased this Vineyard pearl in 1963.

Constance J. Batty

8 Narragansett avenue, Oak Bluffs.

This house was purchased in 1978 by Donald and Irma Wheat and was built around 1850. It was refurbished in 2006 by William Reagan, a local contractor. Currently, this Vineyard pearl has six bedrooms, six bathrooms and a large porch. Attached to four of the upstairs bedrooms are smaller screened porches.

The exterior of the house is shingle. Inside there are plaster walls. The floors are wooden with some original flooring. One of the stained glass windows in the house is an original. There is a finished basement spanning the length and width of the house. The contractor raised the house to dig the basement, install a furnace, air conditioner equipment and a recreation/play room.

Constance said she was not on the Island then, but neighbors and friends took many photos so the family was able to keep up with all of the events surrounding the updating of this Vineyard home. The house has 15 rooms, storerooms, several entrances on two floors and is almost soundproof. The living room has a wet bar across one wall and a fireplace along another wall. There is a gas fireplace in the sitting room and full bookshelves in the living room and sitting room.

Constance said she loves the location because she could (but does not) walk to town, to the post office, the shops, to the beach and to the Steamship dock in Oak Bluffs. When her children and grandchildren come with their friends, the location works for them, too.

She says she feels blessed to have had parents who purchased 8 Narragansett and children who have the resources to update and remodel this Vineyard pearl where she can observe the fourth generation grow to love the Vineyard.