On Thursday, July 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The Cottagers Inc. will present their 31st annual benefit house tour. The houses represent a diverse group in style and age. Some remain similar to the original houses built during the 18th century, while others are newly built or refurbished homes with current amenities.
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 over 50 years of various fundraising efforts. They have contributed to the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, Windemere Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, Oak Bluffs Police Department, Oak Bluffs Public Library, the Council of Aging, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School scholarships, and other selected programs for women and nonprofit agencies. In addition, the Cottagers have organized the annual African-American Cultural Festival, the Cottager’s Youth Programs and have participated in the ongoing Inkwell Beach clean up.
Advance tickets may be purchased in Oak Bluffs at the Cousen Rose Gallery and C’est La Vie on Circuit avenue, and at Cottagers’ Corner on Monday, July 14, from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m. Tickets may also be purchased on the day of the tour at Cottagers’ Corner beginning at 9 a.m. The cost is $30 per person.
Featured this year will be four houses and two condominiums.
Louis and Olivia Baxter
18 Hampson avenue
This New England colonial-style house has three bedrooms, two and one half baths and was purchased in 1998. It is used primarily for vacation rentals. Island contractor Ed Charter of Arrowhead Homes built the property. The unique features of this house are the beautiful vaulted staircase and the front door, which has exquisite frosted white glass.
26 Meadow View Road
This Cape-style house was built in 1991 on a hill and has been continuously updated and expanded to accommodate the needs and interest of the owner. A stone retaining wall was completed in 1999. Two lovely large rooms have been added, one to each side of the original structure. The original outside deck was replaced and expanded in 1999. A sun room was added in 2002 and an enclosed study was built in 2004. The kitchen was completely modernized in 2006. There are two bedrooms and two baths on the first level and two bedrooms with a bath are on the second level. The owner has an impressive art collection that consists of contemporary, African and African American pieces.
Michael and Marushka Waters
51 Pequot avenue
The Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Company built this lovely Camp Ground-style clapboard and blue trim house in 1868. This 14-room house has six bedrooms and four bathrooms. Mr. Waters (a.k.a Muddy Waters) did most of the renovation of the property over the years. There are many unique features in this house that include a built-in vanity sink in the master bedroom, original wallboards, Gothic windows and a sink in the laundry room. Ruby begonias adorn the front of the house and particularly around the steps and entryway. Beautiful crystal chandeliers hang throughout the house and front porch.
2 Narragansett avenue
This large spectacular Victorian house contains nine bedrooms and four bathrooms and is on the corner of Narragansett and Seaview avenues. The owner has named it Villa Rose in memory of her paternal grandmother Rosemond Mosley. The owner, who is a first generation owner on the Vineyard, has made many modifications since she purchased the house in 1993. A special feature of this house is the expansive wrap around furnished porch. Antique dealers previously owned the house and some of the antique furniture remains. There is a full-sized billiard table on the top floor where rumor has it Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. enjoyed playing. The gardens on the front and sides of the house are well designed with exotic plants.
Two of the homes presented this year are condos in the Seaview Condominium Building on the corner of Seaview and Pennacook avenues. The building was originally a hotel in Oak Bluffs, and one of the few on the water near the original boardwalk. The building was deliberately burned to the ground in 1892 and later built as the Seaview Hotel. The local population dined and danced at the Seaview Hotel, an Island “hot spot.” The majority of units in the Seaview contain two bedrooms, two baths and a living and dining area. However, each owner has created living spaces which reflect their lifestyle and decorating tastes.
Lawrence and Ernestine Randall-Smith
Two Pennacook avenue, Unit 301
The Smith’s unit contains two bedrooms and two baths. Both the bedroom and living room have large windows overlooking the water and the Inkwell Beach. Their unique furnishings include antiques, a Chelsea clock, a barometer, a title clock as well as an antique doorknocker. The Smith family has been coming to the Vineyard for over 25 years, but they are the first generation to purchase property on the Island.
John and Angie Arrington
Two Pennacook avenue, Unit 302
This two-bedroom, two-bath unit is used for weekend getaways and the owners enjoy their turnkey unit. The unit has a 180-degree view of the beach and the ocean. The kitchen and bathrooms have been renovated. The couple enjoys people-watching from their expansive view of the Inkwell and Nantucket Bay. Mr. Arrington’s grandparents owned a home overlooking Sunset Pond and he was determined to acquire property overlooking water for his family.