Last week Paul and I celebrated 43 years of marriage.
I mention that to give the reason for my choice of locations for today's blog post. There is a book in Google books, A History of the Wesleyan Grove, Martha's Vineyard, camp meeting: ©1858' that will give you a great overview of what we now refer to as the "Campgrounds." The gingerbread houses bring tourist from all over. As a kid I used to sell bunches of flowers to the "old" (I may be that age now) ladies in the campgrounds. I also attended the Methodist church in the campground, and our high school class graduation ceremony was held there. I have many other memories associated with the campgrounds but that's not why you come to read my blog.
The first camp meeting was held in 1835 and the book linked above only covers to the year 1858. People came with their tents and camped on the grounds. The preacher's tent was elevated and in front of the group. There were only 9 tents that formed the first circle. However makeshift tents were made from sails and awnings. A well was dug for pure water. The land is right off the Oak Bluffs harbor. A quote from those first meetings was "Surely the Lord is in this place." God moved and continued to move for many years and decades. So much so, that tents were replaced with wooden camp houses. The grand illumination, which we grew up knowing as Illumination night, was filled with lighting paper lanterns and hanging them from houses and lines strung for the occasion. It's still owned by the same camp meeting association of 1835 and in August, they still host the Grand Illumination Night.
Here's a picture I took on my last visit to the Vineyard showing one of the gingerbread houses.