Every summer at the Cottage, after the Memorial Day and Fourth of July celebrations have come to a close, we start what has come to be known as the Grand Illumination.
The idea came to me from an article in Victoria magazine which I had read a few years back.
Oak Bluffs Campgrounds
From Victoria, July, 2005
This tradition started on Martha's Vineyard at Oak Bluff Campgrounds about 144 years ago.
Every year clusters of families come from all over to view the lighting of the night in August at the end of the summer season.
They spread their blankets on the village green and wait with anticipation until one lone lantern sways across the grounds and is planted in front of the Tabernacle.
That is the start of a domino effect as each cottage, surrounding the green, lights up the night sky like a village of fireflies.
It started as a city of tents to the Methodist community in the 1830's.
The tents gave way to simple cottages in the Carpenter Gothic style in brightly painted hues.
The cottages, like some of the lanterns, have been handed down through the generations.
As you may have guessed by now, I am a great lover of romantic traditions. I enjoy all types of decorating from primitive to modern, and when I say to you that I love your style and what you do with it, I am being sincerely honest.
I have been known to change directions every once in awhile, but I always return to the traditional, romantic style that is embedded in my heart.
That is why every summer we display the Grand Illumination. It is a tradition that has been enchanting visitors to Martha's Vineyard for many years, and I'm hoping it will do the same for my little corner of the world.
If you have ever been so fortunate as to see the real Grand Illumination, I'd love to hear all about it.
"I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
Marjorie Kinnan Rawlings
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