Tuesday, July 9, 2013


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

I'm joining today with:


  1. I have never heard of this. What a nice tradition. The lanterns on your home look wonderful, I like the black and white one especially with the color just on the lanterns. I will now want to read more about this. One I think should get passed along, thank you for the info.. I learn so much from bloggers like you and this is why I am sitting up at 1:24 in the morning reading them. I love it. Happy Wednesday - Betsy

  2. I've never heard of this either - but I'm totally enchanted - how absolutely gorgeous Judy!!!!
    Complete magic - thanks so much for sharing - what a beautiful thing to learn about :)

  3. I also have never heard of this. It is really beautiful with the lights. I have lights on my patio and they look so pretty at night and romantic.
    I love your house! It is really stunning.

  4. Hi Judy,

    What a wonderful way to celebrate the 4th of July! So festive and patriotic. Your home is so lovely. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  5. How clever - I do remember that Victoria article and what a fun tradition.

  6. This is new to me, but I love it! I think I'm going to try and start something like that in my little neighborhood! What fun!

  7. I had a goose chase me once so I totally understand! I took that photo of the owl with my iPhone5 zoom.

  8. This was new to me too, but what a Lovely tradition. It's nice with traditions, I totaly agree with you.
    Hope you have a good day over there.
    Love Elzie

  9. What a lovely story of a lovely tradition! I bet your neighbors really enjoy your "Grand Illumination"! I might start with twinkle lights on my porch ceiling! Inspiring!

    Linda at The French Hens Nest

  10. What a cute, cute idea. I love the story and inspiration behind this. I LOVE it!!!! I just might copy this idea-xo Diana

  11. Hi Judy
    What a neat tradition to start where you are. After the Christmas lights come down, everything is so bland without the twinkle and shimmer and I've wished we could leave lights up all year. How about illumination all summer? Your cottage is very sweet.

  12. What a cool tradition.I have never heard of this before! Thank you for sharing.Love your photos especially you last one.How lovely <3

  13. That is definitely an enchanting tradition! I love it. Your front porch looks so pretty with the lights and lanterns. We have white rope lights and Christmas lights on our back deck all year around but I like the look of the traditional coloured light you have as opposed to the LED's that are so popular now. We have the LED's out at Christmas time but they just aren't as pretty as the 'old fashioned' tones are they? I sure like this tradition though. We'd be the talk of the neighbourhood if we did it. :)

  14. What a lovely tradition, Judy! Your porch is really pretty all lit up like that. I LOVE lights! Boy, would I ever cause a stir in my neighborhood if I did this! As it is, I keep two candles in my front window all year round. Thank you for sharing with us at my HOME and have a wonderful rest of the week.


  15. This is new to me...but what a wonderful idea...and your house looks amazing! I have lots of Chinese lanterns maybe I should take up this tradition. What a wonderful delight.

  16. This is so sweet Judy and what a great tradition. Your porch looks so pretty. Just perfect.

  17. I love old traditions too Judy and especially like to hear how people in other countries do things.I can well imagine how wonderful it all looks.

  18. Oh my gosh Judy!! I love that!!! So beautiful! They look gorgeous hung across your porch. I did not know about the Grand Illumination, I'm so glad you filled me in on that. I like your different photo effects too!
    Have a great weekend!

  19. Me again! I forgot to tell you that I love your new header!

  20. Can I just say how much I love this idea! I saw that same article in the magazine and was enchanted with it. I'm going to have to copy this idea I think. Mimi

  21. I love how you were inspired by that photo - this looks so lovely and so whimsical! I am so delighted that you shared with Home and Garden Thursday,

  22. Judy!!! OMG!! I am totally in love with this whole concept!! Your sweet little cottage is just magnificent and It must look so magical on a warm Summer night!! Thanks so much for sharing this wonderful tradition!!


  23. I agree with everyone this is totally awesome. I am so jealous, wish I could come and set awhile on your porch. May use this idea for a get together I am having in a couple of weeks.

    Cathy's Cupboard Calamity

  24. Your lovely cottage looks like something out of a wonderful fairy tale or fantasy in these pictures :)

  25. what a lovely story and I love how your house is all lit up with pretty lanterns a such. I've enjoyed my visit very much.
    may God Bless,
    Marie Antoinette


Your comments are so special to me...Judy