Category Archives: Island Blog

Gingerbread Cottages, Oak Bluffs

Wesleyan Grove is a 34 acre National Historic Landmark District located in Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts.  It is also known as the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association (MVCMA) or the Campgrounds. In 1835 the 35 acre wooded forest were host to a two or three day Methodist religious revival meeting during the summer.  The revival at Wesleyan Grove became an annual event, at first there were nine tents for the attendees, twenty-three years later almost 12,000 people attended and families began bringing their own tents and building rough wooden platforms for them, and finally simple houses were built on these platforms.  These houses were built very simple, the inside walls were also the outside walls, no heat and tiny rooms, but they were built with elaborate gothic flair. work65971621flat550x550075fgingerbread-houses-oak-bluffs gingerbread5 In 1879, the central tent was replaced by an all steel open air tabernacle.  Although the meetings ceased long ago, the Tabernacle with its stained glass windows and stage are still there for visitors to enjoy. taber imgp5248 The Cottage Museum offers visitors the opportunity to view the interior of the typical Campground cottage and a glimpse of life on the Campgrounds in the early 1800’s.  The Museum Shop has a collection of gifts and souvenirs.  The Cottage Museum and Shop are open Monday through Saturday 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Sunday 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m., during the summer season.  Admission to the Museum is $2.00 per adult and 50 cents for children 3 yrs. to 12 yrs. old. There is no charge for children under 3 years old. Take a tour around Trinity Park and check out all of the cottages, there are approximately 300 homes.  Map of Gingerbread Cottages (Trinity Park) trinity_park_mapIn addition to Sunday services during the months of July and August, religious activities on the Campgrounds include guest lectures, bible study, discussion groups and hymn sings.  In addition, a variety of special cultural events are held at the Tabernacle each summer. Every August on a Wednesday evening, the residents of the Campgrounds light their houses with hundreds of Japanese style lanterns “Illumination Night”, there is a community sing and concert band at the Tabernacle, a final season-end celebration, a few days later there are fireworks at the Ocean Park, marking the end of the Vineyard’s summer season. grand12 img_7538 Grand Illumination Night information click here

Title V and the Value of Pre-Inspection

Often times one of the greatest stumbling blocks sellers have is their septic system. Before putting your house on the market it is important to have a Title V inspection so as to know where you stand, and how to move forward. Do your research, and ask your real estate professional who they recommend for an inspector. Inspectors follow town and state requirements stringently, but some go above and beyond. Last summer an inspector did a pre-sale inspection of a pond front system, suggested repairs to bring it into compliance. Once the repairs were made, he returned for a formal inspection, and was able to pass the system saving my client tens of thousands of dollars.
In the event that your Title V inspection does not pass there are ways to solve this – do not despair! It may be difficult to come up with the funds, and for this reason septic installers will often install a new system before closing, and once the sale is on record be paid from the proceeds. Doing this is a smart way to expand your pool of buyers easing their concerns, and bringing you, the seller, top dollar for your home.

Bank Owned Properties
Buying a bank owned property is completely different from purchasing from a normal seller. It is not for the fainthearted, but can offer savvy buyers a bargain. As a company Upper Cape & Vineyard Realty does not represent banks, but we often have buyers interested in foreclosed properties. The most important thing to understand is that there is no rhyme or reason as to what the bank’s representatives will do. They require multiple people to review offers internally, and can be slow to respond. We send them an offer, and they can take as long as they want to to respond. In one recent sale the bank waited over six weeks to respond to an offer, but wanted our client to respond within twenty-four hours.

Typically banks use their in house electronic offer system, and each one requires hours of effort for the buyer’s agent to learn. While we may not be required to submit a standard offer form as a company, it is Upper Cape’s policy to take this extra step. Recently one of our associate brokers was in a situation where his client wanted to change an offer she had made through an electronic system, but would have had to completely submit it losing her priority in the bank’s system. Because he had her sign an updated offer, he was able to call the bank and reach a real person who reviewed the offer and accepted it. We later learned that the agent representing the bank had a client who put in a similar offer, but because our agent took that extra step our client ended up with the house.

At Upper Cape & Vineyard we recently have had success in getting buyers into bank owned properties. In both cases, the buyers ended up with monumental deals! In Massachusetts most bank owned properties are put into a multiple listing service called MLS Pin; meaning few Vineyard listings are exclusively in it. By partaking in this MLS system on the Vineyard we are able to ensure that our clients receive the fullest list of opportunities available.

If you are interested in bank owned properties it is important to work with an agent that goes above and beyond what is required for typical residential sales. Call or email our office, and we will put you in touch with an agent and team to walk you through this difficult process.

Upper Cape & Vineyard Report

Visit Martha’s Vineyard

If you are looking for an island lifestyle or just want to get-a-way, give our office a call or contact us via email at ~ let us help you find the dream vacation or home you deserve!  Pack your beach bag and sandals and enjoy the beautiful beaches… And while here don’t forget to take a tour of the Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs.

Have lunch or dinner at the Black Dog Restaurant conveniently located around the corner from the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven and across from our office stop by and say hello!

See the new Steamship Authority schedule click here.


Martha’s Vineyard has its own MLS that is not searchable through

DOWNLOAD our HOMES ON THE GO mobile app and take the real estate market with you – everywhere you go! We’ve been busy getting a make over: new software, new website and a MOBILE APP for your use (its ad free)! Save searches, share homeboards, instant updates – download the app today and be first to know what hits the market; instantly price updates, etc. Its a great tool to use.


Contact any of our agents; they live on the island … let them be your “real estate tour guide”