The Flying Horses on Martha’s Vineyard: a Must Do for Kids!

When people ask me to describe Oak Bluffs, I tell them about the Flying Horses because, to me, the carousel illustrates the flavor of the town perfectly. It’s colorful, historic, loud, full of laughter & fun and unlike any other place in the world.

The Oak Bluffs carousel is the nation’s oldest operating platform carousel and a National Historic Landmark cared for by the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust. Built by Charles W.F. Dare in 1876, the Flying Horses arrived on Martha’s Vineyard in 1884.

Featuring small and large horses, as well as carriages to ride on, the Flying Horses challenge you to catch the brass ring as your circle round. The lucky rider who captures the brass ring wins a free ride. Rides are $1.50 and you can buy a season pass if you know you’ll be climbing aboard again and again. Around the carousel is an arcade complete with games and snacks and open windows pulling the nearby ocean breeze inside to cool the riders.

The carousel is located at the bottom of Circuit Ave – the town’s main drag featuring great shopping, movies, ice cream, fudge and restaurants ranging from pizza to oysters on the half shell – an extension of the excitement and energy of the Flying Horses.

Cool fact: check out your horse’s eyes…you’ll find a surprise!

Make Your Martha’s Vineyard Vacation Last with Randi Baird’s Life-Capturing Photography

Randi Baird is a celebrated photographer on Martha’s Vineyard who specializes in environmental portraiture, combining two of her, and my, favorite things – people and the landscape of Martha’s Vineyard. The island is a special place and your vacation on the Vineyard is a special time, something to be savored. I asked Randi to do this interview because she’s the one to capture your moment…forever.

Anne: What are your favorite locations on the island for family portraits?
Randi: I always ask clients if they have a favorite spot. I want to find places that are dear to them, places that bring out their best selves. If they don’t know the island well, I have favorite spots all over the island, so I ask them where they’re staying and I try to absorb and then match their mood with a specific island spot. Of course, I love to use the water, the beaches…

Anne: What is the significance of the Vineyard environment in supporting and enhancing the photo shoot?
Randi: The vineyard is about the environment, the visual space, the beauty…and people enjoying the landscape…they are completely linked. The Vineyard is a special place for people. They come back year after year, it’s family time, it’s down time – away from home and regular life and this creates an opportunity for people to really connect with each other…and themselves. I encourage people to wait 4-5 days into their time on the island before we do the shoot so they can really unwind.

Anne: Have you done portraits anywhere else in the world? and if so, what is different about doing them on MV?
Randi: I’ve worked in Asia, Europe, Russia and throughout the United States, traveling the world photographing life in action. What’s different about Martha’s Vineyard is its natural beauty and the indescribable feeling that people have while they’re here.

Anne: What is your technique for getting people to relax and for getting authentic photos?
Randi: I’m a mom, so I really enjoying working with kids, and I’m in-tune with them. I like when kids are kids and I do my best to just let them be kids. I capture them at play and then get some posed portraits. I’m capturing family time, a day in the life – moments within their lives. I do direct and I like direction and I bring fun props. Primarily, I connect with kids and adults in a similar way – by connecting on a personal level, starting conversations, going with the moment and being warm and friendly.

Anne: What is your ultimate goal when shooting portraits?
Randi: I’m the observer. Whether it’s a portrait I’m shooting for an engagement photo, a wedding or just to capture a relationship or family moment, it’s all about them. Oftentimes, the best photos happen when people aren’t looking at the camera – real life is captured.

Anne: What do you love most about living on the Vineyard?
Randi: We’re so lucky to live here! Because of the diversity of people, the sustained traditions, the farming, the fishing (it’s great to be surrounded by fish), the strong sense of community, the fact that you can create real change, that you can have a voice here…and be heard.

Anne: Many of our readers are lucky Vineyard vacationers, can you give us a quick list of things absolutely not to miss?
Randi: There are so many! Let’s see…
Lobsters at Larsen’s
Dinner and sunset on the beach in Menemsha
Chilmark Chocolates
Visiting the farmstand closest to the place you’re staying, and buying whatever’s in season
Aquinnah beaches
Getting on the water – kayaking, sailing, surfing
Swimming every day
Shopping in Vineyard Haven
A walk through the Campground in Oak Bluffs
Black Raspberry ice cream at Mad Martha’s
Breathing deeply in the ocean air!

To contact Randi, visit her website, email her at or call her at 508-696-5335.

Thanks, Randi!!!

Chappaquiddick Exclusive: Martha’s Vineyard Vacation Rental

I get excited about all of my rentals because every property on Martha’s Vineyard offers something unique and surprising. But, sometimes I list houses that truly blow me away – this is definitely one of those houses. Note: this house is available for 1-2 weeks this August 2008 only!

When you arrive at this Chappy compound, you will not want to leave – and you won’t have to because everything you need is right there. Made for big groups and surrounded by fields and ocean, it’s the ultimate getaway.

Magnitude. Perfect for entertaining or for bringing the whole family, the property includes a charming guest house, and in total offers 6 bedrooms, 3 kitchens and 6.5 bathrooms, housing up to 12 people. Set on 20 acres, this Chappy property offers total privacy and stunning views of the surrounding landscape.

Amusement. Pool, tennis court, pristine Chappy beaches nearby, Master Suite & kitchen that open on to covered patios, porches & decks surrounding the house, a private 6 hole golf course next door and 20 secluded acres to explore…need I say more?

Habitation. The house is newly remodeled and includes a family room, study and a bow window perfect for reading and relaxing. This space invites a full house and pure festivity, while offering quiet places for Vineyard escape and serenity.

For more pictures, details or rental inquiries, email me at or call 508-627-6070 x27.

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