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Summer Vacationing in New 

Summertime Beach Communities


Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard, is a popular getaway for summer visitors. It was originally known as "Holmes Hole" until petitioners forced its renaming in 1871. As the island's port nearest the mainland, it was for many decades a terminus for boats carrying passengers and freight from New Bedford and Nantucket. A fire in 1883 destroyed the heart of the town. Today, many of the shops along Main Street reflect the architectural style of the 1880s when they were rebuilt. This lithograph shows the layout of Vineyard Haven around 1880. Click to enlarge.




In 1835, Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, was founded as a Methodist meeting camp. Church groups from around New England would attend meetings here, sleeping in large "society tents." Later, families pitched their own tents, often adding wood floors or frames. During the 1850s the tents began to be replaced by miniature wooden cottages, and later, with more impressive cottages. Oak Bluffs grew to become a very popular resort community. Seen here is a stereocard view of the beach in Oak Bluffs. Click to enlarge.


In the eighteenth century, Marblehead, Massachusetts, was important for its fishing and Atlantic Trade industries. Since the late nineteenth century, Marblehead's harbor had been its most important asset. Its beauty and an interest in boating by vacationers has transformed it into a summer resort town. This image, View of Marblehead Harbor, was shot by N.L. Stebbins around 1888. Click to enlarge.





The history of Nantucket Island can be traced back to the Wampanoag Indians, who lived there undisturbed until the mid-seventeenth century when the English began to settle. For many years, Nantucket was known as an important whaling community, and later on became a popular destination for summer tourists. This 1797 engraving is titled View of Siasconset, A Fishing Village on Nantucket. Click to enlarge.


In 1639, Newport, Rhode Island, was founded by English settlers. Many of the original colonists relocated here from other colonies for religious freedom. It became one the leading colonial seaports, playing an important role in the Atlantic trade industry. To the right is a lithograph of Newport Harbor as seen in the nineteenth century.

By the nineteenth century, it was transformed into a popular summer resort, largely because of the preservation of its charming and historic landscape. Seen here is a stereocard view of Newport beach.


Newport is most famous for the mansions that were built and inhabited by wealthy and elite summer vacationers, such as the Vanderbilts of New York. Many of these mansions are now major tourist attractions. Here is an unidentified family playing croquet outside their cottage. Click to enlarge.





The coast of Maine has long been a popular summer vacation spot in Northern New England. Old Orchard Beach began to take shape as a popular summer resort community as early as the 1830s. After the Civil War, transportation to the area steadily improved, with the building of the railroad, which brought many Canadians down from Montreal. Shown here is a ca.1880 view of Old Orchard Beach. Click to enlarge.



Bar Harbor, Maine, is known for its scenic diversity, which includes mountains and beaches on the ocean and lakes. It became a popular resort for summer vacationers, with several hotels and many fancy cottages built by wealthy individuals who wanted to vacation in a less commercialized area than a place such as Newport, Rhode Island. Seen on the left is a bird's eye view lithograph titled Bar Harbor, Mt. Desert Island, Maine. At right, is an engraving titled Mt. Desert Island, Coast of Maine, ca. 1871. Click to enlarge.

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Haven Oak
Bluffs stero card Marblehead
Harbor Siasconset
on Nantucket Newport,
RI Newport
Beach stereo card Newport
mansion Old
Orchard Beach Bar
Harbor, Mt. Desert Island Mt. Desert