Islander's know the tradition well. The third week of August picturesque Campground in Oak Bluffs is lit with lanterns and lifted with the sound of island voices singing together. However, not everyone knows the history.
Around 1835, Methodists began having yearly meetings in the midst of summer. They would bring tents and camp beside the sea, in an oak grove high on the bluffs of the Northern end of Edgartown. Over the years those tents were slowly replaced by little wooden cottages, built side by side. The Tabernacle was built in the 1870s, in the center of The Campground.
Now we have the wonderful tradition of Illumination Night! In its time the celebration marked the visit of the Governor of Massachusetts. The night means many things, but one could say that Illumination Night is in part a remembrance of the first seasonal visitors to the Island. The proceeds of the Grand Illumination go towards the upkeep and restoration of the historic Tabernacle. You can find more info about the event here!
One of our favorite parts of the Illumination Night is the variety of eclectic lights, candles, and visually spectacular lanterns. Whether you are on the Island and can join in the fun, or want to put up lights and participate from afar, we have plenty of beautiful options to choose from!
We're incredibly proud of our lantern collection. Our Allsop Home and Garden is the awesome solar powered lantern company we carry in the store, perfect for the sustainable, aesthetically driven islander! Artecnica of CA make our ever popular handmade paper stars. We also work with Cultural Intrigue, a Vermont based company, that specializes in rice paper shades and Zen Zen, a fair trade group that focuses on beautiful cloth shades.
You can't walk into the shop without stumbling upon a candle or two. From our artisanal Skeem, to Vance Kitira, to Shore Soap Candles... we could list them all day, but you'll find they aren't hard to miss!
We stock plenty of vessels to carry candles, swanky matches, strings of light, and other essentials to brighten up your evening. The best bet? Stop by the store! We can't wait you see you at Illumination Night!
If you want a little preview from Illumination Night of year's past, check out Susan Branch's blog! She wrote a lovely overview with lots of photos.
Living on the coast of New England, nestled in a little island, we often forget how lucky we are. That is, until a customer who has traveled halfway across the country to enjoy some Vineyard air remarks on all our shell products. To us a part of life, to others a novelty.
There is a "Coastal New England" aesthetic and we are chock full of it. However, rather than selling rinky-dink seashell imposters, we've got the real deal. There are starfish and shells in many a nook and cranny.
You may be leaving the island soon, or you may be arriving to your summer island home. Either way, you really can't go wrong with filling your shopping basket up with seaside mementos. Take the island with you. Get yourself something that will remind you of your perfect day at Katama Beach. Bring back a token of the Atlantic to a loved one who has never dipped their toes into the ocean.
Finally, pick the perfect frame to remember your time here. If you're a local, remember what we are reminded every day. The seashore and all it's bounty are special and we are lucky. Next time it's a midwest relative's birthday, think about giving them a little piece of your world.
The Vineyard Vintage ReSail bags we carry epitomize the difference between Rainy Day and your run of the mill New England gift shop.
You would be hard pressed to find these unique, hand crafted bags outside our store, and may find it impossible to snag them once you've left the Vineyard. Kathleen Young, the artisan who puts together these carefully stitched bags, offers an array of colors, shapes, and designs. It's really worth a trip to the store just to check them out!
Have you purchased any of these one of a kind bags from us in the past? We would love to see how you've added it to your personal style. Send us a picture or post on our page!
Don't leave the Vineyard without a little something to remember it by. Whether you are shopping for yourself or someone special, artisanal sea salts are never the wrong way to go. They can be the important finishing touch on a home cooked meal and a stellar talking point.
Husband and wife team Curtis and Heidi are the driving force behind Martha's Vineyard Sea Salts, which upholds a centuries old Island tradition in harvesting local salts. Once a month, throughout the summer, Heidi and Curtis drive to the South Shore of Martha's Vineyard to collect over 500 gallons of seawater. They then bring their bounty back to Down Island Farm to filter and process the water through their solar powered evaporator. While procuring and utilizing salt for preservation has been important to Islanders since the first European settlers, and was once the Island's second largest industry, Martha's Vineyard Sea Salt
has been the only scale harvester of sea salt on the Island in the last 200 years!
Here at Rainy Day we sell a variety of their salts, including gift bags and mixed sampler packs. The offerings range from smoked oak to blueberry honey, so the utilization of these salts is endless! Check them out on your next visit.
We love supporting Island Made Products, and Flat Point Farm has stocked our shelves for several years. This small farm in West Tisbury keeps a heard of goats that both feed their family in milk and cheese, as well as creating their beautiful, artisanal soaps.
Each soap is handmade with consistency and care. Every new scent is an exciting arrival to the shop, and customers rave at both the beauty and quality in each bar.
Currently we're carrying the largest variety we've ever had of their product, and these are always available for personalization: weddings, showers, birthdays, or any gift giving occasion. With advance notice we are able to offer a variety of sizes to please and hostess.
Bring home a piece of the Vineyard and support our local farmers and artisans!