The one-time cottage city of Oak Bluffs is a popular resort town on Martha's Vineyard. Serving the entire island, Oak Bluffs Harbor is home to many nationally-recognized homes and landmarks. One of these is the 1876 Flying Horse Carousel built by Charles W.F. Dare. The Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Associated in the town center is a wonderland of Victorian Gingerbread cottages and the central Tabernacle.
Located on a small island, Oak Bluffs Harbor has a generally milder climate in the winter and cooler summers than mainland Massachusetts. The Atlantic Ocean brings frequent rain and fog, but there are many sunny days to enjoy beaches and boating. The temperatures range from an average high of 26°C (79°F) in July to an average low of -5°C (22°F) in January. While precipitation is relatively stable throughout the year, the months of May through September are a little drier.
The Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs Harbor operates from Easter Sunday until Columbus Day. In the summer, it is open from 10am until 10pm, while spring and fall hours vary. The United States' oldest operating platform carousel, the horses were hand-carved in 1876. The carousel even has a brass ring that awards a free ride to those who catch it. This national landmark was originally on Coney Island, New York. Since 1884, it has been housed in a red barn in Oak Bluffs Harbor where residents and visitors gather for this traditional fun from America's past.
The Martha's Vineyard Camp-Meeting Association Cottage Museum and Gift Shop is the only Gingerbread Cottage in Oak Bluffs Harbor that is open to the public. Featuring 19th Century furnishings, stereoscopic photographs of Cottage City and the campgrounds, and stories from the campground's history, the gift shop offers jewelry, postcards, and copies of the famous lanterns that light up the town during the Grand Illumination. This Oak Bluffs Harbor Museum and the shop open during the summer season from Monday until Saturday from 10am until 4pm and on Sunday from 1pm until 4pm. Admission is inexpensive for the Museum.
Oak Bluffs Harbor's Pecoy Point Preserve contains 14 acres of trails that wind through salt marshes, grasslands, woodlands, and coastline. A bucolic setting within a suburban area, the Pecoy Point Preserve in Oak Bluffs Harbor supports a wide range of native plants. Visitors can study nature, hike, picnic, walk dogs, ride horses, and go mountain biking in the Preserve (the terrain can be difficult). Hunting is allowed with permission. Offshore, visitors enjoy fishing, boating, and kayaking.
The Farm Pond Preserve in Oak Bluffs Harbor is open every day all year. It covers 27 acres of trails though woodland and marshes. The trails connect to those in Tradewinds Field Preserve. The Farm Pond Preserve covers 27 acres. Even though it is close to the airport, Tradewinds Field preserves sand plain grasslands that are quickly disappearing on Cape Cod and the Islands of Nantucket and Martha's Vineyard. Together, the preserves cover almost 100 acres. A universal-access trail that wheelchairs can travel passes from the parking area to the airport trail system.