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Concierge.com's insider take:
Religious camp meetings were a fast-growing trend in the 1830s, when Methodists encamped for the first time in Oak Bluffs. Eventually, they built small wooden houses in concentric circles around a massive open-air tabernacle on streets with names like Jordan Crossing. Many of the 312 gingerbread-style houses have been passed down from generation to generation; the land on which they sit is owned communally. For best effect, enter the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association through the metal arch off Circuit Avenue. Renovations to the tabernacle, rebuilt in 1879, were completed in spring 2008, and in the summer, the Camp Meeting Association (which is now interdenominational) hosts community sing-alongs on Wednesday nights and bands and choirs on Friday and Saturday nights. Only one of the colorful cottages, the Cottage Museum, is open to the public; it exhibits typical furnishings and memorabilia, including the rocking chair where President Ulysses S. Grant sat when he visited. There's also an original magic lantern film projector lighted with a wicker candle (1 Trinity Park; closed October 1 through late May).
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