Painted Ladies, Love Feasts & Illumination on Martha's Vineyard
Martha’s Vineyard’s Camp Meeting Association is a collection of concentric circles of teeny Victorian gingerbread houses in a rainbow palette and a National Historic Landmark.
"Illumination Night" is an annual Campground tradition of adorning the pastel-painted cottages with Chinese and Japanese lanterns, many of them family heirlooms. The Association first celebrated Illumination Night 142 years ago to welcome the then-governor of Massachusetts.
The campground’s 315 miniature “painted ladies” feature Gothic archways, pointy steeples, tiny turrets, and cut-out designs in the shape of everything from tulips to geese. The closely-spaced cottages are painted in sherbet shades of lemon, pistachio, tangerine, and raspberry, with festively-painted lanterns strung from the near-touching rooflines, resembling delicious, dripping icing.
In the 1830s, people would come for a week-long revival meeting. Day-long prayer meetings featured exhortations, confessed sins, conversions, healings, and what were called “love feasts,” in which participants passionately shared their stories and experiences.