I was very lucky to spend Labor Day weekend on Martha's Vineyard. I had been to the Vineyard once before, when I was in middle school. My dad, an architect, had just finished a huge project in Vineyard Haven and we all took the ferry over to tour the completed hotel. I remember a few things about that day trip - driving our car onto the boat, wandering through the gingerbread houses in Oak Bluffs, sitting at the dinner table celebrating my dad's work - but it was really fun to return 20 years later, as an adult, to do some exploring of my own.
We woke up on Friday morning and drove from Watertown to Woods Hole. We had the best luck - zero traffic on the drive, we were the last two people on the shuttle to the dock and the last two people allowed onto the boat for the 12pm ferry to Oak Bluffs.
Here we are, unable to believe our good fortune!
When we hopped off the ferry, we decided to walk straight into town. The very first place we stumbled upon was the Flying Horses Carousel.
I grew up going to the Paragaon Park Carousel in Hull, MA (right across the street from Nantasket Beach), so I can never resist taking a spin.
Flying Horses is the oldest carousel in the country. It opened its doors in 1876.
It costs $3 dollars for a ride. While you're waiting in line, you get to observe the special feature of this particular carousel - the quest for rings. Before each ride begins, the staff fill two wooden arms with rings and as you ride around, you try to snag as many as you can. During each ride there are two brass rings hidden in the lot and if you catch one, you win a free ride.
When it was our turn to enter the gate, we made a mad dash to try and find two horses together, but sadly the kids in line ahead of us scooped up most of the side-by-side seats.
Here is my horse (on the left). I am not going to lie to you, the hair for the mane and the tail freaked me out a little bit. I'm used to carousels with painted horses.
The inside of the carousel was decorated with small paintings - some of horses and some with a nautical theme.
Here is my travel buddy all strapped in and ready to go.
Once we got moving, the little girl sitting next to me was on fire snagging the rings! Below is her final count when we came to a stop.
I didn't do quite as well. Whoops.
When we stepped off the carousel, it was as if we'd been spun into vacation mode. We walked back out on Circuit Avenue and were ready to continue our adventure day.
If you are planning a trip to Martha's Vineyard, the Flying Horses Carousel is good, clean fun for kids and adults alike. It's the perfect place to go straight off the ferry, especially if your kiddos were antsy on the boat.
From the carousel, it's a short walk to the gingerbread houses, which are the most charming part of Oak Bluffs.
Have you taken a ride on this carousel? Did you ever catch the brass ring?