Looking for something unique on your Martha’s Vineyard visit? Visit Flying Horses in Oak Bluffs. This carousel – the oldest operating platform carousel in the United States – is listed in the National Register of Historic Places and designated a National Historic Landmark. If you’re on the island, stop by and check out this unique piece of American history.
History of the Flying Horses
Experts estimate Flying Horses’ construction occurred somewhere around 1876. It originally stood on New York’s Coney Island. In fact, one of the decorative panels includes a stamp which reads “Coney Island #4.”
In 1884, a man named F.O. Gordon, of New York City, purchased the carousel. He relocated it to a town called Cottage City (what we now know as Oak Bluffs), and situated it near the entrance to Oak Bluffs Harbor. In the late 1880s, the town purchased the carousel, uprooted it from its harbor-side location, and shifted it to its current location on Circuit Avenue, which is Oak Bluffs’ main business and entertainment district.
The carousel has changed hands a number of times since then. Ultimately, in 1986, the Martha’s Vineyard Land Trust acquired it and assumed control over its day-to-day functioning. Today, not much has changed; the 1923 Wurlitzer Band Organ plays tunes from the past century, reading the notes from original paper rolls. Children (and adults!) also still have the chance to grab the lucky brass ring and win a free ride.
The carousel operates daily, from 11 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Rides cost a mere $2.50. As previously mentioned, riders who successfully grab the brass ring win a free ride. This is a fun, family-friendly activity, and something you can tell people about for years. Come enjoy this piece of American history!
After Flying Horses
After you’ve finished, head out to enjoy some of Oak Bluffs’ many outdoor attractions. There are a number of beaches in the area, such as Joseph Sylvia State Beach, Oak Bluffs Town Beach, and Inkwell Beach. You could rent a kayak and paddle around Oak Bluffs’ picturesque harbor. Those looking for real adventure could charter a fishing boat and head out for a fun-filled day in the sun.
If the water isn’t your thing, there are a number of terrestrial activities you can enjoy, such as renting a bike to cruise around town. You may also consider trading Flying Horses’ wooden steeds for real horses and go on a beach trail ride.
Whatever your preference, you’re guaranteed to have a great time in beautiful Oak Bluffs!
Every adventure in Oak Bluffs begins with a great accommodation. Our Martha’s Vineyard vacation rentals provide a perfect base for relaxing and unwinding in between all of the great activities you can participate in during your time on the island. We have rental properties all over Martha’s Vineyard, so you can choose to stay on your favorite part of the island. Whether you want to be right in town or more isolated, we have the perfect rental for you. Visit our website to check availability and learn about all of our services!