Martha's Vineyard, commonly known as the "Vineyard" is located 10 miles off the Southern coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Discovered in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold the Island is roughly 100 sq. miles in size and is made up of six separate towns, all with their own unique and charming characteristics.
The streets of Edgartown, the island's first colonial settlement, are lined with upscale shops, art galleries, and fine restaurants. Edgartown's stately Greek Revival houses, many of them carefully restored sea captains homes, are surrounded by well-manicured lawns and gardens. The Old Whaling Church on Main Street is a beautiful six columned building built in 1843. This landmark has been restored and now hosts performing arts productions, weddings or private parties. Also on Main Street is the Vincent House Museum, built in 1672 and the oldest house on Martha's Vineyard.
Lighthouse Beach is a pretty place to walk from town to enjoy the busy waterfront or watch boats travel in and out of the harbor. The 200-acre Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary is about three miles from downtown. Owned by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, this nature center provides marked trails and offers conservation education year round. Edgartown is one of the Vineyard's two towns where the purchase of alcohol is legal.
A five-minute ride on the On Time, 3 car plus passenger ferry from the Edgartown dock takes you to Chappaquiddick, an island off an island. Vacationers choose Chappy for the privacy and tranquility this 6 by 3 mile spit of sand offers. By bike or kayak, explore the sand dunes, tidal ponds or the miles of unspoiled beaches. Fishing for blues, bass, or bonito from some of the East Coast's best fishing places is a real treat for most fishermen.
OAK BLUFFS www.ci.oak-bluffs.ma.us
Home to the colorful gingerbread cottages in the historic Camp Meeting Association, Oak Bluffs has been a vacation destination for a diverse group of visitors since the 1800's. With its large parks, sandy beaches, busy harbor area and a variety of summer events including Illumination Night, a grand Fireworks Display and several fishing tournaments, Oak Bluffs continues to be a favorite destination for many summer time visitors. Oak Bluffs Town Beach is a delightful family beach located an easy walk from downtown. With calm surf and soft sand, this beach is a nice place to linger while watching boats travel in and out of the harbor. Farm Neck Golf Club is the only 18-hole course on the Island.
Circuit Avenue in downtown Oak Bluffs is considered the liveliest place for visitors seeking late night entertainment. Oak Bluffs and Edgartown are the only two towns on the Island where alcohol may be purchased.
TISBURY (Vineyard Haven) www.tisburyma.com
Originally a fishing village and a bustling seaport during the whaling era, the Vineyard Haven of today is home to charming shops, popular restaurants and a beautiful harbor, often filled with private yachts. The town is nestled in a cove between two points of land, East Chop and West Chop. As the main port of entry to Martha's Vineyard, Vineyard Haven is the landing spot for the car ferry from Woods Hole on Cape Cod and the Fast Ferry from New Bedford.
Many of the captains homes built on a hill overlooking the harbor still stand today.
If you go to the town beach at Owen Park, you can watch the ferries go by as they shuttle passengers to and from the mainland. The town band plays at Owen Park every other Sunday evening in the summer.
Favorite spots for photographers include Tashmoo Lake overlook on State Road, West Chop Lighthouse, and the area around the drawbridge on Beach Road.
Beaches include Owen Park Beach on Vineyard Haven Harbor and Lake Tashmoo Town Beach on Vineyard Sound.
WEST TISBURY www.westtisbury-ma.gov
West Tisbury covers 34 square miles and has a year-round population of about 2,600. This number grows to several times that in the summer. The first recorded settlement was in 1669; it was incorporated as a town in 1892, when the settlement of Tisbury was divided into two villages, Tisbury and West Tisbury.
West Tisbury , Chilmark, and Aquinnah are often referred to as up-island. Rural and unspoiled, West Tisbury has many acres of State Forest, scenic beaches, rich farmland, and many historical structures. Its New England village charm is maintained with its general store, white church, post office, and many farms.
The town has maintained the neighborly sense of community for which it is noted. Twice a week from mid June to mid October, West Tisbury hosts the popular Farmers Market at the Grange Hall.
Lambert's Cove has some lovely homes and a charming white church. Year-round and summer residents can stroll along a woodland path to the beach.
The Cedar Tree Neck Nature Preserve comprises 300 acres of woodlands. Although fishing, picnics, and swimming are not allowed, there are some wonderful paths through woods and dunes and along brooks and freshwater ponds.
Longpoint Wildlife Refuge comprises over 600 acres of sandy plain, marsh, woodlands, ponds, and barrier beach at Tisbury Great Pond. Swimming permitted at Long Cove Pond and South Beach.
Chilmark, along with West Tisbury and Aquinnah, is often referred to as up-island. This town is known for its rolling meadows, stone walls, and one of the Island's finest beaches, Lucy Vincent Beach which is restricted to Chilmark residents only.
Visitors are enchanted by the rustic charm of Menemsha, the classic New England fishing village on the east coast of Menemsha Pond and adjacent to the opening to Vineyard Sound. It was here that location footage for the film Jaws was shot.
Menemsha Harbor is the departure point for local fishermen. The catch of the day is unloaded from fishing boats and can be bought from markets along Dutcher's Dock. Vacationers too depart from here for charter fishing and cruises, and cyclists take the ferry across Menemsha Pond to Aquinnah. The public beach is next to the harbor and provides some of the best sunsets on the Island.
Menemsha Hills Reservation comprises over 200 acres of hiking trails, with a panoramic view of the Elizabeth Islands in Vineyard Sound.
Aquinnah, formerly called Gay Head, is the western most town of Martha's Vineyard. Aquinnah, West Tisbury, and Chilmark are often referred to as up-island. This region is rural and unspoiled, with stone walls, farms, and vineyards.
The native Wampanoag tribe is credited with providing this area with much history. One of the few Indian townships in Massachusetts, Aquinnah means land beneath the hill.
The Aquinnah cliffs are a national landmark and one of the most popular places to visit on the Island. Due to increasing erosion, the cliffs are a protected landmark. The clay-colored cliffs and beautiful beaches below present a dramatic setting that is widely photographed. While there, tour the Gay Head Lighthouse, built in 1856.
Aquinnah Public Beach, also known as Moshup Beach, is located at the base of the Aquinnah cliffs and is ranked one of the top U.S. beaches. Philbin Beach is another popular town beach.
Lobsterville Beach is a family-friendly beach with calm, shallow water ideal for children. This is also a favorite bird watching area. The Wampanoag Tribal Center on Black Brook Road provides details of the native tribe, their settlement on Martha's Vineyard, and their relationship with the Pilgrims at Plymouth on the mainland.
Here is Half the Fun
Offers year-round ferry service for passengers and vehicles from Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Advance vehicle reservations required. (Book Early)
Daily service between Martha's Vineyard and Boston, New Bedford, Providence, Hyannis and Nantucket.
Offers daily walk-on passenger-only service from Falmouth, Massachusetts to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. Operates from the middle of May to the middle of October.
Year Round daily passenger-only express ferry service from New Bedford, Massachusetts to Martha's Vineyard. Reservations recommended during summer months.
Daily fast ferry passenger-only service from Quonset Point, R.I. to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. Operates from the middle of May to the middle of October. Reservations recommended during the summer months.
Offers daily walk-on passenger-only service from Hyannis, Massachusetts to Oak Bluffs, Massachusetts. Operates from the middle of May to the middle of October.
Daily service from Boston, Logan Airport, Providence and New York City to Woods Hole, Massachusetts. Arrivals and departures are coordinated with the Steamship Authority Ferry schedules.
The official web site of Martha's Vineyard. Explore the Vineyard online or search site for Island business, activities and just about anything else you need before arriving on the Island.
Great source for information about the Island, accommodations, local business's and activities which take place on the Island.
One of two local newspapers published on the Island that provides local news and a calendar of events. Tuesday and Friday editions during the summer months.
The Island's second local newspaper. The Times offers local news as well as a Calendar of Events section and a free monthly Vineyard Visitor supplement.
Rent linens and towels for your vacation rental. Pick up and drop off at their airport location or have your order delivered to your rental home. Order online at.
Offers a full line of equipment for baby, infant and toddler needs. Free delivery.