Martha's Vineyard

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Martha's Vineyard is an island located 8 miles off the Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts. Once a whaling center, it has become a vacation hotspot for African Americans and a favorite summertime haven of many celebrities. Due to this, it has picked up the nickname "Hollywood East". It is the 57th largest island in the United States and third largest on the eastern seaboard.

Towns[edit]

Martha's Vineyard Towns

Martha's Vineyard is made up of six towns, each with a selection of restaurants and accommodations.

  • Chilmark, including the fishing village of Menemsha
  • Edgartown, which includes Chappaquiddick Island
  • Oak Bluffs, often mistakenly referred to as Oaks Bluff
  • Tisbury, including the main village of Vineyard Haven in the town center

Understand[edit]

Residents have come to say "up island" to mean western areas of the island -- Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury are "down island." These terms refer not to north or south, but to longitude. (From the islands whaling past...)

Celebrities have been coming to Martha's Vineyard for decades. Locals have gotten used to them and scarcely seem to notice any more. It's considered impolite to stare.

South-facing beaches have the most surf. Uncle Seth's Pond on Lambert's Cove Road is the only freshwater beach and has only very limited parking.

  • Martha's Vineyard Museum, 59 School St. (Cooke and School Sts), PO Box 1310, Edgartown, MA 02539, [1]. Open: Summer: mid Jun-early Oct, Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM; Fall: early Oct-mid Dec W,Th,F 1PM-4PM, Sa 10AM-4PM; Winter: early Jan-mid Mar, Sa 10AM- PM; Spring: mid-Mar to mid-Jun, W,T,F 1PM-4PM Sa 10AM-4PM. Authoritative source for history and genealogy on the island. Excellent exhibits including the Thomas Cooke house, the Francis Foster Museum, the Captain Francis Pease House and Carriage Shed with coverage of whaling and Wampanoag history as well. Adm.: $7 adult, 6-15years $4, under 6 free.

Get in[edit]

Ferries[edit]

Vineyard Haven, also called Tisbury, is the main port of entry for the Steamship Authority Ferries.

By plane[edit]

  • Martha's Vineyard Airport (IATA: MVY), Airport Rd. (off West Tisbury Rd), Phone: +1 508-693-7022, [4].
  • Cape Air, Phone: +1-800-352-0714, [5]. Regional airline serving Hyannis, Provincetown, Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket with service also to the off cape cities of Boston, Providence (seasonal), and New Bedford.
  • US Airways Express, Phone: +1-800-428-4322. Service from Hyannis(HYA), New York (LGA), Philadelphia(PHL) and Washington(DCA), [6].
  • JetBlue, Phone: +1-800-JETBLUE [www.jetblue.com] offers seasonal service from JFK and BOS on its 100 seat Embraer E190 Jet aircraft

Get around[edit]

By bus[edit]

Taxi[edit]

  • Adamcab, Phone: +1 508-627-4462, +1-800-281-4462.
  • All Island Taxi, Phone: +1 508-693-2929, +1-800-693-TAXI.
  • Atlantic Cab, Phone: +1 508-693-7110, +1-877-477-8294.
  • Bluefish Taxi, Phone: +1 508-627-7373.
  • Jon's Taxi, Phone: +1 508-627-4677, +1 508-627-5298.
  • Mario's Taxi, Phone: +1 508-693-8399, +1-877-627-6972, +1 508-645-2377.
  • Martha's Vineyard Taxi Company, Phone: +1 508-693-8660, +1-877-454-5900.
  • Stagecoach Taxi, Phone: +1 508-693-9632, +1-800-299-5411.
  • Tisbury Taxi, Phone: +1 508-693-7660, +1-800-597-2362.
  • Your Taxi, Phone: +1 508-693-0003, +1-800-396-0003.
  • Admiral Taxi Phone +1-508-693-2020

Bicycle[edit]

Most of the vineyard's roads are accompanied by a bike path.

Moped[edit]

  • DeBettencourt's Bike Shop, Oak Bluffs, Phone: +1 508-693-0011, [8]. Mid Jun-Mid Sep. 9AM-6PM. Bike and Jeep rentals
  • Vineyard Vehicles Rentals, Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven, Phone: +1 508-693-1185.
  • Adventure Rentals19 Beach Rd +1 508 693-1959. Vineyard Haven.
  • King's Rental, Inc., Circuit Av., Oak Bluffs, Phone: +1 508-693-1887.
  • Vineyard Bike & Moped, Oak Bluffs Av., Oak Bluffs, Phone: +1 508-693-6886.

By car[edit]

  • A-A Island Auto Rental, +1-800-627-6333, +1 508-696-5300, info@mvautorental.com, [9]. Locations in Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown

By ferry[edit]

A small ferry for bicycles and pedestrians runs from North Road on the northeastern side of Menemsha Harbor to West Basin Road on the southwestern side of the harbor.

See[edit]

The Gay Head cliffs at Aquinnah are a "must see". Moshup Beach below the cliffs was also named as at top ten "walking beach" by the Travel Channel in 2003, beating out beaches in Hermosa Beach, CA and Maui. Menemsha is one of the few places on the east coast where you can see the sunset over the water.

Lighthouses[edit]

  • Cape Poge Lighthouse. Located at the northern tip of Chappaquiddick. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required to visit it. Tours available by the Trustees of Reservations [10]
  • Gay Head Lighthouse. Located at the end of State Rd in Aquinnah. Open to the public Tuesday-Saturday from mid-June to mid-September. [11]
  • East Chop Lighthouse. Located on Highland Dr in Oak Bluffs. Open to the public for sunset tours from mid-June to mid-September. [12]
  • Edgartown Lighthouse. Located in Edgartown harbor, this lighthouse was recently made open to the public. You can walk up to the top for $5 per person (children under 12 are free). Follow the path off of N Water St in front of the Harbor View hotel.
  • West Chop Lighthouse. At the north end of Main St in Vineyard Haven. Just under 2 miles from downtown Vineyard Haven. Not open to the public.

Beaches[edit]

  • South Beach. Located in Katama section of Edgartown, this is a large public beach with good surf. Free parking, a few miles bike ride from downtown Edgartown, or via the MV bus system.
  • State Beach. Located between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, on Oak Bluffs Edgartown Rd, this is a large public beach with practically no waves. A good beach for young children. Free parking available along Oak Bluffs Edgartown Rd.
  • Aquinnah Beach (Moshup Beach). Located at the far western end of the island, this is a public beach with pay parking available. A small walk is required from the pay lots to the beach. This beach is known for the picturesque clay cliffs that rise up from the edge of the beach. Nudity has at times been common and tolerated on the northern end of the beach.
  • Lucy Vincent Beach. Located off of South Rd in Chilmark (listed as Lucy Vincent Rd on some maps, it is a dirt road just before the big bend at Windy Gates Rd), this is a private beach for town residents [13] during the summer. Nudity is allowed in the area that is more than 1,500 feet from the entrance. It is open to the public during the off-season, October 1 through May 31. A great beach.

Do[edit]

The island also offers several first class art galleries for the art lovers making a visit. Several of the best are:

  • Island Art Gallery +1 508 693-3948 Tisbury/Vineyard Haven
  • All Things Millie Briggs -- +1 508 693-9232 (Tisbury/Vineyard Haven)
  • Chilmark Gallery -- +1 508 645-2587 (Chilmark)
  • Edgartown Scrimshaw Gallery, Inc. -- +1 508 627-9439 (Edgartown)

For those who like to add a challenge to their walks, the island offers several public golf courses.

  • Farm Neck Golf Course -- +1 508 693-3057 (Oak Bluffs)
  • Island Cove Mini Golf -- +1 508 693-2611 (Tisbury/Vineyard Haven)
  • Mink Meadows Golf Course -- +1 508 693-0600 (Tisbury/Vineyard Haven)
  • Bicycling. As small as people think the Vineyard is, it covers 100 square miles and offers a great cycling opportunity to visitors. Most of the islands roads are accompanied by a bike path. With most of the island being relatively flat, this is a great opportunity for cyclists of all ages and levels to see the island in a different way and help reduce traffic congestion while doing so. The terrain up island tends to be a bit more hilly and windy. During tourist season the roads do get congested and care should be taken to keep an eye on street traffic as well as pedestrians. Also, be sure to obey all traffic laws as they also apply to cyclists and be aware that all cyclists under 16 MUST wear a helmet.
  • Hiking

Several local groups have helped preserve many acres of land on the island, including miles of shoreline, for public use. This makes the Vineyard a great place to see on foot. Whether hiking the cliffs of Aquinnah or walking down to one of the great fishing spots available there is a hike to suit all visitors to the island.

  • Waskosim's Rock Reservation, Chilmark. Stand atop one of the highest peaks on the Island, travel alongside a pretty brook and trek across foothills and valleys on this 184-acre preserve.
  • Cedar Creek Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, West Tisbury. Miles of trails lead you over hills, alongside brooks and bogs and to a wonderful rocky beach on Vineyard Sound overlooking the Elizabeth Islands.
  • Aquinnah Cliffs and Beach. A spectacular view awaits at the top of these 150-foot cliffs, while miles of shoreline below invite walkers.
  • Public programs available all month long at the Massachusetts’ Audubon Center at Felix Neck.
  • Martha's Vineyard Sharks BaseballVineyard Baseball Park.

Annual Activities[edit]

All towns

  • Annual Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby (Sept. 15 - Oct. 15)

Aquinnah

  • Aquinnah Music Festival

Chilmark

  • Chilmark Road Race (August)

Edgartown

  • 4th of July parade and fireworks
  • 12 Meter Boat Race at the Edgartown Yacht Club (Featuring many winning America's Cup boats)
  • Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby (Early Fall)

Oak Bluffs

West Tisbury

  • West Tisbury Farmers Market [14]

Eat[edit]

The island supports a full range of restaurants from casual to fine dining.

Drink[edit]

There are two towns on the Island that permit the selling of alcohol: Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. A third town, Vineyard Haven, recently passed a law that permits the serving of beer and wine (but no hard liquor)at restaurants, and only with meals. The remaining three towns -- West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah -- have a "BYO" policy at most restaurants, enabling diners to bring their own alcoholic beverages. Places to grab a drink with (or without) dinner are

  • Sharky's Cantina. 31 Circuit Ave, Oak Bluffs +1 508-693-7501 & 266 Upper Main St, Edgartown +1 508-627-6565
  • Sidecar Cafe' and Bar. 20 Kennebec Ave, Oak Bluffs, +1 508-693-6261
  • Offshore Ale HouseKennebec Avenue. The island's only brewery, open all year round

Sleep[edit]

The island's only campground is in Tisbury.

The island of Martha's Vineyard features a surprising number of options for lodging. Victorian inns, sizable resorts, and private cottages are all available, residing mostly in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.

  • Pequot Hotel19 Pequot Avenue +1 508 693-5087. Oak Bluffs.
  • Island Inn30 Island Inn Road +1 508 693-2002. Oak Bluffs.
  • The Madison Inn18 Kennebee Avenue +1 508 693-2760. Oak Bluffs.
  • Ashley Inn Bed & Breakfast129 Main Street +1 508 627-9655. Edgartown.
  • The Edgartown Heritage Hotel227 Upper Main Street, toll-free: +1-800-922-3009. Edgartown.
  • The Clark House Inn20 Edgartown Road +1 508 693-3226. Vineyard Haven.
  • The Crocker House Inn12 Crocker Avenue +1 508 693-1151. Vineyard Haven.
  • The Dockside Inn9 Circuit Avenue, toll-free: +1-800-245-5979. Oak Bluffs.
  • The Harbor View Hotel & Resort131 North Water Street, toll-free: +1-800-225-6005. Edgartown
  • The Hanover House28 Edgartown Road, toll-free: +1-800-696-8633. Vineyard Haven
  • High Haven House85 Summer Street +1 508 693-9204. Vineyard Haven.
  • Lambert's Cove Inn & Restaurant90 Manaquayak Road +1 508 693-2298. Vineyard Haven.
  • The Lightkeepers Inn 25 Simpson's Lane, Edgartown +1-800-946-3400
  • Mansion House9 Main Street, toll-free: +1-800-332-4112. Vineyard Haven.
  • The Nashua House Hotel30 Kennebec Avenue +1 508 693-0043. Oak Bluffs.
  • The Thorncroft Inn460 Main St +1 508 693-3333. Vineyard Haven
  • Mansion House (Martha's Vineyard Hotel & Spa), 9 Main St, Vineyard Haven, toll-free: +1-800-332-4112. Forty-room hotel with fitness centre and spa, four blocks from Woods Hole ferry dock. $199.

Connect[edit]

  • The island's newspaper since 1847 has been The Vineyard Gazette, 34 South Summer St., Edgartown, Phone: +1 508-627-4311 Fax: 508-627-7444, [15].
  • A less stylized, more newsy island newspaper is the Martha's Vineyard Times.
  • Martha's Vineyard has a unique low-power FM community radio station, WVVY at 93.7 FM. Its signal can also be heard clearly in Woods Hole and parts of Falmouth on the cape. Highly varied, eclectic music and news/affairs programming 7/24.

Stay safe[edit]

  • There is very little crime anywhere on Martha's Vineyard.
  • Beware of poison ivy, a low-growing vine (which may climb) with three shiny leaves. It can cause skin inflammation at any time.
  • Ticks can be a problem and may carry Lyme Disease. Also, ticks in Aquinnah, particularly at Moshup Beach, may carry Tularemia. Martha's Vineyard is the only place in the continental US where Tularemia has been known to be carried and transmitted by tick bite.
  • When you are at the beach, swimmers should be aware of jellyfish that float north in the summer. Jellyfish are common at the State Beach, on the Edgartown-Oak Bluffs connector.

Go next[edit]

This region travel guide to Martha's Vineyard is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page
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