MARTHA’S VINEYARD: CHILMARK, AQUINNAH, WEST TISBURY
Martha’s Vineyard: The Mystic Island (continue)
Martha’s Vineyard six towns are all unique in looks, atmosphere, mood, and nature. Chilmark, though tiny, proudly supports all of these categories.
At certain spots, the town has forestry look with low stone made walls typical for Great Britain and standing as a reminder of the first colonies. Behind those trees, there are farms, mansions, and wide open green fields. Few hiking trails will take the explorer to secret places not many have seen. Menemsha Hills is one of the longest and most famous on Martha’s Vineyard, but one worth dedicating a half-to-full day.
Chilmark lays on the southern shore of the island and is mostly known for a “fishing town”. Larsen’s Fish Market stands close to Menemsha Beach as a testimony for traditions and values. The market opened its doors in 1969 and continues today to offer fresh seafood caught RIGHT THERE at affordable prices supporting today’s fishermen, the community and offering true delight to tourists. Next to Larsen’s Fish Market are numerous gift shops offering island brands and hand-made items.
Martha’s Vineyard Aquinnah or “land under the hill” in Wampanoag is a sacred place for the Wampanoag natives who first settled the Cliffs’ area. They traveled on ice floe from the North. They were the first to ‘hunt’ whales using small boats. The area of the Gay Head, which was initially the name of the Aquinnah Cliffs, was called that because of the rainbow like colors the clay cliffs had. Also, it is almost impossible not to notice the pure aqua color of the water at the Gay Head shore. Today, the cliffs are preserved and it is prohibited to be touched or for the clay to be used for any purposes. Unfortunately, the ocean ‘eats’ the cliffs and the far west corner of Martha’s Vineyard, i.e., Aquinnah, is slowly being washed off by the Atlantic.
Though being most famous for its panoramic view of the Gay Head Cliffs, Aquinnah has more to offer. The town is very rural but also dotted with diverse nature. Wild grapes, nature formed ponds, farmland, scenic trails, rolling hills—that’s Aquinnah for you! Visitors from near and far come every day to visit the Gay Head lighthouse, which still operates and quietly navigates ships and captains in the dark nights of Martha’s Vineyard.
West Tisbury is Martha’s Vineyard farmland! Dotted with fields and having the largest forest of the island centrally located, West Tisbury is a ‘free-spirited town’ where one can enjoy the best of nature! It is here that The Polly Hill Arboretum is located — a true woodland with diverse plants and gorgeous sunrises or sunsets.
Today’s West Tisbury, once part of Tisbury, i.e., Vineyard Haven, also holds the Lambert’s Cove–highly ranked area with great beach and Makonikey. Even if you don’t have the time to visit all of West Tisbury’s unique places, just driving through it will give you a memorable glance of what untouched by human hand nature means.
Every year, West Tisbury is a home for various art festivals, charity events, and highly supportive of community activities. It is a town with a simple but welcoming atmosphere where the old cliche “help your neighbor” still lives!
“Everything just seems different here: prettier, more serene, poignant, special. Every moment is treasured, bookended by ferry rides of joy and anticipation on arrival, and sadness and loss upon leaving.”–Beta W.