Martha’s Vineyard: The Mystic of the Atlantic
WELCOME TO MARTHA’S VINEYARD!
An island like no other! A place that few know that it exists, but those that come always return!
Martha’s Vineyard is just about 7 miles off the coast of Massachusetts
and part of the Cape Islands. Nearby is the Nantucket island and the Elizabeth Islands. A place famous for its wild grapes and countless vineyards, the island is famous today with its unique atmosphere, six small and charming towns all different from each other, rich history, beautiful landscapes, and stunning beaches. There is something for everyone on this island and more!
During the winter months, islanders live a quiet simple life as there are only few thousand people living here all year round. However, from late March until late October, the island’s population triples and quadruples because of tourism and seasonal employment. Although small, the island today holds rich diversity in population, culture, traditions and Portuguese is the second most popular language spoken on the island because of its Portuguese population who settled here many, many years ago.
The island is famous for relatively mild winters, rainy and breezy springs, hot and humid summers. Directly affected by the North Atlantic winds it is almost always windy and the windshield could add up to the low temperatures on cold days or a lovely touch of a breeze on hot days.
WHERE SHOULD I GO ON MARTHA’S VINEYARD?
The island’s towns are Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, Chilmark, Aquinnah, West Tisbury. The islanders like to divide the island on two: up-island and down-island. Surprisingly, this division has nothing to do with geography or location but rather it is based on nautical measurements and has to do with a longitude on a map.
Whatever you’d like to see on the island you will see. The three main towns: Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown, located on the East side of the island, are considered to be most tourist-friendly and that’s where most day trippers go. The other three towns are more of farming communities with spread out houses, but that’s also where the best beaches and memorable sunsets are. Green meadows, untouched by humans beaches, cliffs, gardens, flowers, that’s the west shore of Martha’s Vineyard for you!
A QUICK OVERVIEW
Vineyard Haven is where most of the tourists arrive by ferry. Ferries can be taken in Woods Hole, which is conveniently located two hours away from Boston South Station or Boston Logan Airport by bus. Peter Pan bus system is known for great connections to island’s ferries and fares are very reasonable. All buses offer AC, spacious leg room and good wifi connection. Ferries run daily between 6AM and 10PM (an hour less in the winter months).
Once off the boat, you can take a walk through Vineyard Haven’s small, short, but the sweet main street and enjoy the local gift and jewelry shops, as well as restaurants. The Black Dog Cafe, just a few feet away from the ferry terminal is famous destination offering delicious food. Until now, Vineyard Haven has been an alcohol-free zone as you won’t find any alcohol sold in stores or restaurants. If you have the time to explore more of the town, you will be astonished by the architecture, unique for the island, as well as the coastal view.
Oak Bluffs is known to be tourists’ number one favorite spot. Taking the Vineyard Transit bus line 13 off the ferry terminal brings you directly to downtown Oak Bluffs, the famous carousel and the Circuit Ave dotted with craftsmanship shops, best ice cream shop in the U.S., and designed clothing. Oak Bluffs is also known to be the ‘party place’ of the island because that’s where most of the bars, night club, and restaurants are.
Oak Bluff’s Ocean Park is always green and welcoming for a picnic, walks, or simply sitting on a bench and enjoying the view of the Atlantic.
Ferry lines run between Oak Bluffs and Woods Hole, Oak Bluffs and Rhode Island, Oak Bluffs and Nantucket, Oak Bluffs and NYC. For more information on ferry schedule see here.
Edgartown is Martha’s Vineyard gem. Famous for its mansions once owned by ship captains who used to go to sea for months and months at a time looking for whales, today those same houses from the Edgartown historic district unique in architecture, energy, and atmosphere. The most famous of them is the Vincent House located on Main Street.
Various fine dining restaurants await you in Edgartown where you can literally taste meals found no place else in the world. A mixture of ethnic French, Spanish, Italian, the local and Portuguese cuisine is hard to compare to anything else. Being all lit up at night, Edgartown offers a great opportunity for a midnight romantic walk on its streets or down on the beach across the Harbor View hotel where one of the five lighthouses on the island is also located.
If you have enough time, it’s exciting to take the 2 min ferry right from Edgartown to Chappaquiddick and do a wildlife tour and visit the Mytoi gardens. More about them in our next blog post + more about Chilmark, Aquinnah and West Tisbury.
Martha’s Vineyard has something for everyone. Follow our blog posts and look for our next two articles, about this mystic island, that will captivate your mind, excite your heart and take your feet to one or all of the islands charming towns.
The newest guide of Best Things To Do in Massachusetts you can find here