By Shannon Boyle
Summer is coming to an end and you may be thinking, “I still need to go on vacation!” – but don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to squeeze in a trip and enjoy the weather.
Looking for a great coastal destination? Martha’s Vineyard is the perfect place to get away for a weekend or even a day trip. The Vineyard has spotless shores, warm sands and cool ocean waters. It offers its visitors numerous places to relax, swim and take coastal strolls. Each seaside town has its own unique charm, making up the 100 square-mile island.
On the Vineyard, up-island is considered the western area encompassing the towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. While down-island is the eastern portion and home to the historic villages of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. The divide comes from the time Martha’s Vineyard once had whaling ships circling the globe; heading ‘up’ in nautical terms took you west, not actually up the coast.
Looking for historic sightseeing? Check out Gay Head Lighthouse in Aquinnah, the first lighthouse constructed on the Vineyard, and stay for spectacular sunsets at Gay Head Cliffs. Chilmark can be found next to Aquinnah and is known for its rolling hills and stone walls with many nature preserves and dramatic coastlines. Be sure to stop by the fishing village of Menemsha for its quaint shops, tasty seafood and beautiful views of the sunset.
Another must-see historic landmark is the nation’s oldest carousel – the Flying Horses Carousel, located in picturesque Oak Bluffs. While in town, grab a coffee at Mocha Mott’s, walk down Circuit Avenue, and take in the gingerbread-style Victorian cottages. Just south of Oak Bluffs is Edgartown, home to one of the main ferry ports on the Vineyard. Edgartown is the oldest English settlement on the Vineyard offering miles of public beaches. If you’re looking for a lively downtown nightlife scene, these two towns are the island’s only “wet” towns.
Vineyard Haven, commonly known as Tisbury, is home to the other main ferry point and is open all year long, where Oak Bluffs port operates seasonally. In addition to their scenic harbor, Vineyard Haven has a lively Main Street shopping district with quaint boutiques and shops. If shopping isn’t your thing, visit Island Alpaca for a fluffy-fun tour. Be sure to stop in West Tisbury to take in all of its rural charm. The small downtown center is home to historic Alley’s General Store and the Field Gallery.
Now you many be thinking a visit sounds great but there’s not enough time before the warm summer weather transitions to cooler months. Not to worry! Martha’s Vineyard is a year-round destination. There are endless outdoor activities on the water, in the woods, or along the many ponds that ring the Island. Grab some clam chowder to-go and picnic on the beach. Take a leisurely drive down the middle of the island or a stroll through the narrow streets to visualize the history. No matter the time of year, the seafood is delicious and the sunsets are just as breathtaking!
(This blog post was written by Shannon Boyle, Content Marketing Specialist for BBB Serving Eastern MA, ME, RI & VT.)