An Island off the New England coast, separated from "America" by just seven miles of water, yet worlds apart. No Starbucks, no Gap, no Wal-Mart—no chain stores of any kind.
Stunning, pristine beaches with soft sand wrap the coastline for as far as the eye can see. Walking trails, through salt marshes, hills, forests, and beautiful terrain abound. Bike paths circumnavigate the Island, allowing leisurely access to the three down-Island towns.
In season the towns are packed with relaxed celebrities and high rollers in shorts and t-shirts getting reservations at the fabulous restaurants or shopping in the chic boutiques. Yachts and sailboats of amazing proportions bob gently on moorings in the harbor. Off season is the time the locals love—yes, Martha’s Vineyard is 'open year-round'.
Martha’s Vineyard is loved for its down-home charm and up-scale community. But being rich and famous doesn’t matter much here, where people are people, cell phone coverage is spotty, and time moves at Vineyard speed.
An incredible Island, with roughly 100 square miles of diverse and beautiful terrain. Home to 15,000 year-round residents and an average of 75,000 summer visitors. People come by boat and by plane. The planes fly, the ferries run, and amazing things happen on the Vineyard—even in the winter. Shops, grocery stores, gas stations, hotels, restaurants and theaters are open year-round.
There are six Island towns, each with a very distinct character:
The down-Island towns:
Vineyard Haven (also known as Tisbury), is one of the biggest of the down-Island towns and the main port of entry to the Island for many. Tisbury was dry (no alcohol was sold in the town) until 2010. Now beer and wine can be served with food served in the larger restaurants, but there are no "bars," no hard liquor sales and no liquor stores. Main Street Vineyard Haven is lined with quaint shops; the waterfront houses boat yards, the Black Dog café and Owen Park with public access to the harbor. The Vineyard Playhouse, the Katharine Cornell Theater and the Martha’s Vineyard Hebrew Center, all located in Vineyard Haven, offer performances and activities that stimulate our mind, creativity and spirit.
Oak Bluffs, the most diverse, happening, and colorful of the Island towns, bustles with shops, bars, restaurants, and activities year-round. One of the two Island towns with bars and full-service alcohol, there’s always something going on in OB. Hire a charter boat or Jet Ski from the docks. Listen to a free concert at Ocean Park. Explore the fun and funky shops on Circuit Avenue. Experience Illumination Night in the Campground, where over 100 incredibly colorful Victorian cottages hang lanterns that will delight your senses. The Possible Dreams Auction takes place at Ocean Park in August, and Union Chapel offers a variety of performances, speakers and services throughout the summer. Kids and adults alike will love the Flying Horses Carousel, the oldest working carousel in the US. You’ll never be bored in Oak Bluffs.
Edgartown, where the historic captain’s houses are white, shutters are black or Essex green, and lawns are perfectly manicured. Roses bow their heads gracefully over the tops of the white picket fences, sending their sweet scent to the well-groomed passers-by. Home to the Edgartown Regatta, 12-metre races, amazing restaurants and bars, private clubs, and high-end shops. You can get a cocktail in Edgartown. Or, get an ice cream at Mad Martha’s and sit on the corner of Main street to see who goes by—seasonal locals Meg Ryan, Ted Danson, or Jim Belushi? Or maybe just "folk." Good looking folk to be sure. Edgartown is the high-end social center of Martha’s Vineyard where events, including the Taste of the Vineyard and Meals In the Meadow happen. It’s also the access point to famed Chappaquiddick, where some of the most beautiful beaches in the country reside.
The up-Island towns:
Chilmark, wonderful, exclusive Chilmark. Residents gain access to Lucy Vincent Beach where who’s who from around the globe chat quietly behind Prada glasses, and lithe dancers from The Yard are reputed to rehearse "au naturel." Incredible mansions are hidden from sight down long dirt roads. In the bustling fishing village of Menemsha, local fishermen bypass 100-ft private yachts as they enter a harbor that has changed little in the past 50 years. Sip wine on the beach (BYOB) and join the tourists who watch the sunset nightly—and applaud when it dips below the horizon. Chilmark is about understated elegance, privacy, affluence and discretion. Town consists of a quaint country store, a post office, town hall, a fire station, one restaurant and the Chilmark Community Center where locals go for films, talks, tennis and fitness classes. The country beauty of Chilmark is loved by those who frequent this amazing part of Martha’s Vineyard.
Aquinnah (formerly known as Gay Head), is the outermost part of Martha’s Vineyard and is home to the original Martha’s Vineyard residents, the Wampanoag Indian tribe and some of the Island’s most affluent home owners. Perched high on a bluff, with the famed Aquinnah Cliffs below, you can see most of the Elizabeth Islands on a clear day from Aquinnah. The cliffs are composed of 150 feet of sediment from six glaciers—including red and white clays, green sands, white quartz, black organic soil, and lignite. They tell the story of the past hundred million years one colorful layer at a time. Beaches call to visitors to come and sit and let go of the rest of the world. Tourists browse in the tiny shops at the look-out and buy souvenirs for family and friends. Locals enjoy breakfast in the simple restaurant on the cliffs with an incredible view. Aquinnah is remote, beautiful and peaceful.
West Tisbury is the largest town by land area, and spans the center of the Island. It is home to Alley’s General Store, the Field Gallery with its playful white statues, the Martha’s Vineyard airport, Lambert’s Cove beach, and the state forest. West Tis is predominantly rural with numerous farms, stables, and the Agricultural Hall. West Tisbury has two small town centers with a grocery store, banks, a yoga studio, pharmacy, the general store, a gas station and a few shops. Art galleries sit off winding country roads, the twice weekly Farmers Market and Artisan's Festivals are packed during summer months and for a few wonderful days in August, it is home to The Dukes County Fair. Many year-round residents live in this comfortable, rural community with rolling fields and an easy-going manner.