Martha's Vineyard Port is a gateway to the island located 8 miles south of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Martha’s Vineyard was once just the playground of celebrities; it is still considered essentially a summer colony that is only accessible by plane and boat. The island is named after Martha, the daughter of the English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold who sailed to the island in 1602.
There are six towns in the island; the locals are so used to the celebrities visiting their island they no longer even notice.
Aside from basking in the sun, another must-do activity on Martha’s Vineyard is shopping at the island’s quaint shops for local products; these include antiques, glassware, exquisite jewelry and colorful rugs made from old-fashioned looms.
The oldest retail business on the island is Alley’s General Store. They sell authentic New England items and freshly baked goodies to fill up your picnic basket. Scrimshaw items are still popular; although these modern equivalents of the original item are not actually made with whale bones (due to the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972). Genuine scrimshaw necklaces and decorative items were the leisure creations of eighteenth and nineteenth century sailors aboard whaling ships; today replicas are abundantly found throughout various shops. The Midnight Farm is a warehouse-like store selling eco-friendly items, art books, antique looking couches and other vintage finds.
Once a fish market, the Periwinkle Studious specializes in fabric art while the Dragonfly Gallery sells contemporary art by local artists.
Visitors can stop at CB Stark Jewelers Store; they can buy toggle-linked chains for souvenirs.
Things to See
One of the island’s main attractions is Gay Head Cliffs at Aquinnah. It was called as such because the sailors used to call it the “gaily-colored” head of the cliffs. The cliffs are quite unusual; i.e. they are formed from clay. The cliffs are very fragile and are hence protected. A trip to the cliffs will treat you with excellent views of the Elizabeth Islands and even Newport, Rhode Island.
There are several beaches on the island. South Beach is a public beach with good waves for surfing. Another public beach is the State Beach and is highly recommended for children. The Aquinnah Beach is located just below the Gay Head Cliffs; nudity is common on the northern part of the beach.
All five lighthouses in Martha's Vineyard are functional and maintained by local authorities. The Gay Head Lighthouse is at least 150 years old. The 180 Gingerbread Cottages within Oak Bluffs make up the island’s campgrounds; some of these cottages are privately-owned.
Mytoi Garden is a Japanese-styled garden conveniently located within the pine forest at Chappaquiddick. The Polly Hill Arboretum covers 20 acres of land and is home to 1,700 species of plants. The arboretum staff is led by the world-famous horticulturist Polly Hill.
Restaurants and Bars
Lambert’s Cove Inn Restaurant serves fresh island seafood along with homemade soups. Their hardwood floors and fireplaces create a homey ambience.
The best barbecue and grilled dishes are served at Smoke N’ Bones. They have two branches in the island. The menu in Zephrus Restaurant features locally harpooned swordfish along with fresh island greens.
Edgartown and Oak Bluffs are the only towns in the island that are permitted to sell alcohol. However, tourists can bring their own alcoholic beverages when staying in towns without permits. The Sidecar Café and Bar in Oak Bluffs is a favorite among locals for grabbing a nightcap.