It’s no secret that the arts scene on Martha’s Vineyard is thriving. From fine art galleries to various local artisan shops and markets, Martha’s Vineyard is home to hundreds of artists creating all sorts of interesting and eclectic work. An art lover on Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t have to go far to find world class art, unique finds and friendly artists willing to share the story of their craft.
Here’s our picks for making the most of our artistic community.
Visit the Vineyard Artisans Festival
Since 1995 the Vineyard Artisans Festival has worked to bring together fine art and fine crafts while promoting Island artists and artisans. Representing over 120 artists, the Artisans Festival provides the perfect one stop shopping experience to explore the creative and inspiring work of the talented people that call Martha’s Vineyard home. From jewelry, to pottery, paintings to metalsmithing, mixed media and photography, the Artisans Festival has it all. The Artisans Festival returns to the Grange Hall in West Tisbury on Memorial Day weekend, and takes places regularly on Sundays and Thursdays throughout the summer.
Experience Featherstone Center for The Arts
“Featherstone” as the locals call it, is a community arts center that keeps the pulse of the Island’s art scene beating all year long. Situated on six acres of stunning meadows in Oak Bluffs, Featherstone offers ongoing education and enrichment programs for art lovers of all ages. Catch a show or reception at one of the campus’ main galleries or expand your skill set with a class or workshop in pottery, photography, drawing, ceramics, music and more. In season catch a live outdoor concert during their Musical Monday series, or their Thursday night Jazz events. Featherstone’s "Flea and Fine Arts Market" also features Vineyard artists displaying their jewelry, art, clothing and crafts on Tuesdays throughout the summer.
Browse dozens of local art galleries
You could spend a full week trying to visit all of Martha’s Vineyard’s diverse and exquisite art collections, and it would be a good use of your time. In the summer months many play host to artist receptions, talks and ongoing exhibits and programs. For the most bang for your buck head to the Oak Bluffs Arts District, a short and colorful stretch of businesses and homes along Dukes County avenue including the renowned fine art photography of Alison Shaw, the Periwinkle Gallery featuring the work of longtime Island painter Judith Drew Schubert, and the Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts, an artist that presents work by 12 local artists who have received grants from the organization. Equally as art friendly is downtown Vineyard Haven’s Main Street, packed with galleries including the Louisa Gould Gallery, the Simon Gallery and the Night Heron Gallery, an artist owned and operated cooperative gallery. Up-Island West Tisbury is home to the famous Granary Gallery at the red barn, which has been a favorite destination on Martha’s Vineyard since 1954. Celebrated as the oldest and largest gallery on the Island, find the famed art of painters, photographers, sculptors, craftsman, and jewelers. Nearby is the Granary’s sister space, the Field Gallery, which offers a whimsical, photo worthy outdoor sculpture garden.
Return for Fall for the Arts
Each fall, Martha’s Vineyard, along with Cape Cod and Nantucket, dedicates the entire month of October to a celebration of the arts. Fall for the Arts strives to initiate and sustain conversations among artists, patrons, and the public. The initiative encourages visitors to enjoy the as-yet under-appreciated autumn “shoulder season,” when temperatures cool slightly, and the largest crowds disperse, making for a more tranquil Vineyard experience. Galleries and studios stay open for the festival, and signature events unique to the Island take place every weekend.
Want more? Check out our Arts & Culture page.
Martha’s Vineyard is an obvious destination for a family vacation, couples retreat, or a girls getaway, and a weekend with the guys is no exception. The Island is the perfect place for a casual stay, offering all sorts of activities that cater to guys that just want to unwind, relax, and forget about the stresses of life “on the other side.”
Here’s our top three suggestions for planning an unforgettable guys getaway on Martha’s Vineyard.
Golf, golf, and golf some more.
Martha’s Vineyard is home to some of the most impressive greens on the East Coast. President Obama famously golfs Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs as often as possible during his vacations here, along with President Clinton too. Farm Neck’s eighteen holes are situated on over 265 acres, including woodlands, open meadows, salt marshes, and stunning overlooks atop the water's edge. Farm Neck has continually earned a 4 ½ out of 5 star rating in Golf Digest's “Best Places to Play,” and is considered by many to be one of the most coveted golfing experiences in the Northeast, not to mention the Farm Neck Cafe is a destination in itself for foodies of all kinds.
Mink Meadows in Vineyard Haven is another golf lover’s paradise, located in West Chop, the northernmost peninsula of the town of Tisbury. Designed and constructed in 1936, “The Mink”, as it has often known, is a semi-private facility featuring rolling terrain with ocean views and a challenging course that can be played as a nine or eighteen-hole experience. Mink Meadows offers a membership but welcomes non-members, who can make tee times up to two days in advance. The course is open year round, weather permitting, and off-season memberships can be easily obtained at a discounted rate.
The Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown is probably the Island’s most elite walking course situated on 235 preserved acres. The course opened in the summer of 2002 and a new front nine debuted in 2013, with a completely redesigned back nine following in 2015. GOLF Magazine named Vineyard Golf Club the “Best New Private Course” of 2015. The Vineyard Golf Club dining room also enjoys a reputation as one of the best restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard.
If your group is looking for a more casual course try the Royal & Ancient Chappaquiddick Links on Chappaquiddick Island, or “Chappy” for short. The course is considered a hidden gem, offering a quirky nine-hole green in one of the most wooded, secluded parts of the Island. For an extra Island experience be sure to take the green keeper’s shuttle from the Chappy Ferry to the course.
Hop aboard a fishing charter or local boat excursion.
On Martha’s Vineyard fishing is not just a hobby it’s a way of life, and Island waters offer some of the best fishing in New England. Our beautiful, bountiful waters are home to striped bass, bluefish, bonito, false albacore (“albies” for short), scup, sea bass, and fluke. Venture further offshore and you’ll find yellowfin and bluefin tuna, sharks (mako, blue, and thresher), swordfish, marlin, and mahi mahi. For those guys that want to throw a line in the water consider chartering a fishing boat and learning from the local pros. For those that score something big and delicious for dinner, consider hiring one of the Island’s private chefs to cook it up for you.
If you’re looking to get extra competitive be sure to visit during the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Tournament. The 73rd “Derby” takes place September 9 to October 13.
Tour our local breweries.
video by David Welch for Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce | Visit MV
Let’s be honest, generally speaking most guys getaways likely involve beer at some point. Martha’s Vineyard is home to two outstanding local breweries, Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs and Bad Martha’s in Edgartown.
Offshore Ale Company is the only brew-pub on-Island, serving award winning small batch craft beer year round since 1997. The brewery offers several varieties from crisp and malty to bold and hoppy, amidst a casual “boathouse-style atmosphere.” Housed in the iconic City Ale and Oyster building (the business’ original name that still decorates the front of the building today), Offshore Ale is located at the corner of Kennebec and Healy avenues in Oak BLuffs. The brew pub has become well-known among locals and visitors alike, a popular gathering place that also offers wood-fired pizza, local seafood, live music and peanut shells littering the floor. Reservations are recommended for brewery tours and happen regularly throughout the week.
Bad Martha’s Farmers Brewery and Tasting Room is located on Main Street in Edgartown amongst the beautiful flowers and greenery of Donaroma's Nursery. Bad Martha’s boasts a 7-barrel brewing system that creates fresh beer daily. Cheese plates, charcuterie, crudité and other snacks are available while you sip, as well as outdoor games, live music and distinctive merchandise. Stop by for a free sample, or a flight paddle from May through October.
The Island is also home to Washashore Beer, a Vineyard born beer organically brewed in Maine. Look for their colorful taps and cans at Island bars and restaurants, including such creative titles as Boy Meets Girl, Boy Meets Boy and Girl Meets Girl.
Ready to book your trip? Check out our helpful directory of Island lodging options.
Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts that has become the prefered summer destination to hundreds of families for decades. For those of you visiting us for the first time, you might be a little confused as to how to get to the island and eventually, how to get around said island while on vacation. We’re here to tackle all your questions, concerns, and overall comments - so here are our top ten travel tips to getting to (and around) Martha’s Vineyard!
1. There are only TWO ways to get to Martha’s Vineyard: you can fly into the MVY Airport or take one of the many ferries from the mainland. Check out Vineyard Ferries for details on all the ferries you can take to Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re flying, carrier options include Cape Air, JetBlue, Delta, and American Airlines - more details on getting to MV by plane.
2. If you want to bring your car on island, you must take the ferry. No, there are no bridges connecting the island to the mainland. Driving from the mainland to the island and back is a dream for islanders, but still not a reality.
3. If you still want to fly in and need a car, there are many car rental businesses on island ready to rent you a car, SUV, Jeep, or van. Car renting is common for visitors spending a few weeks on island at a time!
4. Ask your hotel if they provide parking for your car. Depending on the town and the time you are on island, parking in town might be difficult, as the main streets do get very crowded during prime times.
5. Don’t want to bring a car? Rent a moped! When renting a moped, ask as many questions as possible. It’s a big responsibility as you will be on the rode with automobiles, so safety first. Always wear helmets, close toed shoes, and respect the rules of the road at all times. When riding at night, make sure to wear extra lights and bright clothing.
6. Don’t want to rent a moped? Rent a bicycle! There are so many locally owned bicycle shops on island and you can’t go wrong with any of them! Renting a bike will cost you between $20-45 a day - check out bike rental rates and ride safely! The island has some fantastic bike paths between towns, so it’s the perfect way to explore.
7. Don’t want to rent a bicycle? Buy a Vineyard Transit Authority Bus Pass! Buying a bus pass is a great way to get around the island comfortably. The daily bus pass cost is $8 (2018 rate) and gets you to every town. Here’s a great informational article from the VTA on how to explore the entire island in one day.
8. Don’t want to ride the bus? Walk/run! There are great walking trails and running paths in every town, and it’s a great way to burn all those calories from eating daily ice cream cones and lobster rolls.
9. Take a tour of the island! Whether you're here for the day or for the season, don't miss anything Martha's Vineyard has to offer and take a tour. From tour buses and vans, walking tours, food tours, lighthouse tours, and on-the-water tours, there's a tour for all guests.
10. Don’t want to do any of the above? Call a local taxi company! Locally owned taxi companies are a great way to support island economy and they are very helpful. Call a cab to go from the airport to your hotel and during the ride ask your driver for information on what to do on island! Here is a listing of taxi cabs on Martha’s Vineyard. Uber and Lyft during peak season are on island, but not as much as you’re used to in your hometown.
Travelers can be divided into two types of people: those that love to pack and those that hate it. It can be a tedious activity, but below we’ve put together our best 10 tips for packing for a Martha’s Vineyard summer vacation. Everything you’ll need (and won’t need) is here - we hope our top ten tips make your next packing adventure a short and sweet one! Make sure to read our getting here and getting around posts for more information!
1. Make a list - and check it twice!
Making a list is the only way we can get organized, because once it’s on a list, you’ll definitely remember to pack it! They sell those nifty pre-listed packing lists, but nothing quicker and more affordable than just grabbing a sheet of paper and starting your own list, unique to you and your family.
2. Research the weather - it's still New England
Even though you’re planning a vacation in the middle of the summer, Martha’s Vineyard is still New England and can surprise you with cooler temperatures than you’d expect at times. Knowing this beforehand will help you pack the correct outfits.
3. Create outfits and an overall theme
Talking about outfits - plan around specific outfits or even “themes” so that you’ll pack less and more efficiently. During the summer on MV, you’ll just need a few outfits: exercise outfit if you plan on working out on the beach, beachwear such as swimsuits and coverups, casual outfits for meals or just hanging out, and a few “nicer” outfits if you plan on dining out. Have a golfer in your pack? Make sure to pack correct outfits such as collared shirts and pants, since most golf clubs have strict dress codes.
4. Think layers - light scarves, sweaters, the works
Because the weather might be chilly some nights and because it's often breezy by the water, it’s safe to say that bringing a lightweight sweater or cardigan is a must, no matter the season. These, along with a summer scarf, will keep you warm on nights when the temperatures drop but you’re still enjoying some outdoor dining or events.
5. Stick to three pairs of shoes - maximum!
Shoes are the one thing people tend to overpack - but let’s be real, between a pair of flip flops for the beach or pool, sneakers if you plan on working out, and a nice pair of sandals (or dress shoes for men). Plus, shoes tend to weigh more and if you’re checking a bag it’s something to consider!
6. Don't pack towels or beach blankets
This might be an obvious thing, but just a reminder - most hotels will provide you with beach towels and the fun of a trip is getting a great souvenir and we love some of the local shops that carry MV beach blankets. They’re perfect not just for the beach, but for picnics and chilly nights around a firepit.
7. Roll it, don't fold it!
A time-tested trick of rolling your clothes instead of folding them will give you more room. And more room doesn’t essentially mean more room for stuff to pack. We suggest leaving that extra room for the souvenirs you’ll bring back from your island vacation!
8. Have a ready-to-go health and first-aid kit
Taking preventative measures is always a good idea and having a small kit with the essentials like bandaids and such will make your vacation go smoother. You don’t want to be caught on the beach needing a bandaid and having to leave the sunny sands for it. A small enough kit that fits in your beach bag is just the thing you need.
9. Use dryer sheets to keep things fresh
Before leaving home, throw a few dryer sheets between your clothes and shoes in your luggage to keep everything fresh smelling! Such a simple thing - even more preparedness, bring a few more in a ziplock bag to include on your flight back.
10. Pack half of what you think you'll need
Once you have laid out everything you think you’ll need to pack - remove half the clothing! When on vacation, we tend to reuse clothes more than usual, plus it’s a casual community where you can definitely repeat outfits on the beach!
If you’re a book lover, this post is for you! We’ve compiled a list of Martha's Vineyard authors and books that take place on Martha's Vineyard. Some of these authors live on the island, while others visit and write about the island. Martha’s Vineyard has the power to enthrall visitors and authors alike, captivating their senses and thousands of words surge from their trips, their experiences, their island moments. For the authors that live on island, they come from a variety of different worlds, but all come together with love for this island. Which will you be adding to your summer reading list this year? All books are available to purchase on-island at Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven; Edgartown Books in Edgartown; or online at Amazon.
Geraldine Brooks, author of “Caleb’s Crossing”
In 1665, a young man from Martha's Vineyard became the first Native American to graduate from Harvard College. Author Geraldine Brooks takes us on a journey through the “crossing”, with emotions soaring for all corners.
Thomas Dresser, author of “Hidden History of Martha’s Vineyard”
Popular local historian Thomas Dresser uncovers the little-known stories that eventually became part of the fabric of Martha’s Vineyard and its community. Thomas is an island personality and you can catch him around town or during one of his many talks he gives to locals and visitors. Dive into the rich history this island has and discover the Vineyard through a new set of eyes.
Crispin Haskins, author of “Pretty Vineyard Girls”
Nothing like a local mystery to get you enthralled in a book and that’s what author Crispin Haskins achieves - you’re hooked from Chapter One. The way the author creates that image in your mind, whether you’ve visited the island or not, is incredible. A story that takes you straight to OB, where a group of friends open a shop right on Circuit Avenue. Little do they know what awaits around the corner.
David Kinney, author of “The Big One”
An incredibly popular tourist destination, where hundreds of thousands of people come to enjoy the beaches during the summer month, becomes the ultimate fishing destination for locals on island come September. The tourists are mostly gone and the island’s obsession with the annual fishing derby comes alive. Anyone can win and the competition will have you face teenage girls, retired veterans, and everyone in between!
Susie Middleton, author of “Simple Green Suppers”
If you’re looking to create more plant-based, vegetable forward meals, this is the book for you! Local author Susie Middleton showcases how to make seasonal vegetables shine and divides her book into sections like noodles, grains, beans, greens, toast, tortillas, eggs, and broth. 125 recipes make up this book of delightful vegetarian meals - the perfect cookbook to get before spring produce is all around and ready to be cooked!
Holly Nadler, author of “Haunted Island: True Ghost Stories from Martha’s Vineyard
A hugely popular summer visitor destination, the local ghost authors might wonder if the tourists know of the haunted spots on island. From whaling captains that never made it home to ghosts of years past, Holly Nadler, a longtime resident of the island and ghost story teller, shares with us some haunting tales that will only make your vacation even more interesting!
Lara O’Brien, author of “Chesca and the Spirit of Grace”
An Irish tale of talking animals, a magical mountain and galloping sideways - it’s a great children’s book by local author Lara O’Brien. A story of determination and imagination, it will captivate not only your little ones, but you as well!
Nelson Sigelman, author of “Martha’s Vineyard Outdoors: Fishing, Hunting, and Avoiding Divorce on a Small Island”
Before there was Jaws and US Presidents visiting the island, there was a combination of outdoor activities that the locals took part of, whether it was fishing or hunting, a focus on small communities and how to survive them was the theme. Written by former Martha’s Vineyard Times editor, it’s a must read even if you’re not a lover of the outdoors.
Amelia Smith, author of "Chronicles of the Last Days" (Book 5 of Anamat/Dragonsfall series)
For the science-fiction/fantasy lovers, local and year-round author Amelia Smith has you covered. Her Anamat / Dragonsfall series consists of five books, so there’s plenty to dig into while visiting Martha’s Vineyard or beyond. She has over 10 published books, and is married to a legit Irish swordmaker in real life - so this local author epitomizes cool.
Sarah Waldman, author of Feeding a Family: A Real-Life Plan for Making Dinner Work
Local nutritionist and mom, Sarah Waldman shares with readers the tips, tricks, and tools you’ll need to get dinner on the table every night, inspiring you to get creative with the seasons, despite juggling your work, family, and home. Picky eaters? No worries, Sarah also tackles those and along with tips on feeding the youngest of babies. Recipes like Slow Cooker Indian Butter Chicken with Sweet Peas and Lemon-Pecan Shortbread Cookies are perfect as she gives you an entire menu for a complete meal to serve up!
Catherine Walthers, author of “Kale, Glorious Kale”
Jumpstart your season by cooking from this local cookbook all about Kale! A hardy green that became popular a few years ago and is still increasing in popularity. Recipes like Kale Granola bring excitement into the kitchen and with 100 recipes in total, it’s a must for those that want to consume more greens, in more creative ways.
For more reading material, check out the Martha’s Vineyard Times Books Archives. http://www.mvtimes.com/category/books/
In 2018, it’s all about getting that perfect Instagram photo to share with your friends online. Today, we’re sharing our top twelve most Instagrammable spots on Martha’s Vineyard - they’re sure to get you tons of likes, comments, and engagement on your account, so here they are!
1. Edgartown Lighthouse
There are five lighthouses on Martha’s Vineyard and without picking favorites, we recommend heading over to the Edgartown Lighthouse for some incredible photos - a sunny day with blue skies turnout for that ideal New England feel.
2. Menemsha Beach sunset
Everyone has their favorite beach sunset on island, but most can agree that the one over Menemsha Beach is surreal. So incredible that boats honk their horns and beachgoers clap when the sun sets. The colors are a variety of reds, pinks, and golden orange hues that your camera will likely capture - but there’s nothing like the real thing.
3. Lucy Vincent Beach
The rock formations on Lucy Vincent Beach are some of the most impressive, sitting on the soft sand just a few feet from the water. The gorgeous red clay colors make for the perfect photo!
4. Sailing on the Tigress with Catboat Charters
Once you see the American flag sail, you’ll want to get on the water with Captain Kurt of Catboat Charters! Their American Flag sail is a nod to the charter catboat Cleopatra that once sailed the same water in the 1800’s.
5. Alley’s General Store
Alley's General Store in West Tisbury opened in 1858 and is the oldest operating business on Martha's Vineyard - their eclectic decor makes for an interesting photo, whether you’ve decided to photograph the inside or outside of the store!
6. Beach Plum Sunset dinner
Imagine dining in one of the island’s most prestigious restaurants with a focus on farm to table, while enjoying sunset with a glass of wine. Dinner at the Beach Plum Restaurant in Menemsha is an experience - capture the sun as it sets, maybe by placing your glass of chardonnay over it to capture the best of both worlds!
7. Island Hydrangeas
Once spring is in full bloom, the gorgeous hydrangeas on Martha’s Vineyard will be in full force. Walk down North Water Street in Edgartown, Main Street beyond the shops in Vineyard Haven or in Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs, and capture the colorful flowers with a stately homes and water views in the background.
8. Steamed Lobster on Oak Bluffs Harbor
Head on over to Coop De Ville in Oak Bluffs for a steamed lobster dinner on Tuesdays during their lobsterfest, order the whole steamed lobster with corn and butter, and strategically place the lobster on the harbor’s edge, crouch down and get the harbor and boats in with the lobster!
9. Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs
Over 300 cottages make up the campgrounds, reminiscent of the days when it used to be a Methodist campground right here in Oak Bluffs. The brightly painted and whimsically decorated cottages are the perfect setting for a fun Instagram photo - if you’re a fashion blogger, this is the spot to coordinate your outfits to!
10. Ferry Arriving
This is a great photo in either the daytime or at night. Capturing the Steamship Authority boat arriving not only looks great, but excites emotions of vacation!
11. Goat Yoga at Native Earth Teaching Farm
This might just be the one that breaks Instagram - bring a friend to capture your downward dog while the baby goats climb up your back. It’s an experience unlike any other - and the perfect formula for hundreds of likes: baby goats + yoga!
12. Gay Head Cliffs
Last but certainly not least — and quite possibly most captivating — are the Gay Head Cliffs, a magical location where you’ll snap dozens of photos because of its grandeur and magnificence. The quiet, natural serenity is something that your photos will capture.
Visiting new places is always a fun experience, but if you’re living a vegan lifestyle, it might be a little more complicated than just walking into a restaurant and ordering a meal. For those that are plant-based and planning a trip to the Vineyard, we have the top ten tips for vegans - where to eat and shop, plus a few local tips from vegan islanders!
1. Visit local island farms
The island is has dozens of local farms (seen here in this handy MV Farm Map) and they are the best place to stock up on ingredients, produce, and vegan snacks. If you are lucky enough to have rented a summer home or Airbnb and have a kitchen, purchasing local ingredients is an easy way to stay vegan while on vacation while supporting the local farming industry.
2. Take a cooking class with local cookbook authors
Martha’s Vineyard is a wealth of information and one of the best things about it is that we have some incredible chefs and cookbook authors right on island hosting some incredible cooking classes. Catherine Walthers is one of them and her cooking classes aren’t just vegan - she offers a variety of classes, so there’s bound to be one that you’ll love!
3. Eat locally made chocolate
If you’re a chocolate lover, you’re in for a treat because award-winning chocolate can be found right on island, made by the ladies of Not Your Sugar Mamas. This vegan, dairy free, refined sugar free chocolate is some of the best you’ll ever taste - plus if you’re craving something more than chocolate, swing by their organic cafe in Vineyard Haven for vegan breads, snacks, and meals to-go!
4. Order an Iced Mint Latte (with almond milk!)
Nothing is more refreshing in the summer than walking own Main Street Edgartown with an iced mint latte from Behind the Bookstore. Order it with almond milk and you’ll know what we mean - the combination of strong espresso, fresh mint syrup, and creamy almond milk is just the thing!
5. Discover the deliciousness of the farmer’s plate at Lighthouse Grill
Lighthouse Grill, the restaurant located inside the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown, is led by chef Richard Doucette and is a great place to dine if you’re looking for a creative vegan dish. Their farmer’s plate is chef inspired and focuses on local produce.
6. Wake up to acai breakfast bowl at Smooth Moves
Nothing will energize you more than stopping by Smooth Moves and having one of their acai bowls while chatting with one of the owners is always a fun way to kick off the day.
7. Indulge in a chef-led tasting at Red Cat Kitchen
Call Red Cat Kitchen ahead and order the chef tasting courses - make sure to mention you’re vegan and the chef will delight you with carefully crafted courses that will entice your senses. Just make sure the entire table orders the tasting - it’s worth it!
8. Stock up on vegan baked goods at Scottish Bakehouse
Scottish Bakehouse’s head baker is one of the most creative culinary geniuses on island and her and her team always have a few vegan baked goods in the case ready to be devoured. Perfect to bring to a beach day!
9. Slurp on green juices from Blissed Out
The original juice and smoothie bar on island, Blissed Out has smoothies, juices, and shots to get you ready to take on the day. They focus on all organic produce, making their juices some of the best on island.
10. Join the “Vegan on the Vineyard” Facebook group
Do your research before even setting foot on island by joining the Vegan on the Vineyard Facebook group. Connect with local vegans, ask questions on where to make dining reservations, and share recipes using local ingredients!
It’s no secret that New England has some of the best seafood in all of the continental United States. The crisp, cool waters are the perfect environment for the fresh seafood to thrive in, resulting in us having access to the oceans incredible bounty. If you’re a seafood lover, a trip to Martha’s Vineyard as a foodie destination is a must.
The seafood industry on Martha’s Vineyard has been booming for decades and currently in 2018, showcases some incredible local fishermen, oystermen, and overall just incredible islanders that wake up earlier than any of us to get that fresh catch! Below we’ve shared the top five things you should do on island to experience all its degrees of seafood love - whether it’s shopping at a seafood market, going on an oyster tour, or just taste testing as many chowders as possible, we’ve got you covered!
Visit a local fish and seafood market
The island has its fair share of fish and seafood markets, all owned by local island families that have been in the fishing industry for years. If you’re renting a summer home or Airbnb and have a kitchen to cook meals in, your firsts stop should be one of the following fish markets for supplies: Edgartown Seafood, The Net Result, Larsen’s Fish Market, or John’s Fish Market. Whether you’re looking for the freshest catch, along with ingredients to complement your recipes, these markets are their to supply you with all your seafood cooking needs. Don’t know how to cook a specific species? Ask the person behind the counter - they’ve probably cooked everything in the case hundreds of times over!
Dine at these seafood focused restaurants
The great thing about vacationing on the Vineyard is that if you don’t want to cook, you can always eat out and have an incredible meal, no matter your budget. There are dozens of seafood focused restaurants, very much so dock to table but below we’ve shared a couple favorites and our recommendations on what to order and where:
Experience a seafood tour
If you love oysters, an oyster farm tour with Cottage City Oysters is a must while on island. They take you out to the Vineyard Sound (300 feet from shore) to visit the Cottage City Oyster Farm. Their solar powered work raft becomes the stopping point, where they pull up a cage full of market oysters and show you how we cull and put you to work culling your own. It's an experience like no other!
Enjoy a clambake on the beach
Typically to enjoy a clambake on the beach, you’re probably attending a private event or have hired a company to put one together for you or your friends, which is such a fun experience! You can also make reservations at the Winnetu every Wednesday during the summer season and enjoy their incredible clambake, a signature experience of the resort!
Taste as many clam chowders as possible
Clam chowder is a section on all its own - and you’ll taste some award winning clam chowders on Martha’s Vineyard no matter where you go. Some of the best restaurants with incredible chowders include: The Wharf Pub in Edgartown (multiple time winner of the MV Chowder Fest) and Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company (rated best chowder in New England by Yankee Magazine).
As you can see, there are more ways than one to enjoy fresh seafood and fish on Martha’s vineyard, so we hope you get to check a few of them off on your seafood lover’s bucket list!
Car or no car? It’s a question we hear a lot. It’s true, Martha’s Vineyard is an Island located off the south shores of Cape Cod. With no bridge or connected road, you can’t drive here, so travel via air or sea is the only way to arrive. For those planning to take a ferry, the option of taking your car over is available only through the Steamship Authority. The Steamship Authority manages the ferry service between Woods Hole, Falmouth and Martha’s Vineyard and is the only service that carries cars, motorcycles and trucks to and from the Island.
So, is it necessary to bring your car here? Well, it depends.
Give careful consideration to the factors above before determining which option is best for you. Each island town offers it’s own character and charm and we recommend seeing as much as you can.
If you decide on taking your car then get in touch with the Steamship Authority as soon as you know your travel dates to make a reservation, as their summer schedule books up months in advance. If you opt to just walk on, there are many ferry services available seasonally including the Island Queen, Patriot Party Boat, and Falmouth-Edgartown ferry from Falmouth; Hyline Cruises from Hyannis, the Seastreak from New York or New Bedford, or the Martha’s Vineyard Fast Ferry from Rhode Island. Note that the Steamship Authority also offers passenger tickets and is the only ferry service that operates year round.
Check out our additional resources on getting around the Island!
We all know Martha’s Vineyard is a great destination for couples and families, but it’s just as ideal for friends who want to unwind, relax, and have a good time. With more and more weddings happening on Martha’s Vineyard we’ve seen more and more bachelorette parties and girls weekends happening here too. The Island really is the perfect place to assemble great friends and explore all that the Island has to offer.
Here’s our top five suggestions for planning an unforgettable girls getaway on Martha’s Vineyard.
Rent a beach bungalow or book a suite at one of the Island’s top hotels and resorts. First you want to think about the size of the group you’re looking to host and the type of experience your girlfriends are hoping to have. If a more, relaxed, laid back vacation sounds ideal we recommend renting a house near the beach, where your group can come and go at their leisure and enjoy a quieter stay. Browse the listings of local real estate and rental companies like Anchor Realty of Martha’s Vineyard, Martha’s Vineyard Seacoast Properties, Martha’s Vineyard Vacation Rentals, or Martha’s Vineyard Rentals for vacation rentals. Want a more active getaway? You’ll want to be more centrally located to one of the Island’s bustling downtowns, like Oak Bluffs or Edgartown. The Harbor View Hotel, the Hob Knob Inn, and Vineyard Square Hotel all offer quality lodging in the heart of downtown Edgartown, where you have easy walking access to local restaurants, nightlife and shopping. Additionally, many Vineyard homeowners make their houses available on AirBnb, VRBO and Homeaway.com.
Charter a boat If you’re visiting Martha’s Vineyard you must get out on the water! For those girls wanting a more adventurous time at sea try one of the Island’s popular fishing charters that depart from our busy harbors, such as The Skipper in Oak Bluffs, or Done Deal Charters in Vineyard Haven. If a relaxing excursion is more your group’s speed check out the Mad Max, a catamaran that departs from Edgartown harbor offering afternoon and sunset sails. Want to unleash your inner pirate? You and your girls can charter your very own pirate ship with MV Pirate Adventures. Enjoy a cruise out of Oak Bluffs harbor, through Nantucket Sound, aboard the Sea Gypsy X in search of the “Golden Light.” Call ahead for reservations and details for all charters, many allow BYOB and BYOF for a picnic on board!
Take a class or try something new Martha’s Vineyard is home to many interesting people sharing some very interesting things, making for countless hands on learning opportunities. Like to cook? Try taking a bread baking class with the Vineyard Bread Project or curate your own cooking class with private chef Catherine Walthers or the Food Minded Fellow. Up for a real challenge? Try Stand up Paddling with Wind’s Up, Island Spirit, or Aloha Paddle MV, which offers a paella package for you and your girlfriends to enjoy a seafood dinner on the beach after your lesson.
Day at the Spa No girls getaway is complete without a trip to the spa. Luckily our little Island boasts world class spas offering a wide range of services from your basic mani and pedi to the most luxurious facials and body treatments. Try the Moshup Mud Bath at the Mansion House Spa in Vineyard Haven, known for its therapeutic and detoxifying properties. Sea Spa Salon in Edgartown offers a full Ladies Night Out package complete with champagne, lunch and a driver if you’re too relaxed to get yourself home.
Hit the Town Most ladies love to indulge in a night of delicious food, tasty cocktails, and some great dancing. The towns of Oak Bluffs and Edgartown offer the most happening night life, while you’ll find more intimate restaurants nestled up-Island and more relaxing restaurants in Vineyard Haven. In Oak Bluffs, Donovan’s Reef is a popular frozen drink bar on the harbor. They’re famous for their Dirty Banana, it’s like a mudslide with the addition of banana, and available without alcohol. A short walk up Circuit Avenue and you’ll find The Ritz, a beloved local dive bar with live music and a packed dance floor every night of the week. In Edgartown, the Port Hunter is the place to be for great food and live entertainment. They don’t take reservations for parties less than eight so get their early or try your luck at grabbing some seats at the bar. Make your way over to the Atlantic or Seafood Shanty, both located on the harbor and known for their late night dance parties. If you’re a group of female foodies looking for a more sophisticated dinner and drinking scene, try the Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs or Detente or Alchemy in Edgartown, which all offer an extensive wine list and best in class fare.
Feeling inspired to book your girls getaway now? Check out our extensive Visit page to learn about even more great ideas and activities you can take advantage of while you’re here.
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