Vineyard Haven

Excellent shops, fine restaurants, and a beautiful harbor are only a few of the attractions that make Vineyard Haven so special to tourists and residents alike.

The town that incorporates Vineyard Haven is called Tisbury, after a parish in England near the birthplace of the Island’s first governor, Thomas Mayhew. English settlement of the area dates from the mid-1600s, when Mayhew purchased the settlement rights from the Crown.

Owen Park, off Main Street (just beyond the shopping district), honors one of Vineyard Haven’s whaling captains. The town beach here is a fine place to watch the harbor. Ferries shuttle in and out, providing the Island’s year-round connection to the mainland.

On the opposite side of Main Street from Owen Park is the Old Schoolhouse Museum. Erected in 1828, this building has served many uses. It was once a carpentry shop, a school, and later served as the Congregational Church. In front of the museum stands the tall white Liberty Pole, commemorating the daring of three young women who inserted gun powder in the base of the town’s liberty pole in 1778 and blew it up to keep it from being used as a spar by a British warship.

When the Congregationalists outgrew their little church in 1844, they built a neo-classic building on Spring Street that later became the Unitarian Church and eventually the town hall. Vineyard Haven’s municipal building is one of the Island’s most handsome architectural legacies of whaling days.

The Vineyard Playhouse building on Church Street was built in 1833 as a Methodist meeting house. Today it houses the Island’s only year-round professional theater company.

When ships were powered by wind and canvas, Vineyard Haven was one of New England’s busiest ports because of its strategic location on the sailing routes. Most of the coastwise shipping traveled through Vineyard Sound (13,814 vessels were counted in 1845). Holmes Hole, as this harbor community was called, provided a convenient anchorage. Here a ship and its crew could lay over com­fortably to wait out bad weather, pick up provisions, or take on an experienced local pilot who could negotiate the rips and shoals that were the special perils of this sea route.

In addition to Owen Park, the town main­tains War Veterans’ Memorial Park off Causeway Road (located just behind the fire station). The park includes playground equipment for young children and playing fields used by local ball teams.

There are many scenic places around the town: in addition to Main Street and the harbor, the Tashmoo Lake overlook on State Road, the nearby Tisbury Water Works, West Chop Lighthouse, and the area around the drawbridge on Beach Road are favorite spots for photographers.

Town Government

Fire – To report a fire dial 911
Beach Street Station: 508.696.4246

Police – To report an emergency dial 911

To report urgency, but no emergency dial 311
Water Street Station: 508.696.4240

Tisbury Town Hall


If no direct number is listed please contact the town hall or website.

Town Officials

Selectmen –508.696.4202

Town Administrator –508.696.4203

Accountant –508.696.4255

Ambulance Service (Business only) - 508.696.4214

Animal Control Officer –508-696-4200

Animal Inspector

Building & Zoning Inspector –508.696.4280

Civil Defense Director

Coastal & Marine Warden


Elections Warden

Fence Viewer

Fire Chief

Gas Inspector

Harbormaster -508.696.4249


Municipal Census Supervisor

Plumbing Inspector

Police Chief

Shellfish Constable

Town Clerk - 508.696.4215

Town Counsel

Treasurer & Tax Collector - 508-696-4250

Veterans’ Grave Officer

Wiring Inspector

Town Boards, Etc.

Assessors - 508.696.4206

Board of Health - 508.696.4290

Board of Registrars

Capital Program Committee

Conservation Commission - 508.696.4260

Council on Aging - 508.696.4205

Finance & Advisory Committee

Harbor Management Committee

Land Bank Commission

Library Trustees

Martha’s Vineyard Commission

Personnel Board

Planning Board - 508.696.4270

Public Works Commissioners - 508.696.4220

Recreation Department - 508.696.4220

School Committee

Water Commissioners - 508.696.4230

William Street Historic District Commission/Tisbury Historic Commission

Zoning Board of Appeals