Summer is all about outdoor dining and there’s nothing better than a picnic on the beach to make us smile! With about 19 beaches all over the island, you have your pick of dining settings - but we’re here to help you with ideas on what to pack on a Martha’s Vineyard beach picnic!
Start with the basics - you’re going to need a beach blanket, cooler, and basket to carry everything in. Stop by Rainy Day for the beach blanket, Green Room for an awesome YETI cooler, and Chappy Happy if you’re looking for the perfect picnic basket. That’s the start to your picnic - the essentials.
Now, moving on to the beverages, you’re going to need a variety of things, and we always suggest fun non-alcoholic drinks, along with water. To cut down on plastic waste, have everyone bring their own water bottle. For drinks like specialty sodas and sparkling waters, Waterside Market, Reliable Market, and Cronig's Market are all great stops to keep hydrated.
So you’ve got some essentials ready to go, it’s now time to discuss the food. Beach picnic food on Martha’s Vineyard is special, as we have some unique shops and markets to choose from, so below we’ve made a list of places and what to get at each one as part of your menu, to create the ultimate beach picnic.
Remember to also bring a trash bag to carry out everything you brought in because it's the law but also because we love to keep our beaches clean!
When you think of Martha’s Vineyard and summer foods, lobster rolls always come at the top of the list. Granted, we love clam chowder as much as the next person, but on a hot summer day, we want a seafood sandwich that’s packed with flavor that will make us smile! We’ve compiled a list of just some of the places on island with delicious lobster rolls (it’s tough to list all the places, as every shop, market, and restaurant serves up their own version).
Before getting into a list of places, let’s discuss lobster rolls, their components, and what makes them so good. A classic lobster roll can either be cold (Connecticut style) - a cold lobster salad typically made with mayonnaise, served inside a toasted roll; or hot (Maine style) - hot buttered lobster chucks in the same toasted roll, drenched in more melted butter. According to the “Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink”, the lobster roll originated as a hot dish at a restaurant called Petty’s in Milford, Connecticut in 1929. Quite popular in the state at the time, it’s popularity didn’t gain any momentum until the 70’s, when chopped lobster meat warmed with butter started being served roadside in Maine. It’s traditional to barely season a lobster roll, no matter if hot or cold, so most places pride themselves in just adding a touch of mayonnaise to the lobster meat for prime freshness.
In Vineyard Haven
John’s Fish Market
This family-owned fish market prides itself in using fresh lobster meat that’s served cold with a dollop of mayonnaise, and that’s it. Their cold lobster salad is served atop a buttered and toasted brioche roll.
One of the island's most popular seafood take-out joints (and super fresh fish market), Net result serves hot and cold lobster rolls - both of which are to die for. They also have a great outside seating area to host large crowds and messy kids.
Grace Episcopal Church
Known all over the island, these lobster rolls sell out fast! During the summer season, you can find them being sold from 4pm to 7pm, but get there earlier rather than later because they sell out every Friday!
Right Fork Diner
Watch the biplanes depart and land on the Katama Airfield as you enjoy one of their lobster rolls - they serve them both hot or cold, so you have your pick and their herb aioli on both add great flavor.
Behind the Bookstore
Tucked quite literally being the Edgartown bookstore, BTB is a great spot for cocktails and a lobster roll snack mid-day. Their roll is served in a classic ballpark hot dog bun with freshly shelled lobster meat and a brown butter caper sauce drizzled on top.
The Seafood Shanty
Known as the largest roll in town, this lobster roll is 6.5 ounces of cold lobster salad served in a “torpedo” roll. Enjoy this roll while watching the Chappy Ferry come and go in Edgartown Harbor.
Henry’s at the Harbor View Hotel
Inside the majestic Harbor View Hotel, Henry’s Bar is the happening spot for after work drinks, dinner, and dessert. But try their lobster roll and you’ll fall in love with lobster all over again. Served with a sprinkling of fried capers, this cold lobster roll stands regally overlooking Edgartown Lighthouse.
In Oak Bluffs
Sand Bar & Grille
Wiggle your toes in the sand and enjoy the happenings of Oak Bluffs Harbor while enjoying either a hot or cold lobster roll. The hot roll is drenched in butter in the best way possible and is best enjoyed with one of their popular beach drinks.
The Lookout Tavern
Another spot where you can try both a hot and a cold lobster roll on Martha’s Vineyard, the 7- ounces served in this roll is impressive. Using only claw and knuckle meat only, it’s a good looking roll and definitely “Instagram worthy”.
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company
This half pound lobster roll (that’s a whole 8 ounces!) of hot buttered lobster is served in a grilled brioche bun and topped with chopped bacon, parsley, preserved lemon, and served with fries.
Larsen’s Fish Market
Started in 1969, Larsen’s has been a family run business since then. Their lobster rolls are island-known and are the best food to bring to a sunset beach picnic.
Menemsha Fish Market
Another family owned fish market, their lobster rolls are served both hot or cold in a hot dog bun and the cold are made and ready to grab and go if you’re rushing to catch that Menemsha sunset!
Thanks to Marnely Murray of Cooking With Books for the amazing photos! Be sure to check her out here.
Martha’s Vineyard is not only a great family destination, but it’s also one of the most romantic places in the world. Being located on an island provides that extra intimacy and one you can enjoy with your partner while on a date night this season.
If you and your special someone are foodies, we have created this list of creative and delicious date night restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard so the next time the question of “where should we go for date night on Martha’s Vineyard?” - you’ll have all the answers!
For the seafood lovers
We obviously have to start with the seafood lovers, as an island that serves up some of the best seafood on the East coast! Here you’ll find the best clam chowders and lobster bisques, lobster rolls and steamed clams, along with many dishes showcasing the best the sea has to offer. Grab lunch at Right Fork Diner and order both the hot and the cold lobster rolls, sharing them halfway and voting on your favorite.
For dinner, head to Garde East in Vineyard Haven for a waterfront view of Vineyard Haven Harbor and a delightful meal by Chef Carlos Montoya. Offering both indoor and outdoor dining, this is the restaurant to celebrate a special anniversary or occasion. Utilizing Vineyard bounty from both sea and land in creating his ever changing menu, with refined and classic techniques, Chef Montoya’s food will have you fall in love all over again. Make sure to order the Garde East Clam Bake for a true New England food experience!
For the meat eaters
It’s not all about seafood - so if you’re not into it, we have meat on this island at some of the best restaurants! Starting with Sea Smoke Barbecue, located in Oak Bluffs, who is bringing slow wood smoked barbecue to Martha's Vineyard. Served couterstyle, it is a great spot to grab some barbecue to either eat there or bring to the beach or back home. Everything from pulled pork, brisket, and smoked chicken, along with the usual Southern barbecue sides.
For the plant-based sweethearts
Do you get your protein from plants? Not Your Sugar Mamas is the place for you two! An organic, gluten free, vegan location in Vineyard Haven, NYSM started out as a chocolate company that has now a full-blown cafe offering breakfast, lunch, and to go dinners, among other things like smoothies, coffees, baked goods, and so much more. Grab lunch and sit on their porch while enjoying their flatbreads, Mexican rice bowls, and/or a sweet treat!
For the snacking partners
If you’re more into a few small meals throughout the night rather than one big one, we recommend heading to a few markets on island and stocking up on odds and ends. Stop by The Grey Barn for some local cheese, Soigne for crackers and jams, Vintage MV Wine and Spirits for a bottle of your favorite boozy drink, and settle in for the night in your rental or bring it all to the beach to enjoy while you watch the sunset!
For the sweet tooth addicts
If all you want are sweets, there are a couple of places you must hit: Backdoor Donuts for a fritter and a few donuts, Sweet Bites for any of their cake slices and truffles, and then end it with a sweet lavender latte from Behind the Bookstore. Love is sweet, but cake is sweeter!
For a compete list of places to eat on Martha's Vineyard, visit our Dining Page.
Vacation is a time to unwind, to decompress and take time to yourself. Nothing says relaxation like a trip to the spa, the ultimate vacation treat. On Martha’s Vineyard you’ll find several luxurious spas and wellness centers that will excite your senses and leave you refreshed and rejuvenated.
Whether you are looking for a day of pampering, a fun activity to do with friends, planning a girls getaway or preparing for a special event these Martha’s Vineyard spas will have you looking and feeling your best.
Divine Med Spa, Edgartown
The name says it all, this place is simply divine. You’ll find it in downtown Edgartown, conveniently located to the town’s bustling Main Street and within walking distance to many of Edgartown’s hotels and inns. Divine is a medical spa that offers a wide range of skin, body and wellness treatments designed to not only help you relax but to feel and look more youthful and lighter too. Treat yourself to one of their facial or massage services or explore one of their laser or intense pulsed light (IPL) procedures. For some extra tranquility check out Divine’s newly added infrared sauna, an ideal component to detoxification and skin purification.
Sea Spa Salon, Edgartown
Not far from Divine, you’ll find Sea Spa Salon nestled in Edgartown’s Nevin Square, offering a full service hair and nail salon as well as spa services. Take your pick from one of their many massage treatments, including deep tissue, hot stone, prenatal, reflexology or a couple’s massage, if you’re celebrating with a special someone. Sea spa also offers a wide range of aromatic facials, peels and skin treatments designed to restore and hydrate your skin. For the ultimate in relaxation add on one of their body treatments like the Mermaids Escape Body Wrap or their Sea Salt body scrub. They also offer yoga, lash extensions, and makeup and waxing services, running the gamut for all of your inner and outer beauty needs.
The Spa at Mansion House, Vineyard Haven
Connected to the popular Mansion House Hotel & Inn, the Spa at Mansion House is one of the original spas on Martha's Vineyard. Services include all hair and nail specialties, massages, waxing, and body treatments. Plus, since you can also purchase a day pass to the health and fitness center at the Mansion House, guests are truly able to make a day of pampering themselves with self care by including a workout or yoga class, swim, sauna, and hot tub dip.
Panache Salon & Spa, West Tisbury
Offering spa treatments, waxing, make-up services, and more, Panache Salon & Spa is located in the quieter "up Island" town of West Tisbury, which means that your relaxation begins with the drive there! Winding country roads brings you to the full-service salon. Be sure to try their oxygen facials!
Rejuvenation Spa at the Hob Knob Hotel, Edgartown
This luxury spa is open to both guests and visitors, and offers body treatments and massages. Located inside a boutique hotel, Rejuvenation Spa is just a short walk from the center of Main Street in Edgartown. They can also arrange custom wellness packages for you and/or your group.
Caleen's Day Spa, Vineyard Haven
This day spa knows how to pamper clients with all the little extras! Services include facials, nails, waxing, full-body treatments, and brow tinting. With easy access and parking; a big, comfortable space; plus a staff that knows how to woo you, Caleen's is a local favorite.
We understand that traveling anywhere with toddlers can be overwhelming. Luckily our family friendly island is packed with things to keep the little ones entertained, ensuring their complete exhaustion by the end of the day–so you can enjoy some adult time. Indoor, outdoor, rain or shine, Martha’s Vineyard has a wide range of events and activities that will surely satisfy the little tike in your life. Here’s ten ways to keep your toddler dreaming of more time on MV.
1. Flying Horses Carousel. A ride on the Flying Horses Carousel is a rite of passage for every kid (and adult!). Bring your toddler to the nation’s oldest operating carousel, now in its 143rd season, so they can try their luck with grabbing the coveted brass ring in hopes of winning an extra ride free of charge. Kids can also enjoy a variety of other smaller rides and arcade games while they wait to ride atop their favorite horse.
2. Island Alpaca Farm. For animal lovers of all ages the Alpaca Farm in Oak Bluffs is a must-visit, and is especially engaging for small children. They can get up close and personal with the furry, friendly animals and watch the animals, interact with them and assist with feedings. Make sure to visit the gift shop for and pick up one of their super soft stuffed alpacas to bring home. Open 7 days, 10-4pm. Visit islandalpaca.com.
3. Little Leona’s Pets and Supplies. Little Leona’s is off the beaten path, nestled down a dirt road in West Tisbury, but its appeal is big. Expect to be greeted by the store’s resident miniature horses and play with bunnies, guinea pigs and other cuddly creatures. It’s also home to the exotic, and where pet owners go to pick up fish food or feeder mice. It’s part farm, part animal sanctuary, and it’s the Island’s only pet store. Open Tuesday, Friday and Saturday 10am-5pm. Call 508-696-8818.
4. Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary. This Mass Audubon Sanctuary is the perfect place to spend an afternoon showing your toddler the wild side and scenic beauty of Martha’s Vineyard, plus you’ll learn a lot too. They offer several parent/child program to enrich your young naturalist, where kids can learn about the many animals in their saltwater tank during their feeding time, or their Creature Feature program which combines a story, craft, and a look at the native “creature" of the day. Visit their website here.
5. Featherstone Center for the Arts. Featherstone is the only year round community arts center on Martha’s Vineyard offering an array of programs, classes, gallery shows and music for the whole family. You and your child will find inspiration, education, and creative enrichment on six acres of meadows, galleries and studios which was once Featherstone Farm. Ask them about their Toddler Art Program which allows kids to explore clay, painting and architecture. Visit featherstoneart.org.
6. Outdoor Parks. Spend an afternoon chasing your toddler around one of Martha’s Vineyard’s many parks and playgrounds. Head to Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs and fly a kite or have a picnic, or explore the popular nearby Niantic Park Playground, which recieved a massive renovation in 2016. Popular too are the local elementary school’s impressive playgrounds at the Edgartown School, Oak Bluffs School and West Tisbury School.
7. Head to the Beach. Is there anything better than a beautiful beach day with your little one? Explore nature’s playground at any number of our public beaches. We especially recommend beaches with restroom and parking access for families, like Menemsha Beach, conveniently located by public restrooms, dining options, an area for kids to go crabbing, as well as easy access to the beach from your car. If your vehicle can go oversand we also recommend driving out on Norton Point or Wasque Beach, where you can be close to all of your kids toys and toiletries all day long (passes can be secured through the Trustees of Reservations).
8. Farm Institute. Katama’s Farm Institute is a a farm-based educational institution that connects families and children to agriculture on a 162 acre working farm, featuring cows, hens, sheep, goats, bunnies and more. During the summer months they offer daily and weekly farm camp programs for children ages 2-17. Check out their Barnyard Buddies program where your kid go egg collecting, interact in a bunny circle, feed the goats, enjoy a farm story time, or a fun garden craft. Visit their website here.
9. Explore our local libraries. On Martha’s Vineyard libraries are much more than book borrowing, their dynamic community and cultural centers. Each of the six towns boast their own library, offering classes, music, workshops, and programs of all kinds for the whole family. Visit each of them online here: Oak Bluffs Library, West Tisbury Library, Vineyard Haven Library, Chilmark Library, Aquinnah Library, and Edgartown Library.
10. Get in the pool. If your little one loves the water try bringing them to one of our local pools for extra splashing and play time. The YMCA of Martha’s Vineyard offers a Water Discovery class on Saturday mornings intended to introduces infants and toddlers to water and exploration. The Mansion House Inn also has an indoor pool with day passes available, or if you’re staying at the Harbor View Hotel or Winnetu Oceanside Resort be sure to take advantage of their expansive, family friendly outdoor pool areas.
We all know teenagers can often be difficult and hard to please. If you’re planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard with teenagers in tow, you’ll need to know where to go and what to do to keep them entertained–and off their phones. Martha’s Vineyard offers a wide range of events and activities sure to satisfy even the pickiest teen, ensuring you’ll be able to enjoy yourself, and your kids will want to return again and again. Here’s our top picks for providing amusement, recreation and enjoyment for your teenager.
Go for a bike ride. Martha’s Vineyard is home to hundreds of miles of bike trails, along our gorgeous shoreline and inland in our State Forest. Encourage your kids to get some fresh air and go out on a bike ride, or try to lure them into making it a family activity. Check out this helpful map of Island bike paths as well as our directory of bike rental shops.
Try a new watersport. Teenagers are generally up for most physical activities and our Island waters and outfitters make it easy to try something new everyday of the week. It won’t take much to entice your teen to go kayaking, stand up paddleboarding, kiteboarding, sail boating, windsurfing or canoeing–plus it’ll make for some great Instagram-worthy shots. Browse our list of water sport providers here.
Take in a movie. Teenagers always have and always will love going to the movies. Here on Martha’s Vineyard we have two year round movie theaters, the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center in Vineyard Haven which hosts many special events and more artistic and independent films, as well as Entertainment Cinemas in downtown Edgartown for the more commercial blockbusters. Additionally there’s two seasonal historic movies theaters, both recently renovated–the Capawock Theatre in downtown Vineyard Haven and the Strand Theatre in downtown Oak Bluffs. For a real Island experience send your teen to Edgartown’s Entertainment Cinema on a summer Sunday at 6:30pm to take in Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic movie “Jaws,” our Island’s claim to thriller fame.
Hit the Beach. This one should be easy, since there’s beaches everywhere and teenagers love the beach. South Beach in Edgartown is a popular beach for teens. It's a free and public beach located in Katama, facing the Atlantic Ocean. The surf can be fairly rough, which is fun for body surfing, but it's not ideal swimming for young kids.
Golf of all kinds. If your teen is a golfer there’s several different courses on Martha’s Vineyard to take a swing at, including Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, Mink Meadows in Vineyard Haven, and The Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown. There’s also Island Cove Adventures, the only mini golf course on Martha’s Vineyard. Additionally we have our very own disc golf or frisbee golf course, Riverhead Disc Golf Course, located in the State Forest.
Experience Martha’s Vineyard from above. If your teen has a sense of adventure a biplane ride over Martha’s Vineyard should be at the top of their summer bucket list. Classic Aviators offers biplane rides in the Katama area of Edgartown for your teen and a friend. They’ll head up in the sky for a scenic view of Chappaquiddick and downtown Edgartown from above. For extra excitement do the full Island loop to Aquinnah and back and don’t forget to ask about their special thrill ride option.
Check out a local concert. Martha’s Vineyard is home to many talented musicians and there’s always free live music happening around town. While the teens are too young to hit the bar they should check out the weekly dock dance at the Edgartown wharf and the Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series lineup–most shows are all ages, including Tall Heights & Ryan Montbleau at the Old Whaling Church and Deer tick at The Lampost.
Hop aboard a fishing charter. This is something fun for the whole family that your teen will actually like too. Many of the Island’s most avid fisherman run successful charter businesses where you and your group are guaranteed a good catch. Check out Catboat Charters or Done Deal Charters or any of the captains listed here.
Shop ‘till they drop. While there’s no mall on Martha’s Vineyard there are enough local shops that cater to a younger audience. Teens line up at Vineyard Vines and Black Dog (each with locations in Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Vineyard Haven) for the iconic Vineyard inspired fashion. The Green Room, Backwater Trading Basics and Eastaway clothing also offer great styles for teens and young adults. Then there’s Captain’s Club In Oak Bluffs, a popular spot for teen boys to score the store’s branded t-shirts and caps, and Citrine in Vineyard Haven a chic, bohemian boutique sure to satisfy any trendy teen girl.
Go Bowling. Rain or shine bowling is a fun way to spend a couple of hours on Martha’s Vineyard and the Barn Bowl & Bistro is a popular destination for all ages. This year round spot is popular with the locals and offers 10 modern bowling lanes, a full restaurant, and ongoing events and entertainment.
Most people associate Martha’s Vineyard with it’s many beaches, after all it’s an Island. What many people don’t know is that much of the Island is rural and wooded, with thousands of acres of preserved land perfect for hiking and exploring. Martha’s Vineyard has over 200 miles of trails and over 100 preserved properties that are open to the public.
Here’s our top three hiking trails on the Island and where to find them. Keep in mind that many are located in remote areas on the Island where cell reception is limited, and navigation systems often confuses coordinates on Martha’s Vineyard–so make sure to follow trail maps and markers. If you have an iPhone be sure to download the TrailsMV app available in the Apple app store courtesy of the Island’s Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, it’s a free app for hikers exploring Martha’s Vineyard that doesn’t require either cell service or Wi-Fi.
Menemsha Hills Reservation: Menemsha Hills is a beautiful and diverse nature reserve located off of North Road in Chilmark. The 211-acre preserve is owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations, look out for their sign when approaching on North Road. Menemsha Hills is a popular hike that offers a variety of natural habitats including wetland, marsh, wooded groves, and a rocky shoreline, with sweeping views of Vineyard Sound. The three miles of trails are easily passable for the moderate hiker, with some extra energy needed to summit Prospect Hill, the second highest point on the Vineyard at 308 feet, and the view is worth the extra work! Menemsha Hills is open year-round, daily, sunrise to sunset. Allow a minimum of 1½ hours to fully appreciate the trail.
Long Point Wildlife Refuge: Long Point is an expansive property on the south side of the Island, accessible off Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. Long Point is not only a great spot to hike but given its sprawling coastline and sheltered salt and freshwater ponds many people flock here to splash in the waves, take a leisurely swim, or to go kayaking. You can stay by the water and relax or follow a two-mile trail that leads through oak forest and savanna bordered by Middle Point, Long Cove, and Tisbury Great ponds. Long Point offers a rare grassland habitat across its more than 600 acres, and is one of the largest publicly accessible properties on Martha’s Vineyard, also managed by The Trustees of Reservations. With beach, dune and woodland areas this property is also beloved for its diversity and size, even on a busy day you feel like you have the place to yourself. Birders and other nature-watchers also appreciate this spot for the plants and wildlife that call it home. Long Point is open year round, but last admission is at 5:30pm and the gate closes at 7pm during summer months. Public restrooms, picnic tables, bike rack, and a small visitor center is available, as well as kayak and standup paddleboard rentals from 10am to 3pm during peak season.
Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary: Cedar Tree Neck is another Island gem, located on the north shore of the Island in West Tisbury. The sprawling 400-acre preserve is managed by the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and is one of their oldest and largest properties, it just celebrated its 50th anniversary last year. The property is accessible via Indian Hill Road and Obed Daggett Road, be forewarned that the last mile of the drive is extra bumpy and unpaved - but keep driving, you’re in the right place. Once there you’ll find a true sanctuary, and a diverse landscape that underscores the natural beauty of the Island. Take your pick of a series of trails, where you’ll traverse alongside a bubbling brook, under canopies of cedar trees, large ferns, beech trees and oaks, in between large glacial boulders and out toward the beautiful Vineyard Sound. Swimming is not permitted here but appreciating the view is very much accepted. Cedar Tree Neck is open daily from 8:30am to 5:30pm.
Another great way to discover the Island’s many trails is grabbing a copy of the book “The Walking Trails of Martha’s Vineyard,” which is provided by the Vineyard Conservation Society and available for purchase at many Island retailers including Bunch of Grapes bookstore, Edgartown Books, Alley's General Store, and Cronig's. Happy hiking!
Martha’s Vineyard is home to hundreds of local artists, designers, and food purveyors making some pretty special, beautiful and delicious things. When you visit Martha’s Vineyard we recommend you pack an extra bag that you can fill with your pick of locally made goodies.
During the summer be sure to make a trip to the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market (happening at the Grange Hall on Saturdays and Wednesdays), and the Vineyard Artisans Festival (at the Grange Hall on Thursdays and Sundays) to find an impressive selection of many of our locally sourced products.
After much deliberation, below is a list of some of our favorite finds.
Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt by Down Island Farm. In the tradition of Island settlers, farmers Heidi and Curtis solar evaporate Atlantic Ocean water, resulting in delicious, briny crystals that make for the perfect addition to both savory and sweet eats. Their sea salt comes in a variety of flavors including "Lemon Dill" with added dried lemon verbena and dried dill, "Smoked Oak" which is salt smoked over Island oak, and our favorite, "Blueberry Honey," with added freeze-dried blueberries and honey.
Austin Designs. Designer Rachel Austin Baumrin builds handmade textiles, including scarves, bags, accessories, and 100% organic and natural cotton herbal heat packs, eye pillows, and pocket pods hand crafted in small batches in her studio in West Tisbury. Filled with Austin Designs signature herb and seed combinations that are sourced on Martha’s Vineyard and in California, many of Austin Designs’ products are as therapeutic as they are beautiful.
Bluewave Body Company. Owner Gwyneth Wallace created Bluewave Cosmetics to bring her love of all things fresh, natural and beautiful to her buyers–and we thank her for it. Gwyneth uses fresh, natural ingredients and makes everything herself, including her bath and body products, facial products, hair care and men’s’ grooming products. Our favorite is her Island Girl Body Butter Bliss, a heavenly combination of natural butters and oils featuring a clean seaside mix of beach grass oil and wild rose.
Chilmark Coffee. Local Island coffee guru Todd Christy makes really really good coffee. Along with his wife Jenny the couple operates Chilmark Coffee, a small batch coffee roaster out of their home in Chilmark. All of their beans are ethically sourced from places like Ethiopia, Columbia and Guatemala, and the flavors they bring to their batches are exceptional. Pick up a bag to take home or be sure to ask at local markets and restaurants if they’re brewing it.
Vineyard Wick & Bath. Since 2015, Vineyard Wick & Bath has prided itself on using chemical-free soy wax in order to deliver natural products to their customers. Vineyard Wick & Bath offers candles, wax melts, lotions and soaps, in a variety of hypnotizing scents like Pistachio Macaron, Asian Plum, Citrus & Sage, and Lemon Lavender. All products are cruelty free and handmade with locally sourced products right here on Martha's Vineyard. We promise, once you smell it, you will buy it.
Noepe Designs. Designer Katie Zelenka’s iconic products include wristlets, clutches, totes, fold-over totes, crossbody bags, purses, prints, keychains, bracelets and pillows. Her textile designs are made from original silkscreens that start with pencil illustrations of images in nature that inspire her. Noepe Designs are made from leather and then precision heat embossed. These classy, affordable, handmade gift items are widely popular among visitors and locals alike.
Stefanie Wolf Designs. Stefanie’s keen sense of color and proportion combined with a simple yet sophisticated eye for design makes her creations unforgettable. Stefanie has always been attracted to shiny, colorful objects. Inspired by sea and sky, she brings her jewelry to life with glass in vivid hues and unexpected shapes. Stefanie travels to the time-honored glass bead region of Bohemia to select her glass colors, work closely with traditional artisans designing custom shapes, and choose finishes that bring her jewelry collection to life. Stefanie’s studio and retail showroom in downtown Edgartown is open to visitors year round.
Mimi’s Hittin’ the Sauce. Mark and Cathy Peters are the owners, and longtime hot sauce creators, of Mimi’s Hittin’ the Sauce, a line of hot sauce products made right here on Martha’s Vineyard. Mimi’s Hittin’ the Sauce has two varieties, “Hacha” and “HaChaChaCha,” as well as a pepper jelly and a salsa, each packed with fresh peppers and tomatoes. Everything that goes into their sauces is either grown by the couple or sourced from local farms. When you want an extra kick, a taste of the Vineyard, and an amazing flavor like no other this is your stuff.
Island Alpaca Co. Located in Oak Bluffs the Island Alpaca Co. farm and gift shop offers an impressive variety of quality alpaca products and luxurious garments, many crafted with yarn made from the fleece of their own alpaca. Island Alpaca’s products include hats, mittens, gloves, scarves, slippers, socks, jackets, sweaters, blankets, toys, gifts, and much more. The products are as soft as cashmere and warmer, lighter, and stronger than sheep’s wool. Visit Island Alpaca Co. farm to meet their gentle, playful animals and pick up one of their extra soft treasures.
Chocolate, chocolate and more chocolate. There’s so many delicious chocolate makers on Martha’s Vineyard we couldn’t pick just one! Chilmark Chocolates is a staple, and their chocolate is consistently considered the best on-Island. It’s only available at their store in Chilmark, and hours are limited but it’s oh-so worth the ride. Not Your Sugar Mamas in Vineyard Haven makes an impressive line of superfood chocolate bars rich in antioxidants that are perfect for the more health conscious chocolate lover, plus they offer a wide variety of plant-based treats at their cafe in Vineyard Haven. Enchanted Chocolates in Oak Bluffs make some pretty heavenly creations too, including their infamous “Stoner Food,” a caramel and chocolate covered pretzel rod sprinkled with Almond Butter Crunch and MV Sea Salt–needless to say it’s out of this world.
Wherever your travels take you on Martha’s Vineyard be sure to load up on these locally made goodies. Many business owners also sell their products online and offer shipping, so you can easily re-up on your supply at home.
We’ve all heard that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” With this we agree, unless it’s Sunday and we need a Bloody Mary, in which case we’re opting for brunch. On Martha’s Vineyard there’s enough eggs (many local and farm fresh) and french toast to go around, but here we’ll be focusing on the options in the bustling down of Oak Bluffs, home to one of the Steamship Authority terminals, and the Oak Bluffs harbor which services the Hyline, Island Queen, Seastreak, and Rhode Island Fast Ferry. So even if you’re just arriving hungry off the boat you’ll find an earnest supply of morning dining options.
Here’s our round up of breakfast and brunch spots in “OB” (as the locals refer to it) but keep in mind there’s many other bakeries (like the famous Back Door Donuts) and coffee shops nearby too!
Oak Bluffs Breakfast
Linda Jeans: Located on Circuit Avenue since 1976, this has been a family favorite and an Island staple for classics like omelets, pancakes, and waffles to the more creative like their Green Eggs and Ham. Open everyday 6am to 8pm.
Biscuits: Located across from the Oak Bluffs harbor this seasonal spot is known for their Southern inspired dishes like their sausage gravy and biscuits and fried chicken and waffles. Open Monday to Sunday 7am to 3:30pm, expect to wait for a table.
Slice of Life: Located on Circuit Avenue, this casual café bakery serves breakfast from scratch daily year round from 8 to 11am. Try their breakfast nachos topped with scrambled eggs, cheddar cheese, black beans, roasted red peppers, scallions, salsa and sour cream, or their famous Fried Green Tomato BLT (with basil mayonnaise on our toasted homemade rosemary bread) topped with two fried eggs.
Farm Neck Cafe: Located on the world renowned Farm Neck golf course this full service restaurant is open to the public. It’s a hidden gem not far from the bustle of the Island’s downtowns and serves breakfast daily from 8 to 10am beginning June 26.
Oak Bluffs Brunch
Lolas: Located off of Beach Road in Oak Bluffs this southern seafood restaurant serves a popular Sunday Brunch Buffet on Sundays from 10am to 1:30pm, complete with a Build Your Own Bloody Mary option.
Beetlebung: Located on Circuit Avenue this trendy coffeehouse has been known to serve brunch every day from 10am until 3pm. We’re not yet sure what’s in store for this year but previously their brunch menu has included the classics along with more adventurous morning munchies like carnitas tacos. Reopening for the 2018 season on June 25.
Park Corner Food Bar: Located in Post Office Square, on the corner of Kennebec Ave. this cozy bar and New American bistro serves a beloved brunch year round, complimented by the perfect Bloody Mary, live music, or a classic movie. Brunch is served Saturday and Sunday from 11am to 3pm.
20 By Nine: Located on Kennebec Ave. this seasonal gathering spot is known for its extensive whiskey list, creative tapas and delicious Sunday brunch. Go extra hungry and opt for their Pig & Waffle dish, featuring pork loin, a sweet potato waffle and maple reduction. If it’s a nice day and you score a seat outside consider yourself extra lucky. Brunch begins at 10am on Sundays.
Cardboard Box: Located on Circuit Ave. and also accessible from an entrance on Kennebec Ave. this eclectic restaurant is the newest addition to the Oak Bluffs dining scene, offering brunch on Sundays from 10am to 2pm. We like the look of their steak and poached eggs and also their Fish Cakes Benedict. Bloody Mary drinker? Try it here with a jumbo shrimp cocktail skewer.
Many people don’t realize just how big, and just how rural Martha’s Vineyard really is. Martha’s Vineyard is approximately 96 square miles, roughly triangular in shape, 25 miles (42k) at its longest point east to west, and 9 miles (12.8k) at the longest point north to south. Locals refer to the eastern side of the Island as “down-Island” and the western side of the Island as “up-Island.”
There are six distinctive towns on the Vineyard, each with its own character, flare, attractions, dining, lodging and more. The “down-Island” towns refer to Tisbury, which includes the year-round harbor port of Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown, each vibrant port communities, very unique from one another, very easy to walk around and very easy to get between. Then there are three rural towns which constitute “up-Island” including West Tisbury, Aquinnah, and Chilmark, which offer a more pastoral landscape, dotted with small farms and cozy shopping in a bucolic setting.
Given that most visitors reach the Island by ferry, on boats that arrive into the down-Island harbors, it’s not uncommon for a visitor to spend days on Martha’s Vineyard and never get “up-Island,” or even know that the second half of the Island exists (many locals would like to keep it that way but we’re happy to help spread the news of all the amazing offerings of Martha’s Vineyard!). We definitely recommend you make the time to explore up-Island, we promise you will not be disappointed. And if you don’t have a car you can still make it “up” there via the Vineyard Transit Authority bus system.
Here’s three of our favorite must see up-Island attractions.
The Aquinnah Cliffs
Located on the westernmost edge of the Vineyard, the Aquinnah cliffs are simply breathtaking. This impressive landmark is so exquisite it was recently named the most beautiful place in all of Massachusetts by Condé Nast Traveler. There’s beauty in every direction and breathtaking views of Vineyard Sound and the Atlantic Ocean. On a walk up to the cliffs you’ll pass several souvenir shops and snack bars, as well as a casual sit-down restaurant–the Aquinnah Shop Restaurant. Make your way to the scenic overlook and you won’t believe your eyes. It’s the most popular place to take a photo on Martha’s Vineyard, but even with the best camera the picture can’t do it justice. Check out the nearby Aquinnah lighthouse, atop 130-foot cliff, which was recently moved back from the edge to protect it from becoming victim to coastal erosion. The lighthouse is open to the public daily from Memorial Day through Columbus Day and is very much worth the fifty-five steps to the top.
Menemsha is a small, classic New England fishing village located in the town of Chilmark, and situated on the northern coast of Martha’s Vineyard. You’ll smell its authenticity as soon as you step out of the car, and you can’t miss the working fishing boats that litter the harbor and the stacks of lobster traps that decorate the streets. A visit to Menemsha is most popular for a summer sunset, when the sun goes down over an unobstructed section of the Vineyard Sound, making for one of the best sunsets on the east coast. Be sure to grab a lobster dinner or some clam chowder at one of the local fish markets, and don’t forget to enjoy a bottle of wine while you wait–many Island towns are dry and Chilmark allows for BYOB.
Open to the public and displaying local artists for over 45 years, the Field Gallery is a fun and easy stop in West Tisbury. A small, indoor gallery displays fine art, and the open outdoor space is home to Thomas Maley's now iconic sculptures, offering guests a great photo opp! Plus, the Field Gallery is right across the street from Alley's General Store, one of the country's oldest general stores worthy of a visit. And during peak season, just down the street at the Grange Hall, is the West Tisbury Farmers Market on Wednesdays and Saturdays, and the Vineyard Artisans Festival on Sundays and Thursdays, making this up-island trip a trifecta of fun!
It's my job to love this place, and it's no work at all.