If you’re looking to experience a truly magical holiday season this year make a plan to visit Martha’s Vineyard in December. With the stockings hung, trees decorated, and lights twinkling there is a peaceful charm that takes over the Island this time of year. It’s a completely different scene than what you’ll find in busy August, and it’s an enjoyable experience all unto itself.
While it’s a quieter time, there are still dozens of holiday inspired events and activities to participate in. Whether you simply make a weekend out of it or start a new holiday tradition on-Island, here’s where you can celebrate the holidays on Martha’s Vineyard this season.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 1
Foraged Wreath Making: Forage Long Point Wildlife Refuge for greens, bittersweet, and pine cones to make your own holiday wreath. Foraging followed by a how-to class in the Long Point winter visitor center by the Trustees of Reservations.
Island Community Chorus Holiday Concert: The Island Community Chorus, led by director Peter Boak, launches the season with its annual holiday concert at Edgartown’s historic Old Whaling Church. A reception with treats served by the choir follows the concert. Happening on Sunday, December 2 as well.
THURSDAY DECEMBER 6 - SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9
Christmas in Edgartown: Celebrate the 37th annual Christmas in Edgartown with events for the entire family. Voted Best of the Vineyard for the fourth year in a row, Christmas in Edgartown is a weekend festival you don’t want to miss! Every year through the various events, Christmas In Edgartown helps raise over $50,000 for island-wide charities and non-profits. Take advantage of sales, promotions, concerts and the beloved lighting of the Edgartown lighthouse.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 7
Lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse: Celebrate the joy of the holiday season with the annual lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse, Edgartown’s version of a tree lighting. Part of Christmas in Edgartown, begins at 6pm.
Hannukkah Celebration: Join the Martha's Vineyard Hebrew Center for their Hannukkah service and celebration. Everyone is welcome, and the evening includes the lighting of an outdoor menorah.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 8
Christmas in Edgartown Parade: Not quite the 4th of July, but it is a strong runner-up. Join the fun to see floats, animals, music, dancers, kids, fire engines, and of course Santa. The parade will take place on Main Street between Pease Point Way and Water Street. Part of Christmas in Edgartown, from 11am to 2pm.
Scone Baking Class: Learn to bake the Hob Knob Hotel’s world-famous scones with Chef Paul. Hands on baking class and take home scones with recipes provided at the end of the session. Part of Christmas in Edgartown, from 12 to 2pm.
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9
Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce hosts Breakfast with Santa: The original Breakfast with Santa, this is one of the longest running events during Christmas in Edgartown. Families can enjoy a pancake breakfast at The Wharf and kids get their photo taken with Santa! It’s a fundraiser for the Jim Lambert Memorial Scholarship Fund, which awards Island students with scholarships for college/vocational schools.
Teddy Bear Trot: The Teddy Bear Trot 5K and Fun Run, part of the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite Fundraiser, is a healthy, family-friendly fundraiser sponsored by Point B Realty.This event supports the MV Boys & Girls Club Healthy Happy Kids childhood hunger program and has raised more than $126,000 since its inception. It’s the only 5K race to go through historic, downtown Edgartown, and is sprinkled with festively dressed runners, making it a one-of-a-kind Vineyard holiday event. The half-mile kids’ run starts at 9:45 a.m. and the 5K begins at 10:00 a.m. Part of Christmas in Edgartown.
MONDAY, DECEMBER 10
Holiday Hors d’Oeuvres Cooking Class: Jan Buhrman of Kitchen Porch Catering shares her holiday secrets and shows how to make entertaining fun with quick, easy hors d'oeuvres using seasonal produce from Morning Glory Farm. From 10am to 1pm.
WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 12
Gingerbread House Decorating: Celebrate National Gingerbread House Day with the Vineyard Haven Library: Partake in this fun, festive and free, annual gingerbread house decorating event. From 3:30–5pm.
Reflections of Peace Christmas Concert: A special evening filled with Christmas music. 100% of proceeds donated to Hospice of Martha's Vineyard. From 7:30–9:30pm at Edgartown’s Old Whaling Church.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 14
A Holiday night With Cher, Streisand & More: The Edwards Twins Impersonators visit the Island, performing as special guests Sonny & Cher, Neil Diamond, Johnny Mathis, Rod Stewart, Bette Midler, Barbra Streisand, Andrea Bocelli, Tom Jones, and many many more all in one show. All live vocal. Each Star sings their #1 hits as well as a few of your favorite holiday favorites. From 7:30 to 9:30pm.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 15
Felted Ornament Crafting at the Fall Farmers Market: Make felted ornaments with the Farm Institute with wool rom the Farm’s own Cotswold sheep. Happening during the indoor West Tisbury Farmers Market at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. Keep an eye out for a special market visitor! From 10am to 1pm.
10th Annual Holiday Fair by the Vineyard Artisans: At the Historic Grange Hall in West Tisbury. You won't want to miss this very special holiday fair, the last Vineyard Artisans Festival of the year. A showcase of true Island gifts, all locally made by the artists themselves. 10am to 4pm.
Old Fashioned Farm Christmas at the Farm Institute: Experience an old fashioned Christmas at the FARM. Enjoy a hayride, craft felted ornaments, string cranberry and popcorn to help decorate the farm’s tree. Take your family Christmas card in the photobooth, play with the farm animals and warm up with cider by the fire. Crafts and family fun for all ages, from 12 to 4pm.
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 21
Felix Wildlife Sanctuary Winter Solstice Hygge Potluck Sunset Hike: Hygge is the Danish practice of creating warmth, connection, and well being, often celebrated with good food, warm blankets, and candlelight. Join Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary for a community celebration as we welcome the winter season with a sunset hike, community potluck, a fire, and treats. BYOB (Bring Your Own Blanket). From 3:45 to 4:45pm, registration required.
Come visit Martha's Vineyard for a magical holiday season!
On Martha’s Vineyard fishing is a way of life, and not just the rod and reel kind. This time of year local fisherman, both hobbyists and commercial fisherman, are gearing up to hit the waters in search of the sweet seafood delicacies we call the Martha’s Vineyard bay scallops. When you think of creamy and fluffy New England scallops, there’s two different kinds to consider. The more common sea scallop is the largest scallop and can be obtained year-round. The medium- to smaller-size bay (or cape) scallop is available only a few months off-season and is the most coveted – tender, sweet, and oh, so fresh – and the kind we’re talking about here. These little marshmallows of the sea are one of the Island’s most popular and tastiest treats.
You might notice scalloping operations underway as you travel around the Island from October through March, it’s often happening in our ponds, harbors and lagoons. Scalloping is generally observed by an individual wading in the water with a large rake or net, or a boat dragging or pulling up a scallop dredge. If you’re lucky you could even see someone plucking a fresh one from the water and enjoying it raw–yes you can, and yes, they’re that good.
So how do you go about catching your own bay scallops? With permission of course, and the proper gear. A shellfish permit for both recreational and commercial fishing is required for the catch or removal of any shellfish from Vineyard waters. Permits are available at the respective town halls, in Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, Edgartown, Aquinnah, Oak Bluffs and Chilmark. Each town has its own shellfish department, and shellfish constable whose job it is to enforce the state and town shellfish regulations, along with informing the public and media about any law changes, season openings and areas open and closed to shellfishing.
In Vineyard Haven for example the Vineyard Haven harbor (home to the Steamship Authority’s year round ferry terminal and the famous Black Dog restaurant) is currently open to both recreational and commercial permit holders, with the town’s Lagoon Pond following close behind. The Tisbury shellfish constable pushed back the dates this year based on the warm water temperatures. Safe scalloping requires cold waters, which means those fishing for them need to be properly suited up to withstand the conditions!
The minimum sizes for scallops are set by the state of Massachusetts. Shellfish smaller than the legal size are called “seed” and must be returned to the waters from which they were taken. To ensure the sustainability of them, a scallop must live through two summers to reach maturity, and a legal adult is identifiable by the raised “growth line” visible on its shell. Most scallops live in eelgrass beds and are harvested with drags or nets, and persistent fisherman sift through their ocean bounty to hand pluck those scallops that are good and ready.
If you're interested in obtaining a permit check out the local websites of the town you will be residing in: Vineyard Haven, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Chilmark, West Tisbury and Aquinnah. If you’re interested in simply savoring the goodness of our local fishermen’s hard work look for local Martha’s Vineyard bay scallops on the menus of our local restaurants and fish markets. Be sure to enjoy them and be grateful for all of the hard work and dedication that went into to getting them on to your plate!
Thanksgiving this year is November 22nd, and the best place to celebrate this holiday is definitely on Martha’s Vineyard. Gather the family on this holiday and come together to celebrate the island, its food, and the community. Our list of suggestions takes you from start to finish: where to stay, what to do, and where to eat, whether you’re planning on eating out at a restaurants or ordering some key items for takeout and cooking the rest yourself, so we hope you find this a helpful guide to Thanksgiving 201 on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
Where To Stay
Deciding where to stay on island depends on how many people are in your party. For smaller friends and family groups, we recommend booking a few rooms at a local inn or hotel, so you can all stay together in one location, while at the same time having a bit more privacy. For larger groups and families, we suggest contacting any of the local island real estate companies and renting a house for the weekend - it’s the ideal situation if you’re planning on cooking Thanksgiving dinner together or having a private chef come in and cook for you. We’ve listed both inns and real estate companies to get you started on your search!
Hob Knob, Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa
The Charlotte Inn
Nobnocket Boutique Inn
Mansion House Inn
Real Estate Companies on Martha's Vineyard that can help you find a house rental for Thanksgiving are listed here.
What To Do
The weekend of Thanksgiving is packed with tons of activities on Martha’s Vineyard, but we wanted to showcase just a few that are going to be fun for the entire family! Check out the Vineyard Gazette Calendar for more updates on happenings.
Vineyard Artisans Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Festival: This holiday art show by Islanders, features many holiday gifts such as one of a kind winter handmade sweaters, soaps, Island lavender, and fine crafts including leather and vintage material bags, wood butcher block cutting boards, and so much more. A parking fee is for the Vineyard Artisans Scholarship Fund, which awards several scholarships to graduating MV High School students for studies in the Arts each year.Felix Neck Fall Festival: Join us for our 37th Annual Fall Festival. This celebration of fall is a Vineyard tradition held the day after Thanksgiving. With hayrides, face-painting, live music, food, crafts for kids, live animals and trail walks there is something for everyone and fun to be had by the whole family.
West Tisbury Farmers’ Market: Indoor farmers market features locally grown produce and meat and locally made products. The market is dedicated to bringing local agricultural products to the people both living on and visiting the Island. The market was started in 1974 by a group of Island growers. That first year they had about a dozen farmers selling their produce.
Where To Eat Dinner on Thanksgiving Night
Treating yourself and your family and friends to dinner out on the town is a great way to connect with them and relax all through the night! There’s no pressure to cook or clean up, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Below are just a few of the restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinner this year:
L’etoile (dinner served 1-6:30pm)
Lucky Hank’s (dinner served 11am-5pm)
Sharky’s Cantina (regular menu with holiday specials)
The Black Dog Tavern (buffet seatings at 12 noon, 2pm, and 4pm)
The Cardboard Box
Where to Order Takeout Dinner, Sides, and Desserts
Want the restaurant relaxed feeling but don’t want to leave your rental home? Just put in orders for the food, pick up and bring home! You don’t even have to change into fancy holiday clothes if you don’t want to!
The Black Shop Bakery Cafe (deadline November 17th by 2pm)
Black Sheep Mercantile (deadline by November 16th at 4pm)
The Black Dog Bakery Cafe
Cakes by Liz
The Chappy Kitchen
Morning Glory Farm (deadline November 19th by 4:30pm)
Orange Peel Bakery
The Scottish Bakehouse
Where to Order Turkeys
This is a short list of spots on island that offer turkeys (cooked and/or uncooked) to bring home and have dinner at home.
The Larder Market
Morning Glory Farm
Edgartown Meat and Fish Market
Many people don’t realize just how many businesses stay open after the summer season winds down on Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re visiting between October and June and you still want to enjoy quality Martha’s Vineyard dining, you’re in luck, you’ll still find a great selection of options to choose from, including fine dining, casual, and take-out spots. While some seasonal locations shutter in the fall and winter, there’s still dozens of restaurants that stay open all year long, catering to locals and off-season visitors that come to enjoy the quieter days on-Island.
Here’s a helpful list of those restaurants you can rely on even after summer subsides.
Sharky’s Cantina - Mexican food, drinks and fun for the whole family. Located in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. Offering a full bar and televisions for watching the big games.
Henry’s at the Harbor View Hotel - A cozy hideaway and gastropub offering thoughtful food and creative drinks with views of the Edgartown lighthouse and Chappaquiddick. Under renovations and temporarily closed until Memorial Day, May 2019.
Lucky Hank’s - Casual, intimate nook serving breakfast, lunch and dinner year round, as well as beer and housemade desserts.
The Wharf Pub - Classic pub food served for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Family friendly dining, full bar with televisions and live music and entertainment often.
Rockfish - Featuring wood-fired flatbreads and New American bites in a bi-level space with two full bars.
Edgartown Meat & Fish -
Square Rigger - Classic New England seafood restaurant serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, along with a full bar and popular takeout offerings.
Dock Street Coffee Shop - Martha’s Vineyard’s take on the quintessential American diner, limited seating at the counter only. Open 365 days a year for breakfast and lunch.
Espresso Love - Breakfast and lunch counter service in a cozy cafe.
Dippin Donuts Coffee shop with sandwiches and pastries.
China House - Traditional Chinese food in a casual setting with a full take out menu.
R & B’s eatery - Inconspicuous diner style restaurant with a short order menu. Serving breakfast and lunch six days a week (closed Sundays).
Edgartown Pizza - A family style restaurant with a traditional pizza menu, open for lunch and dinner, serving beer and wine.
Edgartown Meat & Fish Market - Groceries and wine market plus made to order Starbucks coffee, sandwiches, and sushi with eat-in and take out options.
Wolf’s Den Pizzeria - Specialty, deep dish style pizza and oven toasted sandwiches served daily from 11am to 9pm. Locations in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven.
The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn - Elegant bistro serving up farm-to-table American fare with French and Italian accents. A fine dining restaurant with an elegant, old-world atmosphere.
Alchemy - Fine dining bar and bistro serving creative new American cuisine with French and Italian influence for dinner.
Rosewater Market & Take Away - Featuring locally sourced, farm-to-table ingredients and artfully curated gifts and souvenirs. Open year-round for breakfast, lunch and takeout.
Isola Pizza and take out with traditional Italian entrees offered in a more formal dining room.
The Newes from America - A pub with rich history and genuine Colonial character featuring American and British pub food including Bangers & Mash and Fish & Chips.
Soigne - French inspired market with made-to-order sandwiches and thoughtfully prepared sides. Also home to a gourmet market of fine wines, cheeses, and gifts.
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company - Local fish house and raw bar famous for their clam chowder, serving lunch and dinner daily and ongoing specials throughout the year.
Sharky’s Cantina - Mexican food, drinks and fun for the whole family. Located in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. Offering a full bar and televisions for watching the big games.
Bangkok Cuisine - Traditional Thai fare in a casual setting, with vegan friendly options and wine and beer.
Slice of Life - Casual cafe and bakery serving New American fare in a cozy dining room or on its covered front porch. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch available.
Linda Jeans - A home-style American restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1976, and a favorite among locals.
Barn Bowl & Bistro - A full-service restaurant and bar offering an impressive menu plus games, TVs and a 10-lane bowling alley. Not your average bowling alley fare.
Offshore Ale Company - Popular gastro pub and tavern serving house-brewed seasonal and year-round beers, plus wood-fired pizzas, burgers and other casual pub grub.
Park Corner Food Bar - A cozy nook in Oak Bluffs with creative food and cocktails, and a popular brunch menu.
The Ritz - Known as the classic Martha’s Vineyard dive bar and music venue this space also serves an impressive Southern inspired dinner menu including brisket and shrimp and grits.
Pizza di Napoli - A pizzeria serving stone fired Neapolitan pizzas loaded with fresh toppings and imported ingredients, located inside The Loft, a full service bar with game and entertainment.
Ocean View - Tavern style restaurant with an extensive menu, offering a dining room and full bar with televisions for big game watching.
Deon’s Kitchen at the VFW - New American fare with a Caribbean twist by Chef Deon Thomas.
Copper Wok - Modern locale with mellow lighting for creative sushi rolls, Asian kitchen entrees and cocktails. One of the only Vineyard Haven restaurants with a full bar.
Little House Cafe - A cozy restaurant (in a little house) offering a variety of creative and unique international foods and American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Mikado Asian Bistro - Offering a distinctive menu featuring more than 80 dishes ranging from traditional Japanese favorites and innovative specialties to classic Thai foods from across Asia.
Mocha Motts - Coffee, sandwiches, soups, homemade desserts located on Main Street. A second location in Oak Bluffs stays open several months a year with a break in the winter.
Beach Road - By the owners of State Road in West Tisbury, serving locally sourced seafood, New American fare and beer and wine in a sophisticated space with water views.
Waterside Market - Fresh ingredients, and innovative recipes made from scratch daily including soups, salads and sandwiches. Breakfast, lunch and occasional dinner service.
La Soffita - Featuring authentic Italian cuisine using simple, creative and high quality ingredients accompanied by a great wine list and classic cocktails.
The Black Dog Cafe - Serving a full breakfast and lunch menu, plus specialty coffees, cakes, pastries and more.
The Black Dog Tavern - An iconic Vineyard restaurant serving a hearty breakfast (including their famous pancakes), lunch and dinner overlooking Vineyard Haven harbor, offering beer and wine.
The Black Dog Bakery - Baked goods, salads, soups and sandwiches to go, plus a retail store.
Bite on the go - Buffet style Brazilian inspired food.
Wolf’s Den Pizzeria - Specialty, deep dish style pizza and oven toasted sandwiches served daily from 11am to 9pm. Locations in Vineyard Haven and Edgartown.
Rocco’s Pizza - Pizza by the pie or slice along with sandwiches and pasta from a quaint eatery with outdoor seating.
Not Your Sugar Mammas Organic Cafe - Plant based cafe and market caterings to vegans and vegetarians. Menu includes creative coffee beverages, smoothies soups, salads, flatbreads, grain bowls and more.
Bobby Bs - Fried seafood, burgers, pizza and sandwiches, along with a homemade ice cream bar.
Island Fresh Pizza & Subs - Take out restaurant with sandwiches, salads, and traditional American and Brazilian pizza options.
La Choza - Take out burrito spot featuring a build-your-own option with ample and affordable offerings.
Humphreys - Coffee, pastries and sandwiches available for eat-in or take out.
Nat’s Nook - Tucked in a little ally off Main Street serving speciality coffees and creative crepes.
Scottish Bakehouse - Bakery, cafe and small local grocer with a focus on local meat and produce.
Woodland Variety & Grill -
Shepherd’s Provisions - Prepared foods and gift items and confectionery, including to go dinner entrees.
Sweet Bites - Specialty bakery, espresso bar and cafe including classic Brazilian desserts and custom cakes from the owners of Bite on the Go.
State Road - Farm-to-table breakfast, lunch and dinner serving beer and wine, from the owners of Beach Road.
Fella’s - Take out catering company with small eatery for breakfast, pizza and sandwiches.
7a Foods - ‘Farm to takeout’ spot serving breakfast and lunch with a focus on local sourced ingredients.
Plane View Restaurant - Serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week year round, inside the Martha’s Vineyard airport. Beer and wine available with the purchase of food.
Back Porch Larder - “A Little Hole in the Wall” to the Kitchen Porch Catering, offering freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, hand pies, grain and vegetable bowls and more.
When most travelers think about visiting the island, they mostly consider a trip between April and October, but we are here to remind you of the gorgeous season that is winter on Martha’s Vineyard! Sure, it’s colder than those other months, but we're actually warmer than the rest of New England in the winter (and slightly cooler in the summer than the mainland!) The winter is the perfect time to settle into a cozy accommodation, book interesting activities, and dine at some of the best year-round restaurants the island has to offer. Plus, the island underneath a soft, pillowy blanket of snow is a beautiful sight to see!
One of the best things about planning a winter getaway to MV is that you’ll get the island mostly all to yourself, along with the locals. The population reduces to about 17,000 islanders in the winter, versus the 250,000 guests we have in the summer, so the pace is much slower, much more relaxed.
Here are the top five things to make planning a winter getaway to Martha’s Vineyard a must on your ravel bucket list:
1. Book a cozy accommodation in or close to town, to make it easy to get around in the snow. Some of our favorite inns include the Nobnocket in Vineyard Haven, the Hob Knob in Edgartown, the Beach Plum in Menemsha, or the Dockside Inn in Oak Bluffs.
2. Look at what your inn or hotel has to offer, and see if you can take advantage of any of the offerings. Do they offer in room massages, breakfast in bed, or private chef dinners? Book those so you get to enjoy the most of what they have to offer.
3. Discover the culinary scene in the winter by dining at some of the best restaurants on island. State Road in Vineyard Haven, Alchemy in Edgartown, and MV Chowder Company in Oak Bluffs are just some of the many restaurants open through the winter season, offering some of the best dining on island.
4. Plan some outdoor activities to get some fresh air and explore the island. Check out websites like Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, Felix Neck, or Polly Hill Arboretum for upcoming events, guided walks, and more. The island has some incredible walking trails that are explorable during the winter - just make sure to bundle up!
5. Whether you spend a day bowling at the Barn, Bowl, and Bistro or decide to make friends at the Alpaca Farm, there are plenty of winter activities to do on island!
For those looking for a relaxed vacation, planning a visit to the island in the winter months is ideal. It’s also a great time for budget conscious travelers, as hotel rates are at their lowest, restaurants run winter specials all season long, and shops have endless sale racks. It’s a great way to get to know and explore the island, meet the locals, and embrace the island in all it’s snowy glory.
For more off season inspiration, check out the following links:
What to Do on Martha’s Vineyard in the Off-Season by We Are Not Martha
Martha’s Vineyard, Off-Season by The New York Times
The Insider’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard, The Off-Season Edition by Ball & Buck
8 Great Things To Do Off-Season on Martha’s Vineyard by Babble
Unexpected pleasures of Martha’s Vineyard in the winter by The Boston Globe
National Chocolate Day on Martha’s Vineyard Where to treat yourself to the best chocolate bites on Island
National Chocolate Day is this week, October 28th and here on Martha’s Vineyard we are well-versed in the art of treating ourselves to the delicious local offerings our brands and businesses have, so we put together this list of the ten best and tastiest chocolate confections, baked goods, and candies on this New England island. For all the chocolate lovers out there - we have you covered.
Where: Enchanted Chocolates
What to Order: Almond Butter Crunch
This is a crunchy, buttery, hard almond toffee cooked in small batches with 70% dark chocolate spooned over top. A light dusting of roasted almonds is sprinkled on top that and voila - magic!
Where: Black Dog Bakery
What to Order:Triple Chocolate Mousse Majesty
A chocolate-lovers dream! Rich white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate mousse are nestled between layers of chocolate enveloped in lush whipped cream and draped in chocolate ganache.
What to Order: Ganache Brownies
You might get greedy and want to buy a dozen of these brownies, but let’s just say that starting with one is enough, as these are decadently rich brownies that you will eat for a few days, since a small sliver of it’s richness is just the right amount.
Where: Garde East
What to Order: Hazelnut Mousse
Not only will the setting of Garde East make you feel like royalty, but if you’re looking for a chocolate dessert to impress, this Hazelnut Mousse with chocolate soil and Martha’s Vineyard Smoked Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream is just the dessert you need. The mousse is light as air, with a nutty flavor that pairs exceptionally well with the chocolate and ice cream.
Where: Sharky’s Cantina
What to Order: Hot Fudge Brownie Skillet Sundae
On cold winter nights, this is the dessert you want. Grab a seat at the bar at Sharky’s and order the Hot Fudge Brownie Skillet Sundae and be prepared to warm up from head to toes. It’s baked to order, so it’s hot and delicious brownie topped with cold ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream. It’s so good you won’t want to share. But you should - because that’s what chocolate lovers do.
Where: Murdick’s Fudge
What to Order: Double Chocolate Fudge
This is hands down the best chocolate treat on island to send to off-island friends, since it’s sturdy enough to mail but melt in your mouth delicious enough to treat your friends to it! The double chocolate-ness of this fudge is that it’s made with some of the best chocolate and once that’s doubled up, it’s cooked and cooled to perfection, achieving that perfectly sweet, perfectly balanced slice of fudge we all know and love.
Where: Not Your Sugar Mamas
What to Order: Original Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you’re looking to curb your sweet touch and not ruin your diet, these cookies are it! Made with high antioxidant rich raw cacao, coconut oil, low glycemic and all natural coconut palm sugar, gluten free oats, and a touch of trace mineral rich Himalayan Sea Salt, they are a cookie unlike any other.
Where: Chilmark Chocolates
What to Order: Variety Box of Chocolates
In all honestly, anything you get from Chilmark Chocolates is going to be hands down incredible, because this island staple is the go-to of many visitors and locals alike. It’s the best hostess gift - everyone you bring a box of these chocolates will love you forever, so it’s a good idea to stock up on a few during the upcoming holiday season.
Where: Rosewater Market & Takeaway
What to Order: Cheesecake Brownies
Imagine the perfect brownie - not too fudgy, not too cakey. Then imagine it topped with a layer of light and airy cheesecake batter, swirled and baked to perfection. This is Rosewater’s Cheesecake Brownie and it’s best paired with any of their seasonal coffee like a Fall Spice Latte.
Where: Sweet Bites
What to Order: Chocolate Prune Cake
This one will sound a bit out there for most of us, but trust us, the combination of chocolate and prunes is one of the best combination in the culinary world. The sticky sweet prunes balance out the dark chocolate and pair very well with the light sponge cake it’s all layered in between. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!
This weekend brings one of the most highly anticipated events of the fall season on Martha’s Vineyard, the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival. Each year hundreds of wine and food enthusiasts descend on the Vineyard to enjoy the bounty of Island chefs and farms and celebrate the beauty and peacefulness of the fall season on-Island. If you’re up for taking a last minute trip to the Vineyard tickets to some festival events are still available, and many local hotel are already offering discounted rates this time of year. This year’s festival will be headquartered at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Katama, Edgartown, marking a new home for the festival at one of the Island’s grandest and liveliest locations.
The festival kicks off with the ever popular Fresh Off the Farm event on Wednesday, October 17 where local chefs and food purveyors show off the finest flavors of the Island at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Hall including Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt and Martha’s Vineyard Mycological mushrooms, among several others. Winelovers can enjoy an impressive array of wines curated by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant while Vineyard band, Good Night Louise, will provide lively entertainment. It’s “as local and fresh as it gets,” plus the evening's proceeds will benefit Island Grown Schools and the Agricultural Society’s Farmers Program so it’s a good time for a great cause.
Thursday, October 18, brings an action packed day of fun and festivities, beginning with Bubbles & Shellfish at L'etoile Restaurant in Edgartown, a tasting of elegant Moet & Chandon champagne paired with Vineyard shellfish. Martha’s Vineyard seafood is arguably the best around so you know this is going to be good! If you’re up for a physical challenge give yourself a couple of hours to digest and head to the Thrill of the Grill, where you’ll sip the best wines from Frederick Wildman and Sons and sample the Island's meatiest morsels grilled to perfection. Participating chefs include Justin Perdue of Lark Hotels; Italian Salumi Expert Marco Mocellin; Educator and Epicure Will Myska; Pit Master and Executive Chef at Ore Nell's BBQ; Ryan DePersio of Fascino; and Anthony Bucco of Felina. For the most ultimate and intimate wine and dining experiences check out the Joseph Carr wine dinner at the Dunes, a 4-course dinner, artfully prepared by Dunes Executive Chef Scott Ehrlich or the Ultimate Wash-A-Shore dinner at Beach Road restaurant featuring Ruby Wines expertly paired with Chef André Garza’s creations.
Friday brings another busy day of perfectly prepared pairings including one of the festival’s most popular signature event, Lobsterpalooza offers guests both classic Maine and Connecticut hot-buttered lobster rolls. As if delicious Martha’s Vineyard lobster rolls weren’t enough Amy Traverso, Yankee magazine senior food editor and co-host of public television’s Weekends with Yankee will preside over a lobster roll tasting and guests will be treated to wines provided by Kendall-Jackson. This event sold out quick but be sure to make a note for next year!
On Friday night get treated to six heavenly courses of the freshest New England seafood during the Sea Oui Si dinner. Two award winning New Jersey chefs including Michael Carrino, Chef/Owner of Pig & Prince Restaurant in Montclair, NJ, and Kirk Avondoglio, Chef/Owner of Perona Farms in Andover, NJ join chef Schott Ehrlich of the Winnetu for a memorable culinary experience complemented by an impressive selection of French and Italian wines by Kermit Lynch.
Saturday’s Grand Tasting is the highlight of the weekend’s events, featuring tastings from 250+ winemakers, spirits, breweries, gourmet foods, and restaurants. It’s sold out but you can still score tickets to one of Saturday’s other events the Deconstructed New England Clambake which brings Boston’s award-winning chef Marc Orfaly, Culinary Director of ReelHouse, and The Dunes Executive Chef Scott Ehrlich for their take on the traditional New England Clambake. Think dueling chowder, and all the usually clambake suspects including littlenecks, clams, mussels, potatoes and lobsters. Nothing says New England like a clambake and there’s a good chance this one will be the finest you’ve ever had, topped off with a bruleed pumpkin cheesecake, with corn-nutmeg foam and cranberry compote. Mmm, mmm, good.
For fitness enthusiasts Sunday is the day to shed some of those extra calories during the Martha’s Vineyard Brunch Run/Walk 5k and 10k. The course will be nothing short of spectacular with a course along breathtaking Katama, and red carpet finish where everyone will receive a custom finisher medal and a commemorative brunch glass which you can fill up at the post-race brunch event. For those looking for a more leisurely brunch the festival has you covered there too. Sunday also offers a Jazz Brunch at the Winnetu featuring a fabulous buffet brunch with live music, bloodies and bubbles, providing the perfect ending to a delicious and eventful festival weekend. One thing’s for sure, come hungry, come thirsty and get ready to fall in love with fall on Martha’s Vineyard.
When you think of Massachusetts-grown produce, cranberries come to mind, being that Cape Cod is one of the largest producers of the berries in the United States. On island, we have one of the few certified organic commercial cranberry bogs in the country, located at the Vineyard Open Lands Foundation (VOLF) in Vineyard Haven. The cranberry bog is located on 23 acres of conservation land owned by VOLF adjacent to the Mary P. Wakeman Conservation Center and consists of 2.5+ acres and three reservoir ponds. You can read more about the bog on Point B Realty’s blog post about Cranberry Acres.
If you’re looking for these island grown cranberries, the best place would be the VOLF farm stand, as well as the Morning Glory Farm farm stand. Cranberries are extremely high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, making them a great addition to your fall recipes and snacks. Wondering where to find cranberry cocktails, artisan products, and more on island? Fear not, as we have put together a full list of cranberry goodness!
1. Bake a Harvest Pie with this delicious Morning Glory Farm recipe.
2. Treat yourself to this Berries and Cream body butter from Vineyard Wick and Bath.
3. Snack on Chocolate Covered Cranberries from Enchanted Chocolates.
4. Buy a four-pack of the new Martha’s Vineyard Spiked in Cranberry Lime.
5. Sit in the Bad Martha Brewery and order a glass of the Cran Vienna Lager, using the native local cranberries tart flavor to balance out the sweet German lager, this beer is the perfect fall beer for Massachusetts.
6. Pick up a bottle of Kulture Kombucha MV at any of these fine Vineyard retailers and try their Cape Codder flavor, cranberry hibiscus with a touch of lemon. A local favorite especially for new kombucha drinkers, as people expect cranberries to be more tart than sweet.
7. Sweeten up the day by checking out Enchanted Chocolates in Oak Bluffs and grabbing a bar or two of their Cranberry Day Chocolate Bar.
The unspoiled charm of Martha’s Vineyard is probably best exemplified by its pristine beaches. Beaches vary from protected, shallow, clear-water stretches on the northern and eastern sides of the Island to expanses of rumbling surf along the south side of the Island. Some beaches are open to the public without restriction, while others are reserved for residents and summer visitors who are staying in the towns where the beaches are located. Visiting this time of year means you actually have access to many of the Island’s most adored — but often exclusive — beaches. Once mid-September rolls around, most of the restrictions are lifted and some of the most coveted patches of sand become accessible to everyone.
Here’s some of our favorite gems that we’re excited to get back to this fall.
Lambert’s Cove Beach
Lambert’s Cove Beach is conveniently located off of Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury on the north shore of the Island and is only a 10-15 minute drive from the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven. There’s ample parking at the beach lot and resident permits are only required mid-June through Labor Day. From the parking lot expect about a 10-minute walk to the sand via a wooded path that is relatively flat. If you’re visiting without a car, the Vineyard Transit Authority bus system does make a stop at the beach from mid-May through late September. Upon arriving to the beach you’ll be awestruck by the stunning views across the Vineyard Sound, including the Elizabeth Islands to your north, Falmouth and Woods Hole to your northeast and Aquinnah to your west. Equally as impressive as the views at Lambert’s Cove Beach is the soft white sand, which is possibly the nicest and most luxurious of all Island beaches. The ocean is very clear and relatively warmer here than at many of the south shore beaches. The water is also significantly more calm, making it more ideal for swimmers than surfers or boogie boarders. Sunsets on Lambert’s Cove Beach can often rival those seen at Menemsha Beach, with the sun often going down over an obstructed view of water. It is not uncommon to visit Lambert’s Cove beach on a fall evening and find several groups of people out enjoying the night, possibly eating dinner on the sand or having a sing along or playing live music near the shore.
Lucy Vincent Beach
Lucy Vincent Beach is located off of South Road in Chilmark and is a Chilmark-resident or renter-only beach during the summer months from 10am to 5pm. Breathtaking rock formations line this beach’s coast, making for a dynamic and uniquely different landscape when compared to many of the Island’s other beaches, and it has been said that this coastline looks similar to beaches found in the northwest of the United States. A look out to sea offers expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sound. Lucy Vincent also offers soft, clean sand and active surf for those looking to catch a wave. It’s also known as a nude beach among some longtime residents so don’t be surprised if you see someone sunbathing in the buff. Visit in the early morning and you’ll find local photographers with their tripods trying to catch a beautiful beach sunrise. Click here for map, details on getting there and seasonal permit information.
Squibnocket or “Squibby” is another resident only beach along the south shore of Chilmark that reopens to the public in September. The coast here is a bit rockier than nearby Lucy Vincent but it’s known for its strong waves and great surf, making it a favorite spot among local surfers. Earlier this spring the beach reopened after a massive excavation bridge building project that altered the landscape here. A new 44-space parking lot was also added and is conveniently located near shore, offering a short walk to the water.
Another great private beach to rediscover in the fall is Philbin Beach, which is only accessible to Aquinnah residents in the summer. This time of year you can visit this surf heavy beach via Moshup Trail.
Wherever you choose to explore, you’ll find idyllic scenery and picturesque patches of paradise along our tranquil shores. Just remember all beaches reserve a Carry In, Carry Out policy – so be sure to take your trash with you.
For a full list of Island beaches click here.
Whenever visitors arrive on island, they mostly want to know one thing: where can we get the best lobster dish on island? And while we do love a good lobster roll, we wanted to share the love for all the ways lobster is prepared on Martha’s Vineyard, from the simplest ways, to the most complex and sophisticated elaborations. To celebrate National Lobster Day, which falls on September 25th, below are some of the most delicious lobster eats on island:
Lobster Eggs Benedict from Right Fork Diner - this is just the way to start your day on island. Buttery lobster, spinach and tomato, drenched in housemade hollandaise and served on a toasted English Muffin or Cheddar Polenta cake with mixed greens or hashbrowns. Sit outside and watch the biplanes take off into the sky!
Grilled Lobster Extra Stuffed from The Square Rigger - with chunks of lobster meat, a house specialty, served with an herbed lemon butter, two sides, salad, and just a quaint ambiance, this stuffed lobster is what dreams are made of. The charred bits of it from the grill give it such fantastic fire flavor, it might just become a favorite.
Two Pound Crispy Wok Fired Island Lobster from Atria Restaurant - served with a lemon beurre blanc, whipped potatoes, greens, and lemon this is a spectacular lobster dish that’s sure to impress.
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese from the VFW by Chef Deon - Chef Deon is known for his island cookery, specifically with conch but he is a master of all crustaceans, so his lobster macaroni and cheese is a delight!
Etuvee of 1.5 Pound Menemsha Lobster from l’etoile - when you want to go somewhere special for a lobster dinner, this is it. This dish is served with a lemon pepper pappardelle pasta, Chilmark MVM-Hana Shiitake & Spring vegetable saute, lobster, chardonnay, roasted garlic, and parsley sauce.
Sexy Sushi Roll from Mikado Asian Bistro - made with lobster salad, mango & avocado rolled up with soybean paper, served with kani, mango and mango sauce, this is a sushi roll to write home about!
Lobster Pasta from Black Dog Tavern - fresh tagliatelle with lobster meat, roasted tomatoes, and Rose cremé, what more could you ask for?
Lobster Asparagus Risotto from Detente - this risotto is the accompaniment to their fluke main dish and is hands down the creamiest, cheesiest risotto you’ll ever encounter.
Lobster Dinner from Larsen’s Fish Market - head up island to catch the sunset and call on your way to order two cooked lobsters from Larsen’s. Delivered in a rustic bag, with drawn butter and lemon, you’ll get dirty and it’ll be delicious as you crack the lobsters open on the beach, dunking each tender piece into hot melted butter. What could be better!?
Seafood a la Russia from Ocean View Restaurant - fresh lobster meat, shrimp, scallops, and mussels are all sautéed in a creamy pink vodka sauce over pasta. This dish feeds two if not more - the seafood is perfectly cooked! Ask for a side of bread to sop up the extra sauce.
It's my job to love this place, and it's no work at all.