The arts scene on Martha’s Vineyard thrives throughout the seasons. From fine art galleries to cultural centers to working studios, there are dozens of places to explore the rich history and incredible talent of Island makers and creators. Arts and culture lovers on Martha’s Vineyard never have to go far to find world class art, unique artifacts and friendly faces willing to share the story of their offerings. We’ve rounded up a list of some of the most eclectic places to be inspired and delighted by our local talent.
MVAA: Old Sculpin Gallery, 58 Dock Street, Edgartown
Formerly a sail loft, a whale oil factory, an old grain store, and a boat builder’s shed, the distinctive building now known as the Old Sculpin Gallery, home of the Martha’s Vineyard Art Association, is over 240 years old. Over the years its unique shingled tower has welcomed visitors to the waterfront along Edgartown’s harbor and today its wide floorboards and hand hewn beams welcome art lovers into its gallery and studio spaces. Incorporated in 1954, the MVAA opened for the benefit of the Island community: “to increase facilities of art education, create interest in the arts, make an art center for the whole Island, establish a permanent collection, and preserve an old landmark.” Today the gallery represents dozens of Island artists and hosts weekly receptions throughout the summer season.
Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks, 683 State Road, West Tisbury
Martha's Vineyard Glassworks was founded in 1992 and built on a piece of quintessential Island farmland. The studio was intended to be a facility for glassblowers to work every day, develop technical skills, create glasswork, and build a life around glassblowing. The glassblowing studio can be observed from the gallery, which allows customers to watch a work of art come to life, from the raw materials and an artist’s vision, to the final piece. Each piece is individually handblown without the use of finishing molds to achieve shape; rather, the consistency seen in the work is the result of repetition and a strict attention to detail. Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks has become a popular destination for glassworkers, tourists, artists, interior decorators, collectors, and trade workers alike.
Althea Designs Gallery, 34 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven
Althea Freeman-Miller of Althea Designs is known for her linoleum block printing technique examples of which are displayed all over the Island. Her bright and bold images often feature one graphic object, like a bird, or a bicycle, which she hand-carves onto pieces of wood. The designs are printed on hand carved linoleum blocks, making for unique shirts, cards, and other items. Visit Althea in her Vineyard Haven gallery for a chance to meet the artist and browse her iconic designs. Her workshop also features the work of other local artists including Conrado designs, Roy Bikini suits, Leslie Freeman pottery and Elysha Joy jewelry.
Chilmark Pottery, 145 Field View Lane, West Tisbury
Potter Geoffrey Borr moved to the Island of Martha's Vineyard in 1982 when he was inspired to establish a pottery studio in a peaceful and beautiful environment. The result of his efforts is Chilmark Pottery, located in a weathered, shingled barn tucked in among the trees of West Tisbury. Most days visitors will find the potters hard at work and willing to answer questions about their craft. Geoffrey's thoughtfully designed, hand-crafted pottery, in its distinctive seascape or copper-red hues, fill the shelves and line the porch rails. Throughout the year, Chilmark Pottery also offers classes. You’ll find Chilmark Pottery conveniently located right off State Road in West Tisbury.
Field Gallery, 1050 State Road, West Tisbury
The Field Gallery and Sculpture Garden is a unique artistic environment located in downtown West Tisbury, and one of the most Instagrammable spots on this list. Inside, three galleries present rotating exhibits of contemporary paintings, sculpture and photography. Outside, the large field is home to the whimsical sculptures of Field Gallery founder Thomas Maley, the modern stone sculptures of Lew French and many others. The gallery hosts an impressive group of more than 25 talented artists, all with an Island connection and endless Vineyard charm. Look out for weekly events and receptions in season, and, if time allows be sure to visit the Gallery’s nearby sister gallery, The Granary, the oldest and largest art gallery on Martha's Vineyard located in an iconic red barn.
Michael Blanchard Gallery, 93 Dukes County Avenue, Oak Bluffs
Formerly located in the Crossroads Gallery on Circuit Avenue, photographer Michael Blanchard has opened a new gallery at 93 Dukes County Avenue in Oak Bluffs in 2019. Michael is a well- known Island based photographer who discovered his passion for photography while in recovery for alcohol addiction. Michael expertly captures the beauty of Martha’s Vineyard and shares his inspirational photographs far and wide. According to Michael his photography serves as an expression of the happiness and serenity he feels in the absence of alcohol, and he actively supports others in their fight against addiction. View his work by visiting his Gallery, which also serves as a meeting place for Michael’s fans who find it a safe space to talk about healing from addiction and other life challenges.
If you’re planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and you have yet to explore the new Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven you must add it to your itinerary now. This beloved facility sits in a storied building, perched above the Lagoon in Vineyard Haven, having recently completed a massive $31 million restoration project. The Museum offers sweeping water views, an impressive collection of Island history, a cafe featuring local treats and a world class schedule of arts and culture programs. Whether you go for the views, the exhibits, the building itself or the food, just make sure you go!
Location, Location, Location
The Museum is situated overlooking Lagoon Pond and Vineyard Sound in Tisbury, or Vineyard Haven. The campus is a ten minute walk from the Steamship Authority’s Vineyard Haven terminal and an eight minute walk from Five Corners.
The building itself is of historical significance and is a striking property that can’t be missed. A lighthouse once existed on the front terrace and, in 1895, the Coast Guard ordered the construction of a 29-room Marine Hospital on the property later adding onto it in 1938. Before the Museum purchased the property in 2011, the site was owned by the St. Pierre family who operated the St. Pierre School of Sport, a camp that many Island kids visited every summer. Today the Museum features a permanent exhibit “On This Site” which details the life of the building before it became the Museum, where you can listen to oral histories from some of the patients and nurses who spent time there as well as some of the memories of the campers who called this campus home during their childhood summers.
In addition to “On This Site” the Museum offers several other permanent exhibits that highlight fascinating Island history and the impressive collections the Museum has acquired. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum preserves and exhibits fine art, furniture, photographs, textiles, manuscripts, and everyday objects that Vineyarders have made and used.
The museum also offers a regular rotation of current exhibits as well as online exhibits including oral histories from Martha’s Vineyard veterans and fishermen over the years and the remarkable journal of a young girl’s life on a whaling ship in the 1800s among other things.
Programs and Events
In addition to visiting the Museum to tour it’s space and galleries you also have the opportunity to attend special events, classes, exhibit openings and more. Be sure to get on the Museum’s email list to receive updates on what’s happening. Upcoming winter events include:
The Museum Cafe
The cafe is as diverse as the Museum itself, offering a variety of delicious food brought from eateries across the Island. Visitors can access the cafe without paying for entry to the museum, and can enjoy a snack or lunch, while gazing out across Vineyard Haven Harbor and Lagoon. Once inside, visitors to the cafe can’t miss the incredible Fresnel lens hanging above, which was once part of the Gay Head Lighthouse. This spectacular artifact features over 1000 individual glass panes, and is one of only 39 first-order Fresnels remaining in the U.S.
Things to Know When Visiting
Group rates are applicable for parties of 10 or more, and private tours can be arranged with advance notice.
Photos: Courtesy MV Museum
Ah, is there anything more lovely than being swept away to a romantic island for Valentine’s Day? We think not. Martha’s Vineyard oozes with charm and beauty, plus it’s an island after all, so it’s inherently romantic. No bridges or tunnels to get here, so the added treat of a boat or plane is alluring to couples of all kinds. Mid-February on Martha’s Vineyard is calm and quiet, the perfect setting to actually relax, reflect and appreciate your Valentine. The slower pace and welcome peacefulness adds another layer of romance. If you’re considering a jaunt to Martha’s Vineyard this Valentine’s Day here are some tips on making it even more magical.
Where to Stay?
For a truly romantic experience take advantage of the Island’s quaint inns and luxurious hotels.
Nobnocket Boutique Inn is located a short distance from the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal, so it’s convenient, while also being elegant and modern. It prides itself on offering “luxury with a twist” and does not disappoint. For the most romantic room in the house, ask them about the Luxury Grand Room (with fireplace) or a Deluxe Room and add some Champagne and strawberries for an extra special touch.
In Edgartown, The Harbor View Hotel is as spectacular as ever this time of year. With sweeping views of the ocean and Chappaquiddick and only steps from the iconic Edgartown Lighthouse, this newly renovated historic hotel is where glamour meets comfort. Enjoy the peace and tranquility of the Island while cozied up in one of their impressive suites. Book their Valentine’s Day package and cruise in a luxurious Mercedes-Benz while exploring the Island then end the day with a delicious dinner at their on-site restaurant, Bettini. The package includes chilled Champagne and chocolate covered strawberries delivered to your room upon arrival.
Just up Main Street in Edgartown you’ll find the Edgar Hotel, a newly updated boutique hotel that operates as a member of Choice Hotels International in the Ascend collection. The Edgar Hotel Martha’s Vineyard delivers Island elegance, comfort, and impeccable accommodations to travelers. It boasts on on-site bar and restaurant, Town MV, with live entertainment and nightly specials. You won’t even have to leave the property! For the most walkable option, stay at the Mansion House Hotel and Spa, located just steps from the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal and walking distance to several year round restaurants. This historic property offers a whole host of amenities including a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and full service spa.
Where to Eat?
This year the Martha’s Vineyard Museum is the place to be for Valentine’s Dinner. Enjoy water views while dining atop the Linnemann Pavilion at the Museum, where you can admire the beautiful 1854 Fresnel Lens. The Lens, which was first installed in the Gay Head Lighthouse, now occupies the Museum like a suspended jewel adorned with 1,008 glass prisms. Enjoy a four-course Valentine's Dinner prepared by Island chefs Kyle Anderson (Kitchen Porch), Kevin Crowell (Detente), Regina Stanley (Art Cliff Diner), and Sean Yancey (West Chop Club) while listening to the enchanting music of Jeremy Berlin and Rose Guerin. Limited tickets available. Reservations required. Members $80, Non-Members $90. Reserve here.
Whether you choose the stay at the Harbor View Hotel or not, the Hotel's own Bettini Restaurant is a must visit during your stay. Their four-course Valentine’s Day dinner includes such scrumptious selections as Cured Hamachi Sashimi, Duck Tournedos, Pumpkin Ravioli, Bitter Cacao Crusted Beef Filet, Yuzu-Kosho Crusted Tasmanian Salmon and more. Dinner is served from 5:30PM-9PM and is offered at $95 per person. Reservations are recommended, call 508-627-3761 or book online here.
What to Do?
Share a relaxing day de-stressing and detoxifying. Join your partner for an invigorating massage or body treatment at one of Martha’s Vineyards finest spas this Valentine’s Day. The Mansion House Spa offers couples massages, as well as hot stone and aromatherapy massages. Sea Spa Salon in Edgartown offers treatments specifically tailored to him and her, including customized facials. Try one of their signature body scrubs and leave feeling softer and more rejuvenated than ever.
Enjoy some of the Island’s most talented musicians for live entertainment that will get you on your feet. Beloved performer Mike Benjamin will be playing acoustic covers of classic hits at the Newes for America Pub in Edgartown from 7 to 9PM. Be sure to grab a seat at the bar and score one of their iconic wooden nickels. The lively duo, Brothers McMahon will steal your heart at the Ritz, where they’ll be performing a mix of rock, pop and classics at the Island’s most storied dive bar.
The real treat this Valentine’s Day (and every day on Martha’s Vineyard!) is the natural beauty of the Island which makes it the most picturesque location for romantic walks along the beach. February may not make for a hot day under the sun, but a bundled up stroll along the sand with your partner is one of the most romantic ways to spend some time together. Plus now’s the time that you can access some of the Island’s most beloved beaches like Lucy Vincent Beach and Lambert’s Cove Beach, which are restricted to town residents in the summer.
How fast time flies, especially when you’re on Martha’s Vineyard! We’re coming to the end of the first month of 2020 and we couldn’t be more excited to be entering into February. Sure, some might say, it’s one of the coldest months on Island but it’s also one of the calmest, most restorative months. Locals and visitors alike take it upon themselves to work on winter projects, catch up on all their reading, connect with friends, and nourish their bodies while preparing for another spring season to awake on Island.
As we mention all these items being checked off, we can see a constant - the subject of self-care, of nourishing, of reflecting on the past and looking towards the future. Martha’s Vineyard Island has become synonymous with summer fun and gorgeous beaches, but the winter is just as fun, albeit a different way. We might not have the ripe, juicy tomatoes from Morning Glory Farm but we appreciate how local Martha’s Vineyard restaurants have stepped up to the plate to bring us fresh, tasty salads that nourish us from within. Below, we’re sharing a few Martha’s Vineyard restaurants that are open at this time of year and serving up salads as fresh as a hot summer day in Katama.
The Barn, Bowl & Bistro
A classic never fails and we go to The Barn, Bowl, & Bistro for a Classic Caesar salad for when you’re craving that traditional combination of creamy dressing and crisp romaine lettuce with crunchy croutons in every bite.
Build on the base of crisp romaine or baby kale with Caesar dressing, croutons and Parmesan cheese, to which you can add chicken, blackened shrimp, steak, and/or anchovies to make it a fully loaded meal! We love that you can switch out the classic romaine for baby kale for an even more nourishing meal.
The Cardboard Box
Aptly named “Today’s Awesome Salad”, this salad at The Cardboard Box changes daily depending on what’s seasonal, local, and available. Did you know that their produce is sourced from Loon Farm, Chilmark, the sole farm providing for their restaurant? We love seeing this hand in hand relationship, where true farm to table is delivered to your plate.
Life at Humphreys
A gorgeous made to order “Slice Salad”. Imagine all this goodness: oven roasted pesto chicken, tomatoes, spiced roasted walnuts, cranberries & Gorgonzola with their house made balsamic dressing. It’s a filling salad that will satisfy your hunger in every bite.
Not only is the salad delicious, but we love the history of its source: Life at Humphreys wasn’t always “Life at Humphreys”. It was the result of a love story between two Vineyard restaurants that needed each other to lift themselves and the Island community up; Humphreys Bakery and Slice of Life Cafe!
The Scottish Bakehouse
This is the latest and greatest salad coming out of The Scottish Bakehouse kitchens and we are here for it. Smashed sweet potato with black lentils, feta cheese, juicy pomegranate seeds, flavorful sautéed kale and a creamy tahini dressing - it all comes together to make the perfect bite. Sweet, savory, salty goodness - what more could you ask for?!
“For Islanders and visitors, this is your one-stop option for any meal or snack on the daily. Many quick to-go choices are available in the fridge along with beverages. Coffees and teas are self-serve and there are newspapers and magazines for purchase to enjoy while sipping your chosen bliss.”
Town Bar & Grill
Don’t you just love when you see a Beet Salad on the menu? Town has one that you’re going to love love love! Made with roasted beets, creamy goat cheese, crunchy candied walnuts, fresh mixed greens, all dressed in a honey balsamic dressing, it’s a classic combination we all love. Beets and goat cheese - whoever discovered that deserves a beach house on Martha’s Vineyard! Another beet salad we love is at...
The Wharf Pub
This beet salad also combines the goat cheese we love with earthy beets, but also includes a sprinkling of dried Cape Cod cranberries, which adds to the sweetness of the salad overall. Two great options for beet salads, right in Edgartown!
Did you or someone you know get engaged over the holidays? It’s a popular time of year to pop the question and Martha’s Vineyard is a popular place to tie the knot. After all, can you imagine a more charming, romantic and unique place to say “I do?” From our beautiful beaches to rolling hills, rustic locations and chic abodes, there’s no better place to celebrate your forever. If you’re dreaming of an Island wedding and ready to start tackling what’s next, we’ve rounded up our tips on initial steps for planning the perfect affair on Martha’s Vineyard, big or small.
Pick a Date or Time of Year
Martha’s Vineyard is a dynamic place that can change significantly from season to season. Generally speaking “wedding season” takes place in the fall and in the spring, when the weather is a bit cooler, vendors are more accessible, and great deals can be had on venues and lodging. If a summer wedding is what you've always dreamed of, you’ll want to plan far in advance as many vendors will book up early and possibly charge a premium for peak season rentals and accommodations. Winter can make for a beautiful event but keep in mind that many businesses and vendors operate seasonally, so be patient when reaching out if you are not receiving automatic responses.
Additionally, weather is a consideration in any location and a Martha’s Vineyard destination wedding can be even more weather sensitive, as windy days can bring ferry cancellations and other obstacles. No matter the time of year you choose for your Martha’s Vineyard wedding, the natural landscape of the Island will provide a fabulous backdrop for your nuptials, rain or shine.
Select a Location
Location, location, location. If you’ve selected Martha’s Vineyard as your wedding location you’ve already selected one of the most beautiful places in the world, congratulations! Now you need to think about the type of environment you envision yourself getting married. Are you looking for a casual, beachy vibe or a more elegant affair?
If the former is what you envision, consider the oceanside Allen Farm in Chilmark, the Sailing Camp in Oak Bluffs, or the Grange Hall or Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury. For more formal events the Dr. Daniel Fisher House, Old Whaling Church, Harbor View Hotel and Winnetu Oceanside Resort offer beautiful properties with pristine landscaping and graceful and stylish digs. Other popular locations include the Vineyard’s historic lighthouses, many of which, including the Edgartown Lighthouse, East Chop Lighthouse, and Aquinnah Lighthouse, are available for private events.
Talk to a Wedding Planner
If we can offer one piece of advice, especially to those brides and grooms who do not call Martha’s Vineyard home, it’s to consider a wedding planner. Whether your budget allows you a full-service wedding planner or a more affordable day-of coordinator, the value of wedding planners on Martha’s Vineyard cannot be overstated. These trained professionals are well connected to vendors, know how to navigate the challenges of unpredictable circumstances that may arise, and work incredibly well under pressure. Whether you’re planning a large wedding of 200+ guests or a Martha’s Vineyard elopement there’s a pro ready to help set you up for success. Browse our directory of local wedding pros here.
Consider How You’ll Get Here...
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, Martha’s Vineyard is a true Island, and is accessible by boat or plane only! This means your guests will need to accommodate these factors in their planning and it’s on you to guide them appropriately. When it comes to water travel, the Steamship Authority is the Island’s year-round ferry service and the only fleet that accommodates cars.. Reservations are needed if you or your guests would like to bring a car to the Island. Available space can book-up months in advance, especially in the summer, so plan accordingly. Direct flights to Martha’s Vineyard are available year-round from Boston, New York, NY and Nantucket, and the summer months welcomes direct flights from Washington D.C. and, new in 2020, from Charlotte, NC and Philadelphia, PA.
...and Where You’ll Stay
While getting here is half the fun, once you’re on-Island you’ll need a place to stay. For large groups and wedding blocks consider one of our local hotels including the Summercamp hotel on Oak Bluffs harbor, or the Hob Knob, Harbor View Hotel, Edgar Hotel and Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Edgartown. Some of our historic inns function as wedding venues as well, allowing you to stay and celebrate on property, such as the Beach Plum Inn, Outermost Inn and Captain Flanders House. Many large groups prefer to rent private homes to accommodate guests and our local rental agencies can help recommend the perfect location for your guests. Many homeowners also rent their homes through WeNeedaVacation.com, VRBO, HomeAway and AirBnb as well, allowing you all of the comforts of home at various places across the Island.
Communicate to Your Guests
Once you’ve determined your date, location and lodging we recommend creating a wedding website with all pertinent information as soon as possible for you to share with your guests. Given the additional logistics involved in getting here and the advanced reservations that are often required, you’ll want to make sure your guests can start planning their stays right away. Feel free to share any and all of the helpful content from our website to help inform both yourself and your guests. Good luck and remember to keep calm and plan on!
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