With winter approaching, the weather on Martha’s Vineyard is a sharp contrast to our hot, summer beach days. While the climate on-Island is generally more mild than mainland Massachusetts, it can get very windy, and snow and cold temperatures are typical this time of year. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll want to layer up and often bundle up while exploring Martha’s Vineyard during the winter months.
So where can you stock up on cold weather gear or pick up a last minute hat or scarf if you forget to pack one? While there’s no chain retailers on Martha’s Vineyard there are some great local shops where you can find some of your favorite off-Island brands to keep you warm this winter. Watch out for special deals and discounts throughout the holiday season and note that many stores have more limited hours once January rolls around so call ahead to make sure they’re open.
The Green Room, 71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven
Since 1994 the Green Room has been providing the Island with high quality, good looking clothing and outdoor gear. The two floor store is packed with casual, outdoorsy essentials, as well as pieces that can be incorporated into an elegant evening out, making it a versatile place and a great one-stop shop for whatever you might need. It’s the go-to spot for those reliable outdoor brands that are known for keeping you warm and cozy, like Patagonia, the North Face, Barbour, Oakley, Pendleton, Save the Duck, True Grit and more. You can also find coveted rain boots from Hunter and Chooka, and durable footwear like Frye, Clarks, Dansko, as well as cozy slippers from Minnetonka. For the warmer weather (or those brave winter souls) Green Room is also the go-to Island resource for surfwear and skateboarding gear, as well as snowboarding supplies.
Brickman’s, 8 Main Street, Vineyard Haven
Established in 1913 as a cobbler shop, Brickman's has evolved into a full service footwear, apparel, sporting goods and toy store for the entire family. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a department store on Martha’s Vineyard and stay stocked with practical finds for all seasons. When it comes to staying warm you can browse their selection of jackets, coats, vests, hats, scarves and socks from brands like Woolrich, Adidas, Marmot, Carhart, Prana and more. (Insider tip if it’s ever applicable, it’s also the only retailer on Martha’s Vineyard that offers tuxedo rentals).
Basics, 24 Circuit Ave, Oak Bluffs
This year-round Circuit Avenue staple focuses on affordable, easy fashion for women, men and children. In the summer season they also have a sister store, Eastaway Clothing, located across the street with trendy, Island inspired fashion. In the winter stop in for flannel lined canvas work dungarees and fleece lined jeans from Carhart, shoes from Woolrich, outerwear from Timberland and fashions from brands like Billabong, Fossil and Levis. Basics also boasts an impressive shoe and footwear selection including designer kicks from Ugg, Frye, and Under Armour, with a wide variety of styles and competitive prices. It’s also one of the only stores on Martha’s Vineyard where you’ll find a wide selection of infant and children’s clothes throughout the seasons.
Backwater Trading Company, 4-6 Main Street, Edgartown
This locally owned lifestyle shop challenges you to “step outside of the normal current,” and once you step in to the store you won’t want to leave. Conveniently located in downtown Edgartown, steps from the harbor, this bustling boutique has everything you need for getting outside, finding adventure and looking good while doing it. Backwater is finely curated with finds for men, women and children, featuring brands like Patagonia, Arcteryx, Olive & Oak, Marmot, Woolrich, Toad & Co., Under Armour, Hatley and more.
Another great feature of all of the above mentioned winter clothing retailers? They’re all locally owned small businesses and you can feel good shopping while knowing your purchases are making a difference in the lives of our local community. Now that’s something to really warm you up! For a full list of Island clothing stores check out our directory here.
Where to Eat the Most Indulgent Food on Martha’s Vineyard During Our Coldest Months
Now that the temperatures are more classic New England winter, we wanted to put together a list of some of our favorite comfort foods on island to help you get through the cold winter. Nothing like warming foods, take are nostalgic yet modern, that remind us of our childhood, and ultimately makes us warm from the inside out! The restaurants listed below are scattered around the main towns of the island: Edgartown, Vineyard Haven, and Oak Bluffs. They are restaurants that are also open during the winter, making them extra special to the locals.
Alchemy: New England Fish Cake with Baked Beans
Start your Sunday with brunch over at Alchemy in Edgartown, where they have just implemented their brunch and are serving up some delicious options! Our recommendation is their New England Fish Cake with Baked Beans. A gorgeous fish cake sits atop of greens and those classic New England baked beans, so hearty and delicious. Topped with a sunny side up egg, what more could you ask for?
Humphrey’s: Hot Pressed Gobbler Sandwich
The perfect Thanksgiving meal pressed between freshly made bread at Humphrey’s. They freshly roast their turkey and then the sandwich is layered with juicy turkey, homemade stuffing, and cranberry sauce, all held together with melted cheese. A true holiday sandwich!
l’etoile: Short Ribs over Polenta
l'étoile restaurant is chef-owned & operated. They offer an inventive & fresh, seasonally-driven menu utilizing native ingredients such as produce, herbs, and berries from local farms and shellfish from the surrounding waters, along with fresh game birds, lamb and other meats. Their braised boneless short ribs, “Tony Meyer’s style” are served over a maple smoked cheddar polenta with a roasted tomato and onion marmalade!
Scottish Bakehouse: Brazilian Plate
One of the Scottish Bakehouse classic’s, this Brazilian plate is composed of jasmine white rice, beans, sautéed onions, chef’s choice of two cold salads plus your choice of chicken, beef or pork. With our island’s large community of Brazilian Americans, we know a taste of home is always welcome!
The Food Truck: Lemon Rosemary Fries
Oh fries, salty goodness that makes us come back for more! The Lemon Rosemary Fries at The Food Truck have a cult following - they are THAT good! Something about the blend of fragrant rosemary with the citrusy brightness of lemon salt make these fries the best fries on island, if we do say so ourselves! Grab a bag or two - because you won’t want to share them with anyone! They are located at the Airport Business Park and open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11am until 2pm. You can call or text your orders to 508-560-5883.
Square Rigger: Extra Stuffed Grilled Lobster
Chunks of lobster meat, grilled and served with an herbed lemon butter, along with a vegetables side, potato salad or rice, greens salad, and freshly baked bread. The lobster at The Square Rigger is a splurge but it’s definitely worth every penny. It’s grilled to perfection, not overcooked, but with a bit of char on the meat to give it a delicious flavor. Go all out and ask for extra melted butter to dip you lobster meat in!
La Soffitta: Linguini di Mare
La Soffitta features authentic Italian cuisine accompanied by a great wine list and classic cocktails and located on the upper level above Waterside Market right on Main Street in Vineyard Haven just a block from the ferry. They are serving dinner year round featuring authentic Italian cuisine prepared by Chef Salvatore Della Torre and our recommendation is their Linguini di Mare - perfect for the seafood and pasta lover: sea scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster, and calamari all come together in a spicy tomato sauce with parsley and garlic!
Ocean View: Classic Breakfast
For those that like simple comforts, head to the Ocean View Restaurant & Tavern in Oak Bluffs for Sunday brunch and get their classic breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast - sometimes the simplest of foods are the most delicious!
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!
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