If you’re looking for a low-key and relaxed New Year’s Eve, yet want to have fun with friends, we have put together a complete list of what to do on New Year’s Eve on Martha’s Vineyard. Spending New Year’s on the island is such a lovely time, when businesses focus all their energy on the family and friends that visit. Plus, nothing better than starting the year on MV - January 1st on island just means you’ll be here even more throughout the year!
Where to Stay
Wondering where to stay? You can definitely rent a winter rental with one of our many real estate companies, or stay at one of the island hotels listed below. Plus more ideas online on our where to stay page.
Where to Eat & Party
Whatever you decide to do to welcome 2019, we are excited to have you celebrating on island! Make sure to tag your photos on social media with #marthasvineyard and #VisitMV so we can share your celebrations!
Martha’s Vineyard is an idyllic Island escape located approximately seven miles from the southern tip of Cape Cod and about 30 miles from Nantucket. Once you’re here you’ll feel like you’re a world away, and it’s a refreshing change from the bustle and bustle of the mainland. While there’s more than enough to keep you entertained on-Island there’s also various day trips that you can take to explore nearby lands, quickly and conveniently, and without a car. Here’s a round up of some of our favorite travel trips for getting you “off the rock” (but we won’t blame you if you just want to stay put).
Woods Hole Village
Distance from Martha’s Vineyard: approx. 7 miles
Getting there: Via the Steamship Authority ferry, year round, 45 mins travel time, $8.50 for a passenger ferry ticket each way
About: Woods Hole is a quaint fishing village located in Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, and it’s home to the year round Steamship Authority ferry. Most visitors travel through Woods Hole to get to Martha’s Vineyard but Woods Hole is a destination in itself and often overlooked by those travelling to Martha’s Vineyard.
Things to do: In addition to great shopping and delectable dining (the pop overs at Pie in the Sky and the fried chicken at Water Street Kitchen are a must) Woods Hole is home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a global leader in ocean science and exploration. The WHOI operates a small, public science aquarium (admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted) that displays approximately 140 species of marine animals found in Northeast and Middle Atlantic waters. Nerby, the Woods Hole Historical Museum is a lively but small museum with changing exhibits and diverse programs. You can’t miss the Nobska Point Lighthouse, which you’ll see from the ferry as you’re approaching Woods Hole. This stately 40-foot tower was built in 1876 and recently began offering seasonal tours.
For the cycling enthusiasts you’ll want to bring a bike on board the ferry (an additional $4 fee) and explore the Shining Seas Bikeway (SSB), a paved 10.7 mile bikepath that begins in Woods Hole and continues 10.7 miles north along the west coast of Falmouth. The Shining Sea Bikeway (SSB) was named for a line in the song America The Beautiful, written by Falmouth native Katharine Lee Bates. It follows the original route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad that used to run from Buzzards Bay, through North and West Falmouth, around Woods Hole and into Falmouth Station.
Distance from Martha’s Vineyard: approx. 11 miles
Getting there: Via the Steamship Authority ferry, year round, 45 mins travel time, $8.50 for a passenger ferry ticket each way. Take the complimentary shuttle to the Palmer lot and walk to Main Street Falmouth. You can also take the Patriot Party Boat year round ($12 each way), or the Island Queen ferry in the summer months ($14 one way, $22 round trip), which both depart from Oak Bluffs harbor and arrive into Falmouth harbor. It’s a short walk to Main Street from there.
About: Falmouth Village offers shopping, dining, and playing all within steps of Falmouth’s beautiful beaches. Stroll Falmouth Village’s tree-lined Main Street and you’ll find locally-owned shops filled with unique gifts, apparel, artworks, books and more. From day spas to night life there’s more than enough to explore in one day.
Things to do:
Highfield Hall and Gardens is one of Cape Cod’s premier historic sites located in downtown Falmouth. This 19th century estate and cultural center is open to the public from April 15 – October 31 and boasts spectacular gardens, 400 acres of nature trails, fun special events and high-quality programming for all ages. Nearby is Falmouth Museums on the Gree, a two-acre campus across from the historic downtown Village Green. Admission is only $5 and visitors can enjoy tours of the 1790 Dr. Francis Wicks House, the 1730 Conant House, the Hallett Barn Visitors Center, the Cultural Center, and the colonial gardens. Historic walking tours of Falmouth also take place Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Bowling and gaming enthusiasts can enjoy Ryan Family Amusements for some fun for the whole family while foodies can eat their way down Main Street and choose from a variety of fare including Italian, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Greek, New American cuisine, and of course, seafood!
Distance from Martha’s Vineyard: approx. 16 miles
Getting there: Via Hyline Cruises, seasonally, approximately one hour travel time, $29.50 each way, $59 round trip
About: Hyannis is located in the mid-Cape area and is the closest thing you’ll find to a city on Cape Cod. It is the commercial and transportation hub of Cape Cod and was designated an urban area in 1990. Islanders flock to Hyannis for its shopping which includes the Cape Cod Mall, Trader Joe’s Christmas Tree Shops, Cost Plus World Market, Old Navy, and more. While those destinations require a cab or car to travel to from the boat, there are several small shops, boutiques and restaurants located on Main Street, just a short walk from where the ferry arrives. Historically, Hyannis has been known for the private Kennedy Compound at nearby Hyannis Port and the family’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of locals.
Things to do:
Located on the inner harbor in Hyannis, the Cape Cod Maritime Museum is a devoted to maritime culture on Cape Cod. The museum houses a rotating collection of maritime art steps from the ferry dock. The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is one of the most popular attractions in downtown Hyannis, and includes a multimedia exhibit designed to open a window on the days JFK spent on Cape Cod. The Museum's exhibits features videos and photographs spanning the years from 1934 to 1963. For a true taste of Hyannis walk up and down Main Street exploring the various shops, and admiring the work of local artists and designers.
Distance from Martha’s Vineyard: approx. 25 miles
Getting there: Via Hy-line Cruises InterIsland ferry, seasonally, approximately 70 minute travel time, $36 each way, $65 round trip
About: When it comes to comparing Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket each Island has its own distinct charm. While Martha’s Vineyard measures approximately 100 square miles, our smaller sister Island to the southeast is about half the size. Martha’s Vineyard boasts six different towns while Nantucket has one, aptly named Town. The wharves and picturesque cobblestoned streets of the Town are lined with restaurants, high-end boutiques and steepled churches, and the island’s rich whaling history is celebrated throughout. The National Park Service cites Nantucket, as being the "finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th- and early 19th-century New England seaport town." It’s old New England charm is appreciated and admired by thousands of visitors each year.
Things to do: No stay in Nantucket is complete without a visit to the Nantucket Whaling Museum which showcases Nantucket’s rich history and significance in the whaling industry. One of the museum’s most impressive sites is the forty-six-foot-long sperm whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling, as well as the fresnel lens from the Sankaty Head Light that is proudly on display in the lobby. Step outside the museum and discover a plethora of shops, restaurants and galleries along the cobblestone streets.
Beer lovers can hop a complimentary shuttle to Cisco Brewing Company from downtown, located about 2.5 miles inland. Explore the brewery, distillery, and winery, which offers food and live music along with sips of their house made beverages.
For lighthouse aficionados the Great Point Light can’t be missed. Towering more than 60 feet, this historic lighthouse was established in 1784, destroyed in 1984 and rebuilt in 1986. Located on the Coskata Coatue Wildlife Refuge, you can get a tour of the lighthouse depending on the time of year and access to the lighthouse.
For the best view of the Island make sure to climb atop the tower of the First Congregational Church and be rewarded with a panoramic look from above.
It’s no surprise that Martha’s Vineyard plays hosts to hundreds of weddings a year. With its unparalleled natural beauty, unique Island allure, and Old World charm your hard pressed to find a more romantic location. While the Island makes for a beautiful backdrop it can also be a logistically challenging location to host a special event, but with the help of some extra considerations you can plan the perfect Martha’s Vineyard wedding. Here’s some local insider tips to help guarantee a memorable celebration for you and your guests.
Over-communicate the details
Chances are many of your guests may be new to the Island and have limited knowledge of the logistics involved in getting here, getting around and their available travel options. You’ll want to thoroughly communicate the steps involved in getting here and what your guests can do in advance to be prepared. Make sure to have a detailed wedding website or information card in your invitation that breaks down available travel options as soon as possible. Travelling to the Vineyard isn’t hard but it does require pre planning, especially for big groups.
Ferry and plane service are available year round but schedules depend on the season. Cape Air offers year round air travel from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Delta, JetBlue, and American Airlines offer seasonal service from various locations including New York and Washington D.C. For additional details visit the Martha’s Vineyard airport website here.
The Steamship Authority offers year round ferry service from Woods Hole, MA and is the only way to get your car to the Island. There are also several seasonal ferries available including the Island Queen from Falmouth, Hyline Cruises from Hyannis, Seastreak from New York and New Bedford and the Rhode Island Fast Ferry from North Kingston.
Plan in advance
Be sure to provide clear instructions for your guests so they allot enough lead time for travel. For example if your guests plan to take a car over to the Island for your summer wedding they should make that reservation with the Steamship Authority months in advance. Visit our Getting Here page for a breakdown of the various travel options year round.
You’ll also want to help your guests secure lodging as far in advance as possible, especially if your event is taking place in the summer. The summer is the busiest time on Martha’s Vineyard and hotels, inns and rental homes also book up months in advance. Consider a spring or fall wedding when the weather is a little cooler, rates are lower and the crowds have lessened. Also keep in mind the spring and fall can also bring more rain and wind, which can complicate your travel arrangements. Ferries are regularly cancelled because of bad weather and high winds which may affect your timeline so be aware that these types of scenarios are possible and plan accordingly.
Whenever you decide to tie the knot on Martha’s Vineyard make sure to reach out to local wedding vendors as soon as you’ve locked in a date, as there are limited resources and a high demand for their services.
When it comes to lodging keep in mind that there are is not an endless selection of large hotel options like there may be on the mainland. The hotels that can accomodate the most guests include The Winnetu Oceanside Resort, the Clarion Inn and the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown; the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven and Summer Camp in Oak Bluffs. Other smaller hotels, like the Hob Knob Hotel, provide a more intimate setting and can be bought out exclusively for your guests. Another popular option for housing big groups is to rent a private home. AirBnb, VRBO and homeaway.com all offer several listings on the Island, as well as local real estate companies like Point B Realty, Sandpiper Realty and Tea Lane Associates.
Hire a wedding planner
Given the nuances of the Island and the special considerations involved in planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner to help you navigate through the logistics and available vendors. Martha’s Vineyard is home to some incredibly organized and well connected wedding planners including KG Events & Design, Plan It MV, Timeless Events, With Grace and others. Their expertise, local knowledge and widespread resources will help ensure your wedding goes off without a hitch and will leave you to focus on more important things.
Many people ask us if it’s still worth visiting Martha’s Vineyard this time of year. The answer is always “yes.” The fall and winter months on Martha’s Vineyard are noticeably more quiet but there is a peacefulness around that you won’t find in the summer. This time of year allows you to mingle with friendly locals who are eager to share their recommendations, and meet the shopkeepers and business owners that have the time to interact with new faces. Visiting during the winter months also means cheaper rates on hotel rooms and better deals, as well as more access to places you would be restricted to in the summer, like some of our most coveted beaches.
While some seasonal businesses have already closed, more than enough remain open to entertain weekend and day trippers. The holidays on Martha’s Vineyard are especially worth the trip, it’s a genuinely magical time full of old-world charm. Here’s some tips to help you discover the magic of Martha’s Vineyard throughout the year.
Getting to Martha’s Vineyard in the winter is just as easy as travelling here in the summer. The Steamship Authority, our year round ferry service, continues to operate daily, offering more than a dozen trips a day from the mainland in Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re planning to walk on the ferry without bringing your car you’ll want to be sure to remember to park your car at one of their designated parking lots, where you can take a shuttle down to Woods Hole. You’ll have to pay to park at the lot ($10/day through March), but the shuttle is complimentary. Once you arrive to the Steamship Authority terminal you can purchase a passenger ticket ($8.50 each way). If you’re planning to bring you your car with you to the Island you’ll need to contact the Steamship Authority in advance to reserve a spot. Another great reason to visit in the winter is reduced rates on the ferry.
If you’re travelling without a car you can also arrive directly to the Woods Hole terminal via Peter Pan Bus lines. You can take a direct bus from Boston or transfer from Boston’s South Station from several other locations.
Flights to and from Martha’s Vineyard are also possible throughout the winter months. Cape Air continues to run trips from Boston, Westchester County and Nantucket from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. Nothing beats arriving in the sky and being treated to an aerial view of Martha’s Vineyard!
Where to Stay
There are several hotels and inns on Martha’s Vineyard that offer year round lodging and world class hospitality. One of the most convenient locations is the Mansion House, located steps from the ferry terminal, and situated in historic downtown Vineyard Haven. The Mansion House offers a variety of guest rooms and suites, as well as an on site, fitness center, pool and spa. For a full list of lodging check out our hotel directory.
Martha's Vineyard is home to the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA), which offers a comprehensive bus system that connects all towns: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs,Vineyard Haven, Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury. Frequency of service varies with the season, but buses run regularly and reliably year-round and are a great cost-effective way to see the beauty of the Island. You can pay as you go, or purchase 1-day, 3-day, or 1-week bus passes on the buses or at the Steamship Authority. All VTA buses are handicap accessible, and are equipped with bike racks. Visit their website to view their suggestion on how to see the Island in one day using public transit as well as current schedules, route maps, fares and additional information.
For a more private ride enlist the help of local Martha’s Vineyard cab companies including Lighthouse Taxi, Stagecoach Taxi, and Adam Cab among others. Cabs are generally available for pick up at the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven once you arrive on the Island, or can be called for scheduled service. Uber is also available on the Island year round.
If you’re looking to rent your own wheels you can rent a car year round through the Hertz office located at the Martha’s Vineyard airport. Looking for two wheels? Bike rentals are always available at Anderson’s Bike Rental on Oak Bluffs harbor and throughout most of the year at Wheel Happy in Edgartown.
Yes, Martha’s Vineyard is home to many seasonal businesses but there are still more than enough places that stay open throughout the year to keep things interesting around here. For the arts lover be sure to check out Featherstone Center for the Arts, a year round arts center with galleries and exhibit spaces as well as classes and open studios. Two of our local movie houses are also open year round for your cinematic pleasure. Entertainment Cinemas in Edgartown is your go-to for the big Hollywood blockbusters and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center is our independent art house cinema that screens many smaller, independent films as well as hosting various film festivals and special events. Nature lovers are always in luck on Martha’s Vineyard as most of the Island’s protected lands and trails are open year round and offer free fun while taking in the natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard. Download the TrailsMV app for iOS or Android to see a comprehensive map of all of the trails available for exploration. Foodies can also rejoice in knowing that there’s still dozens of restaurants that stay open throughout the winter too. Check out What’s Open on Martha’s Vineyard for a real-time index of places to eat on the Island.
Be sure to stop by the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce office, located at 24 Beach Street in Vineyard Haven, steps from the Steamship Authority ferry terminal. Open year round the Chamber can answer any questions you may have while visiting, and supply you with free maps and brochures for making the most of your stay. Remember that a trip to the Island any time of year is sure to be a memorable time!
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.” ~Bernard Baruch (1870-1965)
‘Tis the season for delicious apples and in conjunction with our friends over at Visit Massachusetts we wanted to share our love for apples and where you can find apple dishes, desserts, and drink on Martha’s Vineyard!
“Applechusetts is ripe for the visiting. A fruit favorite for wellness, the harvest season staple come in a spectrum of shapes, sizes, colors, flavors, and textures. More than tasty treats alone, apples represent heritage, family, tradition, and - the really good stuff - memories. Get to the core of Massachusetts with pick-your-own orchards, hard cider tastings, family-friendly festivals, and bushels more!” - Visit MA
Not only are apples delicious to eat, but their health benefits abound so like the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, we made sure to find the most delicious apple dishes on Martha’s Vineyard to share with you. All of these restaurants are open year round, so whenever you’re craving something with apples, we are sure they will impress!
Espresso Love’s “Love Salad” in Edgartown is packed with tender mixed greens, apples, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, all tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette that makes the perfect light seasonal lunch!
The Wharf Pub’s “Apple Salad” is another healthy lunch or dinner idea, with a salad that’s composed of green apples, mixed greens, blue cheese, red onion, potato stix, crushed pecans & all tossed in a luscious champagne vinaigrette.
Alchemy’s “Grammy's Pancrepes” are a cross between a pancake and a crepe and are a delicious brunch option on Sundays on island. They come served with the most delicious apple butter, fresh berries, pecan crumble, and NH maple syrup to douse it all in.
Nat’s Nook’s “Apple Butter Crepe” is just as the name states, a freshly made and warm thin crepe slathered in apple butter and served with maple syrup. Sit in one of their cozy tables and order a latte to go with it and it’s the perfect mid-afternoon treat!
Scottish Bakehouse’s “Hot Organic Ancient Grain Cereal” is the kind of breakfast you need on a cold winter morning before work. The ancient grains cereal will fill you up and the topping of apples and warm cinnamon will entice your senses.
State Road is where you’ll go all out because they have two apples desserts and two apple savory dishes on their various menus, so go apple-crazy!
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