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. Peter Pan Bus has a great app to purchase tickets in advance via mobile.
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!
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!
This will be the 37th Annual Christmas in Edgartown, December 6-9, 2018 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. Come be apart of the holiday magic! Over 100 Edgartown and Island Businesses participate in the weekend festivities, where locals and visitors alike rejoice in the holiday spirit.
First things first, if you’re coming from the mainland, this is the first year you’ll have THREE ways of getting to the island, listed below:
Make your way to Edgartown direct from Hyannis on the Hy-Line Cruises
Come over from New Bedford straight to Edgartown with the Seastreak ferry
Ride over to Vineyard Haven from Woods Hole on our incredible Steamship Authority
It’s a joy that all these ferries will be coming in to MV - two directly into Edgartown Harbor specifically for Christmas in Edgartown, so nothing could be easier than heading over to us this holiday season. Now, what’s Christmas in Edgartown all about and what are these 100 events the town has prepared just for you? Below is just a sampling of the Christmas in Edgartown events, you can see the full listing online here.
You can also click on the events below and you’ll be taken to more information about said event:
The Teddy Bear Suite at 17 Winter Street – 12/06/2018 at 12:00 pm - 6:00 pm
Celebrating its 8th enchanting year, located at Nevin Square for 2018, Point B Realty’s Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite fundraiser is a magical holiday tradition where family memories are made. The money raised goes to help the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club’s Healthy Happy Kids, its after school food program, which helps provide hundreds of Island children with nutritious food and helps the battle against childhood hunger on the Island. This beloved event, the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite, has a new home for the season. You will find the bears at 17 Winter Street, Edgartown – Nevin Square. This downtown location puts the bears at the center of all the Christmas in Edgartown holiday fun. The space will be filled with hundreds of teddy bears and holiday splendor. Come celebrate the magic of the season at the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite. Suggested donation $5.00 If you can’t come to the Martha’s Vineyard Teddy Bear Suite but would like to help support the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club’s Healthy Happy Kids, visit mvteddybearsuite.com to make a donation.
Below is the schedule:
Thursday, December 6th – 12:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Friday, December 7th – 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, December 8th – 10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Sunday, December 9th – 10:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
Suggested Donation: $5.00
Late Night Lights on Main Street: CIE Kick-Off Shopping – 12/06/2018 at 5:00- 8:00 pm
Let evening shop lights entice you in for our first annual CIE Late Night Lights on Main. To kick-off Christmas In Edgartown, stores will be open until 8pm on Thursday for you to focus on holiday shopping before the busy weekend of festivities begin. Come early, stay late, and hop between parties, sales, discounts with a drink or appetizer in between.
Mytoi Illumination – 12/07/2018 - 12/09/2018 at 5:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Experience Mytoi in a way you have never seen it before! Enjoy a magical stroll through our Japanese inspired garden, and witness it come to life at night! Please call 508.693.7662 with your questions!
Lighting of the Lighthouse – 12/07/2018 at 6:00 pm - 6:15 pm
Countdown to the Lighting of the Lighthouse, Edgartown’s version of a tree lighting. Brought to you by Martha’s Vineyard Museum and the Edgartown Board of Trade.
Minnesinger Concert at the Old Whaling Church – 12/07/2018 at 7:30 pm - 9:30 pm
Join the Preservation Trust on Friday, December 7th. The Island’s premier high school choral group, the MVRHS Minnesingers, performs a concert of seasonal favorites at the magnificent Old Whaling Church. A concert you won’t want to miss! Admission is $15 per person. Call 508-627-4440 with questions.
Christmas in Edgartown Parade – 12/08/2018 at 11:00 am - 12:00 pm
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.
The Original Breakfast With Santa at The Wharf – 12/09/2018 at 8:00 am - 10:30 am
The original and longest-running Breakfast with Santa! The charitable event is hosted by Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce and The Wharf Pub. All proceeds go to Jim Lambert Memorial Scholarship Fund. Come out and take photos with Santa and enjoy the breakfast buffet. The breakfast is run entirely on donations and by volunteers, so come support this important community event! The event is $4 for children, $8 for adults. Call 508-693-0085 with any questions. The Wharf Pub & Restaurant is a proud sponsor of Christmas In Edgartown.
Teddy Bear Trot - Holiday 5k Run & Walk – 12/09/2018 at 9:45 am - 11:00 am
The Teddy Bear Trot. is a 5K Run and Walk through picturesque downtown Edgartown. In addition, there will be a 1/2 mile Fun Run for kids under 10. Register in advance here. 100% of proceeds benefit the MV Boys & Girls Club Healthy Happy Kids Program. The Martha’s Vineyard Hurricanes Youth Running Club partners with us again for this year’s Teddy Bear Trot organizer, and this year will be even more amazing. The event will be timed, awards given, and of course we’re hoping to see some of the most festive attire at a road race ever.
Overall, the weekend will be jam-packed with fantastic events for everyone - from the youngest in your family to the oldest but young at heart, Christmas in Edgartown is a must not miss weekend on island. For more information, check out their Christmas in Edgartown full list of events, follow on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, and if you do share on social media, use the hashtag #ChristmasInEdgartown!
The holiday season is coming up soon enough and with that the endless list of people you will be gifting this season. In showcasing our efforts and mission to support local Martha’s Vineyard businesses, we decided to make gift-giving as easy as possible with a list of the most delicious, locally made edible gift ideas for the holidays! These delicious treats can be bought online, in store, or by calling in the retailers themselves. It’s a way to show island makers that their work and business is important to us and what better time to support them than during the jolliest time of year?
Martha's Vineyard Sea Salt
If you’re really looking to have a taste of the island back home, MV Sea Salt is the perfect gift idea for anyone that loves Martha’s Vineyard. Hand harvested by locals Heidi and Curtis, the sea water is sun-dried to become gorgeous salt crystals that are just the thing your recipes need this holiday season.
Coffee is the perfect hostess gift, because it brightens every coffee lover’s day. Purchasing locally roasted Chilmark Coffee not only ensures you are buying some of the freshest coffee ever, but you’re supporting a local Chilmark family!
Murdick’s Fudge has been delighting families for decades now, and gifting a few slices of this traditionally made fudge is a delight. Pair the fudge with a bag of their cheddar or caramel popcorn, and it’s the most munchable gift of the season!
An island favorite, Enchanted Chocolates pairs local ingredients with exceptionally created chocolate. Visitors can check out the chocolate maker's quirky shop while on-island, and are lucky enough to be able to order online during non-summer months.
By the Sea Salt
These seasoning salt blends are just what the foodie on your list needs! Made on island by a woman that not only loves food, but loves people, By The Sea Salt is the perfect blends of salt and seasonings to flavor your food - whether it’s tofu, chicken, vegetables, steak, or seafood!
Morning Glory Farm
If you’re on island, do all your shopping for the foodies in your life at the Morning Glory Farmstand - there you will find locally made salad dressings, jams, jellies, tomato sauces, and so much more. This is the spot to shop if you’re looking to put together an island inspired foodie basket for a loved one.
Martha’s Vineyard Nuts
A relatively new company, Martha’s Vineyard Nuts created deliciously sweet, spicy, and savory blends of island-roasted whole nuts. They are the perfect snack, salad topper, or ingredient in a recipe you are creating!
New Lane Sundries
New Lane Sundries is the creation of Linda Lee Alley, a life-long native of Martha’s Vineyard. She started in 1987 making preserves for the West Tisbury Farmers Market. One Saturday morning, she happened upon the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market and came upon an idea. That idea then branched into 5 varieties of jams and a table at the market the very next Saturday. The rest is delicious history! Some of her most delicious jams (although all delicious) include Pink Grapefruit Marmalade, Zinfandel Chili Jam, and Rose Petal Jelly!
A trip to Martha’s Vineyard is incomplete unless you make a stop at Chilmark Chocolates. Known for their box of delicious chocolates, these are a staple at almost every island family dinner - plus, it makes the host’s job a lot easier: not having to make dessert and just serving up a platter of Chilmark Chocolates!
Little Rock Farm
Little Rock Farm makes some of the best granola on island - Vineyard Sunshine Granola! It is made from scratch with rolled oats, maple syrup, dried blueberries, coconut and pecans. Perfect for sprinkling on fruit and yogurt or eating by itself as a snack!
Not Your Sugar Mamas Chocolate
This gift is perfect for those in your family that not only love chocolate, but love to be healthy as well. The Not Your Sugar Mamas superfood chocolate bars would make the perfect stocking stuffers this year!
The Grey Barn
The island’s only dairy farm, The Grey Barn is the place to shop right before your holiday parties. They craft some incredible cheeses made from grassfed cows, cheeses that would be perfect for your holiday cheese platters and as ingredients in recipes. Their farmstand not only carries cheeses, but everything else you might think you need to create the ideal cheese plate, from crackers to jams to fresh vegetables, it’s a one stop shop!
Mimi’s Hittin’ the Sauce
This island family-owned hot sauce company, Mimi’s Hittin’ the Sauce, start with a lot of gardening love, as they grow all the peppers and tomatoes for their sauces. The labor of love in turns creates some of the most flavorful hot sauce you’ll ever taste! They also make hot pepper jelly and salsas, and can be found at island retailers.
Created by chef and owners of the island restaurant Chesca’s, these sauces have a cult following. There are three types: Thai Chili Glaze, Maple Mustard Balsamic Vinaigrette, and a Dark Chocolate Sauce - all of them divine!
Hand-crafted artisanal pies lovingly made on the island of Martha's Vineyard, Pie Chicks is the solution to now having to make dessert and bringing to the table a few pies. These are just some of their pie options: Apple, Apple Cranberry, Apple Pear Ginger Crumb, Blueberry, Chocolate Bourbon Pecan, Key Lime, Lemon Chess, Pecan, Pumpkin, and Triple Berry.
Located in Vineyard Haven, Shepherd’s Provisions is another island family owned company that is creating not only delicious edible gift ideas but full main dishes you can pick up to serve at parties! Gift ideas like popcorn, cookies, marshmallows, sauces, hot cocoa and more cna be found here.
Holiday shopping on Martha’s Vineyard is a far cry from the chaotic chore that it can often be off-Island. You won’t find yourself fighting for a parking spot at the mall here, because, well there’s no mall. There’s no big box store to bum-rush on Black Friday, and there’s definitely no stores opening at midnight shortly after you’ve cleared your Thanksgiving plates away. Like most things on Martha’s Vineyard, holiday shopping is a more slow paced, intimate experience. Often you’re purchasing gifts directly from the artist or designer that made them, or the shopkeeper who bought the items first hand. Holiday shopping on Martha’s Vineyard generally means going to any number of locally owned shops and boutiques, and browsing the various Christmas fairs and holiday markets that take place throughout the season. Holiday shopping on Martha’s Vineyard often involves making new friends, catching up with old ones, and finding locally made treasures that satisfy everyone on your list–naughty or nice.
Here’s a round up of some of the Island’s best holiday shopping options. At these locations you can shop with the confidence that you’re directly contributing to the local community and economy, which is a thoughtful gift in itself.
Featherstone Center for the Arts Annual Holiday Gift Show: Featherstone, the year round arts center in Oak Bluffs, presents their 16th Annual Holiday Gift Show. Featherstone invites you to celebrate the holiday season while supporting Island artists and Featherstone. This is the perfect holiday shopping destination with gifts for everyone (and yourself), including handmade creations including paintings, photography, pottery, crafts, jewelry, knitwear, clothing, purses, accessories, soaps, dog goods, ornaments, cards, calendars and stocking stuffers. Buy local and support local artists all while supporting Featherstone as well - 50% of proceeds benefit the art center. The Gift Show kicks off with a Preview Party Friday November 16th from 6–8pm, and continues daily through December 16 from 12-4pm, closed Thanksgiving Day. Located at Featherstone Center for the Arts, 30 Featherstone Lane, Oak Bluffs.
Vineyard Artisans Festival 10th Annual Holiday Fair: The Vineyard Artisans is a Vineyard summer tradition and the only weekly juried art show where the public can meet over 70 artisans and buy directly from them. The Artisans return each December for their annual holiday show, where you’ll find demonstrations, weaving, fine furniture, pottery, stained glass, oil paintings, pastels, mixed media, sculpture, wampum jewelry, quilts, clothing, sea glass windows, handmade books and much more. It’s the last Vineyard Artisans Festival of the year, so stock up on your favorite Island goodies like beauty and bath products from Bluewave Body Company, handbags and accessories from Noepe Designs, gourmet salts from Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salts and much more. December 15th, 10am to 4pm, at the Historic Grange Hall in West Tisbury.
Christmas in Edgartown Shopping Specials: Christmas in Edgartown takes over Edgartown each December, with an array of shopping special from local retailers and holiday sales. The weekend kicks off on Thursday, December 6 at Backwater Trading Company where you can find brands like Patagonia, Marmot, Under Armour, Yeti and more. The event continues through the weekend, with an Annual Arts & Crafts Festival at Edgartown School that showcases the handmade gifts of over 30 Island artists, selling goods to benefit the 8th grade class of 2019.
If you prefer to make a day of it going store to store here’s some of our most popular gift shops we’re your sure to find something for that special someone.
Driftwood Jewelry is located on Circuit Avenue, in Oak Bluffs. Driftwood Jewelry is a haven for jewelry lovers looking for unique one-of-a-kind pieces made right here on Martha’s Vineyard. Driftwood features handcrafted artisan jewelry, gifts, and accessories by local artists, including Brenda Benware, Nettie Kent, Ivry Belle Jewelry by Ivry Russilo, Clementine & Co. by Emily Spykman, HawkHouse by Jessica Kramer, Noepe Design, Althea Freeman Miller Designs, and many more.
Rainy Day on Main Street in Vineyard Haven is one of the best curated shops on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s practically impossible to leave this store empty handed. The space isn’t big but the selection is. Rainy Day has everything from greeting cards to jewelry, accessories and home goods and everything in between, not to mention they always have a beautiful selection of holiday ornaments and decorative items for every occasion.
Alley’s General Store in West Tisbury is the island’s oldest retail business on Martha’s Vineyard. When it opened in 1858, it provided householders and local farmers and fishermen with basic staples and as a retail outlet for their goods. Today, Alley’s is a gathering spot for locals and visitors alike. You’ll always find friends gathered on the front porch enjoying coffee or locals inside picking up the mail. Alley’s boasts an eclectic assortment of just about anything and everything, from toys to housewares and hardware. No matter what time of year a stop at Alley’s is always a good idea.
Chilmark Chocolates in Chilmark is THE place to go for chocolates and confections on Martha’s Vineyard. Their coveted goodies are hard to get given their limited hours but it’s worth the hunt. Just make sure you buy something for yourself too.
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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