When you think of Massachusetts-grown produce, cranberries come to mind, being that Cape Cod is one of the largest producers of the berries in the United States. On island, we have one of the few certified organic commercial cranberry bogs in the country, located at the Vineyard Open Lands Foundation (VOLF) in Vineyard Haven. The cranberry bog is located on 23 acres of conservation land owned by VOLF adjacent to the Mary P. Wakeman Conservation Center and consists of 2.5+ acres and three reservoir ponds. You can read more about the bog on Point B Realty’s blog post about Cranberry Acres.
If you’re looking for these island grown cranberries, the best place would be the VOLF farm stand, as well as the Morning Glory Farm farm stand. Cranberries are extremely high in antioxidants and phytonutrients, making them a great addition to your fall recipes and snacks. Wondering where to find cranberry cocktails, artisan products, and more on island? Fear not, as we have put together a full list of cranberry goodness!
1. Bake a Harvest Pie with this delicious Morning Glory Farm recipe.
2. Treat yourself to this Berries and Cream body butter from Vineyard Wick and Bath.
3. Snack on Chocolate Covered Cranberries from Enchanted Chocolates.
4. Buy a four-pack of the new Martha’s Vineyard Spiked in Cranberry Lime.
5. Sit in the Bad Martha Brewery and order a glass of the Cran Vienna Lager, using the native local cranberries tart flavor to balance out the sweet German lager, this beer is the perfect fall beer for Massachusetts.
6. Pick up a bottle of Kulture Kombucha MV at any of these fine Vineyard retailers and try their Cape Codder flavor, cranberry hibiscus with a touch of lemon. A local favorite especially for new kombucha drinkers, as people expect cranberries to be more tart than sweet.
7. Sweeten up the day by checking out Enchanted Chocolates in Oak Bluffs and grabbing a bar or two of their Cranberry Day Chocolate Bar.
The unspoiled charm of Martha’s Vineyard is probably best exemplified by its pristine beaches. Beaches vary from protected, shallow, clear-water stretches on the northern and eastern sides of the Island to expanses of rumbling surf along the south side of the Island. Some beaches are open to the public without restriction, while others are reserved for residents and summer visitors who are staying in the towns where the beaches are located. Visiting this time of year means you actually have access to many of the Island’s most adored — but often exclusive — beaches. Once mid-September rolls around, most of the restrictions are lifted and some of the most coveted patches of sand become accessible to everyone.
Here’s some of our favorite gems that we’re excited to get back to this fall.
Lambert’s Cove Beach
Lambert’s Cove Beach is conveniently located off of Lambert’s Cove Road in West Tisbury on the north shore of the Island and is only a 10-15 minute drive from the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven. There’s ample parking at the beach lot and resident permits are only required mid-June through Labor Day. From the parking lot expect about a 10-minute walk to the sand via a wooded path that is relatively flat. If you’re visiting without a car, the Vineyard Transit Authority bus system does make a stop at the beach from mid-May through late September. Upon arriving to the beach you’ll be awestruck by the stunning views across the Vineyard Sound, including the Elizabeth Islands to your north, Falmouth and Woods Hole to your northeast and Aquinnah to your west. Equally as impressive as the views at Lambert’s Cove Beach is the soft white sand, which is possibly the nicest and most luxurious of all Island beaches. The ocean is very clear and relatively warmer here than at many of the south shore beaches. The water is also significantly more calm, making it more ideal for swimmers than surfers or boogie boarders. Sunsets on Lambert’s Cove Beach can often rival those seen at Menemsha Beach, with the sun often going down over an obstructed view of water. It is not uncommon to visit Lambert’s Cove beach on a fall evening and find several groups of people out enjoying the night, possibly eating dinner on the sand or having a sing along or playing live music near the shore.
Lucy Vincent Beach
Lucy Vincent Beach is located off of South Road in Chilmark and is a Chilmark-resident or renter-only beach during the summer months from 10am to 5pm. Breathtaking rock formations line this beach’s coast, making for a dynamic and uniquely different landscape when compared to many of the Island’s other beaches, and it has been said that this coastline looks similar to beaches found in the northwest of the United States. A look out to sea offers expansive views of the Atlantic Ocean and Nantucket Sound. Lucy Vincent also offers soft, clean sand and active surf for those looking to catch a wave. It’s also known as a nude beach among some longtime residents so don’t be surprised if you see someone sunbathing in the buff. Visit in the early morning and you’ll find local photographers with their tripods trying to catch a beautiful beach sunrise. Click here for map, details on getting there and seasonal permit information.
Squibnocket or “Squibby” is another resident only beach along the south shore of Chilmark that reopens to the public in September. The coast here is a bit rockier than nearby Lucy Vincent but it’s known for its strong waves and great surf, making it a favorite spot among local surfers. Earlier this spring the beach reopened after a massive excavation bridge building project that altered the landscape here. A new 44-space parking lot was also added and is conveniently located near shore, offering a short walk to the water.
Another great private beach to rediscover in the fall is Philbin Beach, which is only accessible to Aquinnah residents in the summer. This time of year you can visit this surf heavy beach via Moshup Trail.
Wherever you choose to explore, you’ll find idyllic scenery and picturesque patches of paradise along our tranquil shores. Just remember all beaches reserve a Carry In, Carry Out policy – so be sure to take your trash with you.
For a full list of Island beaches click here.
Whenever visitors arrive on island, they mostly want to know one thing: where can we get the best lobster dish on island? And while we do love a good lobster roll, we wanted to share the love for all the ways lobster is prepared on Martha’s Vineyard, from the simplest ways, to the most complex and sophisticated elaborations. To celebrate National Lobster Day, which falls on September 25th, below are some of the most delicious lobster eats on island:
Lobster Eggs Benedict from Right Fork Diner - this is just the way to start your day on island. Buttery lobster, spinach and tomato, drenched in housemade hollandaise and served on a toasted English Muffin or Cheddar Polenta cake with mixed greens or hashbrowns. Sit outside and watch the biplanes take off into the sky!
Grilled Lobster Extra Stuffed from The Square Rigger - with chunks of lobster meat, a house specialty, served with an herbed lemon butter, two sides, salad, and just a quaint ambiance, this stuffed lobster is what dreams are made of. The charred bits of it from the grill give it such fantastic fire flavor, it might just become a favorite.
Two Pound Crispy Wok Fired Island Lobster from Atria Restaurant - served with a lemon beurre blanc, whipped potatoes, greens, and lemon this is a spectacular lobster dish that’s sure to impress.
Lobster Macaroni and Cheese from the VFW by Chef Deon - Chef Deon is known for his island cookery, specifically with conch but he is a master of all crustaceans, so his lobster macaroni and cheese is a delight!
Etuvee of 1.5 Pound Menemsha Lobster from l’etoile - when you want to go somewhere special for a lobster dinner, this is it. This dish is served with a lemon pepper pappardelle pasta, Chilmark MVM-Hana Shiitake & Spring vegetable saute, lobster, chardonnay, roasted garlic, and parsley sauce.
Sexy Sushi Roll from Mikado Asian Bistro - made with lobster salad, mango & avocado rolled up with soybean paper, served with kani, mango and mango sauce, this is a sushi roll to write home about!
Lobster Pasta from Black Dog Tavern - fresh tagliatelle with lobster meat, roasted tomatoes, and Rose cremé, what more could you ask for?
Lobster Asparagus Risotto from Detente - this risotto is the accompaniment to their fluke main dish and is hands down the creamiest, cheesiest risotto you’ll ever encounter.
Lobster Dinner from Larsen’s Fish Market - head up island to catch the sunset and call on your way to order two cooked lobsters from Larsen’s. Delivered in a rustic bag, with drawn butter and lemon, you’ll get dirty and it’ll be delicious as you crack the lobsters open on the beach, dunking each tender piece into hot melted butter. What could be better!?
Seafood a la Russia from Ocean View Restaurant - fresh lobster meat, shrimp, scallops, and mussels are all sautéed in a creamy pink vodka sauce over pasta. This dish feeds two if not more - the seafood is perfectly cooked! Ask for a side of bread to sop up the extra sauce.
Whenever you visit a new city, a new state, a new country, shopping is one of the activities everyone recommends. Not only because it boosts the economy of the area, but it’s a great way to meet the locals that own these shops, connect with them and their brands, and support their ventures. Because our island is like a getaway for everything, we even “get away” with not having any big box stores or corporate shops on island, meaning most of the shops you walk into are locally owned or have some local connection. Whether you’re at the hardware store or the movie theater, you know that your money is well spent supporting islanders.
Today, we’re narrowing it down even further and showcasing ten island shops that are owned and operated by women. These shops provide a variety of options on island for the traveling shopper, while at the same time supporting the local needs of the island. As of 2016, it is estimated that there are now 11.3 million women-owned businesses in the United States, employing nearly 9 million people (8,976,100) and generating over $1.6 trillion in revenues.
Remember, this is just a list of ten island businesses that are women-owned. There are plenty more, so make sure to meet the shop owners, talk to the staff at the stores, and support as many local businesses as possible when visiting!
Past & Presents
An antique shop on Main Street Edgartown owned by Jane and Beverly, two of the nicest ladies in town. They make annual trips to England to source and discover new items to bring back to stock their shop on island. It’s a great place for classic antiques and locally made gifts like glassware. The antiques are primarily classic English 19th century, sourced by the owners
Claudia features jewelry by local artisans, as well as noted jewelry designers: Alexis Bittar, Jamie Joseph, Chan Luu, Hidalgo, John Apel, Alex Sepkus, Seaman Schepps, Lola and many more. They also carry French & Italian perfume, hair accessories, eyewear, handbags, wallets and hand blown American glass. All are uniquely displayed amidst antique décor and Richard Lee artwork. Owned and operated by Claudia Canerdy herself, this shop has been a staple on Main Street Edgartown for many years. Claudia is also a big part of the community and town.
New Moon Magick
This candy shop in Oak Bluffs is a must when visiting the island. Don’t miss the Almond Butter Crunch, Stoner Food and Pirate Food - their most requested confections. In addition to the chocolates you'll find vintage jewelry-featuring Dorothy Bauer, linens, antiques and magical treasures. They also offer a full line of botanicals: herbal oils, island embossed soaps, mists, butters & teas. Some of their products include: Almond Butter Crunch, Pirate Food- Salty Cararrghmels, Stoner Food, Chocolate Covered Almonds with MV Sea Salt, Chocolate Covered Pie In The Sky Espresso Beans, Dark Vader Chocolate Bar, Nutty Islander Chocolate Bar, Cranberry Day Chocolate Bar, Martha's Vineyard Sand Bar, Prosperity Chocolates, Chocolate Runes, Chocolate Love Spells, Chocolate Pentacles, Sea Turtles, Chocolate Fudge, Keep It Real Hot Chocolate, Happy We Shall Be Herbal Teas and more.
Established in 2017, and owned by jetsetter Maggie Towels, Magnetic North combines cosmopolitan and New England style, and offers a curated selection of women's and men's clothing, jewelry, accessories, gifts, home and decorative items, and art. Among other things, they feature emerging and socially conscious brands and support local artisans, businesses and charities. Like its namesake, Magnetic North will help you navigate, explore and arrive.
Bunch of Grapes
One of only two island bookstores, Bunch of Grapes is a favorite among visitors and locals alike. Owned by Dawn Braash, the bookstore features a carefully curated array of local authors, national bestsellers, and hard-to-find classics. Plus, the quaint bookstore offers a great kids’ section and gifts of all kinds.
CB Stark Jewelers
This very Vineyard jewelry store celebrated its 50th year in 2016, just one year before its owner and founder Cheryl Barbara (CB) Stark passed away. The store continues to be owned and operated by Margery Meltzer, Cheryl’s partner and co-owner for well over 40 years, along with a strong and talented team of women. Known and loved for their unique island charms, and distinct nautical and beach-themed designs, CB Stark’s jewelry is like no other on Martha’s Vineyard.
This year-round clothing store is owned by powerhouse duo Erin Tiernan and Laurie Welch. Erin handles all the buying for the shop, and her eye for fashion helps keep Islanders stylish while not breaking the bank. A mom herself, Erin knows the importance of practical but attractive designs. Plus, Basics offers one of the best selections of adult footwear and baby clothes.
These designs are high-fashion for the modern woman, with an emphasis on comfort and quality. Bryb Walker boasts nine locations throughout the US, but Martha’s Vineyard is home to the only east-coast locations — one in Vineyard Haven and Edgartown — while all others are west-coast locations. The designer has been selling her wears since 1992 and has gained a loyal following ever since.
The Great Put On
Owned by Nicole Bilzerian, The Great Put On is one of Edgartown’s oldest shops – and there’s a reason for that. This trendy boutique in the heart of Edgartown’s downtown district has been pleasing shoppers since 1969. The owner prides herself on choosing up-to-date, high-end styles. The store’s success continues to grow, and they have recently opened a new shop focused on jewelry, Tesori by The Great Put On.
For many locals on Martha’s Vineyard this is literally the most wonderful time of the year. As much as we love the hustle and bustle of summer, the slower pace of September is welcomed after a hectic season and the weather is just perfect. Another bonus? September marks the start of the 73rd annual Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby, more commonly referred to as simply “The Derby,” now underway until October 13th.
It’s a known fact on Martha’s Vineyard that if you live here and love to fish you are likely fishing The Derby, at any and all costs. Sleep, work and the regular responsibilities of daily life are often compromised on-Island during the tournament, and for good reason, the stakes are high. The winning shore fisherman walks away with the keys to a Cape Codder 19 boat and the winning boat fisherman rides away in a 2018 Subaru Forester, and people are fishing to win.
If you’re planning to visit Martha’s Vineyard between September 9 and October 13, 2018 and you love to fish you’re in luck. In addition to fishing (and most importantly catching!) The Derby fosters friendships and camaraderie, and creates lasting memories, while encouraging participants to fully appreciate the natural beauty of the Island. To fish The Derby is to become part of the fabric of the Island community and its history, and every eager fisherman or woman is welcome to participate.
Interested fishing enthusiasts can register for The Derby at several local tackle shops including Larry’s Bait & Tackle, Dick’s Bait & Tackle, Coop’s Bait & Tackle, Keep it Reel Kayak & Tackle, and many other convenient locations listed here. The cost of registration is $60 for adults, $35 for seniors, and $25 for juniors. In addition, you are welcome to give an optional donation to the organization’s scholarship fund which awards annual scholarships to Martha's Vineyard Regional High School graduating seniors. The total amount of money donated since its establishment now exceeds $600,000. So not only is the experience of The Derby more than enough of a reason to enter but the cause is a meaningful one.
Plus, it’s kid friendly too! Enthusiastic anglers ages nine to 14 are invited to compete in the junior division and the youngest fishermen, those between four and eight, compete as mini juniors. There is also a free kid’s derby event on Sunday, September 16 that always makes for a great photo opp.
The highly anticipated Derby Awards Ceremony takes place on August 14 and is free and open to the public. There those that top the leaderboard at the end of the Derby hope to be given the winning key to the car or the boat, coveted prizes that carry the weight and honor of decades of a local fishing tradition, which in itself is the best prize of all.
Martha’s Vineyard may be synonymous with leisurely summer beach days by the seashore, but the Island stays very much awake and vibrant throughout the fall months. The locals love the cooler temperatures and lessened crowds, and the slower tempo makes for more relaxing days to enjoy the nearby sights and sounds. Here are some more reasons to fall for fall on Martha’s Vineyard, and 20 reasons you’ll want to plan a trip before the season passes you by.
September 15–October 6: The Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse presents The Room Where I Was Held Written by David Zax and directed by MJ Bruder Munafo, this play marks the last performance of the season on the Patricia Neal Stage. It’s the world premiere of a gripping drama about the power of money, privilege, and family ties and a great excuse to visit the MV Playhouse, our local hub for theater buffs and those that love a good show.
September 22: Martha’s Vineyard Craft Beer Festival Craft Beer Festival Beer lovers rejoice! Enjoy your pick from 150 beers from 50 breweries under a big tent at Waban Park in Oak Bluffs. Sample your favorites and discover new brews.
Through September Sunset & Moonrise Kayak Tours: Join Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary for a paddle on Sengekontacket Pond and take in a breathtaking sunset or spectacular moonrise. Sit back, relax and appreciated the painted skies of Martha’s Vineyard.
October 6 & 7: The Art of Chocolate Festival For fifteen years Featherstone Center for the Arts, the Island’s year round art haven in Oak Bluffs, has celebrated all things chocolate. This tasty festival features two days of all-out chocolate consumption. Enjoy the heavenly experience of sampling every morsel of chocolate your heart desires.
October 7: Vineyard Artisans Columbus Day Festival The Vineyards Artisans resurrect their weekly summer festival especially for Columbus Day and it’s the ultimate destination for shopping local on Martha’s Vineyard. Meet the artists themselves and browse their impressive products including textiles, fine furniture, pottery, leather goods, oil paintings, pastels, mixed media, sculpture, wampum jewelry, hand-knit items, clothing, photography, handmade books, and more.
October 7: Popcorn Festival at Native Earth Teaching Farm Pop in for free popcorn all day from 10-3pm and enjoy fall fun for the whole family.
Through October 13: Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby Now in its 73rd year “The Derby” is a Vineyard fishing tradition that completely consumes local anglers, and those that visit especially for it. Participants vie for big prizes including a car and a boat, and many of them don’t sleep until they catch a winning fish.
October 17–21: Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival This 4-day food and wine event brings together the Island’s top culinary talents and beyond, along with world class winemakers, local farmers and discerning foodies for the ultimate taste of the Island experience.
October 20: Morning Glory Pumpkin Festival The largest farm on Martha’s Vineyard hosts this lively free fall festival each year, complete with pumpkin games, hay rides, live music, and all things pumpkin.
Through October: Pizza Nights at Orange Peel Bakery This charming up-Island bakery welcomes the community to stop by and enjoy pizza together every Wednesday night from 5-8pm through September and October. Show up with your favorite toppings, mingle with the locals and meet some new friends.
Through October: Take a biplane ride with Classic Aviators Take in the best view of Martha’s Vineyard from high atop the sky. Enjoy breathtaking scenery and sights that can only be viewed from above while learning about the history of the Island.
Through October: Island Alpaca Yoga Calling all yoga loving animal enthusiasts! Island Alpaca farm hosts a 1-hour session of relaxing yoga, held in a pasture among their friendly alpaca. Please pre-register.
The month of October Fall for the Arts Each fall, Martha’s Vineyard, along with Cape Cod and Nantucket, dedicates the entire month of October to a celebration of the arts. Fall for the Arts strives to initiate and sustain conversations among artists, patrons, and the public.
October 28: Happy Haunting This event encompasses Edgartown’s annual Halloween festivities, and things can get spooky. Visit downtown Edgartown for some Halloween fun, while little ghosts and goblins trick-or-treat from business to business. Sponsored by the Edgartown Board of Trade.
November, 17–December 16: Featherstone Holiday Gift Show Featherstone Center for the Arts is the place to go for unique, one of a kind holiday presents made right here on Martha’s Vineyard. It’s gifts galore for a whole month, including apparel and accessories, cards, calendars, jewelry, pottery, photography, paintings, ornaments, and more. All sales benefit local Vineyard artists and Featherstone, the Island’s only not-for-profit year-round art center.
November 23: Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary Fall Festival This celebration of fall is a Vineyard tradition held the day after Thanksgiving and features hayrides, face painting, live music, food, wreath making, a weather station and crafts for kids, live animals, trail walk, and fun to be had by the whole family.
Ongoing: Enjoy the Island’s tastiest restaurants. Many of the Island’s seasonal restaurants stay open well into the fall, not to mention the dozens of others that stay open all year. Come sample some of the Island’s best dishes without having to wait in line or needing a reservation.
For a full list of everything happening this fall, visit the EVENTS tab on our website.
Discovering historic Martha’s Vineyard is something that should be on every retiree’s travel bucket list. Not only is this New England island quaint and peaceful, but there is so much to do while here.
Some might say that getting to the island is “a hassle,” when in reality you can just walk on a ferry in Woods Hole, Massachusetts, and be on island in 45 minutes flat, over calm seas that greet you as you ride along. Once you arrive on Martha’s Vineyard, we have created a great list of suggestions for senior travelers seen below - for both relaxed seniors as well as active seniors. As the senior population in the US grows, we more and more travelers above 65 years of age looking to experience the world after working all their lives, and Martha’s Vineyard has so much to offer! Here are some suggestions:
Book a relaxing inn, like Isabelle’s Beach House in Oak Bluffs, the Nobnocket in Vineyard Haven, or the Hob Knob in Edgartown.
While you can definitely explore the island in 12 hours, we always recommend taking a weekend or a few days during the week to really get to know MV. Book a few nights in a bed and breakfast and you’ll have a home base to come back to and relax after every day.
Take an island tour
Whether you’re here for a day or longer, you want to be sure you don’t miss anything Martha’s Vineyard has to offer. Some of the easiest ways to do that is with a tour! Whether it be a guided tour on a bus or a in a van, or a self-guided walking tour, a history tour, or even a food tour, you can be sure you get the best sample of everything Martha's Vineyard. Find all available tours on our TOURS page by clicking here.
Schedule a massage
Because it’s all about relaxing! And the island has dozens of spas that will cater to your every need. Whether you need reflexology, a full body massage, a hot stone pedicure, or acupuncture - Martha's Vineyard has it all! Check out some of our faves here.
Go on a kayak or paddle board adventure
If you’re looking for a water adventure, there are numerous options on the island, and they don't disappoint! From paddle board adventures at the Aquinnah Cliffs, to relaxing paddle-board yoga, to sunset kayak tours, getting on the water is a great way to enjoy Martha's Vineyard
Visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum
Their mission is “to inspire all people to discover, explore, and strengthen their connections to this Island and its diverse heritage”, which we love because you’ll learn so much about our island with just one visit!
Browse a local bookstore
Nothing better than supporting a small & independent bookstore, and the island has a few great ones, like Edgartown Books and Bunches of Grapes in Vineyard Haven!
Watch a movie with the Martha's Vineyard Film Society
With so many new movies coming out, the film society theater is just the place to watch them - the space is gorgeous and perfect for a rainy day of movie watching.
Visit the Carnegie and explore the island’s history
The Carnegie serves as Vineyard Trust’s flagship landmark and the starting point for historic walking tours of the Trust’s other Edgartown properties.
Go golfing at one of the island’s golf courses
Golfing has to be on of the best pastimes on island - and it’s very accessible if you set it up with enough time. After all, it's one of President Obama's favorite pastimes on MV! Courses like Farm Neck Golf, Edgartown Golf, and Mink Meadows are great options.
Sit on the beach and read a book!
This one is the easiest - don’t do a thing but relax on one of our many beaches while reading or watching the waves come in! You’ve earned it!
Want more suggestions, or have questions about retiree travel to Martha's Vineyard? Call us! We're happy to help. 508-693-0085 ext.0
August is Nation Sandwich Month! And finding the best sandwich on island is a tough job, but we have narrowed it down to the local’s favorite sandwiches. Explore the island and go on a sandwich tour of MV with this list as your map! We hope you find your own favorite by the end of this blog.
Liz Lemon at 7a Foods
Hands down one of the most popular sandwiches on island, the Liz Lemon has a cult following and we understand why. Hot housemate pastrami, turkey, Swiss cheese, coleslaw, Russian dressing, and potato chips are all snuggled in between two slices of rye bread. That first bite is priceless. It's no surprise 7a Foods wins "Best of the Vineyard - Best Sandwich" year after year.
Meatball Parmesan Hero at #9 Sandwiches
This Edgartown sandwich spot is new to the neighborhood, with only. Year under its belt but they have been crafting some of the best sandwiches in town. Made with freshly made marinara sauce , Pecorino Romano, Fresh Basil
Curried Chicken Salad at Soigne
Surely the curried chicken salad at Soigne is divine, but it’s the bread that this establishment uses that makes their sandwiches so delicious!
CAB at Waterside Market
Head to Vineyard Haven for an all natural chicken, avocado, uncured bacon, melted cheddar and ranch sandwich on ciabatta. It’s the CAB (chicken, avocado, bacon) that’s claim to fame is that it’s as seen on diners drive-ins and dives!
Reuben at Ocean View Restaurant
Grilled Pastrami served on a roll with grilled onions and Swiss cheese, it’s a version of a classic Reuben you’ll sure enjoy in Oak Bluffs.
The Californian at Humphrey’s
The Californian is a combination of roasted turkey, tomato, avocado, provolone cheese and chipotle dressing, all coming together for a tasty sandwich. We suggest extra avocado if you really want to get that Cali feel!
The Vegan Wrap at Espresso Love
If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious choice, stop by this Edgartown coffee shop and get the Vegan Wrap, made up of their ever so popularquinoa, black bean & sweet potato burger, slathered with cilantro pesto, and served with mixed greens and tomato, all on your choice of bread.
Fried Chicken Sandwich at Rosewater Market
Sitting between two pieces of ciabatta bread, this fried chicken sandwich is smothered in an aioli and topped with fresh island greens and their classic and housemate quick pickles. The crispy battered chicken really is the star of this sandwich - which you can make healthier by having it served on a bowl of greens.
Fish Sandwich at John’s Fish Market
A classic fish sandwich - brioche bread that’s toasted, served with crispy fish and lettuce. Ask for Sam’s special citrus sauce to go with it, you won’t regret it!
Fried Green Tomato Sandwich at Slice of Life
Transport yourself to the South with this Fried Green Tomato BLT that has breaded and fried green tomatoes, arugula, applewood smoked bacon, and a basil mayonnaise all on a toasted rosemary bread. The combination of the herbaceous bread with the basil mayonnaise and fried tomatoes make this sandwich another favorite!
Martha’s Vineyard hosts an “endless summer” feel come September. Because right after Labor Day, the island surely quiets down but is still at its prime. The weather cools down and gone are the hot, sweltering days where you can’t find a parking spot in Oak Bluffs. Instead, cool breezy days are here to stay and businesses are booming with that September wind. Below, we are listing our favorite reasons to visit the island in September but remember the number one reason: to extend that summer feeling!
The weather is fantastic.
The weather is honestly perfect - warm days with cooler nights are what make New England incredible. It’s still warm enough to jump into the ocean but at the same time, cool enough during the night that you can pull out that favorite fall sweatshirt to cozy by a fire with some hot cocoa. Either way, you won’t go wrong with the weather on island in September.
The large crowds are gone.
The summer travelers have gone back home - school has started and everyone that was on island decides it’s time to head home. Leaving us with another type of traveler - the couples, the retirees, the single travelers that are embracing the smaller crowds and exploring the island from top to bottom. No more waiting in line for the ferry or buses, no more having to call for reservations every night.
Businesses are still open to serve you!
It’s a misconception that every business shuts down after Labor Day. Sure, some have some extra days off (hey, they deserve it after such a hardworking summer!) but most restaurants, hotels, shops, and other businesses are still open - and offering great sales - in September.
Hotels and restaurants start offering deals.
September is the best month to come and shop on island, when stores start reducing their inventory to get ready to close for the winter months. Shopping any of the town’s main streets and you’ll see signs of over 50% off sales, so if you love to shop, now is the time!
Explore the trails with Trails MV.
September is also the best time to explore Mother Nature and all she has to offer us on this wonderful New England island. And let’s be honest - the bugs have quieted down come September and you won’t have too pray yourself with tons of mosquito repellent this month! Download the TrailsMV application on iPhone and have your phone guide you through hiking and walking trails.
Meet the locals.
Connect with the people that live and work on MV by visiting this September. Everyone has put in a hardworking summer and with the relaxed hours, have more time to connect with travelers - meaning more time to give you tips and ideas on where to eat, drink, shop, and walk on island. Locals love sharing their love for the island - just ask!
Martha’s Vineyard is a beautiful place that happily accepts and accommodates visitors and residents from all walks of life. While it is known as a destination for the affluent and has a reputation as being a pricey place to visit, it is home to a diverse population and it can definitely be enjoyed on a tight budget. Like any popular destination there are endless choices to pick from so knowing the most affordable options is the best way to plan a budget friendly trip to Martha’s Vineyard. Here’s our top tips for enjoying your time on Martha’s Vineyard without having to break the bank.
Getting here and getting around
The cheapest way to travel on to the Island is to take the Steamship Authority (SSA) ferry which departs from Woods Hole in Falmouth multiple times a day. It’s the residents yearound lifeline to ‘America’ and it’s $17 for a roundtrip ticket which includes a free shuttle bus ride in Falmouth from the SSA’s designated parking lots. There is a cost for parking which ranges from $10-$15/day depending on the seasons, rates available here.
Once you arrive on the Island the most cost efficient way to get around is via the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA) bus line which travels through all six Martha’s Vineyard towns daily. A one day pass is only $8 and the bus makes frequent stops including in the busy downtowns of Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and Oak Bluffs, as well as the popular fishing village Menemsha and the iconic, and majestic Aquinnah Cliffs. Plan to spend the day exploring Martha’s Vineyard’s most popular points of interest and attractions, most of which can be seen for free, including many of our beautiful beaches! Kids love to stop off at the ‘JAWS’ bridge in Edgartown to take a leap into the water, another popular stop along the VTA bus.
Another affordable way to get around the Island is to bring your bike over on the ferry (an extra $8 fee round trip) and take advantage of the more than 75 miles of paved bike paths on Martha’s Vineyard. You can also rent a bike once you arrive, as there are several bike rental locations within walking distance from the ferry terminals in both Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.
The most cost efficient way to experience Martha’s Vineyard is to enjoy a day trip and avoid the cost of lodging, but it if you want to stay longer (which we always recommend!) there are some very reasonable options available. One of the most affordable is the Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground, located just one and a half miles from the Vineyard Haven Steamship Authority ferry terminal and easily accessible via a VTA bus. The Campground offers spacious wooded sites, complete with picnic tables, fireplaces, and hookups to accommodate tents or RVs. They also offer a number of new camping cabin rentals, as well as restrooms showers, laundromat, store, recreation hall and playground. The Campground is open seasonally May to October and rates begin at $62/night.
Another reasonably priced option is the HI Martha’s Vineyard Hostel located in West Tisbury and also easily accessible via the VTA bus. The hostel boasts free Wi-Fi; free continental breakfast; a fully equipped, shared guest kitchen; easy access to public transit and bike trails; and a large lawn with sand volleyball, grill, tables and chairs. The hostel is open seasonally from May to October with rates starting at just $37/night.
Martha’s Vineyard is also home to dozens of hotels, inns, and beds & breakfast, many of which offer discounted rates in the fall, winter and spring. You can browse our list of accommodations here, and find last minute lodging specials here. Many homeowners also rent their homes with local real estate companies and on online marketplaces that specialize in home rentals.
Where to eat
There’s no shortage of restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard but many of them can get pricey if you’re not careful. For starters we’d recommend packing your own reusable bottle of water and granola bars, fruit, or snacks to keep you fueled throughout the day so you don’t find yourself having to spending more in a pinch.
Morning coffee is a must for many of us and the cheapest coffee on the go you’ll get is at Cumberland Farms, 99 cents for the biggest size they have, hot or iced. It’s one of the few chain businesses on Martha’s Vineyard and is located within walking distance to the Vineyard Haven SSA ferry terminal, and directly across the street from the Chamber of Commerce offices – where you can stock up on free maps and info on getting around and making the most of your stay.
When your morning hunger strikes head to Black Dog Bakery in Vineyard Haven for a reasonably priced breakfast sandwich, or R & B Eatery or Dock Street Diner in Edgartown for some of the lowest cost breakfast plates around. Each of them offer a casual, local vibe, and are the type of ‘hidden gems’ we all long to discover on vacation wherever we may go.
Lunch can easily be skipped given the portions you’ll get at the spots above but if you get hungry midday from all of your exploring you can still dine on a dime, or close to it. The Barn, Bowl & Bistro in Oak Bluffs often offers a $9.99 lunch special most days of the week, plus if you’re up for a game of bowling they also offer affordable bowling packages too. If you’re hungry for a burger, Giordano's in Oak Bluffs offers a buy one, get one half off special. You can also score discounted deals on Asian inspired lunch specials, including Chinese and Japanese cuisine at Copper Wok in Vineyard Haven or Thai food at Bangkok Thailand in Oak Bluffs.
Alternatively, the cheapest option may be grabbing a salad or sandwich at a local market like Tony’s or Reliable Market in Oak Bluffs, or Stop n’ Shop (conveniently located in Vineyard Haven or Edgartown) and enjoying it outside in the park or on the beach.
Dinner is often the priciest meal of the day so be careful where you sit down. Sharky’s Cantina in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown is a local tex-mex favorite known for its big portions and reasonable prices, not to mention their delicious nachos! If you’re looking for an authentic Martha’s Vineyard dining experience you’ll want to try our seafood and Coop de Ville on the Oak Bluffs waterfront has a fantastic view, as well as regular seafood specials including their Tuesday night Lobster Fest. For additional nightly dinner specials browse other options here and be sure to check out local menus before opting to sit down so you know what kind of prices you can expect.
So there you have it! Martha’s Vineyard is not made for millionaires, and there’s ample options for the budget-conscious traveler. Good luck discovering the Island and challenge yourself to stay within whatever cost parameters you may have, after all the landscape of the Island is the best feature we have and looking around is absolutely free.
It's my job to love this place, and it's no work at all.