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!
On Martha’s Vineyard fishing is a way of life, and not just the rod and reel kind. This time of year local fisherman, both hobbyists and commercial fisherman, are gearing up to hit the waters in search of the sweet seafood delicacies we call the Martha’s Vineyard bay scallops. When you think of creamy and fluffy New England scallops, there’s two different kinds to consider. The more common sea scallop is the largest scallop and can be obtained year-round. The medium- to smaller-size bay (or cape) scallop is available only a few months off-season and is the most coveted – tender, sweet, and oh, so fresh – and the kind we’re talking about here. These little marshmallows of the sea are one of the Island’s most popular and tastiest treats.
You might notice scalloping operations underway as you travel around the Island from October through March, it’s often happening in our ponds, harbors and lagoons. Scalloping is generally observed by an individual wading in the water with a large rake or net, or a boat dragging or pulling up a scallop dredge. If you’re lucky you could even see someone plucking a fresh one from the water and enjoying it raw–yes you can, and yes, they’re that good.
So how do you go about catching your own bay scallops? With permission of course, and the proper gear. A shellfish permit for both recreational and commercial fishing is required for the catch or removal of any shellfish from Vineyard waters. Permits are available at the respective town halls, in Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, Edgartown, Aquinnah, Oak Bluffs and Chilmark. Each town has its own shellfish department, and shellfish constable whose job it is to enforce the state and town shellfish regulations, along with informing the public and media about any law changes, season openings and areas open and closed to shellfishing.
In Vineyard Haven for example the Vineyard Haven harbor (home to the Steamship Authority’s year round ferry terminal and the famous Black Dog restaurant) is currently open to both recreational and commercial permit holders, with the town’s Lagoon Pond following close behind. The Tisbury shellfish constable pushed back the dates this year based on the warm water temperatures. Safe scalloping requires cold waters, which means those fishing for them need to be properly suited up to withstand the conditions!
The minimum sizes for scallops are set by the state of Massachusetts. Shellfish smaller than the legal size are called “seed” and must be returned to the waters from which they were taken. To ensure the sustainability of them, a scallop must live through two summers to reach maturity, and a legal adult is identifiable by the raised “growth line” visible on its shell. Most scallops live in eelgrass beds and are harvested with drags or nets, and persistent fisherman sift through their ocean bounty to hand pluck those scallops that are good and ready.
If you're interested in obtaining a permit check out the local websites of the town you will be residing in: Vineyard Haven, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Chilmark, West Tisbury and Aquinnah. If you’re interested in simply savoring the goodness of our local fishermen’s hard work look for local Martha’s Vineyard bay scallops on the menus of our local restaurants and fish markets. Be sure to enjoy them and be grateful for all of the hard work and dedication that went into to getting them on to your plate!
Thanksgiving this year is November 22nd, and the best place to celebrate this holiday is definitely on Martha’s Vineyard. Gather the family on this holiday and come together to celebrate the island, its food, and the community. Our list of suggestions takes you from start to finish: where to stay, what to do, and where to eat, whether you’re planning on eating out at a restaurants or ordering some key items for takeout and cooking the rest yourself, so we hope you find this a helpful guide to Thanksgiving 201 on the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
Where To Stay
Deciding where to stay on island depends on how many people are in your party. For smaller friends and family groups, we recommend booking a few rooms at a local inn or hotel, so you can all stay together in one location, while at the same time having a bit more privacy. For larger groups and families, we suggest contacting any of the local island real estate companies and renting a house for the weekend - it’s the ideal situation if you’re planning on cooking Thanksgiving dinner together or having a private chef come in and cook for you. We’ve listed both inns and real estate companies to get you started on your search!
Hob Knob, Luxury Boutique Hotel & Spa
The Charlotte Inn
Nobnocket Boutique Inn
Mansion House Inn
Real Estate Companies on Martha's Vineyard that can help you find a house rental for Thanksgiving are listed here.
What To Do
The weekend of Thanksgiving is packed with tons of activities on Martha’s Vineyard, but we wanted to showcase just a few that are going to be fun for the entire family! Check out the Vineyard Gazette Calendar for more updates on happenings.
Vineyard Artisans Annual Thanksgiving Weekend Festival: This holiday art show by Islanders, features many holiday gifts such as one of a kind winter handmade sweaters, soaps, Island lavender, and fine crafts including leather and vintage material bags, wood butcher block cutting boards, and so much more. A parking fee is for the Vineyard Artisans Scholarship Fund, which awards several scholarships to graduating MV High School students for studies in the Arts each year. Felix Neck Fall Festival: Join us for our 37th Annual Fall Festival. This celebration of fall is a Vineyard tradition held the day after Thanksgiving. With hayrides, face-painting, live music, food, crafts for kids, live animals and trail walks there is something for everyone and fun to be had by the whole family.
West Tisbury Farmers’ Market: Indoor farmers market features locally grown produce and meat and locally made products. The market is dedicated to bringing local agricultural products to the people both living on and visiting the Island. The market was started in 1974 by a group of Island growers. That first year they had about a dozen farmers selling their produce.
Where To Eat Dinner on Thanksgiving Night
Treating yourself and your family and friends to dinner out on the town is a great way to connect with them and relax all through the night! There’s no pressure to cook or clean up, so it’s a win-win situation for everyone. Below are just a few of the restaurants offering Thanksgiving dinner this year:
L’etoile (dinner served 1-6:30pm)
Lucky Hank’s (dinner served 11am-5pm)
Sharky’s Cantina (regular menu with holiday specials)
The Black Dog Tavern (buffet seatings at 12 noon, 2pm, and 4pm)
The Cardboard Box
Where to Order Takeout Dinner, Sides, and Desserts
Want the restaurant relaxed feeling but don’t want to leave your rental home? Just put in orders for the food, pick up and bring home! You don’t even have to change into fancy holiday clothes if you don’t want to!
The Black Shop Bakery Cafe (deadline November 17th by 2pm)
Black Sheep Mercantile (deadline by November 16th at 4pm)
The Black Dog Bakery Cafe
Cakes by Liz
The Chappy Kitchen
Morning Glory Farm (deadline November 19th by 4:30pm)
Orange Peel Bakery
The Scottish Bakehouse
Where to Order Turkeys
This is a short list of spots on island that offer turkeys (cooked and/or uncooked) to bring home and have dinner at home.
The Larder Market
Morning Glory Farm
Edgartown Meat and Fish Market
Many people don’t realize just how many businesses stay open after the summer season winds down on Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re visiting between October and June and you still want to enjoy quality Martha’s Vineyard dining, you’re in luck, you’ll still find a great selection of options to choose from, including fine dining, casual, and take-out spots. While some seasonal locations shutter in the fall and winter, there’s still dozens of restaurants that stay open all year long, catering to locals and off-season visitors that come to enjoy the quieter days on-Island.
Here’s a helpful list of those restaurants you can rely on even after summer subsides.
Sharky’s Cantina - Mexican food, drinks and fun for the whole family. Located in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. Offering a full bar and televisions for watching the big games.
Henry’s at the Harbor View Hotel - A cozy hideaway and gastropub offering thoughtful food and creative drinks with views of the Edgartown lighthouse and Chappaquiddick. Under renovations and temporarily closed until Memorial Day, May 2019.
Lucky Hank’s - Casual, intimate nook serving breakfast, lunch and dinner year round, as well as beer and housemade desserts.
The Wharf Pub - Classic pub food served for lunch and dinner seven days a week. Family friendly dining, full bar with televisions and live music and entertainment often.
Rockfish - Featuring wood-fired flatbreads and New American bites in a bi-level space with two full bars.
Edgartown Meat & Fish -
Square Rigger - Classic New England seafood restaurant serving lunch and dinner seven days a week, along with a full bar and popular takeout offerings.
Dock Street Coffee Shop - Martha’s Vineyard’s take on the quintessential American diner, limited seating at the counter only. Open 365 days a year for breakfast and lunch.
Espresso Love - Breakfast and lunch counter service in a cozy cafe.
Dippin Donuts Coffee shop with sandwiches and pastries.
China House - Traditional Chinese food in a casual setting with a full take out menu.
R & B’s eatery - Inconspicuous diner style restaurant with a short order menu. Serving breakfast and lunch six days a week (closed Sundays).
Edgartown Pizza - A family style restaurant with a traditional pizza menu, open for lunch and dinner, serving beer and wine.
Edgartown Meat & Fish Market - Groceries and wine market plus made to order Starbucks coffee, sandwiches, and sushi with eat-in and take out options.
Wolf’s Den Pizzeria - Specialty, deep dish style pizza and oven toasted sandwiches served daily from 11am to 9pm. Locations in Edgartown and Vineyard Haven.
The Terrace at the Charlotte Inn - Elegant bistro serving up farm-to-table American fare with French and Italian accents. A fine dining restaurant with an elegant, old-world atmosphere.
Alchemy - Fine dining bar and bistro serving creative new American cuisine with French and Italian influence for dinner.
Rosewater Market & Take Away - Featuring locally sourced, farm-to-table ingredients and artfully curated gifts and souvenirs. Open year-round for breakfast, lunch and takeout.
Isola Pizza and take out with traditional Italian entrees offered in a more formal dining room.
The Newes from America - A pub with rich history and genuine Colonial character featuring American and British pub food including Bangers & Mash and Fish & Chips.
Soigne - French inspired market with made-to-order sandwiches and thoughtfully prepared sides. Also home to a gourmet market of fine wines, cheeses, and gifts.
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company - Local fish house and raw bar famous for their clam chowder, serving lunch and dinner daily and ongoing specials throughout the year.
Sharky’s Cantina - Mexican food, drinks and fun for the whole family. Located in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. Offering a full bar and televisions for watching the big games.
Bangkok Cuisine - Traditional Thai fare in a casual setting, with vegan friendly options and wine and beer.
Slice of Life - Casual cafe and bakery serving New American fare in a cozy dining room or on its covered front porch. Lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch available.
Linda Jeans - A home-style American restaurant serving breakfast, lunch and dinner since 1976, and a favorite among locals.
Barn Bowl & Bistro - A full-service restaurant and bar offering an impressive menu plus games, TVs and a 10-lane bowling alley. Not your average bowling alley fare.
Offshore Ale Company - Popular gastro pub and tavern serving house-brewed seasonal and year-round beers, plus wood-fired pizzas, burgers and other casual pub grub.
Park Corner Food Bar - A cozy nook in Oak Bluffs with creative food and cocktails, and a popular brunch menu.
The Ritz - Known as the classic Martha’s Vineyard dive bar and music venue this space also serves an impressive Southern inspired dinner menu including brisket and shrimp and grits.
Pizza di Napoli - A pizzeria serving stone fired Neapolitan pizzas loaded with fresh toppings and imported ingredients, located inside The Loft, a full service bar with game and entertainment.
Ocean View - Tavern style restaurant with an extensive menu, offering a dining room and full bar with televisions for big game watching.
Deon’s Kitchen at the VFW - New American fare with a Caribbean twist by Chef Deon Thomas.
Copper Wok - Modern locale with mellow lighting for creative sushi rolls, Asian kitchen entrees and cocktails. One of the only Vineyard Haven restaurants with a full bar.
Little House Cafe - A cozy restaurant (in a little house) offering a variety of creative and unique international foods and American classics for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Mikado Asian Bistro - Offering a distinctive menu featuring more than 80 dishes ranging from traditional Japanese favorites and innovative specialties to classic Thai foods from across Asia.
Mocha Motts - Coffee, sandwiches, soups, homemade desserts located on Main Street. A second location in Oak Bluffs stays open several months a year with a break in the winter.
Beach Road - By the owners of State Road in West Tisbury, serving locally sourced seafood, New American fare and beer and wine in a sophisticated space with water views.
Waterside Market - Fresh ingredients, and innovative recipes made from scratch daily including soups, salads and sandwiches. Breakfast, lunch and occasional dinner service.
La Soffita - Featuring authentic Italian cuisine using simple, creative and high quality ingredients accompanied by a great wine list and classic cocktails.
The Black Dog Cafe - Serving a full breakfast and lunch menu, plus specialty coffees, cakes, pastries and more.
The Black Dog Tavern - An iconic Vineyard restaurant serving a hearty breakfast (including their famous pancakes), lunch and dinner overlooking Vineyard Haven harbor, offering beer and wine.
The Black Dog Bakery - Baked goods, salads, soups and sandwiches to go, plus a retail store.
Bite on the go - Buffet style Brazilian inspired food.
Wolf’s Den Pizzeria - Specialty, deep dish style pizza and oven toasted sandwiches served daily from 11am to 9pm. Locations in Vineyard Haven and Edgartown.
Rocco’s Pizza - Pizza by the pie or slice along with sandwiches and pasta from a quaint eatery with outdoor seating.
Not Your Sugar Mammas Organic Cafe - Plant based cafe and market caterings to vegans and vegetarians. Menu includes creative coffee beverages, smoothies soups, salads, flatbreads, grain bowls and more.
Bobby Bs - Fried seafood, burgers, pizza and sandwiches, along with a homemade ice cream bar.
Island Fresh Pizza & Subs - Take out restaurant with sandwiches, salads, and traditional American and Brazilian pizza options.
La Choza - Take out burrito spot featuring a build-your-own option with ample and affordable offerings.
Humphreys - Coffee, pastries and sandwiches available for eat-in or take out.
Nat’s Nook - Tucked in a little ally off Main Street serving speciality coffees and creative crepes.
Scottish Bakehouse - Bakery, cafe and small local grocer with a focus on local meat and produce.
Woodland Variety & Grill -
Shepherd’s Provisions - Prepared foods and gift items and confectionery, including to go dinner entrees.
Sweet Bites - Specialty bakery, espresso bar and cafe including classic Brazilian desserts and custom cakes from the owners of Bite on the Go.
State Road - Farm-to-table breakfast, lunch and dinner serving beer and wine, from the owners of Beach Road.
Fella’s - Take out catering company with small eatery for breakfast, pizza and sandwiches.
7a Foods - ‘Farm to takeout’ spot serving breakfast and lunch with a focus on local sourced ingredients.
Plane View Restaurant - Serves breakfast and lunch seven days a week year round, inside the Martha’s Vineyard airport. Beer and wine available with the purchase of food.
Back Porch Larder - “A Little Hole in the Wall” to the Kitchen Porch Catering, offering freshly prepared salads, sandwiches, hand pies, grain and vegetable bowls and more.
When most travelers think about visiting the island, they mostly consider a trip between April and October, but we are here to remind you of the gorgeous season that is winter on Martha’s Vineyard! Sure, it’s colder than those other months, but we're actually warmer than the rest of New England in the winter (and slightly cooler in the summer than the mainland!) The winter is the perfect time to settle into a cozy accommodation, book interesting activities, and dine at some of the best year-round restaurants the island has to offer. Plus, the island underneath a soft, pillowy blanket of snow is a beautiful sight to see!
One of the best things about planning a winter getaway to MV is that you’ll get the island mostly all to yourself, along with the locals. The population reduces to about 17,000 islanders in the winter, versus the 250,000 guests we have in the summer, so the pace is much slower, much more relaxed.
Here are the top five things to make planning a winter getaway to Martha’s Vineyard a must on your ravel bucket list:
1. Book a cozy accommodation in or close to town, to make it easy to get around in the snow. Some of our favorite inns include the Nobnocket in Vineyard Haven, the Hob Knob in Edgartown, the Beach Plum in Menemsha, or the Dockside Inn in Oak Bluffs.
2. Look at what your inn or hotel has to offer, and see if you can take advantage of any of the offerings. Do they offer in room massages, breakfast in bed, or private chef dinners? Book those so you get to enjoy the most of what they have to offer.
3. Discover the culinary scene in the winter by dining at some of the best restaurants on island. State Road in Vineyard Haven, Alchemy in Edgartown, and MV Chowder Company in Oak Bluffs are just some of the many restaurants open through the winter season, offering some of the best dining on island.
4. Plan some outdoor activities to get some fresh air and explore the island. Check out websites like Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation, Felix Neck, or Polly Hill Arboretum for upcoming events, guided walks, and more. The island has some incredible walking trails that are explorable during the winter - just make sure to bundle up!
5. Whether you spend a day bowling at the Barn, Bowl, and Bistro or decide to make friends at the Alpaca Farm, there are plenty of winter activities to do on island!
For those looking for a relaxed vacation, planning a visit to the island in the winter months is ideal. It’s also a great time for budget conscious travelers, as hotel rates are at their lowest, restaurants run winter specials all season long, and shops have endless sale racks. It’s a great way to get to know and explore the island, meet the locals, and embrace the island in all it’s snowy glory.
For more off season inspiration, check out the following links:
What to Do on Martha’s Vineyard in the Off-Season by We Are Not Martha
Martha’s Vineyard, Off-Season by The New York Times
The Insider’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard, The Off-Season Edition by Ball & Buck
Unexpected pleasures of Martha’s Vineyard in the winter by The Boston Globe
National Chocolate Day on Martha’s Vineyard Where to treat yourself to the best chocolate bites on Island
National Chocolate Day is this week, October 28th and here on Martha’s Vineyard we are well-versed in the art of treating ourselves to the delicious local offerings our brands and businesses have, so we put together this list of the ten best and tastiest chocolate confections, baked goods, and candies on this New England island. For all the chocolate lovers out there - we have you covered.
Where: Enchanted Chocolates
What to Order: Almond Butter Crunch
This is a crunchy, buttery, hard almond toffee cooked in small batches with 70% dark chocolate spooned over top. A light dusting of roasted almonds is sprinkled on top that and voila - magic!
Where: Black Dog Bakery
What to Order:Triple Chocolate Mousse Majesty
A chocolate-lovers dream! Rich white chocolate, milk chocolate, and dark chocolate mousse are nestled between layers of chocolate enveloped in lush whipped cream and draped in chocolate ganache.
What to Order: Ganache Brownies
You might get greedy and want to buy a dozen of these brownies, but let’s just say that starting with one is enough, as these are decadently rich brownies that you will eat for a few days, since a small sliver of it’s richness is just the right amount.
Where: Garde East
What to Order: Hazelnut Mousse
Not only will the setting of Garde East make you feel like royalty, but if you’re looking for a chocolate dessert to impress, this Hazelnut Mousse with chocolate soil and Martha’s Vineyard Smoked Sea Salt Caramel Ice Cream is just the dessert you need. The mousse is light as air, with a nutty flavor that pairs exceptionally well with the chocolate and ice cream.
Where: Sharky’s Cantina
What to Order: Hot Fudge Brownie Skillet Sundae
On cold winter nights, this is the dessert you want. Grab a seat at the bar at Sharky’s and order the Hot Fudge Brownie Skillet Sundae and be prepared to warm up from head to toes. It’s baked to order, so it’s hot and delicious brownie topped with cold ice cream, hot fudge, and whipped cream. It’s so good you won’t want to share. But you should - because that’s what chocolate lovers do.
Where: Murdick’s Fudge
What to Order: Double Chocolate Fudge
This is hands down the best chocolate treat on island to send to off-island friends, since it’s sturdy enough to mail but melt in your mouth delicious enough to treat your friends to it! The double chocolate-ness of this fudge is that it’s made with some of the best chocolate and once that’s doubled up, it’s cooked and cooled to perfection, achieving that perfectly sweet, perfectly balanced slice of fudge we all know and love.
Where: Not Your Sugar Mamas
What to Order: Original Chocolate Chip Cookies
If you’re looking to curb your sweet touch and not ruin your diet, these cookies are it! Made with high antioxidant rich raw cacao, coconut oil, low glycemic and all natural coconut palm sugar, gluten free oats, and a touch of trace mineral rich Himalayan Sea Salt, they are a cookie unlike any other.
Where: Chilmark Chocolates
What to Order: Variety Box of Chocolates
In all honestly, anything you get from Chilmark Chocolates is going to be hands down incredible, because this island staple is the go-to of many visitors and locals alike. It’s the best hostess gift - everyone you bring a box of these chocolates will love you forever, so it’s a good idea to stock up on a few during the upcoming holiday season.
Where: Rosewater Market & Takeaway
What to Order: Cheesecake Brownies
Imagine the perfect brownie - not too fudgy, not too cakey. Then imagine it topped with a layer of light and airy cheesecake batter, swirled and baked to perfection. This is Rosewater’s Cheesecake Brownie and it’s best paired with any of their seasonal coffee like a Fall Spice Latte.
Where: Sweet Bites
What to Order: Chocolate Prune Cake
This one will sound a bit out there for most of us, but trust us, the combination of chocolate and prunes is one of the best combination in the culinary world. The sticky sweet prunes balance out the dark chocolate and pair very well with the light sponge cake it’s all layered in between. Give it a try, you won’t be disappointed!
This weekend brings one of the most highly anticipated events of the fall season on Martha’s Vineyard, the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival. Each year hundreds of wine and food enthusiasts descend on the Vineyard to enjoy the bounty of Island chefs and farms and celebrate the beauty and peacefulness of the fall season on-Island. If you’re up for taking a last minute trip to the Vineyard tickets to some festival events are still available, and many local hotel are already offering discounted rates this time of year. This year’s festival will be headquartered at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort in Katama, Edgartown, marking a new home for the festival at one of the Island’s grandest and liveliest locations.
The festival kicks off with the ever popular Fresh Off the Farm event on Wednesday, October 17 where local chefs and food purveyors show off the finest flavors of the Island at the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Hall including Martha’s Vineyard Sea Salt and Martha’s Vineyard Mycological mushrooms, among several others. Winelovers can enjoy an impressive array of wines curated by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant while Vineyard band, Good Night Louise, will provide lively entertainment. It’s “as local and fresh as it gets,” plus the evening's proceeds will benefit Island Grown Schools and the Agricultural Society’s Farmers Program so it’s a good time for a great cause.
Thursday, October 18, brings an action packed day of fun and festivities, beginning with Bubbles & Shellfish at L'etoile Restaurant in Edgartown, a tasting of elegant Moet & Chandon champagne paired with Vineyard shellfish. Martha’s Vineyard seafood is arguably the best around so you know this is going to be good! If you’re up for a physical challenge give yourself a couple of hours to digest and head to the Thrill of the Grill, where you’ll sip the best wines from Frederick Wildman and Sons and sample the Island's meatiest morsels grilled to perfection. Participating chefs include Justin Perdue of Lark Hotels; Italian Salumi Expert Marco Mocellin; Educator and Epicure Will Myska; Pit Master and Executive Chef at Ore Nell's BBQ; Ryan DePersio of Fascino; and Anthony Bucco of Felina. For the most ultimate and intimate wine and dining experiences check out the Joseph Carr wine dinner at the Dunes, a 4-course dinner, artfully prepared by Dunes Executive Chef Scott Ehrlich or the Ultimate Wash-A-Shore dinner at Beach Road restaurant featuring Ruby Wines expertly paired with Chef André Garza’s creations.
Friday brings another busy day of perfectly prepared pairings including one of the festival’s most popular signature event, Lobsterpalooza offers guests both classic Maine and Connecticut hot-buttered lobster rolls. As if delicious Martha’s Vineyard lobster rolls weren’t enough Amy Traverso, Yankee magazine senior food editor and co-host of public television’s Weekends with Yankee will preside over a lobster roll tasting and guests will be treated to wines provided by Kendall-Jackson. This event sold out quick but be sure to make a note for next year!
On Friday night get treated to six heavenly courses of the freshest New England seafood during the Sea Oui Si dinner. Two award winning New Jersey chefs including Michael Carrino, Chef/Owner of Pig & Prince Restaurant in Montclair, NJ, and Kirk Avondoglio, Chef/Owner of Perona Farms in Andover, NJ join chef Schott Ehrlich of the Winnetu for a memorable culinary experience complemented by an impressive selection of French and Italian wines by Kermit Lynch.
Saturday’s Grand Tasting is the highlight of the weekend’s events, featuring tastings from 250+ winemakers, spirits, breweries, gourmet foods, and restaurants. It’s sold out but you can still score tickets to one of Saturday’s other events the Deconstructed New England Clambake which brings Boston’s award-winning chef Marc Orfaly, Culinary Director of ReelHouse, and The Dunes Executive Chef Scott Ehrlich for their take on the traditional New England Clambake. Think dueling chowder, and all the usually clambake suspects including littlenecks, clams, mussels, potatoes and lobsters. Nothing says New England like a clambake and there’s a good chance this one will be the finest you’ve ever had, topped off with a bruleed pumpkin cheesecake, with corn-nutmeg foam and cranberry compote. Mmm, mmm, good.
For fitness enthusiasts Sunday is the day to shed some of those extra calories during the Martha’s Vineyard Brunch Run/Walk 5k and 10k. The course will be nothing short of spectacular with a course along breathtaking Katama, and red carpet finish where everyone will receive a custom finisher medal and a commemorative brunch glass which you can fill up at the post-race brunch event. For those looking for a more leisurely brunch the festival has you covered there too. Sunday also offers a Jazz Brunch at the Winnetu featuring a fabulous buffet brunch with live music, bloodies and bubbles, providing the perfect ending to a delicious and eventful festival weekend. One thing’s for sure, come hungry, come thirsty and get ready to fall in love with fall on Martha’s Vineyard.
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.
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