Nothing says v-a-c-a-tion like a good book! Whether on the beach and in the sun, or beside a fireplace cuddled up, when we see visitors get off the boat with books in hand or see them browsing the shelves of bookstores looking for that one perfect vacation read, our book-loving hearts rejoice.
This post is for those not only looking for local bookshops to browse, we’ve also curated a list of Little Free Libraries on the Island, spots where you can read a book with not a soul to disturb you, and overall, just give a few tips and ideas on where to get books and read them. We’ve also reached out to local author, Crispin Haskin and asked him to share his favorite bookworm spots on the Island.
Little Free Libraries on Island
These little libraries can be found across the world and we are happy to have two of them on the Island. Pick up a book, trade in a book, leave a book after you’ve read it - all based on the honor system. Book lovers unite!
This Little Free Library is located at a newly renovated public boat dock and boat launching ramp at the Lake Street Landing on Tashmoo, Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard. The addition of a bench alongside the Little Library gives kids and adults a place to rest or to select a book while waiting for their boat to come in. This Library is made of 95% recycled materials and decorated by some young friends.
Located in the heart of Oak Bluffs on the Island of Martha's Vineyard, you are welcome to ‘take a book, leave a book’ at this Little Free Library which is kept and curated by the Oak Bluffs Public Library, located about a 10-minute walk away, at 56R School Street.
All six towns on Martha’s Vineyard have their own libraries, and each is worth a visit from traveling bookworms!
Nothing says vacation like packing up your book and a snack and heading to the nearest or most favorite beach to read for a few hours under the sun.
“Books and beaches are a natural for me. I love to head up-island early in the morning and read on Moshup Beach. If I'm staying down-Island, I'll take the ’On Time’ ferry to Chappaquiddick and read on the beach across from the Edgartown Lighthouse. That's Vineyard paradise right there,” states Crispin Haskins, author of five books that are all about the VIneyard. His fifth book, Dead and Buried, just came out last week and it’s another stellar read - head to your favorite beach and read Crispin’s latest!
Reading by the Fire
What is it about reading by the fireplace on a cool night that makes us feel so cozy? Grab a book and head to your choice of the following Island spots which host great roaring fires-season and weather permitting. In Edgartown you’ll find a welcoming blaze at the Newes Pub, Harbor View Hotel and Town Bar & Grill; in Oak Bluffs, the fireplace at Offshore Ale awaits.
Support Our Local Bookstores
Bunches of Grapes has been serving booklovers on the Island of Martha's Vineyard for over 40 years. This independent, locally-owned bookstore is located in the heart of Vineyard Haven on Martha's Vineyard. Catering to a community of writers and readers, it features a carefully curated selection of the finest books and sidelines, and hosts author events year-round.
Edgartown Books is Martha's Vineyard's other independently owned bookstore. Browse two floors of books, relax in the secluded courtyard garden, indulge in great "people watching" from its front porch and enjoy its renowned customer service. If you like to do your reading in a café setting, you’re in luck - one of the Island's best coffee shops and restaurants, Behind the Bookstore, is located in the book shop’s own backyard!
Martha’s Vineyard is a happening place around the holidays and Halloween is no exception! From kids’ craft and costume workshops to spook-tacular late night parties for the big kids there are all sorts of fang-tastic events going on. Here’s a roundup of local happenings this Halloween on Martha’s Vineyard. Come one, come all and have a (bloody) ball!
Friday, October 18
A Spook-tacular Event, 2:40-4pm, West Tisbury School. Join the West Tisbury School PTO, Felix Neck Sanctuary and the Trustees of Reservations in celebrating the spookiest time of the year. Learn about bats and play harvest games, pumpkin painting, bake sale, costume swap, face painting, live music by the Pinkletinks and free apple cider if you bring your own mug!
Saturday, October 19
Morning Glory Pumpkin Festival: The largest farm on Martha’s Vineyard hosts this lively free festival each year, complete with pumpkin games, hay rides, live music, and all things pumpkin. It’s not so much about Halloween but it will get you in the mood for all things Fall!
Thursday, October 24
Halloween Craft: Spooky Ghosts: Join the Oak Bluffs Library in making Spooky Ghosts with cheesecloth, balloons and glue. Pre-registration required. 6-7:30pm.
Jazen Art Party: Paint a Halloween inspired picture of a “White Pumpkin Patch” alongside instructor Naomi. Bring friends, food and drink, listen to music and unwind while celebrating the season. 6pm.
Friday, October 25
An Interactive Screening of “Hocus Pocus”: Head on over to the West Tisbury Library for an interactive screening of one of the most beloved Halloween movies “Hocus Pocus.” Costumes are welcome and treats will be provided! 3:30 – 5 pm.
Saturday, October 26
Kids’ Halloween Party: The annual Oak Bluffs Library Halloween party returns! Venture into the spooky tunnel through the stacks, enjoy eerie games, and a craft. Kids are welcome to show up in costume. 10-11:30am.
Trick or Treat in the Stacks: Edgartown Library gets spooky and welcomes all to come the Library to give your Halloween costume a trial run. The Children's Room is decorated for the occasion and treats for all. There will be crafts, and prizes for everyone in a costume. 10:30am-12pm.
The Atlantic Fish and Chop House’s Annual Halloween Party: Join the Atlantic in celebrating Halloween during its last night of the season. Scary costumes encouraged. After all, as they say, it’s “where the pretty people go to get ugly.”
Annual Halloween Party at The LOFT: Come out for the Island’s largest Halloween costume party with prizes and all the hoopla at The LOFT in Oak Bluffs.
Sunday, October 27
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. 12–3pm.
Wednesday, October 30
Halloween Movie Screening: What movie you ask? Don't say his name three times or he'll appear and cause mayhem. Free. Popcorn and candy provided. Costumes encouraged. 5pm.
Thursday, October 31
Trick or treating on Martha’s Vineyard can be few and far between given the rural landscape of the Island and limited walkable neighborhoods. For those looking to go door to door Vineyard Ave. in Oak Bluffs is a popular destination as well as William Street and Franklin Street in Vineyard Haven, where streets are closed off to ensure safety. Downtown Vineyard Haven is also a popular trick or treat trail, as costumed kids are invited to visit local businesses in pursuit of something sweet.
Trick or Treat at the Vineyard Haven Library: The Library will be open late for Halloween so families can take a break from trick-or-treating and enjoy cider and candy provided by the Friends of the Vineyard Haven Library. 5–8pm.
Halloween Party with Dock Dance Band: Enjoy this annual costume party at the Port Hunter in Edgartown before they close for the season. Featuring the live music of the Dock Dance Band. 10pm.
DJ AP at The Ritz. Halloween is always a hoot at The Ritz. Dance to the tunes of DJ AP and get ghoulish! 10:30pm.
Annual Halloween Party at The LOFT: Come out (again!) for the Island’s largest Halloween costume party with prizes and all the hoopla at The LOFT in Oak Bluffs.
Friday, November 1
Dance Party for Habitat of Humanity, PA Club, Oak Bluffs. Prizes for best mask, makeup and costume. Costumes optional. Music by Gordon Healy. 7:30–10:30pm.
Dressing for Success
Need help getting your costume together? Want to go DIY instead of store bought? Local libraries are offering costume clinics to help you put finishing touches on your costume, and helping kids turn their imagination into handmade Halloween fun.
The West Tisbury Library is offering you the opportunity to brainstorm and troubleshoot your Halloween costume Saturday, October 19 from 10:30-12:30pm. Make a costume for yourself or help a friend make a costume. Bring your ideas and any special materials or use what they have. All ages are welcome, even grownups.
The Aquinnah Library is also offering a Costume Clinic to help guide you through the costume planning and making process Saturday, October 19 from 12–3pm.
The Vineyard Haven Library hosts its Costume Clinic and Bag Decorating event on Wednesday, October 30 from 3:30–5pm. Get ready for Halloween by making some finishing touches to your costume and/or get help with last-minute costumes. You can also make some bags for trick-or-treating or for every day.
Going out for drinks on vacation is a must - whether you’re drinking alcohol or not, so it should come as no surprise that Martha’s Vineyard has its fair share of cocktail and mocktail destinations and drink lists. Offering a wide array of places to drink - from an in-town outdoor patio, a rooftop deck overlooking the harbor, or a cozy table snugged up close to a blazing fireside, the Island has it all. For non-drinkers, the following list notes the spots that excel in crafting enticing non-alcoholic beverages. Enjoy!
Indulge in their “No Buzz” selection if you’re a non-drinker; among the offerings is the tempting Stone Fruit Spritz made with mango puree, citrus, sage syrup, and soda (yum!!!). For those of you that do drink, they have a “Tried and True” section along with “Seasonally Inspired” drinks that change, you guessed it, with the seasons. Their Espresso Martini is one locals rave about, along with their famous Mojito.
Explore the cocktail menu at Atria and be dazzled by the creative drinks offered by its team of bartenders. A must is the Sparkling Sangria that’s made with Myers Rum, St. Germain, Canton, Lambrusco, and oranges. You can get it by the glass or the liter! For the non-drinkers, the mocktail menu has six gorgeous beverages that you’ll love. Our favorite? The Midnight Renewal made with strawberry lemonade, basil, activated charcoal, lemon, and honey.
Pan-Asian flavors inspire the cocktail menu at Copper Wok in Vineyard Haven and if you’re looking for a fun time, this is where you need to be. Grab a Scorpion Bowl for you and a friend, or try their Tiananmen Square, which combines sake, lemon, and agave all served over a cucumber puree ice cube.
Tucked into Nevin Square in Edgartown is Detente, where you’ll find the loveliest little patio to sip cocktails and enjoy some food. Not only is the food great but the wine and cocktail lists are divine. Try their Paloma or any of the mocktails that head bartender Luci can make for you.
Head over to Katama to the Winnetu Resort, home to the Dunes Restaurant and its gorgeous bar. The ambiance is one that promotes just pure relaxation and offers a cocktail and mocktail list that is superb. Try their Raspberry Lemon Drop drink – in either its alcoholic or non-alcoholic version, each is an equally delicious experience.
The bar at l’etoile has been renovated to appear to have come straight out of a star-lit night. The copper bar itself shines from within and provides the perfect backdrop for a delicious cocktail. Known for their Classic Startini, made with citrus vodka, Cointreau, lime juice, pomegranate puree, and a Prosecco floater, l’etoile also offers a wide array of single malt scotches and bourbons for your delight.
Oyster Bar 02557
On Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs is Oyster Bar 02557, home to a lovely list of cocktails and non-alcoholic beverages for your drinking pleasure. Looking for a traditional Pisco Sour like in Peru? They’ve got it! A Lavender Caipirinha inspired by Brazil? Cheers to that! An Aperol Spirtz like you had in Rome? Coming right up!
Sand Bar & Grille
Dig your toes into the sand on Oak Bluffs Harbor and enjoy a drink at Sand Bar. They serve up four types of Margaritas as well as a great list of signature cocktails like their Blue Shark Attack made with rum, blue Curaçao, pineapple juice, and a “school of gummy sharks”!
The Seafood Shanty
Head to the Seafood Shanty if you’re craving summery cocktails and drinks that are beach-inspired and delicious! Their “Best Damn Bloody Mary Evah!” comes with two jumbo shrimp and is a favorite. Spice lovers alert: The Ghost Pepper Margarita, made with Ghost Tequila, triple sec and house-made sour mix is your drink! If it’s a hot day, cool down with one of the Shanty’s frozen drinks - Mudslides, Pina Coladas, Daiquiris, and even Frosé!
Town Bar & Grill
With a full menu of Tiki cocktails on the drinks menu, Town is the place to be! Some samples of their Tiki drinks include:
Tiki, Do You Love Me?: white rum, dark rum, orange, lemon, passion fruit, habanero sugar
Blackberry Mai Tai: aged rum, cassis, orange, orgeat, lime
Frozen Katama, white rum, blue Curaçao, pineapple, coconut
Town Scorpion Bowl for 2: vodka, gin, silver and dark rums, orange, pineapple, grenadine, 151.
Conveniently located next to the pool of the Kelley House, the Wave Bar offers relaxed outdoor seating in a bistro patio atmosphere. Listen to live music or grab a bite to eat while enjoying a frozen drink under the sun. Perfect for people watching, relaxing by the harbor, and enjoying the outdoor summer air. Grab a Coconut Frosé, Paloma, or even a Frozen Gin & Tonic and relax by the pool at the Wave Bar!
Sunsets are not all created equal, so once you’ve seen one you have most certainly not seen them all - especially on Martha’s Vineyard. And while it’s true that you’re likely to see the best sunset of your life on the Island, (we’re serious about this) there are some areas where the setting sun will be especially stunning.
Vineyard Sunsets, the Ultimate Light Show
One of the most magical things about Martha’s Vineyard is the light. Though not easily described, and best to be experienced, the way the light reflects off the ocean as the sun comes down, coating the clouds in a golden glow, is something out of a fairytale. The best Martha’s Vineyard sunsets are quite frankly unbelievable, so make sure to put some sun gazing at the top of your Island bucket list. Following are a few of our favorite places to soak up a sunset on Martha’s Vineyard.
Menemsha Public Beach
Menemsha is probably the most popular place to enjoy a sunset for good reason: As the sun sets off to the west, Menemsha Public Beach allows a completely unobstructed view of the sun meeting the water. Family-friendly Menemsha, a working fishing village with a tranquil harbor, provides extra allure to it’s renown as the foreground to some stunning sunsets. Many visitors will stop at nearby Larsen’s Fish Market or Menemsha Fish Market to pick up a seafood dinner and enjoy it on the sand (along with a bottle of wine–it’s BYOB in Chilmark). As the sun comes down and meets the horizon it’s not uncommon for the crowd to break out in applause, celebrating the natural beauty of the sky taking place right in front of their eyes. Be warned: sunset parking in Menemsha during the summer months can be very limited, but the local bus service offers a bus shuttle from nearby Chilmark Community Center. Pro tip: For those visiting during the summer enjoy dinner at the iconic Beach Plum Inn overlooking Menemsha Harbor and catch the sunset from their outdoor patio while dining.
Lambert’s Cove Beach
With a similar view as Menemsha’s, Lambert’s Cove Beach is positioned on the western portion of Martha’s Vineyard’s north shore in West Tisbury. In season Lambert’s Cove Beach is restricted to residents only by day but many people take advantage of the evenings to congregate on the sand to soak up some epic sunsets from the shore. It’s a bit of a walk from the parking lot, but the journey is worth it. The beach itself is one of the most beautiful on the Island, with fine sand and crystal blue water making it more tropical looking than most, and the sunsets a real treat.
The Aquinnah Cliffs are a spectacular sight in their own right but, as a bonus, they also provide the perfect perch from which to enjoy an unsurpassable view of the setting sun. Aquinnah marks Martha’s Vineyard’s furthest point west and approaching the Cliffs almost feels like reaching the end of the world. With an expanse of natural beauty in every direction, you’ll have a lot to take in as the sun goes down–the water, the multi-colored clay cliffs and the historic Gay Head Lighthouse. An Aquinnah sunset will completely overwhelm your senses in the best way possible, leaving you with a memory to replay again and again.
Some of our other favorite locations for enjoying a sunset include atop the East Chop Lighthouse, Vineyard Haven Harbor and Edgartown Harbor. As we said before, a glimpse at a sunset from anywhere on-Island is likely to impress and inspire!
Martha’s Vineyard truly is a cyclists paradise and most of the Island is extremely bicycle friendly. Whether you enjoy leisurely spins along the water or are looking for a physical challenge with changing terrain and inclines you’re in luck. With designated bicycle paths and bicycle tours that showcase the beauty and intrigue of the Island, two wheels may be all you need.
Biking is one of the best ways to enjoy the Vineyard, thanks to paved pathways and miles of off-road trails that crisscross the Island. From Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs to Edgartown, or any combination of down-Island towns, you’ll find over 44 miles of bike trails, that are mostly flat and easier for children, as well as adults. For the more experienced rider, a tour of the up-Island communities of West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah can prove quite the challenge with their hilly and curvy roadways in the more rural areas. Want to cycle the entire Island? You’ll easily log 60+ miles along the perimeter.
Getting Here and Getting Around
Bicycles are allowed on all of the incoming ferries (generally for an additional fee) and if you need a lift back to your point of origin, all of the Vineyard Transit Authority public buses allow a limited number of bicycles too.
If you don’t own a bicycle, but still want to experience Martha’s Vineyard on two wheels, several bicycle rental shops are available to serve you. There are also bicycle repair shops available on Island to meet all your two-wheeled needs should you need a tune up before hitting the road. Click here to visit our map of bike trails to help you determine what’s the right route for you.
Rules of the Road
Bicycles shall ride WITH traffic, to the right, and single file. DO NOT ride against traffic!
Step up your Game
Interested in biking for a good cause? Check out BikeMS: Ride the Vineyard, a fundraising event in the spring. Feeling ambitious? Try the Vineyard Triathlon in the fall! Many outfitters like Backroads also offer biking expeditions of the Vineyard, allowing you to soak up the sights on two wheels along with a group of other cycling enthusiasts, and an action packed itinerary.
However you choose to enjoy the Vineyard on two wheels you’ll be happy you did!
It’s finally September and kids are back to school, but that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! Today, we’re talking about the most family-friendly restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard and what makes them perfect for bringing the kiddos to eat a delicious meal, as well as the entire extended family.
It’s About More Than the Menu
When putting together this list, we reached out to the local community, the one that dines out with the grandparents and aunts and uncles, the families that take their kids out to dinner as a special treat on the weekends, the ones that are looking not only for the best value, but also fun additions like coloring pages, small toys, and the like for their kids. Being “family-friendly” doesn’t only involve having a kid’s menu - a restaurant can be devoid of one but still have that familiar vibe and energy, one that welcomes kids and families without specifically having a kid’s menu.
Making Kids Welcome
Overall, our advice is to give the restaurant a call and ask if they accommodate kids - whether it’s a food preference or an environmental preference. If you have a newborn, a restaurant with very loud music might not be the best idea. Take a look at the menu and see if the options are things your child would like to eat!
So let’s check out this list of top ten places on Martha’s Vineyard for family friendly dining:
1. Coop de Ville: a great spot to watch the boats on Oak Bluffs Harbor, they have a $5.95 kid’s meal menu and coloring pages for your little ones!
2. Offshore Ale: what kid doesn’t want to eat peanuts and throw the shells on the ground with no parents scolding them? Offshore Ale is just the spot, with a delicious menu for all.
3. The Barn Bowl & Bistro: for tweens and teens, the Barn is the perfect family restaurant - a children’s menu is provided but their regular menu has a variety of dishes that will have your kid’s eating every bite! Plus, a game of bowling after dinner is always a fun idea.
4. Nomans: if your kid needs to run around before and after a meal, to the beat of their own drum (or live music) Noman’s is the spot!
5. Giordano’s: if your family loves traditional Italian dining, Gio’s is the place to be. Large bowls of spaghetti and red sauce, garlic bread to your heart’s content - perfect family dining.
6. Sharky’s Cantina: you can view the kid’s menu online, which is a great deal at $8.99 for kids 10 years and younger. What kid wouldn’t love a mini quesadilla with rice and beans!
7. The Wharf Pub: for those needing a spot to host family dinners, the Wharf takes reservations for larger parties and has a menu with something for everyone.
8. Linda Jean’s: needing a spot for lunch or dinner for your vegetarian kid? This is the spot, right in Oak Bluffs.
While many scramble to visit Martha’s Vineyard in the summer, anxious to soak up all the action, there’s a quiet calm that comes over the Island in the fall - secretly making it our favorite time to be here. It’s a sentiment with which many locals agree. On Martha’s Vineyard fall brings a slower pace, cooler (but still beautiful!) weather, great deals and some of the year’s most highly anticipated events. The crowds have lessened making it easier to get around and easing the demand for accommodations. The double benefit for you: lower rates at local hotels and more of the Island to enjoy all to yourself! Following are some insider tips for making the most out of your time during this very special season on Martha’s Vineyard.
Explore Private Beaches Without Restriction!
During the summer many of the Island’s most coveted beaches are off-limits, being open to residents only. But come mid-September these restrictions are lifted making it possible to explore most Island beaches free of charge and without any special access pass. Dogs are also allowed back on many beaches, meaning you can bring Fido and for a romp on the sand (leashes are still encouraged). Be sure to check out Lambert’s Cove Beach in West Tisbury and Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark during the fall, two of the Island’s most beloved beaches where you’re free to roam this time of year. Visit our comprehensive beach map here and plan your stops along the shore.
Dine Around Town with Ease
During the summer getting reservations at some of Martha’s Vineyard’s most popular restaurants can be a challenge. Take advantage of the fall when many of the local restaurants are still open and where it’s easier than ever to get a table - maybe even sneak a hello to the chef. Try some of the Island’s newest restaurants like Bettini at the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown and The Oyster Bar 02557 (from acclaimed chef Ben DeForest of Red Cat Kitchen and Cardboard Box) in Oak Bluffs. Whether it’s seafood, Mexican, Thai or Italian there’s a restaurant waiting for you to explore this fall. Check out our directory of dining options here, and be sure to call ahead as fall hours may be in effect.
Deals, Deals, Deals
Summer is the most popular time to visit, which also means it’s also the most expensive. Fall brings discounted stays at local hotels and even better deals if you’re willing to travel midweek. Check out our roundup of hot deals at local businesses as well as our last minute lodging specials. If you’re travelling across the water with the Steamship Authority and you’re hoping to bring your car across you’re in luck, fall means it’s easier to get a reservation and, come November, the fares are cheaper too!
There’s Still a Lot Going On - Get in on the Action!
Any day of the week you can find something new and exciting to do on Martha’s Vineyard, and enjoying Island activities in the fall means parking is easier and crowds have diminished - which means that hiking and biking our trails & paths is great fun, as is hitting the golf courses, whether that be 18-holes, 9-holes, or even a miniature golf course! Major highlights of the fall event calendar include the Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week September 27 & 28, the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby through October 19, Featherstone’s Art of Chocolate Festival October 12 and13, and the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival October 23–27. Check out our roundup of fall happenings and browse the local calendar of events for daily things to do during your stay.
There’s something iconic about eating perfectly fried seafood while on vacation along the coast of New England and today we are bringing you our top picks of where to find the best fried seafood on Martha’s Vineyard. Known for its plentiful waters, New England is home to some of the most hardworking fishermen and women who dedicate their lives to bringing in the freshest catch to local restaurants. Most of our visitors are foodies - or end up becoming foodies after spending some time on the Island.
The top “where can I find” delicious eats questions about Martha’s Vineyard focus on where to get the best clam chowder and where to get the best lobster rolls, but today we went out into the wild and came back with the our recommendations for where to get the best fried seafood on the Vineyard. We polled and surveyed locals all over the Island and came back with this short list. Granted there are many more spots on Island with delicious fried seafood, but the ones below were mentioned over and over again until we were drooling and craving the crispy, salty goodness of it all.
The Barn, Bowl, & Bistro
What to Order: Fish & Chips
Head to the end of Circuit Avenue to Uncus Avenue in Oak Bluffs to find the Island’s only bowling alley and in-house restaurant serving up one of the tastiest fish & chips platters on Island! Hand-breaded and then fried, the cod is served with classic tartar sauce and coleslaw.
Coop de Ville
What to Order: Fried Lobster Tails
If you’re looking for the ultimate luxury, the fried lobster tail at Coop de Ville on Oak Bluffs Harbor is it! You don’t typically see lobster served as a fried dish but when you do, we recommend getting it because when fried to a crispy exterior and still juicy interior, it’s a favorite dish of everyone that tries it!
John’s Fish Market
What to Order: Clam Cakes
A very unique item to this market, Clam Cakes are most typically native to Rhode Island but the owners of John’s Fish Market have been making this delicious treat for years. These crispy balls of briny clams and spicy Portuguese sausage are the perfect snack to have while waiting for your entree.
Giordano’s Clam Bar
What to Order: Fried Whole Belly Clams
Gio’s has been serving food on the Vineyard since 1930 and continues to so with its consistently delicious fried seafood. The Fried Whole Belly Clams are so tender and crispy, you won’t want to ever get them anywhere else. Served with French fries and coleslaw, this is a plate of fried seafood you won’t forget.
What to Order: Crispy Fantail Shrimp
Fried shrimp is a favorite and at Copper Wok, where its served with a spicy Japanese mayonnaise that pairs oh-so-well with the crispy crustaceans. The batter is light and airy, never greasy or heavy. Start with these as your appetizer before dining on any of their pan-Asian specialty dishes.
What to Order: Fish & Chips
Another classic for crispy fish and chips is the Aquinnah Shop overlooking the Cliffs. Anything you eat here will be delicious while the breathtaking view adds just that extra sparkle of magic to your meal.
The Net Result
What to Order: Fried Fish Sandwich
Finding a delicious fried fish sandwich is not difficult on Martha’s Vineyard but that said, everyone raves about the Fried Fish sandwich at The Net Result. Served with the classic tartar sauce on a soft bun, this sandwich is best enjoyed under the sun on the benches outside of the Net Result as you people watch during your meal.
Town Bar & Grill
What to Order: Fish & Chips
Head into Edgartown and on Upper Main Street you’ll find the new restaurant Town Bar & Grill serving up the crispiest fish and chips with French fries and coleslaw. The restaurant has a great patio on which to enjoy your meal and is also open year ‘round with plenty of indoor and bar seating.
What to Order: Seafood Platter
Overlooking Oak Bluffs Harbor, Nancy’s is a staple of everyone’s OB vacation. Watch the sunset while dining on the crispiest seafood plate that includes a little bit of everything: fish, scallops, shrimp, and clams.
The Lookout Tavern
What to Order: Cajun Fried Oysters
Wrapping up our list is The Lookout Tavern, another great spot in Oak Bluffs, where you can score a plate of these Cajun Fried Oysters. They are so delicious you’ll wonder why you don’t eat them daily. What makes them extra special is the dusting of Cajun seasoning that makes you come back for more.
The kids are back to school on Martha’s Vineyard and beyond, so whether you live on-Island or are visiting for a weekend or a few days, this list is bound to help you find fun, educational activities to do with the kids. Not only are these educational trips interesting, but most of them are very specific to Martha’s Vineyard and will be unique experiences that you will cherish with you kids, no matter what age.
Martha’s Vineyard offers activities all throughout the year, as the Island’s population is always in search of something fun to do with the kids after school or during the weekends.
Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
Felix Neck has so many activities but one of our favorites is Tank Time! “It's feeding time at Felix Neck! Learn about our resident snake, turtles, frogs and the many creatures in our saltwater tank and learn about these animals during their feeding time.” Tank Time happens on Mondays and Fridays and is a great way to get outside and get your kids learning about these fun animals!
Cheese Tour at Grey Barn
A unique and delicious way to learn about where our food comes from, the Grey Barn is just the spot. During the fall, on Fridays at 9 a.m., they offer a “Kids Farm Experience” (beginning September 20th, 2019). $10 per person, registration not required, they are one hour long and here’s how the Grey Barn describes it: “Bring the whole family and experience a little something different each week. Climb a tractor, chase a chicken, sketch a drawing of a baby lamb. Who knows what’s in store on kids day!” For older kids and teens, attend a cheese talk & tasting on Saturdays at 5:30 p.m. - 1.5 hours of learning and tasting some of the best and award-winning cheeses! Perfect for the foodie kids in your family.
The Farm Institute
A farm-based educational institution that connects families and children to agriculture on a working farm; the Farm Institute is now part of the Trustees of Reservation. The Farm sponsors summer camps and other educational programs focusing on land preservation, responsibility, teamwork, farming, nutritional awareness, livestock management, and the history of farming on Martha's Vineyard. During the fall, they host Fall Barnyard Buddies where you can spend Saturday morning exploring the farm in this drop-in program. Hands-on activities happen every half hour, starting at 9:30 a.m. and range week by week. Drop in anytime between 9:30 and 11 a.m. to join in on one or more activities. Some examples could be egg collecting, a bunny circle, feeding the goats, a farm story time, or a fun garden craft.
Nestled within Chappaquiddick Island on Martha's Vineyard, emerald-like, is the intimate Japanese-style garden, Mytoi, which offers natural serenity and a place of contemplation to visitors who venture here. It is the perfect spot to bring the kids for a time of rest and relaxation, where they can observe nature in a still and quiet environment. Mytoi also hosts a few events throughout the seasons, such as play groups, nature photography lessons, and much more.
Pirate Adventures Martha's Vineyard
This is a seasonal activity worth noting because kids ages 3-10 love it during the spring/summer! A magical and creative stage at sea, this vessel and its pirates set the scene for a pirate adventure unlike any other. Here’s what’s included in the 90-minute experience:
This unique Island farm is home to a few dozen alpacas, from newborn babies to adults. Island Alpaca is a great trip for kids of all ages because it mixes the fun with the educational. One daily activity is the Alpaca Walk and Talk (specifically for ages 14 and older) where you learn from the handlers all about the softest animals in the world, while walking with an alpaca by your side.
Martha’s Vineyard Museum The newly constructed Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven is a campus of Island education unlike anything else on the Vineyard! Visit the Museum and try your hand at some games from the 18th and 19th centuries (and see which ones are still played today). Ask your children about their school visits to the Museum and what they discovered. Try on a Civil War uniform. Attend a lecture or program. Learn about the whaling heritage with Laura Jernegan. Join them as they build model boats or try their hands at sewing a “ditty bag” during summer programs for kids. Climb up into a lighthouse. Go on a Quest and discover Martha’s Vineyard’s “special places.” Explore the past, through artifacts, stories, art and more! The Museum also offers summer “Discovery Days” kids’ programs in two locations. Learn more here.
Located in the heart of Oak Bluffs, the MV Camp Meeting Association oversees the area commonly known as The Campground, which includes many of the colorful, renowned Gingerbread Cottages and the iconic iron Tabernacle. Here you will find a diverse and vibrant community that celebrates its historic and religious roots, dating back to the early 1800s. During the summer there are set tour times and days, but in the off season, you can lead your own tour by walking the grounds, reading the plaques, and imagining a world 160 years ago. Perfect for imaginative kids!
Aquinnah Cultural Center
Discover the ancient ways of the Wampanoags by taking a self-guided tour, which includes some highlights along Wampanoag Way. These sites are all marked and relatively easy to find. The entire tour can take a couple of hours or all day - depending on how leisurely you want to pace yourself. Going by bike? In season, take the bike ferry from Menemsha to West Basin, then begin this tour.
Capturing memories while on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard is a must in our book, and today we are sharing the top three tips from our local Island photographers. These talented professionals have captured hundreds of family portraits over the years, so they know a thing or twenty about the photography business on the Island.
Randi, Nicole, and David are all veteran photographers on Martha’s Vineyard, and not only that, but they all live and work locally. So if you’re coming to the island wanting gorgeous photos in front of anything quintessentially Martha’s Vineyard, they know just the spots - and not just the classic “in front of the lighthouse” (even though that’s also a must photo!)
When talking to the photographers, a few takeaway tips and ideas:
“I would say that the trick for dealing with bright sunshine and people squinting and blinking is to have everyone close their eyes with their heads facing the camera and their smiles on their faces. Then you count to three and on three everyone opens their eyes. It’s always been successful, though it may not be the most comfortable thing for the people in the photo to do - the light is really bright when you open your eyes back up, but at least there is a moment in one of the many, many photos I take where everyone has their eyes open.” - Nicole Friedler
For those wanting to commemorate a more sentimental shoot, Nicole has it down to a science: “Preserving that particular moment in time and giving it back to you for posterity is my passion: it is the truest definition of ‘making memories.’ Each family is truly unique and I try to capture the playful, honest and true interactions during your session so that when you look at your photos years later you’ll say, "That's not just how we looked, that's how we felt."
“My #1 tip is hire a photographer who is responsive, listens to you, is creative, and knows how to make a shoot fun.” - David Welch
For the artsy, creative crew, let David bring his art-inspired photo-journalist eye and warm personality to create timeless pictures and memories for your Martha’s Vineyard wedding celebration, family gathering or event. His Vineyard Haven studio is also 100% powered by on site renewable solar energy.
“My one best tip for family portraits - pick a time of day when your kids are at their best and most playful. Sunsets are great but not if your kids have had a long day at the beach and are exhausted - it won’t be much fun. If you MUST capture the sunset, make sure your kids take a nap and get fed before your portrait session.” - Randi Baird
Randi is your lady if you’re looking for design to be woven into the photos as she states, “The challenge I set for myself every time I pick up the camera: Where is the art? How do I bring forth the design?”
See the full list of Island photographers on our Chamber listing here.
For many locals on Martha’s Vineyard this is literally the most wonderful time of the year. As much as we love our Island summers, the slower pace of September is welcome after a hectic season and the weather is (hopefully) just perfect. Another bonus? September marks the start of the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby, more commonly referred to as simply “The Derby.”
This year The Derby celebrates its 74th year and registration is now open. It’s a known fact on Martha’s Vineyard that if you live here and love to fish you are likely to be 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. This year the winning shore fisherman walks away with the keys to a Cape Codder 19 boat with Tohatsu outboard and trailer, and the winning boat fisherman rides away in a 2019 Subaru Impreza. You better believe that people are fishing to win!
An Eye on Conservation
The time-honored tradition begins September 15 and ends October 19, 2019 (a shift to one week later than previous years), along with some other changes happening this year. With an eye on conservation, The Derby has made a minimum size increase for striped bass, with the eligible length now being 34 inches, measured from tip of lower jaw to tip of tail. The Derby has also adjusted the Roberto Germani Memorial Award to include a competitive catch and release element. For the first time, Derby anglers will have the option to measure and release a fish, then enter the fish online.
If you’re planning to visit Martha’s Vineyard between September 15 and October 19 and you love to fish you’re in luck. In addition to fishing (and 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.
Giving Back Since 1987
Since its establishment as a nonprofit organization in 1987, the Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass & Bluefish Derby, Inc. has awarded annual scholarships to Martha's Vineyard Regional High School graduating seniors. The total amount of money donated since, now exceeds $640,000. Though the experience of The Derby is more than enough of a reason to enter, the opportunity to help build its scholarship fund provides a meaningful way in which to support the Island community for generations upon generations to come.
Building on a big success last year, another great community initiative inspired by The Derby is the Edgartown Board of Trade’s second annual Bass in the Grass Fundraiser for the Derby Scholarship Fund. Sponsored by Edgartown businesses, an entire school of bass will come to the streets of downtown Edgartown in September, so look out for it if you’re visiting. Each fish is designed by artists and up for auction online, during the 2019 Derby. You can bid on your favorite by October 20th at bassinthegrassmv.com.
Kids Derby & Daily Prizes
Another great element of The Derby? 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 on the opening day of The Derby. Additionally, The Derby offers a fillet program that provides free fish for the Island elderly. Fisherman may donate any or all of their catch to the program, allowing Islanders of all ages to share in the joy and bounty of this incredible event!
The Derby awards daily prizes for the heaviest striped bass, bluefish, and Atlantic bonito caught from the shores of Martha’s Vineyard or its close surrounding waters. While small cash prizes are awarded daily the bragging rights can be even more valuable. Weekly awards are given in the form of merchandise, fishing equipment and gift certificates, as well as plaques for division leaders and more.
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.
The highly anticipated Derby Awards Ceremony takes place on Sunday, October 20, 2019 at 1pm at Farm Neck Golf Club and is free and open to the public. Those that top the leaderboard at the end of the Derby hope to be the ones who attain the winning key to grand prizes and coveted awards that carry the weight and honor of decades of the Island’s local fishing tradition, which in itself, is the best prize of all.
For more information about the Derby visit mvderby.com. If you’re looking for some local fishing tips visit mvy.com/fishing, our nearby bait & tackle shops or contact our local captains and fishing charters. Good luck out there - and remember safety first!
Thousands of visitors flock to Martha’s Vineyard to soak up those leisurely summer beach days by the seashore, but the Island stays very much awake and vibrant throughout the fall too. Locals love the cooler temperatures and smaller crowds, and the slower tempo makes for more relaxing days to enjoy the Island’s most coveted areas and events.
Here are 20 tempting reasons to fall for Fall on Martha’s Vineyard, and 20 reasons you’ll want to plan a trip before another season passes you by!
1. Saturday, September 7, 10:30am–5pm: Martha’s Vineyard Wind Festival Attention kite lovers of all ages! Come see kites of all shapes and sizes soar above the gazebo at Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs. Activities include kite making and model sailboat racing for children, and kite flying and frisbee games for young and old. Rain date September 8.
2. Saturday, September 14, 10am–6pm: Tivoli Day
This end-of-summer celebration has been going on for decades and is the place to score a good deal on a locally made product or Martha’s Vineyard souvenir. The event takes place on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs, which is closed to cars for the day, as vendors line the streets with their wares, musicians perform, and attendees savor their last taste of summer.
3. Sunday, September 15 through Saturday, October 19: Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby
Now in its 74th year “The Derby” is a Vineyard fishing tradition that completely consumes local anglers, and those that visit the Island 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.
4. Saturday, September 21: 4th Annual Martha’s Vineyard Craft Beer Festival Beer lovers rejoice! Enjoy your pick of 150 beers from 50 breweries under a big tent at Waban Park in Oak Bluffs. Sample your favorites and discover new brews.
5. 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 appreciate the painted skies of Martha’s Vineyard.
6. Friday, September 27 & Saturday, September 28: Martha’s Vineyard Fashion Week
Returning after a five-year hiatus and hosted by Dressed MV, two shows will be held at the Vineyard Arts Project in Edgartown featuring looks from local designers including Conrado, Roy Bikini, American Rhino,The Green Room, Citrine x Trust, June, The Glasshouse and more. Tickets available in stores and online.
7. Saturdays through October 12: West Tisbury Farmers Market.
The open air West Tisbury Farmers Market was established in 1974 and has been operating ever since, making it the Island’s oldest market, and the go-to spot for the freshest food around. In the fall the market continues to pop up on Saturdays from 9-12pm at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury. The Market also returns in the winter and meets indoors at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury on Saturdays from October to December. Be sure to check the most current hours here.
8. Saturday & Sunday, October 12 & 13: The Art of Chocolate Festival
For eighteen 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 in any form your heart desires.
9. Sunday, October 13: Vineyard Artisans Columbus Day Festival
Vineyard Artisans resurrects its weekly summer festival especially for Columbus Day, offering 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.
10. Sunday, October 13: Popcorn Festival at Native Earth Teaching Farm
Pop in for free popcorn all day from 10am-3pm and enjoy fall fun at this small working educational farm in Chilmark.
11. Wednesday, October 23 through Sunday, October 27: Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival
This four day food and wine event brings together top culinary talents from the Island and beyond, along with world class winemakers, local farmers and discerning foodies for the ultimate taste of the Island experience. For the first time special guest and acclaimed chef Daniel Boulud will host an intimate five-course French dinner at Bettini Restaurant at the Harbor View Hotel.
12. October 19: Morning Glory Pumpkin Festival
The largest farm on Martha’s Vineyard hosts this lively free fall festival each year, complete with pumpkin games, hayrides, live music, and all things pumpkin.
13. Sundays through October: Oak Bluffs Open Market
Experience this super combination of Farmers Market, Artisan Fair, Vintage Flea Market and Body, Mind, Spirit Fair–all together at Washington Park in Oak Bluffs. The ever-changing variety of locally grown produce, specialty foods, flowers, indie designers, artisans and vintage dealers offers something for everyone…plus live music!
14. Wednesdays 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 November. Show up with your favorite toppings, mingle with the locals and meet some new friends.
15. Saturdays through October: Honey Farm Bee Hive Tours
Experience the life of bees along with a beekeeper from Ginny Bee Honey Farms for a small group tour. Learn about the world of bees and how valuable they are to our food and our environment. You'll assist in finding the queen, measuring honey, identifying pollen, and monitoring bee life cycles.
16. Through mid-October: Take a Classic Aviators Biplane Ride
Take in the best view of Martha’s Vineyard from high in the sky. Enjoy breathtaking scenery and sights that can only be viewed from above while learning about the history of the Island.
17. 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.
18. Sunday, October 27: 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.
19. Friday, November 15 - Friday, December 13: 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.
20. November 29: Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary Fall Festival
This celebration of fall is a Vineyard tradition. Held the day after Thanksgiving, it 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.
If you’ve ever researched Martha’s Vineyard you’ve likely come across photos of brightly colored gingerbread cottages. You may have even heard about the magical night of the year when the cottages glow with a profusion of colored lanterns. Perhaps you’ve even been lucky enough to attend this annual night of splendor. This year’s Grand Illumination (often referred to as Illumination Night) takes place on Wednesday, August 14 and marks the 150th year of this popular and important tradition - making it one of the most celebrated nights of the year. Here’s a look back at the history of the cottages and the annual event that brings thousands of visitors together to share in the splendor of their significance and charm.
A Movement is Born
Hundreds of Victorian cottages stand today on the grounds of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA), formerly known as Wesleyan Grove, which originally became a destination during the “camp meeting” movement of the 19th century. Methodists began gathering together on Martha’s Vineyard for summer retreats in pursuit of revival and renewal. In the beginning the camp meetings would last for several days and attendees would set up tents in a common area bringing with them provisions and supplies.
Eventually Wesleyan Grove in Oak Bluffs grew to become one of the largest and best-known camp meeting sites in the country. From nine tents in 1835 Wesleyan Grove grew to host 12,000 people and, in 1868, the number of tents reached 570. Initially the retreats were intended to be exclusively religious in purpose but eventually they became more social with attendees flocking to experience the chance to revitalize body and spirit.
People began to stay for longer periods of time and small wooden buildings began taking the place of tents. Between 1859 and 1864 the “Martha’s Vineyard” cottage emerged as a new architectural form that was celebrated and admired – as it still is today. There were about 40 cottages in 1864, 250 in 1869 and 500 by 1880. Today there are approximately 318 cottages remaining.
A Night of Lights
In 1869 the first Illumination Night was held. The event was called Governor’s Day in honor of the Governor of Massachusetts who had arrived to witness the highly anticipated spectacle. In efforts to impress the Governor, residents tried to outdo one another in the display of silk and paper lanterns and other forms of illumination with which they adorned their cottages.
Today Illumination Night or the Grand Illumination continues to be a time-honored tradition that brings together the community of the MVCMA and beyond. Thousands of paper and vintage silk lanterns are hung and admired each year. Attendees walk throughout the MVCMA appreciating the decoration, meeting with homeowners and mingling with other guests who have come to pay homage to this important tradition. Hailed as the most magical night on Martha’s Vineyard, attending Illumination Night is like taking a step back in time.
Celebrating Through the Centuries
The evening begins with a community sing and a concert by the Vineyard Haven Band at 7pm inside the Tabernacle, an open-air, octagonal structure in the heart of the MVCMA. Then, as darkness falls, the elaborate lanterns decorating the gingerbread cottages are illuminated in unison. This tradition will delight the whole family and leave both young and old with a feeling of unmatched enchantment.
Everyone is invited to walk the elaborate maze of homes inside the MVCMA and appreciate each cottage individually. Think back on what life was like back in 1869 and acknowledge the continued commitment that allows us to still make this event come to life 150 years later – and, hopefully for another 150 years to come. It’s a night steeped in history and community and a magical night not to be missed.
Illumination Night is free and open to the public but is supported with a free will offering. For more history on the event visit the MVCMA website.
Martha’s Vineyard is truly a music lover’s paradise. Our small Island is home to countless musicians, music venues and music-centric events that regularly showcase local and off-Island talent. Any night of the week in the summer season you’ll find live music to dance, sing, and sway along to, usually free of charge. Want to really experience those Island vibes? Check out some of these local go-tos for the ultimate song and dance on Martha’s Vineyard.
The Beat Goes On in OB
The Ritz MV, Oak Bluffs: The Island’s most iconic dive bar offers nightly live music and some of the best local talent around. This historic rock club has been entertaining bar-goers since 1944 and no visit to Martha’s Vineyard is complete without a stop in. You’ll find trivia and karaoke every Tuesday and some of the biggest Island names every other night of the week. There’s often an earlier show in the evening and a 10pm set too, all with no cover charge. And come hungry, there is nothing dive-y about their impressive and creative menu.
Nomans, Oak Bluffs: The latest addition to the Island music scene, Nomans just opened in June 2019 and has been entertaining visitors daily ever since. The family-friendly restaurant, which took over the former Lola’s space on Beach Road, offers live music throughout the day. You’ll find a casual and lively indoor/outdoor space with the expansive lawn as the star of the show. Grab a drink, grab a table, sit back and relax while you enjoy hours of free live music. It’s family- and dog-friendly and offers a full bar, counter service, a grab and go menu, and lawn games. Bring the family and spend the day!
Sand Bar & Grille, Oak Bluffs: Steps from the Oak Bluffs harbor, and conveniently located close Hyline, Island Queen and Steamship Authority docks in Oak Bluffs, this lively beach bar keeps the live tunes cranking on the weekends. Enjoy a delicious meal or relaxing cocktail with your toes in the sand, while the sun sets and the Vineyard nightlife ensues.
Park Corner Bistro, Oak Bluffs: This gastropub-style restaurant has only forty seats in the house and a farm-to-table approach to the menu. Visitors and locals alike flock to the bar for their craft cocktails and you’ll often find live music and DJs on weekends.
Portuguese-American Club, Oak Bluffs: Founded in 1930 as the Holy Ghost Association, this club, bar, and fundraising organization hosts social and community events, as well as live music concerts throughout the year.
The Cardboard Box, Oak Bluffs: The Cardboard Box is a restaurant built with “heart and soul” and diners are encouraged to eat, drink and revel. The revelry means diners can move and groove to local DJs most nights in this dimly lit, intimate and eccentric space.
Gettin’ Down in Edgartown
The Port Hunter, Edgartown: One of the most popular hot spots in Edgartown, this bar, restaurant and live music destination is always a fun time. You’ll want to get there early to try to score a seat at the bar. Enjoy something from the raw bar or from their main menu - the Buffalo Brussels are world famous. As the evening progresses, The Port Hunter turns into a music venue with regular shows starting at 10pm through October.
Seafood Shanty, Edgartown: This is the place to be when it comes to outdoor dining on Martha’s Vineyard, with DJs heating up the scene throughout the week. Overlooking Edgartown harbor the fish-focused restaurant boasts a casual dining room, an expansive deck, and a lot of dancing once the DJs arrive.
The Wharf, Edgartown: Located in downtown Edgartown, the family-friendly dining room features local seafood and classic pub favorites. Once night falls the lively back bar hosts regular events and live music.
Town Bar & Grill, Edgartown: This newly opened bar and restaurant boasts an expansive menu, weekend brunch, an impressive outdoor patio and regular live entertainment, including karaoke, acoustic sets, DJs and more.
Bad Martha’s, Edgartown: This Farmer’s Brewery and Tasting Room sits on the grounds of Donaroma’s Nursery and offers good brews, lawn games, and live jams. Check out their calendar on Facebook.
More Places to Boogie
In addition to live music venues on Martha’s Vineyard there are also several weekly musical events that happen throughout the summer. Don’t miss these free, family-friendly events!
Tuesdays: Unplugged Porch Concerts series hosted by mvyradio at the Harbor View Hotel; Sounds like Summer series on the Edgartown Library lawn sponsored by the Friends of Edgartown Public Library.
Thursdays: Music in the Square outside of the Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown.
Fridays: Sunset Concert Series in the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (home of the iconic gingerbread cottages) on the Tabernacle lawn.
Sundays: The Vineyard Haven Band performs every Sunday at 8pm, location alternates between the bandshell in Owen Park, Vineyard Haven and the Ocean Park gazebo in Oak Bluffs.
For a complete list of daily and weekly events on Martha’s Vineyard this summer click here.
Nothing says summer on the Vineyard like summer on the water! Whether you’re visiting for a day or a week, making sure to get out on the Vineyard waters is a must to make your vacation the best ever.
MV Ocean Sports
MV Oceansports is Martha’s Vineyard’s premier ocean sports company. They offer everything to make your watersports experience memorable. Whether you see the island on a guided jet ski tour, soar overhead parasailing or have an experience of a lifetime flyboarding, they will make it an experience to remember! The variety of water sports they run is also amazing: parasailing, jet skis, flyboarding, banana boat rides, watersports charter, boat rentals, and charter rentals.
MV Paddle Co.
MV Paddle Co. makes it easy by providing gear and an experienced guide to help with your paddling technique and tell you about local wildlife and history. They offer some creative stand up paddle tours, such as:
Eco SUP Tour: Explore the salt marsh and see baby fish and shellfish. Fresh water ponds offer even more diversity like frogs and turtles. Out on the ocean you never know what could be swimming underneath you. Keep your eyes open on this tour you never know what you will see!
Sunset Paddle Tour: Relax and reflect during the best time of the day, in these locations:
Lake Tashmoo: Is one of the best locations because it has the best view of the sunset, in addition to being protected from the wind.
East Chop is an amazing place to paddle for sunset. Get moving and paddle past the lighthouse, beach hopping. Best spot for duel sunset and moonrise, as you paddle around, for a down wind trip.
Menemsha: Peaceful and serien Quitas Pond has magnificent views of the sunset. Away from the crowded beach, we have a special experience on the water.
SUP Fitness: this is for the fit travelers that want to get on the water and get their workout done! From novice to intermediate, they will help you build strength and stamina. This tour will show you how to paddle quickly and mindfully, plus it’s a solid core workout!
SUP QiGong: this incorporates paddling, qigong and meditation, such a perfect activity to rest and reflect while on vacation or even if you are a local and need a break from the summer craziness!
Island Spirit Kayak
A well-rounded company that focuses on kayak and stand up paddleboarding, they do tours but also offer kayak rentals everyday right on State Beach in Oak Bluffs, as well as delivering to all locations on island both paddle boards and kayaks.
Tours offer include: 2 hour kayak adventure, sunset kayak paddle, sunrise kayak tour, full day tours that include a lunch picnic and snacks, full moon yoga on the paddle boards, paddle board tours, sunset paddle board tour, LED paddle board tour, peddle paddle tours (combining biking and paddling), and paddle board yoga.
Aloha Paddle MV
Certified ACA SUP instructors offering lessons for all ability levels, guided outings, multi-sport adventures and catered paddle events, Aloha Paddle MV has a great diverse portfolio of services offered to get you on the water.
Some of the most notable and distinctive tours are:
Wind's Up is Martha's Vineyard's offers Stand Up Paddle boards, kayaks, sailboats, canoes, windsurfers, surf & beach clothing/gear, lessons and sales/rentals. Stop by their shop, located on 199 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, to get your beach gear, rent one of their kayaks or take a windsurfing or sailing lessons.
For more contact information to the businesses above, check out our water sports page.
For an island packed with seafood restaurants, we also have our fair share of burger joints and it’s become one of our most asked food questions: where can I get a good burger on Martha’s Vineyard? To help everyone, we’ve gathered the top spots on island to grab a burger, but first - let’s talk about what makes a good burger.
A good burger is one that when you take that first bite, you smile because it’s that good. Maybe you do a little happy dance, maybe you quickly tell your friend between bites that they need to try this burger too (if you’re so kind to share). An American classic, the burger has become a staple in our dining and in a way, a delicious treat on vacation. So let’s talk burgers on Martha’s Vineyard and where to get them!
Atria Brick Cellar, Edgartown
Burger: The Atria Classic
Burger, cheddar, sides of sautéed onions, roasted mushrooms, tomatoes, béarnaise & applewood smoked bacon, mixed green salad
Rosewater Market, Edgartown
Burger: Rosewater Cheeseburger
Fresh ground sirloin patty, sharp cheddar loaded with iceberg, tomato, red onion, house pickles and special sauce on a sesame seed bun
The Wharf Pub, Edgartown
Burger: Angus & Linguica Burger
American cheese, lettuce, tomato,onion & pickles on a bulky
Town Bar & Grill, Edgartown
Burger: Biltmore Burger
Ground sirloin, BBQ grilled onions, bacon, gooey cheddar, bistro sauce
The Atlantic, Edgartown
Burger: Atlantic Burger
10 ounce prime cajun burger, french feta cheese, tzatiki sauce, fennel arugula salad, citrus oil
The Lookout Tavern, Oak Bluffs
Burger: Reggae Burger
Jamaican jerk seasoning, pepper jack cheese, curry aioli
The Barn, Bowl & Bistro, Oak Bluffs
Burger: The Barn Classic Burger
Half-pound Angus beef burger, served with lettuce, tomato & red onion
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company, Oak Bluffs
Burger: Grilled Burger with Fries
On a grilled brioche bun, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles
Fat Ronnie’s, Oak Bluffs
Burger: Classic Burger
With over 30 different toppings, you can get it your way any day here!
Waterside Market, Vineyard Haven
Burger: Mr. Bowen Burger
Signature burger topped with melted brie cheese, balsamic onion jam, baby spinach, and shredded short rib gravy
The Black Dog Tavern, Vineyard Haven
Burger: BD Classic Burger
Fresh ground 10 oz. Angus patty with lettuce, tomato, and pickle on grilled brioche served with crispy french fries
John’s Fish Market, Vineyard Haven
Burger: The Obama Burger
Bacon, cheese, onion rings, lettuce, tomato, and citrus sauce
Island Fresh Pizza & Subs, VIneyard Haven
Burger: X-Tudo Burger
American cheese, bacon, mayo, ham, corn, peas, eggs, potato sticks, lettuce, tomatoes
The Scottish Bakehouse, Vineyard Haven
Burger: Bakehouse ½ Burger
Served with lettuce, tomato and mayo on your choice of available bread
Woods at Lambert’s Cove Inn, West Tisbury
Burger: Woods Burger
American cheese, special sauce, bread and butter pickles, red onions, brioche bun, fries
Burger: Cliff Burger
Served on a roll, lettuce, tomato, onion
Visitors come from far and wide to explore the beaches of Martha’s Vineyard, discover our history, and eat the most delicious seafood there is in New England. But we also get asked quite consistently - where can you find the best slice of pizza on island and so we’re put together this list of the top pizzerias on Martha’s Vineyard.
Weaving Vineyard memories with those of pizza eating might seem strange in a way to some, but we know of locals that grab a slice of Gio’s as they walk around OB on their day off, or rock away on the porch of the Chilmark Store as they eat their slice. Pizza is always a good idea, a good snack between meals, and a great way to make a whole bunch of people happy!
If you’re heading to downtown Edgartown, Isola is the place for you. Isola is a family-owned and operated Italian restaurant, specializing in modern Italian food with a rustic Vineyard twist - it’s a full service restaurant so perfect for a special dinner, but if you want a quick bite or order a few pizzas, they also have an adjoining pizzeria. They have specialty toppings such as: roasted tomato, kalamata olives, roasted garlic, prosciutto, caramelized onions, anchovies, Isola's signature meatballs, and marinated chicken.
In Oak Bluffs, you have a few choices. Giordano’s is a tradition for most Vineyard families, but you should also try Pizza di Napoli at the LOFT. Gio’s has two spaces, one for takeout pizza and clam bar, and the other side is their sit down restaurant. At takeout, you can order a slice of cheese or pepperoni and walk around town enjoying your slice. Gio’s has been around for over 80 years, so it’s definitely a Vineyard classic!
Head over to LoFT and try Pizza di Napoli, the island’s largest pizza pie at 18 inches wide! A classic Neopolitan pizza, the dough is treated with care and the ingredients are top quality.
In Vineyard Haven, Rocco’s, Porto Pizza, and Wolf’s Den are your top spots for a slice. If you’re looking for one of the island’s only made-from-scratch pizza dough, Rocco’s is your best bet. Catching a ferry but need a quick snack? A slice at Porto’s is the closest spot to get your pizza fill. Looking for pan pizza that will satisfy your hunger? Wolf’s Den is your go to guy.
And Up-Island, the Chilmark General Store serves up their pies daily, and offer some of the best farm-to-table slice options with their daily Farm Slice. Just recently that included local zucchini, corn, and kale. It's always changing and it's always delicious. You can also attend pizza night at the Orange Peel Bakery. The pizza night at Orange Peel is during June through October pizza night is every Wednesday from 5-8p.m, $20 per adult and $10 per child - BYOTS (Bring Your Own Toppings to Share) and BYOB!
Now, which place is calling your name?
Calling all music lovers, the Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series is well underway! If you’re headed to the Island this summer make sure you check out their lineup–expect incredible shows by world class talent. The annual concert series was established in 2016 and since then has brought one of music’s best and brightest to intimate venue across the Island. David Sedaris, Paula Poundstone, Deer Tick, the Capitol Steps and many other big names have graced the stages of our local small spaces over the years. What could be better than catching your favorite musician or comedian performing in a historic Martha’s Vineyard church, while the salty summer air wafts through? Quite frankly, nothing.
This year the Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series is bigger than ever, thanks to the addition of a three day not-to-be-missed music festival that will go down in the record books as the largest event of it’s kind on–Island to date. Billed as ‘Beach Road Weekend’ the inaugural event brings some of music’s most notable names to Vineyard Haven’s Veterans Memorial Park August 9, 10, and 11. To kick it all off on Friday, August 9, there will be a screening of the movie JAWS with the iconic score performed in sync by the Cape Symphony orchestra. That’s right, you can relive the thrilling suspense of JAWS right where the movie was originally filmed!
Saturday August 10, will prove to be an action packed day with Creedence Clearwater Revival’s own John Fogerty headlining along with beloved jam band Dispatch, Alejandro Escovedo, North Mississippi Allstars and American folk-pop singer-songwriter Mason Jennings. Sunday, August 11 brings Phil Lesh & Friends, Grace Potter, Galactic, Matisyahu, Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe and the Original Wailers to round out the event. Tickets are on sale now at beachroadweekend.com. Even if you can only hop over for the day we recommend it! The festival will be happening a short walk from the Steamship Authority terminal in Vineyard Haven making for easy travel between the festival and Woods Hole on Cape Cod.
As for the rest of the Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series there’s something exciting happening practically every week for the rest of the summer. Be sure to check out the lineup below and plan an enjoyable evening of entertainment on Martha’s Vineyard. For a chance to win tickets to every show follow Visit Martha’s Vineyard on Facebook and Instagram.
Bela Fleck and Abigail Washburn: Tuesday, July 23, 8 pm, at the Old Whaling Church.
I’m With Her WMVY Benefit: Wednesday, July 24, 8 pm, at the Old Whaling Church.
Gordon Lightfoot: Sunday, July 28, 8 pm, at the Performing Arts Center.
David Sedaris: Tuesday, July 30, 8 pm, at the Performing Arts Center.
The Capitol Steps: Sunday, August 4, 5 pm, at the Performing Arts Center.
Dave Mason: Sunday, August 18, 5 pm, at the Performing Arts Center.
Livingston Taylor: Friday, August 23, 8 pm, at the Old Whaling Church.
Son Volt: August 31, 8 pm, at Union Chapel.
Visit marthasvineyardconcertseries.com for more details and to buy tickets.
One of the best ways to acclimate yourself to Martha’s Vineyard is by taking one of the Island’s popular sightseeing tours. Tours allow you to sit back, relax and take in the rich history and captivating points of interest across our gorgeous 100 square mile Island. If you’ve never visited before, are new to the area, or have limited time, a sightseeing tour can help you get up to speed on all things MV–or most of them anyway! With six unique towns each boasting their individual character and charm, there’s a lot to see and discover on a Martha’s Vineyard sightseeing tour.
Many of the Island’s most experienced tour guides have been conducting tours for decades and are part of the fabric of the Island community. Their helpful insight ensures you’ll get the most out of your time here, in a fun and entertaining way, and you’ll leave with an authentic and memorable Island experience under your belt (and possibly a new friend!). From full day tours to sunset tours, to JAWS themed tours or customized options that fit every timeline and budget, a sightseeing tour will connect you to Martha’s Vineyard more than ever.
There are numerous group and private tour companies available to help you see the beauty of Martha's Vineyard. Here’s a round up of the local fleet and what they can offer the most curious of travelling minds.
ResortMan, a luxury transportation service provider offers fully customizable private and group tours. Options include a three hour tour, four hour tour, and custom half or a full day tour in one of their top of the line luxury vehicles.
Martha’s Vineyard Excursions offer one hour, two hour, three hour and custom tours, along with a JAWS tours by special request in air conditioned passenger vans and shuttles.
Martha’s Vineyard Tours and Transport offers two hour, three hour, customized tours, and a JAWS tour in their comfortable 14-passenger touring vans, as well as historical walking tours.
Martha’s Vineyard All Star Tours has over 40 years of tour guide experience and offer knowledgeable and family friendly tours including a down Island tour, a full Island tour, an African American History tour, a JAWS tour and custom tours for up to eight hours.
Oak Bluffs Land and Wharf Co. Tours offer historic Martha’s Vineyard tours that last between 2.5 and 3 hours and engage visitors of all ages, in their comfortable luxury vans.
Greetings from Martha’s Vineyard Tours offers you the opportunity to explore all six of the Island’s unique towns in their luxury air conditioned vans, ending with a picnic in Menemsha, a quaint fishing village known for its fresh seafood and stunning sunsets.
Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing provides the only bus and trolley tours of Martha’s Vineyard, and offers full island bus tours and a shorter version in a vintage trolley that brings you to four of the Island’s six towns.
Edgartown Tour Company’s options range from 1-2 hour long historical walking tours, JAWS tourm paddle boarding adventures, and half, full or multi-day packages that allow you to see and experience all that Martha's Vineyard has to offer.
Many local companies accommodate handicapped passengers and those with special needs. If you require specific accommodations be sure to ask your tour operator when booking. Please note that most tours are seasonal and run from May through October. For our comprehensive list of Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing Tours click here.
The vegan searches quadrupled in the 5 years between 2012 and 2017, according to Google search. It now gets almost 3 times more interest than vegetarian and gluten free searches, so we wanted to make sure that if you’re living a plant based lifestyle, the island had you covered with delicious places to eat and drink while you’re visiting. If you’re vegan and coming to Martha’s VIneyard, we have done the research for you and listed below some of the most delicious plant-based restaurants, cafes, and coffee shops on MV.
Most coffee shops on the island carry non-dairy milks on their menu, mostly soy and almond, while you can find some oat and coconut milk as well. Chilmark Coffee Co. makes their coffee drinks with oat milk at the West Tisbury Farmers Market, also a must when you’re visiting.
Juice by the Sea MV
Martha’s Vineyard’s premier juice bar and vegan cafe! Nestled in Tisbury Marketplace, Juice by the Sea provides a whimsical selection of raw artisan juices and an extensive plant-based menu crafted from locally sourced and seasonal ingredients. Featuring a full gluten-free and vegan menu, organic coffee and espresso bar, pastry case filled with decadent desserts, and of course their famous array of juices and wellness tonics.
Located in Oak Bluffs, at the end of Circuit Avenue is Bangkok Cuisine, serving authentic Thai food for lunch and dinner. The restaurant is not vegan but does offer a variety of dishes that can be made vegan and vegetarian, by subbing out vegetables and tofu. If you’re looking for a delicious meal, this is a great spot to find veggie-based meals.
The Port Hunter
Right on Main Street in Edgartown, The Port Hunter serves up an entire plant based menu for their guests including tofu tacos, kale fennel salad, spring greens, and a curry bowl that is divine! The restaurant sources ingredients from local farms, so you know they are delicious and fresh every time. It’s a great spot for dinner and drinks on vacation!
We love this Vineyard Haven spot for lunch because they serve up delicious food with outdoor tables where you can enjoy the sunshine and the kids can run around after eating. All their sides are vegan, and they serve up some incredible rice and beans with coconut tofu and plantains. There for breakfast? Try their ancient grains breakfast bowl and get some baked goods to go!
With two locations, one in Edgartown and the second one in Oak Bluffs, Taco MV is a plant lover’s dream come true! If you love tacos, this is the spot. They serve up a variety of vegan options like eggplant, cauliflower, mushroom tacos, as well as make their own vegan tortillas and falafel. Feeling cheesy? They also make their own cashew cheese for nachos that you can top with any of their salsas and guacamole! Want something more filling? Order a rice bowl with one of the vegan proteins and top with all the goodness.
Fusion Asian Cuisine is served up at Copper Wok in Vineyard Haven and you can choose from a variety of rice bowls, vegetable dishes, seaweed salad, and soups. Everything is made to order so you can definitely compose your own dishes. They also offer vegetable sushi rolls if you’re in the mood for Japanese.
Across the street from the Port Hunter, their sister restaurant The Covington also serves up delicious vegan entrees such as their harvest plate that changes weekly, an arugula pesto that’s tasty, mushroom ragu pasta, and kale salad made with locally sourced ingredients.
Head over to Oak Bluffs and dine at 20by9. Their ambition is to stand out in our community by making nearly 100% of what’s on your plate from scratch. So please, gather around, share among yourselves, and enjoy! Live Music Fridays and Saturdays. Some of their vegan options include a braised beet salad with bitter cocoa, almonds, fire roasted grapes, blueberry and beet vinaigrette, a veggie burger, and a lovely hummus plate.
The Cardboard Box
Another option in Oak Bluffs is The Cardboard Box where you can find a variety of fresh local vegetables from their own farm, as well as salads and more.
Head up island and to the Chilmark Tavern for their vegan dish that’s currently m.v.m. shiitakes, celeriac skordalia, artichokes, asparagus, kale, sweet potato, cipollini onions, truffle oil, all prepared expertly by the chefs.
On Upper Main Street in Edgartown, find Lucky Hanks with options for plant-based meals for all times of the day. IN the morning, start with their granola or oatmeal, for lunch their roasted vegetable pita, and for dinner, a vegetable plate or mediterrean plate and house salad is a fresh way to dine.
Martha’s Vineyard is a food lover’s paradise - and don’t just assume it’s for seafood lovers only, because the island has something for everyone! Today, we’re sharing the Perfect Foodie Itinerary for Martha’s Vineyard and you’ll see a variety of activities and food experiences on island that you won’t experience anywhere else. From where to eat breakfast to where to grab that late night food, we’ve got you covered with delicious ideas sure to satisfy your taste buds.
Bettini at the Harbor View Hotel
Start your foodie adventure by treating yourself to the most divine breakfast on island and one with one of the best views of the Edgartown Lighthouse. Breakfast at the newly renovated Harbor View Hotel is a must with their new, award winning chef Patrice Martineau. Their MAINE LOBSTER BENEDICT with Certified Organic Martha’s Vineyard Eggs by The Grey Barn Farm and Poached lobster on an English muffin and the most perfect hollandaise sauce is a must.
West Tisbury Farmers Market
Founded in 1974 by a "ragtag group of hippies, yankees and retired English teachers," the West Tisbury Farmers Market is Martha's Vineyard's oldest, largest, and finest open air market and the perfect thing to do after a delicious breakfast. Here’s a list of just a few of their vendors: Blackwater Farm, Blissed Out, Breezy Pines Farm, Chilmark Coffee Company, Cinnamon Starship, Enchanted Chocolates, Farm Institute, Flat Point Farm, and Frosty Hollow Orchids among so many others! The market takes place every Wednesday and Saturday in the summer, from 9am to 12pm at the West Tisbury Grange Hall.
Tour The Grey Barn & Farm
The island’s only organic dairy farm, The Grey Barn is located in Chilmark so it’s best to hit it up after you explore the farmer’s market. They have been making cheese since 2009 and have won countless awards for their work. Not only can you take cheese tours of the farm as well as tasting all the cheeses, but they are opening up a bakery as well as hosting several interesting workshops throughout the summer.
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company
While on the island, you must have New England Clam Chowder and if you’re looking for some of the best chowder on island, you must head to Oak Bluffs and grab a bowl of chowder and a lobster roll from Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company. They have won best chowder almost every year and locals love it! It’s also gluten free and full of flavor, so make sure to have a cup.
Mocha Mott’s flagship location, at 10 Circuit Ave, was opened in 1994 by its founder Mott Hinkley. In 2001, current owners Tim Dobel and Meredith Gallo took over. In 2004 they opened up a second location at 15 Main Street in Vineyard Haven. Both locations serve organic, fair trade coffee & espresso drinks, homemade baked goods, Cape Cod bagels and their signature breakfast burritos and sandwiches. The vibe is energetic and fun, and a place you’ll find locals sipping on caffeinated drinks at all times of the day.
Farm.Field.Sea. culinary events are designed to exhilarate the senses by seamlessly blending local food, storytelling with hands-on discoveries so you can truly experience the heart of Martha’s Vineyard food and culture. With them, your connection to the Island is always authentic and absolutely unforgettable. Set sail on a 2-hour Oyster Farm experience on Vineyard Sound to experience the Island’s booming oyster farming industry firsthand with local oyster farmers and biologists. Learn about where oysters are grown, how they’re grown, and meet the farmers behind their story. The adventure is a great experience for the whole family and a fun way to learn about these incredible bivalves and “kiss the sea on its lips” with an oyster sample plucked from the waters around you.
Garde East overlooks the harbor from Vineyard Haven Marina and offers both indoor and outdoor dining in a casual yet elegant setting. The restaurant’s culinary team utilizes the Vineyard bounty from both sea and land in creating an ever changing menu, with refined and classic techniques.
Carefully conceived dishes speak for themselves, as the freshest ingredients take center stage to create a truly unique experience. A thoughtfully curated beverage program compliments culinary creations, featuring classic cocktails, craft beers and wine program of over 400 French and American labels. It’s the perfect way to end a day of eating on island.
Food Minded Fellow Pop Up Dinners at the Little House Cafe
Private chef Gavin Smith, aka the Food Minded Fellow brings his culinary talent to the Little House Cafe on Sundays this summer. Enjoy a three course tasting menu chock full of locally sourced ingredients, served in the intimate dining room at the Little House Cafe in Vineyard Haven. Dinners are happening on Sunday July 7th and 14th, and August 4th, 11th, 18th, and 25th. Reservations are available on Yelp and by calling the restaurant at 508-687-9794.
Town Bar & Grill
Finish the day in the same town you started, Edgartown and check out the newest restaurant in town, Town Bar & Grill. Serving bar snacks until midnight on weekends, this is the happening spot in town for fierce cocktails and delicious late night eats on Martha’s Vineyard.
School is out and Martha’s Vineyard is the place to be. Thousands of visitors flock to the island this week to take advantage of the July 4th holiday and it promises to be another action packed can’t–miss event. Enjoy a leisurely afternoon at the beach or fun filled day around town, followed by a night of festivities, fireworks and more! Here’s what’s happening in honor of our Independence Day this year, come prepared with your stars and stripes and let’s cheer for the red, white and blue!
Tuesday, July 2nd
Reading Frederick Douglass
Each year, Mass Humanities organizes readings of “The Meaning of the Fourth of July for the Negro,” a speech by the noted abolitionist Frederick Douglass, first delivered in 1852. A free community reading of this famous speech will be presented at the Federated Church in Edgartown, where Mr. Douglass spoke in 1857, as part of the Vineyard’s observance of Independence Day. All are invited to attend.
Thursday July 4th
18th Annual Murdick’s Run the Chop 5 Mile Road Race
Murdick’s Run the Chop Challenge takes place every July 4th and has been in existence for 18 years. Over that time the 5-mile road race has raised over $100,000 for Youth programs on the island. This year’s race will benefit the Martha’s Vineyard Boys & Girls Club. Schedule: 8:30am Fun Run for kids 12 and under, and 9:00am Classic 5 Mile Run the Chop. Register online here.
Kid’s Parade at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs
Celebrate with a special July 4th parade by the kids! Children of all ages enjoy this annual patriotic celebration! Parade participants assemble on West Clinton Ave. prior to 10 am. Patriotic clothing and decorated bikes are encouraged. No motorized vehicles including motorized scooters or bikes are allowed due to safety concerns. Parade flows down Clinton Ave. and around Trinity Circle, ending by the MVCMA Cottage Museum. Followed by an ice cream social, free for all.
Fourth of July Picnic
Enjoy a classic Americana Fourth of July event at the Daniel Fisher House in Edgartown, provided by the Vineyard Trust. Bring the family, spread out your blanket, and indulge in a hearty meal while waiting for the annual parade to start. At 2pm the Bay State Band plays on the lawns of the Dr. Daniel Fisher House. At 5pm enjoy a picnic cooked up by Bill Smith’s Clambake on the lawn.
Fourth of July Barbecue & Party
The Harbor View Hotel offers a mouthwatering Barbecue Buffet featuring watermelon salad, baby back ribs, kobe beef hot dogs and more. Seatings available at 3pm, call the hotel at 508-627-3761 to reserve your spot. Capture your memories inside MV Photobus’ Volswagen photo booth and dance to live music from The Vine Shakers with Joanne Cassidy from 6pm to 10pm. Once the fireworks kick off enjoy one of the best views in town from the porch of the hotel!
Four of July Parade
Celebrate the Fourth in historic downtown Edgartown with a parade full of fabulous floats, classic cars, old fashioned family fun, and of course candy. The parade kicks off at 5pm from the Edgartown school, following Peases’ Point Way downtown where it loops around joining Main Street and North Water Street. It then follows Main Street out of town returning to its starting point. For parade participation and additional details, please visit http://www.edgartown-ma.us/ or contact the Edgartown Selectman’s Office at 508-627-6180.
Concert by the Vineyard Haven Band
The Vineyard Haven Band is a long standing marching band and a 150 year old tradition on the island. Join them for a free concert at the Old Whaling Church at 7pm, following the annual parade in downtown Edgartown.
Fourth of July Fireworks
The annual Fourth of July fireworks starts at dusk on the Edgartown harbor. This spectacular display has been delighting visitors and locals alike for years. Enjoy a great view along the water in downtown Edgartown or Chappaquiddick.
Summer is finally here and that means an action packed calendar of events on Martha’s Vineyard. On any given day you could come across live music, dining specials, educational opportunities and happenings galore! While many think of Martha’s Vineyard as a playground for the affluent, we’re here to tell you it is a place that caters to all walks of life and has something for everyone. If you’re visiting on a budget this summer and don’t want to break the bank, here’s a list of ten things you can do on Martha’s Vineyard that will cost you absolutely nothing.
Hit the beach! Most of Martha’s Vineyard’s stunning shoreline is free and open to the public, and it’s probably the reason you’ve likely decided to visit, or are considering visiting the Island. From the calmer waters of the northern shores to the rumbling surf of the south shores, there’s a beach for every type of visitor. All beaches are Carry In, Carry Out – so be sure to take your trash with you! For a full list of free, unrestricted beaches click here.
Meet our local vendors and browse our weekly markets. Martha’s Vineyard is home to hundreds of farmers, food purveyors and artists who grow, nurture, and create Island made products. Take the opportunity to meet and mingle with some of our talented local vendors totally gratis, it’s a great way to learn more about the Island and its culture. The West Tisbury Farmer’s Market was founded in 1974 and is the Island’s oldest and largest open air market where you can find an abundance of local produce and Island made food items. Open Saturdays 9am–12pm from June 8 to October 12 and Wednesdays 9am–12pm from June 19 to August 28, at the West Tisbury Grange Fall. Additionally the Vineyard Artisans Festival, is a beloved summer event that brings the wares of local artists, designers and craftsmen to visitors each week throughout the summer. The festival returns every Sunday from June 9 through September 29, and on Thursdays beginning July 4 at the Grange Hall in West Tisbury from 10am to 4pm. You're also welcome to enjoy Sunday in the park by the sea with the Oak Bluffs Open Market, which offers an ever-changing variety of locally grown produce, specialty foods, artisans and vintage dealers. Located in Washington Park in Oak Bluffs, the market runs from May - October.
Discover the adorable, iconic gingerbread cottages. Thousands of visitors flock to Oak Bluffs every year to tour the famous and colorful gingerbread cottages. The 34 acres of the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA) is an open, pedestrian friendly National Historic Landmark and looks like something out of a storybook. The MVCMA is a short (2-5 minute) walk from the Oak Bluffs harbor where many ferries and buses arrive. There is no admission cost to enter and explore "The Campground" and visitors are welcome to take pictures from the roads and walkways during the day. To view the inside of one of these historic cottages, visitors can pay $3 to visit the Cottage Museum, open daily from Memorial weekend through mid-October.
Jump off the famous Jaws Bridge. Jaws was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard in 1974 but the references to the movie continue to prevail across the Island. The most famous landmark from the film is the Jaws bridge, the bridge that was the home of the iconic shark attack scene in the movie. Brave souls step up to the railing on the bridge and jump down to the cool ocean water below, located on Beach Road near the Oak Bluffs/Edgartown line. It’s a rite of passage on Martha’s Vineyard and a must-do if you’re up for it!
Explore First Fridays in Vineyard Haven. Join locals and visitors alike in downtown Vineyard Haven (steps from the Steamship Authority ferry terminal) on the First Friday of each month June through September. This lively block party celebrates the arts on Martha’s Vineyard with a Main Street Art Walk where you can meet Island makers and shop local while also enjoying live Music in Owen Park and along Main Street. Happening June 7, July 5, August 2 and September 6.
Sunset Concert Series at the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA). The MVCMA hosts free Friday concerts at the Tabernacle green, inside the Oak Bluffs Campground which is home to the iconic gingerbread cottages. Enjoy live music by some of the Island’s most talented musicians. All concerts are free and open to the public. Bring a picnic supper, or enjoy offerings from SMOAK a local fire cooking and bbq catering company.
Free performances of the Vineyard Sound. The Vineyard Sound is an all male acapella group composed of individuals from various colleges that have been entertaining guests on the Vineyard since 1992. New this year the group will be performing live on the grounds of the Lambert’s Cove Inn in West Tisbury amidst the beautiful garden of this stylish farmhouse inn and retreat. Free performances happen from 5–6pm every Wednesday starting June 26th.
Take advantage of endless free programming at local libraries. On Martha’s Vineyard, libraries are not simply a place to find books, they are vibrant community centers that enrich the lives of all those who walk through their doors. With daily and weekly events, concerts, and classes, across six libraries (one in each town!) you never know what you will learn and explore, all at no cost.
Travel hundreds of acres of woods and walking trails. Many people don’t realize just how green and forested Martha’s Vineyard is. With endless stretches of scenic shoreline, rolling hills, expansive woodlands, and hundreds of miles of protected trails through the Island’s diverse landscape, there really is no better place to take a hike. Local conservation groups the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, the Trustees of Reservations and Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation maintain over 200 miles of trails and over 100 preserved properties that are open to the public. You can read about some of the most popular trails here.
Browse our local art galleries. Martha’s Vineyard is a sanctuary for hundreds of talented artists producing world class art. For years, all sorts of creative minds have found solitude and a place for reflection on the Island, inspired by the gorgeous scenery and relaxed way of life. Most local art galleries are free and open to the public (while a few are appointment only) and several of them offer free, weekly opening receptions. Check out ongoing artist receptions at the Granary Gallery in West Tisbury and exhibit openings and live music at the Eisenhauer Gallery in Edgartown. For a full list of Island art galleries click here.
For more tips on planning a budget friendly trip to Martha’s Vineyard check out this post.
We all know dad’s can be hard to buy for, that’s why we think whisking him away to Martha’s Vineyard sounds like the best idea this Father’s Day. If you’re making the journey with one of the most beloved guys in your life then make it count. Here’s our tips for making the most out of Father’s Day on Martha’s Vineyard.
Attend the Car-B-Q Classic
Is dad a car lover? Then he’ll appreciate the eye candy on display at the Car-B-Q Classic. This beloved annual car show returns for Father’s Day. The classic auto event begins with a power cruise from the Martha's Vineyard Family Campground off Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road and ends at the new Martha's Vineyard Museum. Enjoy ice cold beverages, hot food from The Food Truck and the ArtCliff Food Truck, frozen treats from Vintage Delicious, and check out the best classics on the Island–even take a photo in one with MV PhotoBus! Plus, dad can take part in our one-of-a-kind raffle in which proceeds benefit The MV Fallen Firefighters Fund. Does he have a hot rod of his own? Register the car for his chance to win trophies ranging from Best of Show and several other categories.
Take him out on the green
Martha’s Vineyard is a golfing paradise, with three public golf courses and two private course on–Island. Whether you’re dad is a novice golfer, just getting into the swing of things, or an expert on greens, the golf courses on Martha’s Vineyard make the perfect playland for your dad on Father’s Day. Or if you’re looking for a shorter game try our only mini golf course, Island Cove Mini Golf in Vineyard Haven!
Experience an architectural walking tour
If architecture is more dad’s thing take him on an Architectural Walking Tour of Edgartown. Edgartown is chock full of old whaling captain homes and storied landmarks you can’t find anywhere else. View the John Coffin House, Vincent House, Dr. Daniel Fisher House, and the Old Whaling Church in this tour with the Vineyard Trust. The tour begins at the Carnegie in Edgartown and runs Tuesday through Saturday.
Catch a game together
Calling all sports loving dads! Did you know Martha’s Vineyard was home to the Martha’s Vineyard Sharks, a collegiate summer baseball team that competes in the New England Collegiate Baseball League? On Friday June 14 they take on the Bay Sox and on Saturday June 15 you can catch them competing against the Mystic Schooners, both games start at 6:30pm. Buy him some peanuts and cracker jacks and feel like a kid again!
Sip on some frothy goodness
Raise a glass to dad at one of the Island’s local breweries. If dad appreciates a cold one you don’t want to miss the chance to visit Offshore Ale brew pub in Oak Bluffs. This popular spot has been serving up some of the best beer on-Island since 1997 and it doesn’t disappoint. The Island’s other brewery is Bad Martha beer in Edgartown which is nestled on the grounds of Donaroma’s nursery, making for a gorgeous space to sip and enjoy outdoor games. The tasting room also offers trivia on Fridays and live music on Saturdays.
Tour the Martha’s Vineyard Museum
Is dad a history buff? There’s a lot to learn here. Dads of all ages can enjoy the stunning new Martha’s Vineyard Museum which features interactive exhibits of the rich history of Martha’s Vineyard and a tremendous collection of artifacts from the Island over the years. The Martha's Vineyard Museum inspires all visitors to discover, explore, and strengthen their connections to this Island and its diverse heritage.
Groove to the music around town
For the music man in your life! Treat dad to a performance of the Vineyard Sound, the all male acapella group made up of 10 talented singers from various New England colleges covering Sam Cooke hits, Beatles classics, and various contemporary songs. The Vineyard Sound performs Friday June 14th at 8pm at the United Methodist Church in Oak Bluffs and Saturday, June 15th at 5pm at the Federated Church in Edgartown. If he’s a night owl looking hit the dance floor and give him a taste of some of the sounds of the Island’s most popular bands. The reggae funk musicians the Jelly Roll Horns perform at The Port Hunter in Edgartown on Saturday June 15th at 10pm and The Dukes of Circuit Ave take the stage at the Ritz in Oak Bluffs at the same time.
Pets are like family and traveling with them is just another part of our lives. It has been recorded that nearly 85 million households in the United States own pets and the American Pet Products Association projected that in 2018, pet ownership will cost Americans over $72 billion. Incurring in costs is never an issue when we are talking about your four-legged best friend, so we decided we needed to share as much information about the island and how dog-friendly it is. Below, we’ve listed everything from dog-friendly transportation to the best trails to explore with your dog on Martha’s Vineyard.
The American Kennel Club has a few recommendations for traveling with your dog, which we think are great ideas:
Dog Friendly Transportation All of our ferries welcome pets, as do the buses and taxis. However, the buses have a policy that if a passenger who is already on the bus objects to the animal (because of allergies or other reasons), the animal and owner are asked to take the next bus. If the animal and owner are already on the bus, they may remain and the objecting passenger is asked to take another bus. The SSA’s Oak Bluffs terminal usually has a water bowl out front and the staff stocks dog treats at the ticket counter. For taxis, mention that you are bringing a dog with you, in case there is an added fee for the dog.
Dog-Friendly Hotels on Martha’s Vineyard Hotels on island have policies in regards to bringing pets (mostly dogs) into their premises, so always call to ask what the current policy is. The list below is current to May 2019 and depicts a list of hotels that will welcome and treat your dog as the king or queen she is. Some hotels offer special dog-friendly packages with goodies included, while others will have a dog bed and water bowl awaiting your arrival. Most reservations should be made via phone when bringing a dog.
Hob Knob Inn, has a package called Your Very Important Pet (V.I.P.) Package that includes a customized Crate Cushion, Nauti Knot chew toy, Red Sailor Stripe Collar, Hob Knob Water Pail and Hob Knob Food Bowl, and a V.I.P. Canvas Tote bag.
The hotel listed here also have pet-friendly rooms: Harbor View Hotel, Mansion House, and the Vineyard Square Hotel.
Dog-Friendly Restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard Per the health code, restaurants aren’t allowed to have dogs inside the premises, but island restaurants will work around that and serve you and your dog outside on the porch or any patio area. This varies from restaurant to restaurant, but more than half of the do have water bowls for your furry fellow to quench its thirst on a hot summer day. Spots like La Choza has the usual water and treats, but also fresh beef scraps if you ask nicely. Other spots like Rosewater Market in Edgartown, will have “dog parking” for your dog to wait for you, as well as water and treats.
Dog-Friendly Shops on Martha’s Vineyard So many shops on island welcome dogs to shop with them, or wait with treats and water outside, so a full list is almost impossible as more and more shops become dog-friendly on Martha’s Vineyard. Below is just a quick list of shops that either welcome dogs to shop with you and/or will have treats and water for your pup to rest and relax while you shop!
Good Dog Goods
Heidi White Gallery
Edgartown Paper Store
Backwater Trading Company
Boys and Girls Second Hand Store
Past and Presents
SBS Grain Store
Among the Flowers
Lenox and Harvey
Fat Face Edgartown
Dog-Friendly Outdoors on Martha’s Vineyard (beach, parks, trails) Exploring the marvelous Mother Nature while on island is one of the best things about bringing your dog here! Below we’ve detailed some rules and regulations, so follow along. Essentially, most Sheriff's Meadow Foundation trails are open to dogs when leashed. The important rules are that all dogs must be leashed at all times, and that people must clean up after their dogs. Also, we have seasonal dog prohibitions due to nesting birds at the trails at Quansoo Farm, and on the beaches at Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary and Little Beach.
Pets are permitted on many of the beaches with restricted hours during the Summer season. Please contact the individual towns for specific information. The West Tisbury Farmers Market also permits dogs on leashes. Most of the Land Bank properties allow dogs but consult the Land Bank map for details about each location. Their Trade Wind Fields Preserve in Oak Bluffs is a 71-acre area where many dog owners meet for playtime with their pets. Leashed dogs are permitted in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, a 5,143-acre preserve located in the middle of the Island. Please remember to watch for poison ivy and check your pet (and yourself) for ticks after a walk!
Thanks to our dog model, Bauer, and to his mom Leah Fraumeni, for all the great photos!
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