Runners from all over will descend on Martha’s Vineyard once again for the Martha’s Vineyard 20 Miler on Saturday, February 16. Their motto is “no weenies” and they mean it. While the race is open to runners of all levels it is not for the faint of heart, it’s twenty miles after all! Highly competitive die-hard runners, marathoners, and dedicated recreational runners compete alongside one another for the chance to bask in the glory. While multiple award levels exist, every last runner receives a finisher medal and an official MV 20-Miler long sleeve t-shirt. After all the real reward is just being here and being able to compete!
Not only does the race offer a USA Track & Field (USATF) certified course but it’s on Martha’s Vineyard so you know it’s beautiful. The course is described as mostly flat, with some rolling hills, and circles through the varied terrain of three iconic Island towns. The race starts at Vineyard Haven harbor, home to the Steamship Authority ferry terminal. From there runners pass by the historic Gingerbread Cottages of Oak Bluffs, work their way along picturesque Beach Road, where they can admire Nantucket Sound to their left and Sengekontacket Pond to their right (it’s a beautiful sight but may be windy and cold in February so plan accordingly).
Runners continue along toward downtown Edgartown including a section of the town’s farming community, and finish back at the Oak Bluffs School after a trek through the State Forest. The course includes mile markers, water stations, and fun post race festivities. Think music and food, including none other than New England clam chowder, and yummy hot chocolate. Sounds pretty amazing, right?
Amazing but exhausting. So don’t worry, if you want in on the action but can’t commit to the full 20 miles grab a partner and enter the Amity Island Relay. In the relay both partners complete 10 miles instead of 20. The relay is split into 3 categories, regardless of age: All-Male, All-Female, and Co-Ed. A shuttle bus will transport relay runners from the start to the relay area at mile 10 and back to the finish.
Ready to sign up? Head on over to the MV20 website and get started. Act fast! The number of runners is restricted to 600 Individual 20 Milers, and 2x10 Mile Relay athletes. Relay Teams must register online with a team name. Individual runners are encouraged to sign up in advance but day of registration is possible with cash payment only, but no event swag is guaranteed. Those that sign up in advance will be rewarded with a race t-shirt, finisher medal, bag check at the starting line, post race meal at the finish, access to showers (towels are not provided), a bus back to the boat, and an experience to treasure forever. Need another reason to enter? All proceeds from this event benefit Martha's Vineyard Youth Hockey, and other Island youth organizations.
If you really want to make the most of your experience stay the weekend! A day trip to Martha’s Vineyard is always worth it but a couple extra days is even sweeter. Plus you’ll deserve some rest and relaxation after a race like that! Check out our local lodging options and ideas on other things to do while you’re on-Island. Be sure to plan appropriately for the weather, it may be an Island but it’s still winter in New England and anything is possible.
Be sure to save the date for our other great races, including the Martha’s Vineyard Marathon on May 18 and the Chilmark Road Race.
If you’re considering a trip to Martha’s Vineyard this winter you’re likely wondering what activities are available this time of year. While the events calendar isn’t as busy as the summer months, now is the perfect time to take advantage of the natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard. There are still plenty of ways to spend your time enjoying the landscape of the Island, from the rolling hills of Chilmark to the vast woods of the West Tisbury State Forest. If you’re an active traveler plan to bundle up and head outdoors during your stay. Here’s some ways to get your heart rate up and your stress level down during a winter stay on Martha’s Vineyard.
Hiking. One of the best ways to explore the Island is by walking one of Martha’s Vineyard many hiking trails. From wooded paths, to open field trials, to stretches along seaside cliffs, there really is a trail for everyone. The island is mostly flat meaning most trails can accommodate an easy to moderate skill level. For a hike with a spectacular pay off check out Menemsha Hills reservation in Chilmark. The three miles of trails are easily passable for the moderate hiker, with some extra energy needed to summit Prospect Hill, the second highest point on the Vineyard at 308 feet. On a clear winter day you’ll have sweeping views of the Elizabeth Islands, a chain of small islands to our north. There’s also beach access off the trail which brings you to a rock stretch of the north shore of the Island known for its interesting rock formations and collection of abandoned lobster traps. You can easily explore Menemsha Hills and any one of the Island’s with the TrailsMV app which offers maps, directions, and detailed information about each of the Island’s public trails, and can be used without wifi or cell service (something that can be spotty on-Island).
Running. If a faster pace is more your speed you’ll also enjoy the Island’s signature hiking trails for a run. For flatter, paved terrain along one of the most picturesque stretches of road consider a run from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown along Beach Road. This six mile stretch offers breathtaking views on both sides, with Nantucket Sound to your left and Sengekontacket Pond to your right. The Island’s Manuel F. Correllus State Forest is another great option for paved trails, good for running, walking, cycling, horseback riding, snowshoeing, cross country skiing and more. This impressive site is home to a 5300 acre forest sits in the center of Martha's Vineyard. You'll find miles of trails, a paved bike path, and a disc golf course. For additional routes and inspiration on running around town check out these helpful local guides from Great Runs.
Walking the Beach. This is a no-brainer. No matter the time of the year a walk along our shoreline is an absolute must. On nice winter days locals flock to some of the restricted summer beaches, including Lambert’s Cove Beach in West Tisbury and Lucy Vincent Beach in Chilmark. Be sure to enjoy a stroll on the sand while you can as these beaches and some others require resident passes in the summer.
Birding. Throughout the year more than 300 species of birds inhabit and frequent the Island, including the European cuckoo, Blackburnian warbler, Magnolia warbler, Baybreasted warbler, Canada warbler and the Black-throated blue warbler. One of the most magical birds to spot is the Snowy Owl, which frequents the south shoreline of the Island in the winter. Don’t be surprised to see some other amazing species still flying around this time of year while you’re out and about. During the warmer months enjoy a truly unique Guided Birding Tour with the Island’s own Robert Culbert of Nature Watch, by calling 508-560-5294.
Surfing. For the brave! Believe it or not Martha’s Vineyard has some greatsurf. Die hard surfers hit the south side of the Island at beaches like Squibnocket to catch the best terrain the Island has to offer. While the surf here is inconsistent, as it is in most of the Atlantic, when it’s spot on it can be pretty epic. Seasoned Island surfers claim that when we get a good swell it can be world class. If you’re not brave enough to ride the waves it’s still a treat to witness those that do, and it’s not uncommon to see surfers out in the middle of winter waiting for the perfect wave. If you’re up for trying head to the Green Room in Vineyard Haven where you can get hooked up with a surfboard and gear. Like any water sport be sure to be careful and well informed before heading in to the sea.
Hunting. Hunting on Martha’s Vineyard is almost as popular among locals as fishing, with deer hunting being the favorite. The deer population on Martha’s Vineyard is well into the thousands and it’s estimated there are currently about 40 deer per square mile of habitat on -Island. With no natural predators here deer hunting is an important way to control the population of deer and the harmful ticks they can carry. The archery season for deer generally takes place in October and November and the shotgun and firearm season takes place throughout December. Interested in giving it a shot? Check out the Martha’s Vineyard Rod & Gun Club to brush up on your skills.
Ice Skating. Martha’s Vineyard boasts a newly renovated ice arena for those that want to lace up and hit the ice. Skating is a fun, healthy activity that can be enjoyed by the whole family, and at only $5 for admission it’s one of the cheapest paid activities too. The Martha’s Vineyard Ice Arena in oak Bluffs offers open skating sessions as well as ice skate rentals, and ice walkers for beginners.
We’ve heard Virginia is for lovers but we’re pretty sure Martha’s Vineyard has it beat. First off it’s an island after all, and island’s are notoriously romantic. You have to take a boat or a plane to get here so it’s remote by nature, which only adds to the appeal for couples of all kind. Despite being located only seven miles from Cape Cod it feels a world away and the natural beauty of the Island is sure to fill anyone with that loving feeling.
Then there’s the fact that Valentine’s Day is on February 14 when the Island has settled into its winter calm. The slower pace and welcomed peacefulness adds another layer of romanticism. If you’re considering a whimsical weekend getaway to Martha’s Vineyard this Valentine’s Day here’s some tips on making it even more magical.
Where to stay?
For a truly romantic experience take advantage of the Island’s quaint inns and bed and breakfasts.
Nobnocket Boutique Inn is located a short distance from the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal, so it’s convenient, while also being both comfortable and modern. It prides itself on offering “luxury with a twist” and does not disappoint. For the most romantic room in the house ask them about the Luxury Grand Room (with fireplace) or a Deluxe Room and add some champagne and strawberries for an extra special touch.
Isabelle’s Beach House in Oak Bluffs is known for its panoramic ocean views from the sprawling front porch. Just minutes walking from downtown Oak Bluffs, this seaside inn offers a convenient location while allowing inn guests to enjoy the relaxing water views and ocean breezes of Nantucket Sound.
For the most walkable option, stay at the Mansion House Hotel and Spa, located just steps from the Vineyard Haven ferry terminal and walking distance to several year round restaurants. This historic property offers a whole host of amenities including a jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and full service spa.
Where to eat?
Beach Road, Vineyard Haven. Aptly located on Beach Road, this sophisticated space serves modern American cuisine with an emphasis on seafood, while offering water views while you dine. Nothing is fresher than their local oysters which are available for only $1 each, at the bar Wednesdays through Saturdays. It’s a great deal and a no-brainer–oysters are known to be an aphrodisiac after all…
Alchemy, Edgartown. Cuddle up to your honey inside the airy dining room or bustling bar of this new American spot that’s been an Edgartown staple for over twenty years. The space is elegant and charming and the menu invokes culinary styles of Italy, France and Spain. They’re food features locally sourced ingredients from land and sea, and a whole lot of love.
Rockfish, Edgartown. Warm up inside this casual upscale bar and restaurant that boasts a beautiful wood-fired pizza oven. People flock to Rockfish for craft cocktails expertly poured across their two full bars, tasty American bites, and their popular flatbreads perfect for sharing with that special someone.
What to Do?
Share a relaxing day de-stressing and detoxifying. Join your partner for an invigorating massage or body treatment at one of Martha’s Vineyards finest spas this Valentine’s Day. The Mansion House Spa offers couples massages, as well as hot stone and aromatherapy massages. Sea Spa Salon in Edgartown offers treatments specifically tailored to him and her, including customized facials. Try one of their signature body scrubs and leave feeling softer and more rejuvenated than ever.
Enjoy a show at one of the Island’s local entertainment hubs. John Stetson America’s Master Mentalist, comes to the the Comedy Lounge at the Barn Bowl and Bistro on February 16. Share some laughs with your partner while John blends the art of mystery with the study of psychology, and a disarming sense of humor. Film buffs? Head to the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center for the best in independent films, movie classics, documentaries, and world cinema or check out what’s on stage at the Martha’s Vineyard Playhouse.
Take a long walk along one of the Island’s most beautiful beaches. February may not make for a hot day under the sun, but a bundled up stroll along the sand with your partner is one of the most romantic ways to spend some time together. Plus you can access some of the Island’s most beloved beaches like Lucy Vincent Beach and Lambert’s Cove Beach, which are restricted to town residents in the summer.
If you’re looking for a low-key and relaxed New Year’s Eve, yet want to have fun with friends, we have put together a complete list of what to do on New Year’s Eve on Martha’s Vineyard. Spending New Year’s on the island is such a lovely time, when businesses focus all their energy on the family and friends that visit. Plus, nothing better than starting the year on MV - January 1st on island just means you’ll be here even more throughout the year!
Where to Stay
Wondering where to stay? You can definitely rent a winter rental with one of our many real estate companies, or stay at one of the island hotels listed below. Plus more ideas online on our where to stay page.
Where to Eat & Party
Whatever you decide to do to welcome 2019, we are excited to have you celebrating on island! Make sure to tag your photos on social media with #marthasvineyard and #VisitMV so we can share your celebrations!
Martha’s Vineyard is an idyllic Island escape located approximately seven miles from the southern tip of Cape Cod and about 30 miles from Nantucket. Once you’re here you’ll feel like you’re a world away, and it’s a refreshing change from the bustle and bustle of the mainland. While there’s more than enough to keep you entertained on-Island there’s also various day trips that you can take to explore nearby lands, quickly and conveniently, and without a car. Here’s a round up of some of our favorite travel trips for getting you “off the rock” (but we won’t blame you if you just want to stay put).
Woods Hole Village
Distance from Martha’s Vineyard: approx. 7 miles
Getting there: Via the Steamship Authority ferry, year round, 45 mins travel time, $8.50 for a passenger ferry ticket each way
About: Woods Hole is a quaint fishing village located in Falmouth, Massachusetts on Cape Cod, and it’s home to the year round Steamship Authority ferry. Most visitors travel through Woods Hole to get to Martha’s Vineyard but Woods Hole is a destination in itself and often overlooked by those travelling to Martha’s Vineyard.
Things to do: In addition to great shopping and delectable dining (the pop overs at Pie in the Sky and the fried chicken at Water Street Kitchen are a must) Woods Hole is home to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), a global leader in ocean science and exploration. The WHOI operates a small, public science aquarium (admission is free, but donations are gladly accepted) that displays approximately 140 species of marine animals found in Northeast and Middle Atlantic waters. Nerby, the Woods Hole Historical Museum is a lively but small museum with changing exhibits and diverse programs. You can’t miss the Nobska Point Lighthouse, which you’ll see from the ferry as you’re approaching Woods Hole. This stately 40-foot tower was built in 1876 and recently began offering seasonal tours.
For the cycling enthusiasts you’ll want to bring a bike on board the ferry (an additional $4 fee) and explore the Shining Seas Bikeway (SSB), a paved 10.7 mile bikepath that begins in Woods Hole and continues 10.7 miles north along the west coast of Falmouth. The Shining Sea Bikeway (SSB) was named for a line in the song America The Beautiful, written by Falmouth native Katharine Lee Bates. It follows the original route of the New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad that used to run from Buzzards Bay, through North and West Falmouth, around Woods Hole and into Falmouth Station.
Distance from Martha’s Vineyard: approx. 11 miles
Getting there: Via the Steamship Authority ferry, year round, 45 mins travel time, $8.50 for a passenger ferry ticket each way. Take the complimentary shuttle to the Palmer lot and walk to Main Street Falmouth. You can also take the Patriot Party Boat year round ($12 each way), or the Island Queen ferry in the summer months ($14 one way, $22 round trip), which both depart from Oak Bluffs harbor and arrive into Falmouth harbor. It’s a short walk to Main Street from there.
About: Falmouth Village offers shopping, dining, and playing all within steps of Falmouth’s beautiful beaches. Stroll Falmouth Village’s tree-lined Main Street and you’ll find locally-owned shops filled with unique gifts, apparel, artworks, books and more. From day spas to night life there’s more than enough to explore in one day.
Things to do:
Highfield Hall and Gardens is one of Cape Cod’s premier historic sites located in downtown Falmouth. This 19th century estate and cultural center is open to the public from April 15 – October 31 and boasts spectacular gardens, 400 acres of nature trails, fun special events and high-quality programming for all ages. Nearby is Falmouth Museums on the Gree, a two-acre campus across from the historic downtown Village Green. Admission is only $5 and visitors can enjoy tours of the 1790 Dr. Francis Wicks House, the 1730 Conant House, the Hallett Barn Visitors Center, the Cultural Center, and the colonial gardens. Historic walking tours of Falmouth also take place Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Bowling and gaming enthusiasts can enjoy Ryan Family Amusements for some fun for the whole family while foodies can eat their way down Main Street and choose from a variety of fare including Italian, Mexican, Thai, Indian, Greek, New American cuisine, and of course, seafood!
Distance from Martha’s Vineyard: approx. 16 miles
Getting there: Via Hyline Cruises, seasonally, approximately one hour travel time, $29.50 each way, $59 round trip
About: Hyannis is located in the mid-Cape area and is the closest thing you’ll find to a city on Cape Cod. It is the commercial and transportation hub of Cape Cod and was designated an urban area in 1990. Islanders flock to Hyannis for its shopping which includes the Cape Cod Mall, Trader Joe’s Christmas Tree Shops, Cost Plus World Market, Old Navy, and more. While those destinations require a cab or car to travel to from the boat, there are several small shops, boutiques and restaurants located on Main Street, just a short walk from where the ferry arrives. Historically, Hyannis has been known for the private Kennedy Compound at nearby Hyannis Port and the family’s legacy lives on in the hearts and minds of locals.
Things to do:
Located on the inner harbor in Hyannis, the Cape Cod Maritime Museum is a devoted to maritime culture on Cape Cod. The museum houses a rotating collection of maritime art steps from the ferry dock. The John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum is one of the most popular attractions in downtown Hyannis, and includes a multimedia exhibit designed to open a window on the days JFK spent on Cape Cod. The Museum's exhibits features videos and photographs spanning the years from 1934 to 1963. For a true taste of Hyannis walk up and down Main Street exploring the various shops, and admiring the work of local artists and designers.
Distance from Martha’s Vineyard: approx. 25 miles
Getting there: Via Hy-line Cruises InterIsland ferry, seasonally, approximately 70 minute travel time, $36 each way, $65 round trip
About: When it comes to comparing Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket each Island has its own distinct charm. While Martha’s Vineyard measures approximately 100 square miles, our smaller sister Island to the southeast is about half the size. Martha’s Vineyard boasts six different towns while Nantucket has one, aptly named Town. The wharves and picturesque cobblestoned streets of the Town are lined with restaurants, high-end boutiques and steepled churches, and the island’s rich whaling history is celebrated throughout. The National Park Service cites Nantucket, as being the "finest surviving architectural and environmental example of a late 18th- and early 19th-century New England seaport town." It’s old New England charm is appreciated and admired by thousands of visitors each year.
Things to do: No stay in Nantucket is complete without a visit to the Nantucket Whaling Museum which showcases Nantucket’s rich history and significance in the whaling industry. One of the museum’s most impressive sites is the forty-six-foot-long sperm whale skeleton suspended from the ceiling, as well as the fresnel lens from the Sankaty Head Light that is proudly on display in the lobby. Step outside the museum and discover a plethora of shops, restaurants and galleries along the cobblestone streets.
Beer lovers can hop a complimentary shuttle to Cisco Brewing Company from downtown, located about 2.5 miles inland. Explore the brewery, distillery, and winery, which offers food and live music along with sips of their house made beverages.
For lighthouse aficionados the Great Point Light can’t be missed. Towering more than 60 feet, this historic lighthouse was established in 1784, destroyed in 1984 and rebuilt in 1986. Located on the Coskata Coatue Wildlife Refuge, you can get a tour of the lighthouse depending on the time of year and access to the lighthouse.
For the best view of the Island make sure to climb atop the tower of the First Congregational Church and be rewarded with a panoramic look from above.
It’s no surprise that Martha’s Vineyard plays hosts to hundreds of weddings a year. With its unparalleled natural beauty, unique Island allure, and Old World charm your hard pressed to find a more romantic location. While the Island makes for a beautiful backdrop it can also be a logistically challenging location to host a special event, but with the help of some extra considerations you can plan the perfect Martha’s Vineyard wedding. Here’s some local insider tips to help guarantee a memorable celebration for you and your guests.
Over-communicate the details
Chances are many of your guests may be new to the Island and have limited knowledge of the logistics involved in getting here, getting around and their available travel options. You’ll want to thoroughly communicate the steps involved in getting here and what your guests can do in advance to be prepared. Make sure to have a detailed wedding website or information card in your invitation that breaks down available travel options as soon as possible. Travelling to the Vineyard isn’t hard but it does require pre planning, especially for big groups.
Ferry and plane service are available year round but schedules depend on the season. Cape Air offers year round air travel from Boston to Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. Delta, JetBlue, and American Airlines offer seasonal service from various locations including New York and Washington D.C. For additional details visit the Martha’s Vineyard airport website here.
The Steamship Authority offers year round ferry service from Woods Hole, MA and is the only way to get your car to the Island. There are also several seasonal ferries available including the Island Queen from Falmouth, Hyline Cruises from Hyannis, Seastreak from New York and New Bedford and the Rhode Island Fast Ferry from North Kingston.
Plan in advance
Be sure to provide clear instructions for your guests so they allot enough lead time for travel. For example if your guests plan to take a car over to the Island for your summer wedding they should make that reservation with the Steamship Authority months in advance. Visit our Getting Here page for a breakdown of the various travel options year round.
You’ll also want to help your guests secure lodging as far in advance as possible, especially if your event is taking place in the summer. The summer is the busiest time on Martha’s Vineyard and hotels, inns and rental homes also book up months in advance. Consider a spring or fall wedding when the weather is a little cooler, rates are lower and the crowds have lessened. Also keep in mind the spring and fall can also bring more rain and wind, which can complicate your travel arrangements. Ferries are regularly cancelled because of bad weather and high winds which may affect your timeline so be aware that these types of scenarios are possible and plan accordingly.
Whenever you decide to tie the knot on Martha’s Vineyard make sure to reach out to local wedding vendors as soon as you’ve locked in a date, as there are limited resources and a high demand for their services.
When it comes to lodging keep in mind that there are is not an endless selection of large hotel options like there may be on the mainland. The hotels that can accomodate the most guests include The Winnetu Oceanside Resort, the Clarion Inn and the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown; the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven and Summer Camp in Oak Bluffs. Other smaller hotels, like the Hob Knob Hotel, provide a more intimate setting and can be bought out exclusively for your guests. Another popular option for housing big groups is to rent a private home. AirBnb, VRBO and homeaway.com all offer several listings on the Island, as well as local real estate companies like Point B Realty, Sandpiper Realty and Tea Lane Associates.
Hire a wedding planner
Given the nuances of the Island and the special considerations involved in planning a Martha’s Vineyard wedding, you may want to consider hiring a wedding planner to help you navigate through the logistics and available vendors. Martha’s Vineyard is home to some incredibly organized and well connected wedding planners including KG Events & Design, Plan It MV, Timeless Events, With Grace and others. Their expertise, local knowledge and widespread resources will help ensure your wedding goes off without a hitch and will leave you to focus on more important things.
Many people ask us if it’s still worth visiting Martha’s Vineyard this time of year. The answer is always “yes.” The fall and winter months on Martha’s Vineyard are noticeably more quiet but there is a peacefulness around that you won’t find in the summer. This time of year allows you to mingle with friendly locals who are eager to share their recommendations, and meet the shopkeepers and business owners that have the time to interact with new faces. Visiting during the winter months also means cheaper rates on hotel rooms and better deals, as well as more access to places you would be restricted to in the summer, like some of our most coveted beaches.
While some seasonal businesses have already closed, more than enough remain open to entertain weekend and day trippers. The holidays on Martha’s Vineyard are especially worth the trip, it’s a genuinely magical time full of old-world charm. Here’s some tips to help you discover the magic of Martha’s Vineyard throughout the year.
Getting to Martha’s Vineyard in the winter is just as easy as travelling here in the summer. The Steamship Authority, our year round ferry service, continues to operate daily, offering more than a dozen trips a day from the mainland in Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re planning to walk on the ferry without bringing your car you’ll want to be sure to remember to park your car at one of their designated parking lots, where you can take a shuttle down to Woods Hole. You’ll have to pay to park at the lot ($10/day through March), but the shuttle is complimentary. Once you arrive to the Steamship Authority terminal you can purchase a passenger ticket ($8.50 each way). If you’re planning to bring you your car with you to the Island you’ll need to contact the Steamship Authority in advance to reserve a spot. Another great reason to visit in the winter is reduced rates on the ferry.
If you’re travelling without a car you can also arrive directly to the Woods Hole terminal via Peter Pan Bus lines. You can take a direct bus from Boston or transfer from Boston’s South Station from several other locations. Peter Pan Bus has a great app to purchase tickets in advance via mobile.
Flights to and from Martha’s Vineyard are also possible throughout the winter months. Cape Air continues to run trips from Boston, Westchester County and Nantucket from the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. Nothing beats arriving in the sky and being treated to an aerial view of Martha’s Vineyard!
Where to Stay
There are several hotels and inns on Martha’s Vineyard that offer year round lodging and world class hospitality. One of the most convenient locations is the Mansion House, located steps from the ferry terminal, and situated in historic downtown Vineyard Haven. The Mansion House offers a variety of guest rooms and suites, as well as an on site, fitness center, pool and spa. For a full list of lodging check out our hotel directory.
Martha's Vineyard is home to the Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA), which offers a comprehensive bus system that connects all towns: Edgartown, Oak Bluffs,Vineyard Haven, Aquinnah, Chilmark, and West Tisbury. Frequency of service varies with the season, but buses run regularly and reliably year-round and are a great cost-effective way to see the beauty of the Island. You can pay as you go, or purchase 1-day, 3-day, or 1-week bus passes on the buses or at the Steamship Authority. All VTA buses are handicap accessible, and are equipped with bike racks. Visit their website to view their suggestion on how to see the Island in one day using public transit as well as current schedules, route maps, fares and additional information.
For a more private ride enlist the help of local Martha’s Vineyard cab companies including Lighthouse Taxi, Stagecoach Taxi, and Adam Cab among others. Cabs are generally available for pick up at the Steamship Authority in Vineyard Haven once you arrive on the Island, or can be called for scheduled service. Uber is also available on the Island year round.
If you’re looking to rent your own wheels you can rent a car year round through the Hertz office located at the Martha’s Vineyard airport. Looking for two wheels? Bike rentals are always available at Anderson’s Bike Rental on Oak Bluffs harbor and throughout most of the year at Wheel Happy in Edgartown.
Yes, Martha’s Vineyard is home to many seasonal businesses but there are still more than enough places that stay open throughout the year to keep things interesting around here. For the arts lover be sure to check out Featherstone Center for the Arts, a year round arts center with galleries and exhibit spaces as well as classes and open studios. Two of our local movie houses are also open year round for your cinematic pleasure. Entertainment Cinemas in Edgartown is your go-to for the big Hollywood blockbusters and the Martha’s Vineyard Film Center is our independent art house cinema that screens many smaller, independent films as well as hosting various film festivals and special events. Nature lovers are always in luck on Martha’s Vineyard as most of the Island’s protected lands and trails are open year round and offer free fun while taking in the natural beauty of Martha’s Vineyard. Download the TrailsMV app for iOS or Android to see a comprehensive map of all of the trails available for exploration. Foodies can also rejoice in knowing that there’s still dozens of restaurants that stay open throughout the winter too. Check out What’s Open on Martha’s Vineyard for a real-time index of places to eat on the Island.
Be sure to stop by the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce office, located at 24 Beach Street in Vineyard Haven, steps from the Steamship Authority ferry terminal. Open year round the Chamber can answer any questions you may have while visiting, and supply you with free maps and brochures for making the most of your stay. Remember that a trip to the Island any time of year is sure to be a memorable time!
“Millions saw the apple fall, but Newton was the one who asked why.” ~Bernard Baruch (1870-1965)
‘Tis the season for delicious apples and in conjunction with our friends over at Visit Massachusetts we wanted to share our love for apples and where you can find apple dishes, desserts, and drink on Martha’s Vineyard!
“Applechusetts is ripe for the visiting. A fruit favorite for wellness, the harvest season staple come in a spectrum of shapes, sizes, colors, flavors, and textures. More than tasty treats alone, apples represent heritage, family, tradition, and - the really good stuff - memories. Get to the core of Massachusetts with pick-your-own orchards, hard cider tastings, family-friendly festivals, and bushels more!” - Visit MA
Not only are apples delicious to eat, but their health benefits abound so like the saying “an apple a day keeps the doctor away”, we made sure to find the most delicious apple dishes on Martha’s Vineyard to share with you. All of these restaurants are open year round, so whenever you’re craving something with apples, we are sure they will impress!
Espresso Love’s “Love Salad” in Edgartown is packed with tender mixed greens, apples, goat cheese, toasted walnuts, all tossed in a raspberry vinaigrette that makes the perfect light seasonal lunch!
The Wharf Pub’s “Apple Salad” is another healthy lunch or dinner idea, with a salad that’s composed of green apples, mixed greens, blue cheese, red onion, potato stix, crushed pecans & all tossed in a luscious champagne vinaigrette.
Alchemy’s “Grammy's Pancrepes” are a cross between a pancake and a crepe and are a delicious brunch option on Sundays on island. They come served with the most delicious apple butter, fresh berries, pecan crumble, and NH maple syrup to douse it all in.
Nat’s Nook’s “Apple Butter Crepe” is just as the name states, a freshly made and warm thin crepe slathered in apple butter and served with maple syrup. Sit in one of their cozy tables and order a latte to go with it and it’s the perfect mid-afternoon treat!
Scottish Bakehouse’s “Hot Organic Ancient Grain Cereal” is the kind of breakfast you need on a cold winter morning before work. The ancient grains cereal will fill you up and the topping of apples and warm cinnamon will entice your senses.
State Road is where you’ll go all out because they have two apples desserts and two apple savory dishes on their various menus, so go apple-crazy!
With winter approaching, the weather on Martha’s Vineyard is a sharp contrast to our hot, summer beach days. While the climate on-Island is generally more mild than mainland Massachusetts, it can get very windy, and snow and cold temperatures are typical this time of year. Whether you’re a local or a visitor, you’ll want to layer up and often bundle up while exploring Martha’s Vineyard during the winter months.
So where can you stock up on cold weather gear or pick up a last minute hat or scarf if you forget to pack one? While there’s no chain retailers on Martha’s Vineyard there are some great local shops where you can find some of your favorite off-Island brands to keep you warm this winter. Watch out for special deals and discounts throughout the holiday season and note that many stores have more limited hours once January rolls around so call ahead to make sure they’re open.
The Green Room, 71 Main Street, Vineyard Haven
Since 1994 the Green Room has been providing the Island with high quality, good looking clothing and outdoor gear. The two floor store is packed with casual, outdoorsy essentials, as well as pieces that can be incorporated into an elegant evening out, making it a versatile place and a great one-stop shop for whatever you might need. It’s the go-to spot for those reliable outdoor brands that are known for keeping you warm and cozy, like Patagonia, the North Face, Barbour, Oakley, Pendleton, Save the Duck, True Grit and more. You can also find coveted rain boots from Hunter and Chooka, and durable footwear like Frye, Clarks, Dansko, as well as cozy slippers from Minnetonka. For the warmer weather (or those brave winter souls) Green Room is also the go-to Island resource for surfwear and skateboarding gear, as well as snowboarding supplies.
Brickman’s, 8 Main Street, Vineyard Haven
Established in 1913 as a cobbler shop, Brickman's has evolved into a full service footwear, apparel, sporting goods and toy store for the entire family. It’s the closest thing you’ll find to a department store on Martha’s Vineyard and stay stocked with practical finds for all seasons. When it comes to staying warm you can browse their selection of jackets, coats, vests, hats, scarves and socks from brands like Woolrich, Adidas, Marmot, Carhart, Prana and more. (Insider tip if it’s ever applicable, it’s also the only retailer on Martha’s Vineyard that offers tuxedo rentals).
Basics, 24 Circuit Ave, Oak Bluffs
This year-round Circuit Avenue staple focuses on affordable, easy fashion for women, men and children. In the summer season they also have a sister store, Eastaway Clothing, located across the street with trendy, Island inspired fashion. In the winter stop in for flannel lined canvas work dungarees and fleece lined jeans from Carhart, shoes from Woolrich, outerwear from Timberland and fashions from brands like Billabong, Fossil and Levis. Basics also boasts an impressive shoe and footwear selection including designer kicks from Ugg, Frye, and Under Armour, with a wide variety of styles and competitive prices. It’s also one of the only stores on Martha’s Vineyard where you’ll find a wide selection of infant and children’s clothes throughout the seasons.
Backwater Trading Company, 4-6 Main Street, Edgartown
This locally owned lifestyle shop challenges you to “step outside of the normal current,” and once you step in to the store you won’t want to leave. Conveniently located in downtown Edgartown, steps from the harbor, this bustling boutique has everything you need for getting outside, finding adventure and looking good while doing it. Backwater is finely curated with finds for men, women and children, featuring brands like Patagonia, Arcteryx, Olive & Oak, Marmot, Woolrich, Toad & Co., Under Armour, Hatley and more.
Another great feature of all of the above mentioned winter clothing retailers? They’re all locally owned small businesses and you can feel good shopping while knowing your purchases are making a difference in the lives of our local community. Now that’s something to really warm you up! For a full list of Island clothing stores check out our directory here.
Where to Eat the Most Indulgent Food on Martha’s Vineyard During Our Coldest Months
Now that the temperatures are more classic New England winter, we wanted to put together a list of some of our favorite comfort foods on island to help you get through the cold winter. Nothing like warming foods, take are nostalgic yet modern, that remind us of our childhood, and ultimately makes us warm from the inside out! The restaurants listed below are scattered around the main towns of the island: Edgartown, Vineyard Haven, and Oak Bluffs. They are restaurants that are also open during the winter, making them extra special to the locals.
Alchemy: New England Fish Cake with Baked Beans
Start your Sunday with brunch over at Alchemy in Edgartown, where they have just implemented their brunch and are serving up some delicious options! Our recommendation is their New England Fish Cake with Baked Beans. A gorgeous fish cake sits atop of greens and those classic New England baked beans, so hearty and delicious. Topped with a sunny side up egg, what more could you ask for?
Humphrey’s: Hot Pressed Gobbler Sandwich
The perfect Thanksgiving meal pressed between freshly made bread at Humphrey’s. They freshly roast their turkey and then the sandwich is layered with juicy turkey, homemade stuffing, and cranberry sauce, all held together with melted cheese. A true holiday sandwich!
l’etoile: Short Ribs over Polenta
l'étoile restaurant is chef-owned & operated. They offer an inventive & fresh, seasonally-driven menu utilizing native ingredients such as produce, herbs, and berries from local farms and shellfish from the surrounding waters, along with fresh game birds, lamb and other meats. Their braised boneless short ribs, “Tony Meyer’s style” are served over a maple smoked cheddar polenta with a roasted tomato and onion marmalade!
Scottish Bakehouse: Brazilian Plate
One of the Scottish Bakehouse classic’s, this Brazilian plate is composed of jasmine white rice, beans, sautéed onions, chef’s choice of two cold salads plus your choice of chicken, beef or pork. With our island’s large community of Brazilian Americans, we know a taste of home is always welcome!
The Food Truck: Lemon Rosemary Fries
Oh fries, salty goodness that makes us come back for more! The Lemon Rosemary Fries at The Food Truck have a cult following - they are THAT good! Something about the blend of fragrant rosemary with the citrusy brightness of lemon salt make these fries the best fries on island, if we do say so ourselves! Grab a bag or two - because you won’t want to share them with anyone! They are located at the Airport Business Park and open for lunch Monday through Friday, 11am until 2pm. You can call or text your orders to 508-560-5883.
Square Rigger: Extra Stuffed Grilled Lobster
Chunks of lobster meat, grilled and served with an herbed lemon butter, along with a vegetables side, potato salad or rice, greens salad, and freshly baked bread. The lobster at The Square Rigger is a splurge but it’s definitely worth every penny. It’s grilled to perfection, not overcooked, but with a bit of char on the meat to give it a delicious flavor. Go all out and ask for extra melted butter to dip you lobster meat in!
La Soffitta: Linguini di Mare
La Soffitta features authentic Italian cuisine accompanied by a great wine list and classic cocktails and located on the upper level above Waterside Market right on Main Street in Vineyard Haven just a block from the ferry. They are serving dinner year round featuring authentic Italian cuisine prepared by Chef Salvatore Della Torre and our recommendation is their Linguini di Mare - perfect for the seafood and pasta lover: sea scallops, shrimp, clams, mussels, lobster, and calamari all come together in a spicy tomato sauce with parsley and garlic!
Ocean View: Classic Breakfast
For those that like simple comforts, head to the Ocean View Restaurant & Tavern in Oak Bluffs for Sunday brunch and get their classic breakfast of eggs, bacon, toast - sometimes the simplest of foods are the most delicious!
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