This is a guest blog post for Visit Martha's Vineyard submitted on behalf of Jane Drebeen
One of the great pleasures of Martha’s Vineyard is the way the arts are naturally integrated into every day life. For many generations, the island has been peopled with gifted souls who have enriched the community with their music, art and work with local materials. There is a great variety of artistic and interesting people - painters, writers, musicians, dancers, actors, poets, directors. There are many here who work in other media - in clay, wampum, stone, metal and textiles. The creative urge is in action all around us, in traditional and innovative ways. And we can see that urge to be creative expressed even more broadly - in landscapers, carpenters, hairstylists, letter press printers, and leaders.
Inspired by the richness and diversity of the Vineyard’s creative community, I wrote the book The Urge To Create: Vineyard Portraits. It is a collection of photographic and written profiles of 50 varied, creative island people, whose work you will see everywhere on the island. I interviewed each artist, and wrote a profile in their own words. This written profile is paired with a photographic portrait taken by Vineyard photographer. The book weaves together many threads of the Vineyard community - and can be found at www.janedreeben.com. It is also available at Featherstone Center for the Arts, and a portion of the sale of each book is being donated to Featherstone.
Some island artists are well known through the local press. John Hoy may be best known as leader of local favorite band Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish, but he is truly a Renaissance Man, a renowned stone mason, a fisherman, and who knew - a whittler. Watch the papers and area posters, or check Johnny Joy and the Bluefish on Facebook to catch the band.
In John’s own words: "I’m pretty much self-taught at everything. I guess it must have been old guys that I saw here and there that I thought looked cool. I was always the kid that was looking at the musicians on stage. I always had a fascination with the old guys who could do everything. I had a few really good mentors that knew some stuff, some old-world stuff, some secret stuff. They could catch more fish than anybody, or make a better net, or fix a machine with baling wire and castaway junk. Half the thing about creativity is having the juice to run that idea to the ground. Get it on the paper, make the song, bring it to the people."
Speaking of song, make sure you catch Jim Thomas, Founder and Conductor of the Martha’s Vineyard Spirituals Choir, and Founder and Director of the U.S. Slave Songs Project. The choir sings songs sung by slaves in the United States, and performs throughout the summer. For more information, visit usslavesongproject.com.
Jim describes the beginning of the Spirituals Choir: “I collected singers here, and we started to talk about the history of slave songs and how they were started. To my knowledge nobody in the country has done that. Everybody likes singing them, and everybody that I know knows at least three or four from youth. But no one can tell you how they were started. I was intrigued by that. That to me was phenomenal. A group of young people with a tradition of singing was brought here from Africa, where all information is sung.”
While Johnny Hoy and Jim Thomas are celebrating the musical soundscape, Liz Taft is a plein air painter who captures the magic of the Vineyard landscape. In additional to painting herself, she is teacher to the next generation of island plein air painters. See her work at liztaft.com, arrange to visit her in her studio, or commission a painting, your own personal image of Vineyard heaven.
Liz describes her connection to painting landscape: “It began with this intimate connection with nature…I just wanted to capture that thing that I had seen outside. I wanted to share that connection that I feel. I want to be truthful to the thing, to the scene, to the spot.”
If you are in search of something to “hit the spot,” Juli Vanderhoop's baked goods are renowned island wide. She runs the Orange Peel Bakery and Orange Peel Bakery Cafe, both in Aquinnah. Her Wednesday night pizza nights have been an island tradition. Visit orangepeelbakery.net for information.
Juli talks about her upbringing: “ I was raised in Aquinnah, the land of my people, which are historically known as the Wampanoag people. This is home to me, and it’s been the land where I’ve come from forever, since the beginning of written history. I was taught baking by my stepfather, Luther Madison, as well as my mother, Ann Vanderhoop. It was something we did every day. It was something that our lives were structured around, and that was always a great thing. We had to hunt here, so having food on our table, which wasn’t always easy, was a blessing. Really learning what food meant was important.”
If you are looking for something original and inspiring, visit sculptor and glass artist Barney Zeitz in his Vineyard Haven studio. Barney is a versatile artist who works in metal and stained glass - see his work at bzeitz.com.
Barney reflects on his life on the Vineyard: “I feel good about being on the Vineyard. I did the Baptist Church, three Episcopal churches, two Methodist churches, and then I did my art in the Hebrew Center. I can walk around here and feel I have helped to restore some old things, paying tribute to the past, and doing my own thing.”
Johnny Hoy, Jim Thomas, Liz Taft, Juli Vanderhoop and Barney Zeitz are your introduction. The Urge to Create: Vineyard Portraits offers you a window into the beauty, vitality and diversity of Vineyard life.
Thousands of people flock to Martha’s Vineyard to relax in the summer sun, read leisurely on the beach, sip cocktails along the harbor and find solace in doing a whole lot of nothing. Then there’s the subset of visitors who seek action and adventure, those who look forward to burning countless calories while traversing our 100 square miles of challenging terrain. This post is for them. With miles of ideal hiking, biking and running routes, and with fun outdoor fitness options, Martha’s Vineyard is the ideal destination for active travelers who want to get outside and get moving.
Martha’s Vineyard is home to miles and miles of hiking trails. From wooded paths, to open field trails, 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. In fact, the highest elevation is only 311 feet at Peak Hill in the town of Chilmark, making hiking on the Vineyard a great family activity or a simple way for the more serious hiker to complete all trails.
New this year, Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation launches a free app, TrailsMV, which provides maps and info on all public hiking trails and over 100 preserved properties. TrailsMV uses GPS to pinpoint hikers’ locations, shows the direction hikers are going, and guides hikers. Plus, it works without cell service or wifi, making it ideal on trails. c trails
If you’re looking to pick up the pace and go for a run, the Island’s diverse landscape is ideal for that too. Stay down-Island for the flatter roads or head to Chilmark and Aquinnah for windier roads of varying elevations. The Martha’s Vineyard Manuel F. Correllus State Forest located in the middle of the Island, offers 14 miles of wooded and paved paths away from island traffic, making it a safe, secluded option, where you can keep a steady pace. For runners looking to take off along the water consider a stretch of Beach Road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs or a jaunt along the hillier East Chop Drive. For those runners looking to go the distance, check out: Martha’s Vineyard Marathon and Half Marathon; Memorial Day 5K Road Race; Murdick’s 5-Mile Run the Chop Challenge; and the Chilmark Road Race.
If biking or cycling is more your thing, Martha’s Vineyard has you covered there too. Biking is one of the best ways to enjoy the Vineyard, from paved pathways to 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 area. Want to cycle the entire Island? You’ll easily log 60+ miles along the perimeter. Click here to download our bike map and browse our directory of bicycle rental shops if you need to borrow gear while you’re here. You're welcome to bring your bike with you over to the island, or you can easily rent one here at any of these bike rental shops. There's even one called Wheel Happy!
There are numerous options for the active traveler looking to break a sweat and have fun at the same time. During peak season, CrossFit Martha's Vineyard offers morning workouts on the beach which often include movements with sand bags, swimming, and body-weight workouts. Other outdoor fitness options include beach yoga, outdoor bootcamps, stand-up paddleboard yoga, and even goat yoga!
Ice cream on Martha’s Vineyard is an essential part of any trip, especially if you are visiting during the warmer spring and summer months. It’s refreshing, deliciously made, and a summer tradition. Below, we’re sharing a little information on the history of ice cream!
“Ice cream's origins are known to reach back as far as the second century B.C., although no specific date of origin nor inventor has been indisputably credited with its discovery. We know that Alexander the Great enjoyed snow and ice flavored with honey and nectar. Biblical references also show that King Solomon was fond of iced drinks during harvesting. During the Roman Empire, Nero Claudius Caesar (A.D. 54-86) frequently sent runners into the mountains for snow, which was then flavored with fruits and juices.
Over a thousand years later, Marco Polo returned to Italy from the Far East with a recipe that closely resembled what is now called sherbet. Historians estimate that this recipe evolved into ice cream sometime in the 16th century. England seems to have discovered ice cream at the same time, or perhaps even earlier than the Italians. "Cream Ice," as it was called, appeared regularly at the table of Charles I during the 17th century. France was introduced to similar frozen desserts in 1553 by the Italian Catherine de Medici when she became the wife of Henry II of France. It wasn't until 1660 that ice cream was made available to the general public. The Sicilian Procopio introduced a recipe blending milk, cream, butter and eggs at Café Procope, the first café in Paris.” - The Evolution of Ice Cream, by the International Dairy Foods Association
On island, we have ice cream and frozen yogurt shops throughout all six towns and below we’ve listed some of our faves, the town where you can find the shop, and our favorite flavors in each shop! We hope you have a chance to do your own ice cream tasting this season - please let us know your favorites!
1. Ben and Bills
Located in Oak Bluffs, Ben and Bills has flavors galore! It’s no wonder they were recently recognized as the top spot for ice cream in New England. Must try flavor? Lobster ice cream. Yep, butter flavored ice cream with real lobster in it.
2. Bernie’s Ice Cream
Located in Vineyard Haven and one of the few ice cream shops that actually makes their ice cream right on-island, Bernie’s Ice Cream is perhaps the creamiest ice cream on Martha’s Vineyard. The owners attended Ice Cream University – that’s a real thing! – before opening up a few years ago. They’ve quickly become a favorite among Island residents and visitors. Ice cream flavors to taste: Coffee Oreo, Chocolate Peanut Butter, and Black Raspberry Chocolate Chip
3. Mad Martha’s Homemade Ice Cream
Located in all three main port towns, Mad Martha’s Homemade Ice Cream is an award-winning ice cream shop that creates some of the most interesting flavor combinations on island! Ice cream flavors to taste: Lemon Blueberry Cake and Shark Attack.
4. Scoop Shack
Located in Edgartown, the Scoop Shack makes all of their ice cream from scratch and also adds to the list of offerings, a unique one: Hawaiian Shaved Ice! They have flavors like green tea flavored ice cream with organic local island honey, mint and crumbled ginger snaps, that will surely delight your senses! Ice cream flavors to taste: Lemon Lavender and Mexican Hot Chocolate.
5. Rosie’s Frozen Yogurt
Located in Oak Bluffs, Rosie’s Frozen Yogurt is a newcomer to the ice cream scene on Martha’s Vineyard, but an already loved one! The Island's only self-serve frozen yogurt store, featuring 8 flavors and over 30 toppings. Frozen yogurt flavors to taste: Berry Acai Sorbet and Original Tart.
6. Tisberry Frozen Yogurt & Smoothies
Located in Vineyard Haven, Tisberry Frozen Yogurt & Smoothies is the Island’s first fro-yo shop. They offer a great selection of flavors for frozen yogurt along with toppings, but it’s also a great spot for fruit smoothies on a hot summer day. Frozen yogurt flavors to taste: Coconut and Original Tart.
8. Soft Serve Specialties: Dairy Queen, Sandy’s Fish & Chips, Net Result, and Menemsha Galley
For the soft-served lovers out there, Martha's Vineyard has you covered. The opening of Dairy Queen in Edgartown is a sure sign the season is about to start. The line of kids snakes around the shop on opening day and the excitement is palpable among kids and parents alike. The local newspapers even cover opening day at DQ! And other soft-serve options can be found at our local fried fish take-out joints. Both Sandy's Fish & Chips and Net Result in Vineyard Haven offer soft serve for dessert, and so does Menemsha Galley in — you guessed it — Menemsha!
As much as we wish everyone’s vacation is rain-free, there are bound to be days during the season that Mother Nature decides to grace us with her rainy, wet presence. Instead of feeling down about it, embrace it by checking out our top ten list of things to do on a rainy vacation day on Martha’s Vineyard. We hope that these suggestions make the most out of your vacation day and we cross our fingers the rain stops soon enough!
1. Watch a movie at any of the local theatersThe island is home to some incredibly historical movie theaters like the Capawock Theater in Vineyard Haven and the Strand in Oak Bluffs. A rainy day movie is best when you’ve gathered supplies like a huge bucket of buttery popcorn and some candy bars to get you through whatever two hour movie you’ve decided to enjoy. See all theater options here.
2. Visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum
A visit to the local museum is a great way to discover the history of the island and spend a few hours exploring the items in the museum’s collection. The Martha's Vineyard Museum inspires all people to discover, explore, and strengthen their connections to this Island and its diverse heritage, so it’s the perfect way to spend a day.
3. Explore the local libraries and their activities
Local island libraries like the West Tisbury Library, Oak Bluffs Library, and Edgartown Library all have daily activities for kids of all ages. Spend a few hours doing crafts, watching a movie, or reading a book with your kids. See all library options here.
4. Hit a Workout
Work off all that movie popcorn at one of the Island's health clubs or yoga studios. Martha's Vineyard is serious about a lot of things, and fitness is high on that list! Your hotel might even have an in-house gym that you can spend some hours sweating off all the delicious food you’ve enjoyed on your vacation. Check out the health clubs and yoga studios!
5. Read a local book
If you forgot your book at home, we suggest checking out our list of local authors on Martha’s Vineyard or book about Martha’s Vineyard in one of our latest blog posts. Head to Bunches of Grapes in Vineyard Haven or Edgartown Books in Edgartown and ask them to recommend a local favorite.
6. Find a delicious restaurant and have a long, relaxing meal
Don’t want to stay in your hotel room all day? Find a restaurant close by and enjoy a long meal - maybe stop into the Newes from America Pub and grab a table by the fireplace or indulge in a Thai-focused meal at Bangkok Thai Cuisine in Pak Bluffs. Either way, the fireplace or the Thai spices will warm you up!
Martha's Vineyard is home to so many amazing shops! With no chain stores here, all businesses are small businesses, individually owned, and uniquely stocked with items you can't find elsewhere. Many shops feature island-made goods, and each town offers their own distinct shopping experience. Our favorite store on a rainy day? Rainy Day! Yep, that's the store's name.
8. Write postcards at a coffee shop
Stop at any paper store and stock up on postcards about the island, walk over quickly to a coffee shop, and spend a few hours writing postcards back home to friends and family. It’s the best way to relive your vacation and everyone loves snail mail!
9. Go bowling at the local bowling alley
Martha’s Vineyard is home to one bowling alley - The Barn Bowl Bistro - and it’s the funnest place to be on a rainy day. Not only does it have bowling, but it’s a full-service restaurant that serves up some delicious items like pork dumplings and daily specials that are perfect finger foods while bowling. You can enjoy the food while betting your parents at the game or sit down to celebrate your winnings with a full meal and cocktails!
10. Sleep in or take a midday nap
This one is simple - you’re on vacation, so if you can (and your kids allow it) sleep in or take a midday nap. There’s no need to fill the time with things to do - because vacation is all about relaxing and nothing more relaxing than getting some sleep in!
To be a kid on Martha’s Vineyard during the summer months is truly a dream come true. With miles of beaches to frolic on and dozens of ice cream shops to satisfy the their sweet tooths there’s no place they’d rather be. Headed to Martha’s Vineyard this season and curious what to do with the little ones? Here’s a helpful list of attractions to help keep them active and entertained.
Flying Horses Carousel
A ride on the Flying Horses Carousel is a rite of passage for every kid (and adult!). Bring the kids to the nation’s oldest operating carousel, now in its 143rd season, so they can try their luck with grabbing the coveted brass ring in hopes of winning an extra ride free of charge. Kids can also enjoy a variety of other smaller rides and arcade games while they wait to ride atop their favorite horse.
Oak Bluffs Game Room (Ryan Family Amusements)
Ryan Amusements Martha’s Vineyard Game Room on Circuit Avenue features over 75 video games and arcade games sure to bring out the kid in all of us. While the kids try their luck at skeeball you can browse the display case of prizes with nostalgic items from whoopie cushions to ring pops.
The Barn Bowl & Bistro
Further up Circuit Avenue is the Island’s only bowling alley, open year round, and offering a full bar and restaurant that’s a dining destination all on its own. Kids can enjoy bumper bowling and you’ll appreciate the air conditioned escape from the summer heat.
Pirate Adventures Martha's Vineyard
For the kids that love adventure, pirate booty and a chance to shoot water cannons at rogue pirates, Pirate Adventures offers a fully immersive experience. You and the kids can set sail on a pirate's treasure hunt along the shores of Oak Bluffs on a custom built pirate ship. The family friendly adventures invites the kids to dress up, assemble a treasure map, and retrieve a sunken treasure from the ocean floor. We promise you’ll have just as much fun as they will.
Island Alpaca Farm Fun
For animal lovers of all ages, Island Alpaca in Oak Bluffs is a must-visit. The original purchase of eight alpacas in 2004 has grown to a herd of over 50 colorful, friendly alpaca that graze at the farm today. Kids are invited to watch the animals, interact with them and assist with feedings. Their soft fleece makes for super soft, cozy clothes and adorable trinkets available in their expansive gift shop.
Island Cove Adventures
The Island's only mini-golf course, Island Cove Adventures is a super fun place to take the littles. The course features some of the coolest themed holes you'll ever play on. Plus, the snack bar offers delicious and freshly grilled burgers and sandwiches — and it's a little insider tip that Island Cove makes the best ice cream cookie sandwich. You pick the flavor, and they make them to order! YUM
Camps, camps, and more camps
Dozens of Martha’s Vineyard businesses and organizations offer summer camps and programs throughout the season that are sure to stimulate, educate, and inspire your little one. Aspiring farmer? The Farm Institute has a camp for that. Young artist? Featherstone has a camp for that. Free spirited adventure seeker? The YMCA has a camp for that too. Check out our full list of camps on Martha’s Vineyard and find the perfect place to nurture your child’s interests all summer long.
Farming on Martha’s Vineyard is a family affair, most farms owned by local island families for years. Because of the terroir and climate, island farms focus on a few specific regional produce items, but work well together to supplement each other. While one if growing the best tomatoes you’ll ever taste, the other is harvesting the sweetest strawberries you’ll ever experience. Believe it or not, there are about 40 farms on island, some year round and others purely seasonal, supplying not only retail customers, but restaurants and chefs throughout the island. Check out this interactive map put together by the Martha’s VIneyard Times of All Our Farms in One Place, thanks to Slow Food MV, Living Local MV, and Island Grown Initiative. Below, we are listing five of the forty farms we think are staples to island life and we suggest visiting them and supporting local farmers!
Morning Glory Farm
Morning Glory Farm, started in 1975 by James and Deborah Athearn, grows about 65 acres of vegetables and small fruits on the island of Martha’s Vineyard. These acres are spread out all over the island, but their farmstand is located on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. When we referenced the sweetest strawberries you’ll ever taste, this is the place. Come June, they will start harvesting the berries and you must get their early if you’re looking to score a pint, because they go fast! Make sure to also check out their Strawberry Festival during the same month - a delightful way to spend the day eating strawberries and tasting delicious strawberry focused recipes by their bakers and chefs.
The FARM Institute
The FARM Institute is located on the historic Katama Farm, a farm that dates back to the early 1900s. It is home to a breeding herd of 23 cows, Belted Galloway and American British Whiteparks; 25 breeding ewes, mostly Cotswolds; over 300 laying hens including Barred Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, and Araucana among others; and every year they also raise around 50 Heritage Breed Turkeys. Produce, eggs, and meat available at farm store. They also host classes, summer camps, and more during the summer, so make sure to check them out if you’re traveling with kids.
Island Alpaca Company of Martha's Vineyard began in 2004 with the purchase of 19 acres of land and an antique post-and-beam barn. The alpaca's are a delight to visit on the farm, and guests are encouraged to meet the alpacas. The farmstand offers handmade goods, many of which is made from the alpaca wool. We especially love their soft blankets!
The Grey Barn
A certified organic farm, The Grey Barn produces and harvests cows, pigs, sheeps, chickens, ducks, vegetables, and fruit. But what they are really known for is their award-winning cheeses that come from the gorgeous milk that their dairy cows produce. Recently awarded one of the 25 Most Important Cheeses in America by Bon Appetit Magazine, their Bluebird cheese is one of the best, period. You can purchase it, along with any of their other cheeses, at their farmstand.
Mermaid Farm & Dairy
You might know Mermaid Farm & Dairy for their refreshing mango lassis, which make the trip up island well worth it. But their self-serve farmstand is packed with other things such as meat, seasonal vegetables, raw milk, cheese, yogurt, eggs, and yarn, and is open from dawn to dusk year-round. You can also find them at the West Tisbury Farmers Market, every Saturday, summer and winter.
Get more great info on Martha's Vineyard farms here!
It’s no secret that the arts scene on Martha’s Vineyard is thriving. From fine art galleries to various local artisan shops and markets, Martha’s Vineyard is home to hundreds of artists creating all sorts of interesting and eclectic work. An art lover on Martha’s Vineyard doesn’t have to go far to find world class art, unique finds and friendly artists willing to share the story of their craft.
Here’s our picks for making the most of our artistic community.
Visit the Vineyard Artisans Festival
Since 1995 the Vineyard Artisans Festival has worked to bring together fine art and fine crafts while promoting Island artists and artisans. Representing over 120 artists, the Artisans Festival provides the perfect one stop shopping experience to explore the creative and inspiring work of the talented people that call Martha’s Vineyard home. From jewelry, to pottery, paintings to metalsmithing, mixed media and photography, the Artisans Festival has it all. The Artisans Festival returns to the Grange Hall in West Tisbury on Memorial Day weekend, and takes places regularly on Sundays and Thursdays throughout the summer.
Experience Featherstone Center for The Arts
“Featherstone” as the locals call it, is a community arts center that keeps the pulse of the Island’s art scene beating all year long. Situated on six acres of stunning meadows in Oak Bluffs, Featherstone offers ongoing education and enrichment programs for art lovers of all ages. Catch a show or reception at one of the campus’ main galleries or expand your skill set with a class or workshop in pottery, photography, drawing, ceramics, music and more. In season catch a live outdoor concert during their Musical Monday series, or their Thursday night Jazz events. Featherstone’s "Flea and Fine Arts Market" also features Vineyard artists displaying their jewelry, art, clothing and crafts on Tuesdays throughout the summer.
Browse dozens of local art galleries
You could spend a full week trying to visit all of Martha’s Vineyard’s diverse and exquisite art collections, and it would be a good use of your time. In the summer months many play host to artist receptions, talks and ongoing exhibits and programs. For the most bang for your buck head to the Oak Bluffs Arts District, a short and colorful stretch of businesses and homes along Dukes County avenue including the renowned fine art photography of Alison Shaw, the Periwinkle Gallery featuring the work of longtime Island painter Judith Drew Schubert, and the Martha’s Vineyard Center for the Visual Arts, an artist that presents work by 12 local artists who have received grants from the organization. Equally as art friendly is downtown Vineyard Haven’s Main Street, packed with galleries including the Louisa Gould Gallery, the Simon Gallery and the Night Heron Gallery, an artist owned and operated cooperative gallery. Up-Island West Tisbury is home to the famous Granary Gallery at the red barn, which has been a favorite destination on Martha’s Vineyard since 1954. Celebrated as the oldest and largest gallery on the Island, find the famed art of painters, photographers, sculptors, craftsman, and jewelers. Nearby is the Granary’s sister space, the Field Gallery, which offers a whimsical, photo worthy outdoor sculpture garden.
Return for 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. The initiative encourages visitors to enjoy the as-yet under-appreciated autumn “shoulder season,” when temperatures cool slightly, and the largest crowds disperse, making for a more tranquil Vineyard experience. Galleries and studios stay open for the festival, and signature events unique to the Island take place every weekend.
Want more? Check out our Arts & Culture page.
Martha’s Vineyard is an obvious destination for a family vacation, couples retreat, or a girls getaway, and a weekend with the guys is no exception. The Island is the perfect place for a casual stay, offering all sorts of activities that cater to guys that just want to unwind, relax, and forget about the stresses of life “on the other side.”
Here’s our top three suggestions for planning an unforgettable guys getaway on Martha’s Vineyard.
Golf, golf, and golf some more.
Martha’s Vineyard is home to some of the most impressive greens on the East Coast. President Obama famously golfs Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs as often as possible during his vacations here, along with President Clinton too. Farm Neck’s eighteen holes are situated on over 265 acres, including woodlands, open meadows, salt marshes, and stunning overlooks atop the water's edge. Farm Neck has continually earned a 4 ½ out of 5 star rating in Golf Digest's “Best Places to Play,” and is considered by many to be one of the most coveted golfing experiences in the Northeast, not to mention the Farm Neck Cafe is a destination in itself for foodies of all kinds.
Mink Meadows in Vineyard Haven is another golf lover’s paradise, located in West Chop, the northernmost peninsula of the town of Tisbury. Designed and constructed in 1936, “The Mink”, as it has often known, is a semi-private facility featuring rolling terrain with ocean views and a challenging course that can be played as a nine or eighteen-hole experience. Mink Meadows offers a membership but welcomes non-members, who can make tee times up to two days in advance. The course is open year round, weather permitting, and off-season memberships can be easily obtained at a discounted rate.
The Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown is probably the Island’s most elite walking course situated on 235 preserved acres. The course opened in the summer of 2002 and a new front nine debuted in 2013, with a completely redesigned back nine following in 2015. GOLF Magazine named Vineyard Golf Club the “Best New Private Course” of 2015. The Vineyard Golf Club dining room also enjoys a reputation as one of the best restaurants on Martha’s Vineyard.
If your group is looking for a more casual course try the Royal & Ancient Chappaquiddick Links on Chappaquiddick Island, or “Chappy” for short. The course is considered a hidden gem, offering a quirky nine-hole green in one of the most wooded, secluded parts of the Island. For an extra Island experience be sure to take the green keeper’s shuttle from the Chappy Ferry to the course.
Hop aboard a fishing charter or local boat excursion.
On Martha’s Vineyard fishing is not just a hobby it’s a way of life, and Island waters offer some of the best fishing in New England. Our beautiful, bountiful waters are home to striped bass, bluefish, bonito, false albacore (“albies” for short), scup, sea bass, and fluke. Venture further offshore and you’ll find yellowfin and bluefin tuna, sharks (mako, blue, and thresher), swordfish, marlin, and mahi mahi. For those guys that want to throw a line in the water consider chartering a fishing boat and learning from the local pros. For those that score something big and delicious for dinner, consider hiring one of the Island’s private chefs to cook it up for you.
If you’re looking to get extra competitive be sure to visit during the Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Tournament. The 73rd “Derby” takes place September 9 to October 13.
Tour our local breweries.
video by David Welch for Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce | Visit MV
Let’s be honest, generally speaking most guys getaways likely involve beer at some point. Martha’s Vineyard is home to two outstanding local breweries, Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs and Bad Martha’s in Edgartown.
Offshore Ale Company is the only brew-pub on-Island, serving award winning small batch craft beer year round since 1997. The brewery offers several varieties from crisp and malty to bold and hoppy, amidst a casual “boathouse-style atmosphere.” Housed in the iconic City Ale and Oyster building (the business’ original name that still decorates the front of the building today), Offshore Ale is located at the corner of Kennebec and Healy avenues in Oak BLuffs. The brew pub has become well-known among locals and visitors alike, a popular gathering place that also offers wood-fired pizza, local seafood, live music and peanut shells littering the floor. Reservations are recommended for brewery tours and happen regularly throughout the week.
Bad Martha’s Farmers Brewery and Tasting Room is located on Main Street in Edgartown amongst the beautiful flowers and greenery of Donaroma's Nursery. Bad Martha’s boasts a 7-barrel brewing system that creates fresh beer daily. Cheese plates, charcuterie, crudité and other snacks are available while you sip, as well as outdoor games, live music and distinctive merchandise. Stop by for a free sample, or a flight paddle from May through October.
The Island is also home to Washashore Beer, a Vineyard born beer organically brewed in Maine. Look for their colorful taps and cans at Island bars and restaurants, including such creative titles as Boy Meets Girl, Boy Meets Boy and Girl Meets Girl.
Ready to book your trip? Check out our helpful directory of Island lodging options.
Martha’s Vineyard, an island off the coast of Massachusetts that has become the prefered summer destination to hundreds of families for decades. For those of you visiting us for the first time, you might be a little confused as to how to get to the island and eventually, how to get around said island while on vacation. We’re here to tackle all your questions, concerns, and overall comments - so here are our top ten travel tips to getting to (and around) Martha’s Vineyard!
1. There are only TWO ways to get to Martha’s Vineyard: you can fly into the MVY Airport or take one of the many ferries from the mainland. Check out Vineyard Ferries for details on all the ferries you can take to Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re flying, carrier options include Cape Air, JetBlue, Delta, and American Airlines - more details on getting to MV by plane.
2. If you want to bring your car on island, you must take the ferry. No, there are no bridges connecting the island to the mainland. Driving from the mainland to the island and back is a dream for islanders, but still not a reality.
3. If you still want to fly in and need a car, there are many car rental businesses on island ready to rent you a car, SUV, Jeep, or van. Car renting is common for visitors spending a few weeks on island at a time!
4. Ask your hotel if they provide parking for your car. Depending on the town and the time you are on island, parking in town might be difficult, as the main streets do get very crowded during prime times.
5. Don’t want to bring a car? Rent a moped! When renting a moped, ask as many questions as possible. It’s a big responsibility as you will be on the rode with automobiles, so safety first. Always wear helmets, close toed shoes, and respect the rules of the road at all times. When riding at night, make sure to wear extra lights and bright clothing.
6. Don’t want to rent a moped? Rent a bicycle! There are so many locally owned bicycle shops on island and you can’t go wrong with any of them! Renting a bike will cost you between $20-45 a day - check out bike rental rates and ride safely! The island has some fantastic bike paths between towns, so it’s the perfect way to explore.
7. Don’t want to rent a bicycle? Buy a Vineyard Transit Authority Bus Pass! Buying a bus pass is a great way to get around the island comfortably. The daily bus pass cost is $8 (2018 rate) and gets you to every town. Here’s a great informational article from the VTA on how to explore the entire island in one day.
8. Don’t want to ride the bus? Walk/run! There are great walking trails and running paths in every town, and it’s a great way to burn all those calories from eating daily ice cream cones and lobster rolls.
9. Take a tour of the island! Whether you're here for the day or for the season, don't miss anything Martha's Vineyard has to offer and take a tour. From tour buses and vans, walking tours, food tours, lighthouse tours, and on-the-water tours, there's a tour for all guests.
10. Don’t want to do any of the above? Call a local taxi company! Locally owned taxi companies are a great way to support island economy and they are very helpful. Call a cab to go from the airport to your hotel and during the ride ask your driver for information on what to do on island! Here is a listing of taxi cabs on Martha’s Vineyard. Uber and Lyft during peak season are on island, but not as much as you’re used to in your hometown.
Travelers can be divided into two types of people: those that love to pack and those that hate it. It can be a tedious activity, but below we’ve put together our best 10 tips for packing for a Martha’s Vineyard summer vacation. Everything you’ll need (and won’t need) is here - we hope our top ten tips make your next packing adventure a short and sweet one! Make sure to read our getting here and getting around posts for more information!
1. Make a list - and check it twice!
Making a list is the only way we can get organized, because once it’s on a list, you’ll definitely remember to pack it! They sell those nifty pre-listed packing lists, but nothing quicker and more affordable than just grabbing a sheet of paper and starting your own list, unique to you and your family.
2. Research the weather - it's still New England
Even though you’re planning a vacation in the middle of the summer, Martha’s Vineyard is still New England and can surprise you with cooler temperatures than you’d expect at times. Knowing this beforehand will help you pack the correct outfits.
3. Create outfits and an overall theme
Talking about outfits - plan around specific outfits or even “themes” so that you’ll pack less and more efficiently. During the summer on MV, you’ll just need a few outfits: exercise outfit if you plan on working out on the beach, beachwear such as swimsuits and coverups, casual outfits for meals or just hanging out, and a few “nicer” outfits if you plan on dining out. Have a golfer in your pack? Make sure to pack correct outfits such as collared shirts and pants, since most golf clubs have strict dress codes.
4. Think layers - light scarves, sweaters, the works
Because the weather might be chilly some nights and because it's often breezy by the water, it’s safe to say that bringing a lightweight sweater or cardigan is a must, no matter the season. These, along with a summer scarf, will keep you warm on nights when the temperatures drop but you’re still enjoying some outdoor dining or events.
5. Stick to three pairs of shoes - maximum!
Shoes are the one thing people tend to overpack - but let’s be real, between a pair of flip flops for the beach or pool, sneakers if you plan on working out, and a nice pair of sandals (or dress shoes for men). Plus, shoes tend to weigh more and if you’re checking a bag it’s something to consider!
6. Don't pack towels or beach blankets
This might be an obvious thing, but just a reminder - most hotels will provide you with beach towels and the fun of a trip is getting a great souvenir and we love some of the local shops that carry MV beach blankets. They’re perfect not just for the beach, but for picnics and chilly nights around a firepit.
7. Roll it, don't fold it!
A time-tested trick of rolling your clothes instead of folding them will give you more room. And more room doesn’t essentially mean more room for stuff to pack. We suggest leaving that extra room for the souvenirs you’ll bring back from your island vacation!
8. Have a ready-to-go health and first-aid kit
Taking preventative measures is always a good idea and having a small kit with the essentials like bandaids and such will make your vacation go smoother. You don’t want to be caught on the beach needing a bandaid and having to leave the sunny sands for it. A small enough kit that fits in your beach bag is just the thing you need.
9. Use dryer sheets to keep things fresh
Before leaving home, throw a few dryer sheets between your clothes and shoes in your luggage to keep everything fresh smelling! Such a simple thing - even more preparedness, bring a few more in a ziplock bag to include on your flight back.
10. Pack half of what you think you'll need
Once you have laid out everything you think you’ll need to pack - remove half the clothing! When on vacation, we tend to reuse clothes more than usual, plus it’s a casual community where you can definitely repeat outfits on the beach!
It's my job to love this place, and it's no work at all.