Explore Martha's Vineyard this winter and enjoy the unique opportunity to truly appreciate the Island’s breathtaking natural beauty and distinctive towns. These days you can soak up the Vineyard vibe without the added stress and distraction of summer crowds. Given the considerations of social distancing it’s an ideal time to enjoy the Island and feel like you have the place all to yourself.
While some of our seasonal businesses do close, there are still more than enough shops, galleries, and restaurants open to satisfy the discerning traveler. Outdoor options abound any time of year, but the winter months open up even more options as private restrictions are lifted and access is even greater. Here’s a list of things to do on Martha’s Vineyard during the winter months that are fun, safe and COVID friendly.
Hike Our Trails. One of the best ways to tour the Island is by walking one of Martha’s Vineyard many hiking trails. From wooded paths, to open field trails, to stretches along seaside cliffs, there really is a landscape 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. 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 rocky 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 other Island conservation areas 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 which can be spotty on-Island. If a hard copy is what you prefer you can pick up Walking Trails of Martha’s Vineyard, a pocket-sized comprehensive guide to Vineyard conservation lands includes trail maps, descriptions of the protected properties and other valuable information. The book is available at Edgartown Books and Bunch of Grapes, two Island bookstores that offer great browsing, staffed by folks who would love to see you.
Visit Island Alpaca - one of the most delightful places to visit any time of year and, as a bonus, it’s free in winter! Open daily from 10am-4pm on the border between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, just off the Edgartown Road, the Farm offers alpaca viewing that allows you to get up close and personal with these adorable, fuzzy, friendly animals while watching them graze and play. The Island Alpaca gift store is a must and their soft fleece products make for great souvenirs and gifts, especially their socks! Through February 2021 they are offering daily “Walk & Talks” from 11-11:30am when you can learn more about how gentle alpaca really are. $30 per person.
Support Local Restaurants. We all know the pandemic has hit restaurants particularly hard and Martha’s Vineyard restaurants could use your support more than ever. Whether you’re comfortable dining inside, outside or ordering take out there is a wide variety of options to choose from. For Tex Mex try Sharky’s in Oak Bluffs or Edgartown for take out and dine in. Beer lovers can appreciate Offshore Ale for comfort food and housemade brews. Sushi and Asian fusion selections are a-plenty at Mikado and Copperwok in Vineyard Haven. There's something delicious for every palate at both the Barn Bowl and Bistro in Oak Bluffs and Little House Cafe in Vineyard Haven. For fancier fare check out the eclectic menu of the Cardboard Box or dine alfresco underneath a heated tent at Sweet Life Cafe. For an updated list of restaurants open in real time visit whatsopenonmv.com.
Enjoy a Picnic. If you’re taking your food to go and are willing to bundle up and brave the chill to eat outside, consider having a picnic at one of the Island’s picturesque parks or beaches. Iconic Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs boasts a plethora of benches and open space for laying out a blanket. In Vineyard Haven Owen Park offers a harbor view. For additional public seats by the water, eat with a view of the Edgartown Lighthouse or nearby Edgartown harbor.
Tour Local Farms. Martha’s Vineyard is home to dozens of farms selling meat, dairy, produce and more, and many are still open in the winter months. Several local farms are situated on picturesque properties where you can sneak a peek at livestock and shop the freshest food around. A handful of our local farmstands still operate on the honor policy so be sure to bring cash for anything you might want to pick up. Take a drive up-Island and check out Grey Barn Farm, known for its award winning cheeses and farm fresh bread; Mermaid Farm known for their incredible yogurt and lassies and North Tabor Farm offers a selection of hearty winter greens.
Shop our Downtowns. While some doors are closed many remain open and the Island’s shopkeepers would be happy to see you. Main Street, Vineyard Haven is home to several year round merchants and retailers including Rainy Day for gifts, The Green Room for clothes and outerwear, CB Stark for iconic Vineyard jewelry, Louisa Gould Gallery for unique Island art, and many more. In Oak Bluffs Circuit Avenue is the main drag, and in Edgartown it’s Main Street - both noticeably quieter this time of year but still offering plenty to choose from for your next Vineyard souvenir.
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 and alone are worth the winter trip over.
Visit the Martha’s Vineyard Museum. If you’re planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard and you have yet to explore the new Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven you must add it to your itinerary now. This beloved facility sits in a storied building, perched above the Lagoon in Vineyard Haven, having recently completed a massive $31 million restoration project. The Museum offers sweeping water views, an impressive collection of Island history, ongoing exhibits and virtual events. Be assured that you can visit safely, as Museum occupancy has been significantly reduced and advanced reservations are required by booking a timed ticket online. Open Tuesdays – Sundays from 10am to 4pm.
Be sure to read about the Island’s updated safety precautions before traveling.
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