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.
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!
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