Here's what you need to know:
The Island of Martha’s Vineyard is just 7 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. On less than 100 square miles, you’ll find 6 adorable small towns, each with their own highlights and distinctive personality.
Locals commonly refer to “up-Island” and “down-Island”. Technically it’s a longitude/latitude thing, but basically when you hear “up-Island” it means the western, more rural towns of West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah.
“Down-Island” refers to the busy port towns of Tisbury (Vineyard Haven), Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.
If you look at a map, down-Island looks like it should be up-Island, but now we’re back to that longitude/latitude thing.
There are villages within the towns. Sometimes this is confusing. Like when you take a ferry to the village of Vineyard Haven, but your GPS or map tries to tell you you’re in Tisbury. And they’re both right.
Aquinnah, (pronounced ah-KWIN-ah and means “land under the hill”) located on the far western side of the Island, was known as Gay Head until 1997, when the Wampanoag (pronounced wam-pa-NO-og) Tribe of Aquinnah petitioned to have the name officially changed. You’ll often hear references to the Gay Head Cliffs and lighthouse, which are both in the town of Aquinnah.
Chilmark has a quaint, authentic fishing village called Menemsha (pronounced men-EM-sha). A must see for all Jaws fans!
Edgartown includes Katama (pronounced ka-TAY-ma) and Chappaquiddick. There’s one ferry service that travels from Falmouth on Cape Cod to to Edgartown from Memorial Day through Labor Day.
Oak Bluffs was originally known as Cottage City. Ferries arrive mid-May through mid-October from Woods Hole, Falmouth, Hyannis and New Bedford in Massachusetts, Quonset Point in Rhode Island and New York City and Northern New Jersey.
Tisbury has a beautiful harbor village called Vineyard Haven. Every day of the year ferries come and go from Wood Hole on Cape Cod to Vineyard Haven.
West Tisbury is the agricultural heartland of the Vineyard. It is home to both the Agricultural & Grange Halls, the historic Alley's General Store and the enchanting sculptures of the Field Gallery.