We know, just another beach getaway, but you have to understand, it is summer and we are in an office. We survive off these fantasies. Martha’s Vineyard is an island just off the coast of New England’s Cape Cod, and fortunately has maintained its identity as a small New England fishing village and vacation town. It may be a bit, let’s say, preppy for some people’s taste, but if you go with the relaxed vibe of the island, you won’t even mind the yuppies dressed in Vineyard Vines apparel. I have to admit from experience, a very close friend of mine lives on Martha’s Vineyard, and it only took one time for me to visit to decide it is the type of place you keep going back to. If you need a weekend away from the crazies in Boston (or even in Providence, Rhode Island), plant yourself in the sand with a beer in your hand on Martha’s Vineyard.
How to Get to There:
As soon as you begin to read this segment, you may think I am out of my tree for suggesting a weekend trip to Martha’s Vineyard, but please stay with me here. I promise the brutal transportation options will be worth it as soon as you get onto the island.
For starters, it is pretty much necessary to have access to a car to get to Cape Cod (which will be the real starting point). Luckily, many Bostonians have cars, but if not, take the T to your parents house in (insert your hometown here) and demand that they hand over the keys. Once they so willingly submit to your command, enter the car put the key in the ignition and drive right over the Bourne Bridge to a ferry station on Cape Cod. After you park your car in one of the very trustworthy lots, hop the ferry and take a relaxing ride right into the Martha’s Vineyard port and prepare for the ultimate weekend of relaxation to commence.
The other option is to take a Seastreak, which brings customers from South Station to New Bedford ferry terminal by bus. From there you hop a ferry that arrives at Martha’s Vineyard via Buzzard’s Bay. That wasn’t so hard was it?
*Side note: it is possible to take a plane to the island via Cape Air, Ocean Wings, Desert and Island Air. They are usually 12 seated planes, and you may die, but at least it will be on the way to a beautiful island.
What to See:
Here is the fun part. Like I said, Martha’s Vineyard is still an adorable New England town, so that damn commercialism has not hit it yet (and hopefully it never will).
Bluffs: Of course as a beach town, the Vineyard is famous for its incredible beaches, but even more so, Martha’s Vineyard is famous for the bluffs on the beaches. If you are wondering what bluffs are they are basically these huge clay cliffs that border the beaches. The Aquinnah Cliffs (which were formerly called Gayhead) are the best place to see the cliffs.
Chappaquiddick: This area may sound familiar to you because of the famous car accident Senator Edward M. Kennedy got into with a girl in the front seat of his car, do not let this influence your decision to visit here. It is a great place to check out some beaches (beacause they are open to the public, unlike some of the MV beaches.) It also has the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge and Mytoi (a Japanese garden).
Oak Bluffs: Oak Bluffs is quite possibly the cutest town I have ever encountered. It is more of a residential area, but the center of town has small shops that will rob you blind if you are like me and can’t exhibit self control while shopping. While in Oak Bluffs it is a must (although you are blind if you miss it) to visit the Camp Meeting Grounds, aka The Gingerbread Houses (I may be the only one who calls them that so I don’t suggest referring to them as that). They are elaborately decorated summer cottages that will make you wonder why you don’t live in one.
Edgartown: Edgartown is a well-to-do town on Martha’s Vineyard, but it is still worth the visit. Like Oak Bluffs, it has a ton a little shops, but it also has some of the most stunning homes in New England. It is a nice place to visit for a few hours to do some window shopping and admiring of homes.
Jaws Home: For any cinema buffs out there, the home from Jaws is on Martha’s Vineyard. It could be a quick adventure.
* Advice note: A common misconception is that MV is small enough to bike ride, but do not be a tourist and try that. Or let me rephrase that, do bike ride, just don’t try to bike ride the island. Instead, use the Martha’s Vineyard bus. It looks like a retirement community bus, but it will get you around.
Where to Stay:
The Oak Bluffs Inn: It is a nice Bed and Breakfast right in Oak Bluffs, where all the action is. It is in close proximity to the Ferry Port, the shops, dining, and nightlife options. It is a perfect place to stay.
Where to Eat:
Lucky Hank’s Restaurant and Cafe: Lucky Hank’s is an American and Seafood with vegetarian options, restaurant in Edgartown. The restaurant boasts the freshest food on the island.
Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company: It is a bit more expensive, but it did receive a certificate of excellence from Yankee Magazine. Seriously though, try the clam chowder, it will change your life.
L’etoile: An American and french contemporary restaurant. It has a romantic vibe to it, but I think that has more to do with the way you will fall in love with the food, rather than whoever you are with.
Mocha Motts: For coffee and dessert lovers like myself, Mocha Motts is a great place to go for a quick breakfast or snack during the day.
Where to Drink:
Dive Bar: It is not how it sounds. The Dive Bar is one of the best places to drink in MV. It is in Oak Bluffs and has over 100 different types of beer. Can you say party?
Sharky’s: A cantina style restaurant. It is a great place to enjoy a margarita or a Corona. Restaurant by day, rowdy bar by night.
Brick Cellar: This upscale bar is in Edgartown. Upstairs is a restaurant called Atria, but downstairs is a bar that is home to some of the most sought after cocktails in Martha’s Vineyard.
So listen here, if you are ready to get out of the Boston or Providence for the weekend, reach a little further than Cape Cod and take that ferry boat to Martha’s Vineyard. There is no better place to enjoy a weekend getaway.