Things to Do in Martha's Vineyard

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Do I need a car on Martha’s Vineyard?

BY VSH | 18 July 2009

If I had a dollar for everyone who has ended a reservation call with some variation on this theme, I’d be a happy man. Sometimes, people want me to tell them what they should do and I simply cannot. This can be frustrating for some.

There are as many answers as there are people. Some folk are extremely attached to their wheels and the idea of leaving their car, their independence…nay…their very identities behind is unthinkable. Some people can drop their cars like a hot rock and just wing it. YOU know your travel needs better than I do. It is possible (and FAR less expensive) to travel everywhere on the Island without bringing your car across.

Here’s what I suggest to Colonial Inn guests…

Leave the car behind. The Steamship Authority has ample parking in numerous locations. You pay $10 per calendar day to park and they shuttle you to the boat.  The Steamship cost for vehicles is between $135 and $155 round-trip. (The bigger the car or truck, the more you spend to bring it over!) Therefore, $40 for parking on a three-day stay leaves you $95 to $115 ahead. (That’s a meal for two at a mid-range Island restaurant…)

During the height of the summer, every town on Martha’s Vineyard becomes rush hour Boston. You can inch along for an hour and never see a parking spot, and you will begin to curse the happy carefree faces of cyclists and pedestrians. MOREOVER, they paid $40 to park their cars so they are loaded down with plunder while YOU have $100 less to spend toward boosting the economy. It’s downright un-American! So leave the car. Plunder the Village!

Car-less and straight off of the boat, options increase. This is where I have different advice for different people. Taxis are expensive. $22 for two people will get you from a ferry terminal to our door. Pricey? Yes, but with a varying number of travelers coming from locations far and wide, (some of whom may have begun their travels at three or four AM, ugh) and luggage in tow, it is the fastest way to get you here and settled.  If we can’t get you into your room yet, we will at least take that annoying luggage and direct you to a great lunch spot. (Freed of your burdens and a tummy full of lunch, you will feel much more adventurous. Trust me!)

Once you are here and settled, THEN we can walk you through the Vineyard Transit Authority Bus route.  The public bus system has connections to many points on the island and for a $15 three day pass, you can have unlimited access.  Many of the drivers are year-round Island residents and have a wide range of ideas for things to see and do. (Getting some of them to chat is trickier, but if it were all easy, where would the adventure be?)

There are also several bicycle rental shops no more than three minutes away.  We recommend Cutler Bikes and Wheel Happy.  They have been more than helpful to our guests over the years and I recommend them without hesitation.  Many of the roads on the Island have wide sidewalks designed to accommodate bicycles.

Please, just don’t ask us about mopeds! (We prefer that the one part of the island that you don’t explore while here is the emergency room…)

Image courtesy of The Vineyard Transit Authority

 


May 31, 2018 09:33 am

[…] and July’s heat waves alike. It’s also the only way to bring a vehicle on-island. Let’s say you don’t need to bring your car, though—most people who bring cars the first time realize they’re better off without them—and […]


January 30, 2011 08:59 am

The Vineyard is larger than many folks realize. It really helps to have a car if you want to explore some of the areas most day-tourists miss.