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Bike Paths

After months of planning and waiting, it’s finally that time of year again. You’re on your way to your Martha’s Vineyard vacation and nothing can stop you now — well…except for that pesky Woods Hole ferry. Even with the best of intentions, we’ve all missed the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard once or twice. Luckily, your vacation doesn’t have to wait for the next ferry. Jump start your Vineyard vacation with these engaging things to do in Woods Hole.

 

Things to do in Woods Hole Massachusetts
Flickr/Doug Kerr/CC BY 2.0)

Things To Do In Woods Hole, Massachusetts

Embrace the Ocean

Settled over 300 years ago as a fishing and farming community, Woods Hole is internationally known as a center for marine, biomedical, and environmental science. Ocean lovers of all shapes and sizes should head straight for the Woods Hole Science Aquarium, the oldest operating aquarium in the United States. Press your nose against the glass tanks and watch over 140 species of fish waves their tails and flap their fins. Plus, you may even get to graze your fingers across the backs of lobsters, quahogs, spider crabs, horseshoe crabs, hermit crabs, and starfish in the touch tanks — just don’t let the experience turn you off of eating seafood.

 

Nobska Light Woods Hole
Flickr/Mass Travel/CC BY 2.0)

Walk To Nobska Point

Take the long view on your Martha’s Vineyard vacation with a walk down to Nobska Point. Just over a mile away from the Woods Hole Steamship Authority, this gorgeous spot boasts a stunning lighthouse that you may have spotted from the ferry once or twice. Climb to the top of Nobska Point Lighthouse and enjoy panoramic views of Vineyard Harbor and Martha’s Vineyard. Keep an eye on your time though — we wouldn’t want you missing a second ferry, would we?

 

Grab a Snack

If you ask us, one of the best things to do in Woods Hole is to chow down on a delicious snack. Looking to satisfy a deep hunger? Stop into Wood Hole’s favorite pirate bar, the Captain Kidd. Decked out in nautical pirate flair, this spot will get you in the maritime spirit with its decor and decadent fresh seafood. A mere five minutes from the Woods Hole ferry, you’ll find Candy Go Nuts, an old fashion sweets store with a mouthwatering selection. We highly recommend their any of their penny candies for a classic candy store experience. The best part? After all this candy, your kids (and maybe you, too) will crash and nap during your Martha’s Vineyard ferry ride.

 

Take the Shining Sea Bike Path

Bringing your bikes to the island? Scrounge up your helmets and unpack your bikes for a quick trek along the Shining Sea Bike Path. Built along an old railway path, this bike path begins in Woods Hole and extends 11 miles to Falmouth. Unless you’re a very speedy biker (or you’re looking to miss another ferry), we suggest just getting your feet wet, biking along the Cape Cod shore and stopping at the region’s beautiful beaches for a quick dip.

 

With all the quiet corners and maritime gems to discover in Woods Hole, your hour to wait will no longer be wasted. Don’t dilly dally, though. The folks at Vineyard Square are eager to welcome you to your island home.

Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown

Out with the rowdy — in with the awesome! Bachelorette parties don’t need to be a one-size-fits all affair. Embrace the era of the alternative bachelorette party and give yourself (or your friend) a celebration that honors their individuality (before they become a pair). Give singledom a grand farewell with these unique bachelorette party ideas on Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Unique Bachelorette party ideas on Martha's Vineyard

 

Unique Bachelorette Party Ideas For (Almost) Every Type Of Bride

For the craft beer loving bachelorette:

The ocean isn’t the only place to find foam on the island. Martha’s Vineyard’s craft beer scene has been on the upswing in the past few years, making it a perfect unique bachelorette party idea for any craft beer loving brides. Spend a day outside at Bad Martha’s Beer where you can soak up the sun while trying their flagship brew, Martha’s Vineyard Ale. For the hungry beer drinker, make the trip to Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs for some crisp beers and pub fare.

 

Unique bachelorette party ideas - shoppingFor the shopaholic:

Trade in the chain stores for adorable boutiques with this unique bachelorette party idea. The quiet streets of Edgartown are famous for their offbeat selections ranging for antique jewelry to locally published books. Pick out a one-of-a-kind vacation frock at our neighbor Mikel Hunter or hunt down a local artwork to hang on the newly married couple’s walls.

 

For the over stressed bachelorette:

Between crossing people off her guest list to coordinating her bridesmaids, it’s quite possible that the guest of honor may be a tad overstressed. Luckily, if you’re looking for unique bachelorette party ideas, Martha’s Vineyard happens to be a haven of serenity, filled with calm beaches to stroll on and quiet towns to explore. Sea Spa Salon, located at the Square, offers thai massages, mani/pedis, and spa treatments give provide your party with a bit of pampering. If she needs an extra shot of relaxation, book a wellness weekend at the Square, so she can cleanse her body with meditation, yoga, and a healthy diet.

 

Biking at Vineyard Square HotelFor the athletic types:

A destination for hikers, bikers, and swimmers alike, Martha’s Vineyard’s nearly 100 square miles of land offer plenty of adventure. Take some bikes out for an all-day excursion and stop at a beach to toast the bride-to-be. If the bachelorette is a water lover, hop aboard Mad Max for a sailing excursion across the island. You can take one of their daily cruises or charter a private trip.

 

For the sleepover enthusiast:

In our opinion, the best part of any girls’ getaway, bachelorette party or otherwise, is getting to reconnect and bond with friends. Stay in one of our luxury suites as a group, and have an old school sleepover complete with popcorn, manicures, and a nostalgic movie. While this may not be the most raucous of our unique bachelorette party ideas, it’s certainly the coziest.

Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown

If you ask us, there’s only one way to get around Martha’s Vineyard. No, it’s not train, plane or hover board (we’re pretty sure we would fall off one of those anyway) — for us, it’s all about the bike. Whether you fancy yourself ready to conquer the Pyrenees in the Tour de France or get intimidated by biking on the street, Martha’s Vineyard biking has a route that will amp up the fun for every skill level.

 

Martha's Vineyard biking routes

 

Bike to South Beach and Back — 6 miles

Avoid the stresses of parking at the beach by gathering up your beach gear and taking the bike path to South Beach. Good for the directionally challenged, this bike route is pretty much a straight shot along Katama Road from Edgartown. At three miles one-way, this Martha’s Vineyard biking route makes a great day trip for beginning bikers (plus exercise is always better with the promise of a lazy afternoon at the beach). Pack a picnic lunch, spend the day swimming in the ocean, and then enjoy a leisurely ride back into Edgartown.

 

Take the Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven Loop — 16 miles

When you’re looking to up the biking ante, but still value the ability to stop, go shopping, and have a glass of wine mid-bike ride, we recommend you head out on a tour of our neighboring towns to the north. Head out of Edgartown on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven path (we’re saving the really gorgeous views for when you’re feeling a bit more worn). On this seven-mile road, you’ll get a glimpse at the quiet, lushness of the island’s interior before you arrive to Vineyard Haven. Grab some fuel at Black Dog Tavern, but keep it light — you still have miles to go before you’re through.

 

Hop back aboard your bike for the three-mile jaunt to Oak Bluffs. We suggest starting out on Beach Road and then continuing onto East Chop Drive. While this road may not be the most direct path to Oak Bluffs, its scenic views and lack of car congestion make the detour worthwhile. Along your journey, be sure to stop at East Chop Light for a quick photo-op and some rehydration. Once you arrive to Oak Bluffs, stay aboard your bike and peddle through the town’s famous gingerbread cottages, known for their whimsical colors and names. If you’re desperate to give your rump a rest, head to Offshore Ale Company for a bite and a brew.

 

We told you we were saving the best for last! Offering scenic views of State beach and Sengekontacket Pond, it’s no wonder that Beach Road, the six-mile path between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, is one of Martha’s Vineyard’s most popular bike routes. Be careful crossing the Pond though — we hear there are mighty big fish in these waters

 

Martha's Vineyard Bking
MV Challenge

 

Take The Full Martha’s Vineyard Biking Tour — 100 Kilometers

Okay, full disclosure: although Martha’s Vineyard might seem like a tiny island from the perspective of Google Earth, we’re actually rocking quite a hefty circumference. Coming in at about 100 kilometers, the full island loop is not for the faint of heart.

 

If you’re feeling froggy, take the Cycle MV Bicycle Challenge and depart from Edgartown towards Oak Bluffs. While the Down-Island Loopers got to take a shortcut between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, we know you can handle the MV Challenge’s path down County Road and then back up on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven path (though we won’t tell if you decide to cheat). Here comes the tough part: take State Road for 17 miles, past Chilmark until you hit Aquinnah. We highly suggest grabbing some grub by at the tasty food stands by the lighthouse. And for goodness sakes, take a little break!

 

As they say, it’s all downhill from here (so to speak). Your Martha’s Vineyard biking route continues along South Road and then to Edgartown-Tisbury Road for about 19 miles. Keep an eye overhead for planes along this thoroughfare — or better yet, get a snack at the Plane View Diner at the airport. The last leg of your MV Challenge involves a quick ride down to Katama Beach where you can wash the sweat off your body before you head back to Edgartown.

 

No matter which Martha’s Vineyard biking route you choose to conquer, we’re ready to greet you home at Vineyard Square with a snack (and maybe even a massage at Sea Spa Salon. Don’t see your favorite bike route on our list? Share your go-to Martha’s Vineyard biking spots with us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

Tips for safe biking on Martha’s Vineyard

As you embark on a bike ride across the island, remember these tips (courtesy of the Martha’s Vineyard commission) to keep your ride safe as well as fun.

  • Bicyclists shall ride WITH traffic. DO NOT ride against traffic!
  • Bicyclists 16 and under MUST wear a helmet (adults should do the same).
  • Bicycles ridden at night (½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise) must be equipped with a white front light and a red rear light or reflector and have reflectors on both pedals (or cyclist’s ankles). Reflectors or reflective clothing visible from the sides is also required at night.
  • Narrow, rural roads are part of the Island’s charm, but they often have little or no shoulder for cyclists – especially Up-Island. Make it easier for motorists to share-the-road by staying to the right and, if riding in a group, spacing yourselves to allow passing.
  • Riding on sidewalks is permissible, except in downtown areas where posted.
  • However, cyclists ALWAYS have the right to ride in the road, even when there is an adjacent path.
Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown

Bicycle by pacomexico-resized-600Recently, there was an article on this Blog, posted by CJ, concerning safety while traveling on Martha’s Vineyard. I am prompted to expand upon this theme by last month’s tragic bicycle accident in Vineyard Haven; and I speak with the perspective of having been a Military Police officer once upon a time. My purpose now is not to discuss the accident, but simply to share some of my observations with you in the hopes that they will help you and your family stay safe, while having fun on your Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

The Island is truly a magical place to visit, but this is NOT the Land of Oz with the perfectly maintained Yellow Brick Road leading wherever you could hope to visit. Similar to other places, the Island’s roads and sidewalks are susceptible to deterioration. Harsh weather and heavy usage takes its toll here as well as in your hometown, so caution is advised.  Martha’s Vineyard has many lovely and well maintained bike paths, which cyclists should utilize whenever possible.

Two days after the Vineyard Haven accident, the Park and Ride bus left my daughter and I behind at the State Road lot. Having some experience with the ebb and flow of bus, boat and traffic in getting home to Falmouth, I judged that it would not return in time to pick us up for the boat. With Kate strapped into her stroller, piggy-doll strapped in as well, we set out to walk down the hill to the boat. She soon fell asleep and I am glad she did.

We had to travel down the sidewalk where the accident had transpired. The farther I went, the harder it became to push the stroller through the inches of sand and cracked pavement that line the length of State Road. The sidewalks are in rough shape in places along this stretch and it terrified me when the stroller wheels would get into a rut in the sand and pull toward the street. It was a grim walk for me…full of sad thoughts, especially when I passed the accident site.

As a Military Police Officer on a small, family-oriented post in South Carolina, I assisted in many community seminars – some of which included bicycle safety. I can recite the rules of the road here and caution everyone to obey them, but safety starts before you take the bike out onto the road. The seminar that stuck out in my mind was the one concerning bicycle sizing.

I have seen so many cyclists riding on bicycles that I feel are too big for them. (On Thursday morning on my drive into Edgartown, a girl wobbled on her bike and fell… onto the sidewalk rather than in front of my car, but it was a close thing.) This quick and easy website helps with the steps in sizing a bike for safe usage. Scroll through the pictures and read the short descriptions. Learn the steps and know what to look for regarding your family’s safe bicycle sizing.

The bicycle rental companies on the island move hundreds (possibly thousands) of bicycles between them each day. They can find a bicycle for you that may be close to the right size, and can spend some time adjusting it to your specific body type.  But please remember…they have dozens of other customers waiting for their help, maybe not so patiently!

The final say is yours when it comes to bicycle safety. If they cannot find a size right for you, try again later on that day, or come earlier the next to spend some extra time. The Island will still be here to explore!

Image courtesy of pacomexico

Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown

Edgartown Memorial Day 022-1

The new Martha’s Vineyard Hospital opened last month, with the space to double it’s capacity.  Some people speculate that this was necessary purely due to the transportation related accidents that grace the Martha’s Vineyard Hospital’s emergency room every season…  please don’t be one of the statistics!  Read on to be aware and safe, and if you missed our prior article on general vacation safety, please check it out.

Pedestrian Safety – Do you remember being taught to look both ways before crossing the street?  I am fairly certain that it is a safety concept still being taught today, but it is not regularly practiced in the downtown areas of Martha’s Vineyard.  I mention this not to embarrass anyone, because we can all be distracted…  did you just hear that horn beep?  WHAT is that man wearing?!…   Oh, sorry, where was I?  Oh yes, I was mentioning this so that if you happen to be driving on Martha’s Vineyard, you won’t ASSUME that the basic safety rules are being followed by the pedestrians.  Please go extra slowly when driving through our towns, and don’t assume that everyone will wait for a crosswalk before walking in front of your car…

If you are a pedestrian, please follow these simple but important guidelines:

  • Look both ways before crossing the streets and use cross walks whenever possible.
  • Be aware of cars in downtown areas.  Even though everyone else is walking down the middle of the street, it is probably not closed to traffic.
  • Stay to the right on bicycle paths.
  • Do not come from behind a car, and cross in front of it unless you know that the driver has seen you.

Bicycle Safety – Martha’s Vineyard has miles of lovely bike paths to explore, all over the island; but the roads are narrow, with sandy and narrow shoulders… and similar to elsewhere, many of the drivers are extremely impatient in the summer.  Be careful!  Remember these basic safety rules to ensure that your visit is accident free.

  • Always use a bike path when one is available.
  • When biking on the road, always ride with traffic.
  • On the multi-use paths, stay to the right and announce yourself when passing on the left.
  • Use caution when crossing in front of driveways or across roads – don’t assume that drivers see you, even if you have the right of way.
  • Don’t forget to wear a helmet!

Mopeds – Every year there are several serious moped accidents on Martha’s Vineyard.  Regardless of the moped driver’s skill level, there are many impatient “city drivers” on our roads in the summer.  This doesn’t bode well for a slow moped on a 2 lane road, with a sandy and narrow shoulder.  If you need a way to see the entire island, consider taking an island tour.  It has the added benefit of a historical narrative being included, along with being able to see most of the island (minus the tour of the new Martha’s Vineyard Hospital accident room).  We also have an excellent public transportation system if you would like to explore the island independently.

What’s your favorite mode of transportation when exploring the area?  Do you have any examples of distracted visitors to share for our general safety awareness?

 

Plan a Visit to the Martha’s Vineyard Food and Wine Festival
Where to Get the Best Pizza on Martha’s Vineyard Near Edgartown
Explore Memorable Things to Do & See in West Tisbury
Spend a Day at the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
See the Next Big Thing at a Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
A Guide on How to Get to Martha’s Vineyard
A Look at the History of Our Edgartown Hotel
Celebrate the Season | A Guide to Christmas in Edgartown