vineyard-hero
Home-Slider4-K1-20180605-VSH-EmilyOBrienPhoto-294-Edit_LUXONEBEDLOCKOFF_LIVINGRM_FACINGBALCONY2
Home-Slider3-20180605-VSH-EmilyOBrienPhoto-1353-Edit_BREAKFAST_FOODDETAIL_FROMABOVE2
Home-Slider5-20180605-VSH-EmilyOBrienPhoto-934-Edit_FRONTPORCH_GUESTS2

Chappaquiddick

When the weather is nice enough to merit a visit to the beach, prepare yourself for a vast number of choices:  this island has over 125 miles of coastline. Don’t let the sheer amount of options leave you feeling underwater, though.  When it comes to Martha’s Vineyard beaches, there’s plenty to go around and lots of different atmospheres to enjoy.

 

South Beach, Martha's Vineyard
South Beach on Martha’s Vineyard | Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism via flickr (CC BY-ND 2.0)

 

South Beach (Edgartown)

If you enjoy people watching and don’t mind being around a crowd, South Beach is sure to please. This slice of sandy paradise is on the Atlantic coast, just south of Edgartown (it’s also our main beach).  Lifeguards are on duty July and August, but caution is always advised as the surf can be quite rough and take you by surprise (especially important to remember for kiddos in tow).  South Beach is popular with younger visitors and residents of the Island, so if you’re under 30, this is the place to hang (or if you’re over 30 and want to pretend, that works too).  If people watching isn’t your thing, there’s always sandcastle building! South Beach is such a great spot for constructing architectural masterpieces that the Edgartown Board of Trade now sponsors a Sand Sculpting contest each August, so grab a pail and shovel and get practicing!

 

State Beach (Edgartown/Oak Bluffs)

For a quieter pace, with lifeguards and excellent swimming, head to State Beach. It’s accessible by bike path and located between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. It’s a great choice for family visits, as there’s always kids building sandcastles, splashing, and generally raising a ruckus.  The water here is calm enough that the local kids even have their swimming lessons here.

 

Lighthouse Beach (Edgartown)

Edgartown Lighthouse - Martha's Vineyard
Lighthouse Beach in Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard

If you want to hunker down and read in peace and quiet, bring your bookish bundle to Lighthouse Beach in Edgartown.  As the name suggests, it’s just beside the lighthouse.  The fact that there is very little parking means that this beach is generally quite quiet and it’s really nice to watch the sailboats glide in and out of the harbor. It’s only a few minutes walk from our front door, so it is very convenient but remarkably underused.

 

Chappaquiddick Beaches

Get your steps in and experience true peace and quiet on a journey to our neighboring island of Chappaquiddick.  The beaches here are pristine but require a bit more legwork than the average sandy spot. Just make sure you prepare in advance — there are no stores over on Chappy, so pack a lunch to enjoy on-the-go!

 

Can’t decide which Martha’s Vineyard beaches to visit during your trip? Don’t be shy — swing by our front desk and we’ll tell you all about the up-Island gems and down-Island coves.

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

Martha’s Vineyard is one showstopper of an island with a rich history to boot, and nothing reflects that quite like the island’s golf courses. From the remote allure of the Chappaquiddick Links to the pristine ocean views of Farm Neck, each course is its own beautiful patch of club-swingin’ excitement.

 

Golfing in Massachusetts, Golf Courses in Martha's Vineyard
Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism/CC BY-ND 2.0

 

5 Martha’s Vineyard Golf Courses

 

Royal & Ancient Chappaquiddick Links

As its name suggests, the Royal & Ancient Chappaquiddick Links (or RACL for short), is practically royal in every way. The links were established all the way back in 1887, and are often considered a hidden gem on Chappaquiddick Island. To get there, you have to hop aboard the Chappy Ferry, which runs year-round out of Memorial Wharf in Edgartown, and then aboard the greens keeper’s turquoise VW bus for the ride to the links.

 

The quirky nine-hole course is surrounded by untouched forestry, fitting for the quiet and secluded location. While not generally open to the public, weekly memberships are available, offering unlimited play. We can often arrange tee-times at RACL for guests of Vineyard Square Hotel — just ask!

 

Edgartown Golf Club

Backdropped by beautiful views of the Vineyard Sound and the Trapps Pond, Edgartown Golf Club is just the spot to put your swing to the test while getting those full-fledged picturesque views. It’s also unique in that the club is open to members and their guests year-round, weather permitting. The club also hosts many benefit tournaments during the summer, and a comprehensive junior golf program so that the kids can take a few shots on the green.

 

Farm Neck Golf Course, Links in Martha's Vineyard
Farm Neck Golf Course. Photo: Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism/CC BY-ND 2.0

Farm Neck Golf Club


Finally, a golf club with the
presidential seal of approval! Nestled up in Oak Bluffs, Farm Neck Golf Club features 18 holes with a reputation for championship-level quality. Follow the greens through intimate woodlands, beautiful open meadows, salt marshes, and fantastic ocean views.

 

You can satisfy your hunger at the cafe and enroll in lessons if you’re looking to take your first swing. Technophiles, you’ll have a leg up on the competition with a complimentary smartphone app called YamaTrack — it shows your position on the course and yardage to go. You might want to look up while you’re swinging, though!

 

Mink Meadows Golf Club

Away off in the far north (Tisbury), Mink Meadows is conveniently positioned just beyond Vineyard Haven. The clearings of trees that form Mink Meadows were originally made in 1928 as fire lines to prevent wildfire spread. The owner of the property, Robert Bigelow, realized that the clearings looked like fairways and decided to transform the land into a golf course.

 

Mink Meadows caters to both both seasoned and novice players with varying degrees of difficulty in their nine holes. They host a wide variety of events and tournaments with a Ladies’ Day each Thursday, and offer pro shop services and lessons for all ages.

 

Vineyard Golf Club

Vineyard Golf Club may be the newest game in town, but it still has classic design elements that provide fun challenges — take the third hole, which features a devilish sand trap just before the fairway. Just outside of Edgartown, the club was named by GOLF Magazine as the “Best New Private Course” of 2015. The course also draws visitors for being the only organic golf course in the U.S. — no chemical pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers on these greens.

 

With all of the options to take a swing at, you’ll definitely want to add golf clubs to your packing list for Martha’s Vineyard. The folks at Vineyard Square are more than willing to give you more tips for your trip, so don’t hesitate to ask.

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

Looking out over Edgartown Harbor from the fourth-floor porch at Vineyard Square, our eyes always come back to the two ferries making 500-foot runs between Chappaquiddick and Edgartown. The island next door almost looks connected from here, and the occasional guest has been known to ask why they don’t just build a bridge. The answer, as any islander will tell you, is that Chappy is a different place altogether from Martha’s Vineyard. It’s smaller, quieter, and mostly undeveloped. If you haven’t visited, consider spending a half-day or longer exploring any combination of these four things to do on Chappaquiddick.

 

Chappaquiddick as seen from Edgartown

 

Golf at the Royal & Ancient Chappaquiddick Links

Chappy’s only golf course is a drive, a chip, and a putt back to simpler times. The scenery is gorgeous, with each hole making great use of natural geography. Just like when it was founded in 1887, the course doesn’t have carts, so you’ll have plenty of time to stroll and enjoy the water views. The atmosphere is laid-back and playful from the moment the bright blue VW Crow Bus picks up golfers from the ferry, and the Links have even been known to host rounds of full-moon night golf. Guests at Vineyard Square can add an all-inclusive round (with ferry tickets, pick up and drop off on the Crow Bus, and club rentals and balls) for $50.

 

Oversand Excursion to Cape Poge Lighthouse

On the far north end of Chappaquiddick lies the most isolated of the five Martha’s Vineyard lighthouses. Cape Poge is separated from the rest of the mainland by a great deal of marshland that makes for a slow and bumpy but absolutely beautiful oversand drive. Expert tour guides from the Trustees of Reservations take visitors on this adventure and welcome them inside the lighthouse. This Chappaquiddick experience is so essential that we’re offering it on the house to our midweek guests staying two nights or more in July and August 2015 — get the details here.

 

Bikes at Vineyard SquareChappaquiddick Bike Rides

Chappaquiddick is the perfect size to navigate by bike. If you’re staying at Vineyard Square, simply borrow one of our Schwinn cruisers and hop aboard the ferry. Bring a picnic lunch and head down the only main road on Chappaquiddick, which turns to dirt after four miles. When you reach the end a mile later, you’ll be at Wasque Point, where currents and tides are constantly changing the sandy shore landscape. The sand bars at Norton Point actually connect Chappaquiddick to Martha’s Vineyard sometimes, which is the case as of summer 2015.

Mytoi Japanese Garden

Spoiler alert: Mytoi isn’t actually a Japanese name at all. Though the creator of the gardens modeled them after the Japanese style, he also took to calling them “my toy,” and the name stuck. These 14 peaceful acres include walking trails, a rustic shelter, and multiple stone and flower gardens. The highlight is Poucha Pond, where visitors can meditate on a small island reached via footbridge. It’s a great spot to see turtles and frogs along with osprey fishing from the air.

 

Chappaquiddick, with its one general store, doesn’t have a downtown area — in fact, it’s actually governed as part of Edgartown. After a day exploring the beaches and trails that make up this neighboring island, you can relax knowing your return ferry will drop you off in the heart of the village, just steps away from fantastic dining and convenient Edgartown lodging options.

 

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

Cape-PogeI have developed a routine. Not so shocking for those of you who know me. Each afternoon or early evening, I’ll pack up my daughter into the backpack and we will walk to the harbor. We will feed the swan, should he appear and watch the boats.

“Boats! Boats, boats, boats!” she chirps in my ear as we approach the water. Anyone with a toddler knows the lure of different vehicles.

I used to think “Chappy Ferry…most boring job on the Island! 500 feet, one minute to cross, BAH!

With my little girl looking on so eagerly, I have started to watch more closely and I have to say that it is trickier than I thought.

Storms in the spring of 2007 ripped a hole in the beach that connects Chappaquiddick to the Vineyard. Rumor has it that ‘Chappaquiddick’ means ‘sometimes an island’. Storms in March 2008 ripped a second breach as well and the constant current through the harbor has caused further erosion.

The Breach has changed the ways the tide flows, caused rip tides, and eddies (which are apparently great, tricky swirly bits.) (You probably couldn’t tell until now, but I am not a boater…)

My new opinion just from watching them with a toddler: Phew! Wouldn’t want to be Captain Wells! They load fast, cars and people, take off and have to turn 90 degrees and slide across the current. If they don’t the current pushes them off course a few hundred feet.

It was busy enough coming and going off Chappaquiddick on Friday that they started running TWO boats. That was fun to watch. Two boats, crossing each other in the current. A Watery Dance of Death. (Except that these people know what they are doing and no one was at risk in any way.)

There are no shops or restaurants on Chappy so what do we send the Colonial Inn guests over there to do? The Trustees of Reservations have a great series of guided and self-guided tours. Kayak or canoe trips, four-wheel drive over sand trips to the last lonely little lighthouse at Cape Poge are available with reservations.

The Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, the Mytoi Japanese Gardens and the Wasque Reservationare all worth the trip over.

Yes, there is a bridge. No, it’s not the same one. There’s nothing to “see” there. Just enjoy the trip and nature’s beauty!

Image courtesy of The Trustees of Reservations

 

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

The ocean is a marvelous place. It is literally a place of marvels. People travel from deep in the interior sections of a continent just to spend a few days in its proximity. As they near it, their hearts – if not their voices – resonate with that of William Clark who cried at his first sight of the Pacific, “Ocean in view! O! The joy!” We are willing to spend a massive premium for the privilege of an ocean vista, disregarding the dangers it poses.

It only takes a few minutes at the beach to realize that there is more to it than sand and water. Peter Kreeft, prolific author and professor of philosophy at Boston College, has caught this vision. He says that by God’s design, “the ocean is a perfect toy: always there, always willing to play with you, just dangerous enough to be exciting, never needing replacement, unbreakable, never boring, and you don’t even have to put it away when you’re finished playing with it. Watch how little kids treat it; they know what it’s for.”

Indeed, no one seems to appreciate the beach like a child. The little girl has no need of a “beach book” or a radio to pass the time. Her younger brother isn’t concerned with making a fashion statement or getting the perfect tan. The sand, shells, waves, sun, and breeze all provide more than enough distraction for the most innocent among us. And if they have the proper tools, who knows what imaginative creations they may construct in the sand?

My preferred portion of coastline on the Vineyard, in spite of its often overbearing crowds, is South Beach. The power of the surf there is humbling, more than once leaving me tumbling in its foamy aftermath. The shoreline goes on almost to the vanishing point in either direction. One can stroll its shifting sands in peace for hours. (In the absence of the breach, a stroll to Chappy is even a possibility, if a stretch physically.)

You never know what wonder you will encounter along that stretch of shoreline. There is a seemingly endless variety of birds to watch – some skittering in the shallow surf, some repeatedly diving headlong into the waves foraging for a meal. While lacking an abundance of shells, there are yet some prizes to be found for the diligent. Patience and a keen eye may also reward you with a rare seal or dolphin sighting.

Those who lug their laptops, cell phones and iPods to the beach will have their reward, I suppose. I prefer to follow the lead of the little ones. When it comes to the ocean, they know the magic it holds better than I do.

 

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