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Edgartown Lighthouse

While some people think a family trip should be solely focused on the kids, we disagree. A family trip is for the whole family, which means that, personally, we think you shouldn’t suffer through your hard-earned vacation days. Martha’s Vineyard has a number of activities that strike a balance between kid fun and adult enjoyment. Where your kids find magic, you’ll find history; where they find silliness, you’ll find aesthetic beauty. These top four activities will ensure that every person on your family trip has a vacation to remember.

 

Gingerbread Cottages

Wander Through the Whimsical Gingerbread Cottages

Every little kid (and adult, if we’re being honest) dreams of living in a house made of candy, or at least one that looks like it. The Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs are famous for their candy colored exteriors and their whimsical names. Challenge each other to come up with cottage names that are more unique and silly than “Wooden Valentine” or “Lazy Dayz.” Another idea: cast yourself as the witch in a Hansel & Gretel-esque game of make believe (we hear this is a great tactic for keeping your kids on their best behavior during your family trip).

 

Edgartown Lighthouse - Family TripYour Family Trip Gets Brighter at the Edgartown Lighthouse

No family trip to Edgartown would be complete without a visit to its most famous landmark: the Edgartown Lighthouse. The current lighthouse was built in 1938 and the interior is still open to visitors (children under 12 get in free!). Peak your children’s interest by explaining how lighthouses keep boats from crashing into shore. After your family visits the lighthouse, plan to stay and spend time wandering up and down Lighthouse Beach, where you’ll take in views of Edgartown harbor and Chappaquiddick.

 

Hop on the Flying Horses

Skip the typical carousel ride and hop aboard a flying horse. The whimsical fun continues at the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs. Originally from Coney Island, this Martha’s Vineyard fixture is the oldest platform carousel in the United States. While your kids may not care too much about the history, at least you can say that your family trip had some educational value amidst all the fun. Be warned though: kids who ride the flying horses tend not to want to get off.

 

Pirate Adventures Marthas Vineyard
Photo: Pirate Adventures

Move your Family Trip to the High Seas with Pirate Adventures

All-aboard, mateys and get ready to take Martha’s Vineyard by sea. When your kids are acting like swashbucklers and scallawags, move your family trip aboard the Sea Gypsy. Bid a hearty ‘yo-ho’ to their crew — everyday is “talk like a pirate day” at Pirate Adventures — and let your kids get dressed up in their finest pirate garb. Hopefully, they’ve brushed up on their navigating skills because they’re going to help the crew search for gold doubloons. All the while, you’ll get to ride along the high seas and take in the views of land (-ho!). You and your little lads and lasses will let forth a mighty “arrr!” after your role-playing adventure on the sea.

 

With all the effort that goes into planning the perfect family trip, you deserve a little relaxation once you arrive to Martha’s Vineyard. Our two-bedroom luxury suites will allow you some peace and quiet. Your family can spread out comfortably in the suite, and you can spend some quiet time reading on your private balcony.

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

Whaling Church1-resized-196Have the kids not come up with a theme for “What I Did on my Summer Vacation”, or are you just not up to another day at the beach? The Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust, in partnership with the Martha’s Vineyard Museum, have come up with a solution to not only these dilemmas, but many others as well. Grab the family or a friend, buy a $15 ticket for entrance to their Edgartown properties, and spend an educational and fun day soaking in some of Martha’s Vineyard’s past and present.

The pass will get you into The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, where you could easily spend the entire day making your way through the historical objects, documents, books, photographs, paintings and exhibits.

You can also enjoy The Old Whaling Church on Main Street. It is a magnificent Greek Revival structure, originally built for the Methodist whaling captains and which now serves a perfect venue for weddings, concerts, and lectures.

Next to the church, stop in at The Dr. Daniel Fisher House, an elegant1840 Federal style residence, now used for private parties, and many of the receptions for the church’s weddings.

Stroll through the manicured, vast grounds back to The Vincent House, the Island’s oldest residence, which has been restored to its original beauty with period antiques that represent life on Martha’s Vineyard during the last four centuries.

Now make your way to the harbor and peruse the exquisite art of Island artists at The Old Sculpin Gallery, which is also a museum and historic property. In other lives it has been a sail loft, a grain store, a whale oil factory, and a boat builder’s shed. Sounds like a haven for interesting and talented ghosts to me!

Finish your tour by following the harbor down North Water Street, past all the stately old whaling captain’s homes, to The Edgartown Lighthouse, built in 1881 to safely guide the whalers back home. It’s a delightfully peaceful spot to end and reflect on your new appreciation of Martha’s Vineyard history and lore.

Editor’s Note: The Colonial Inn is offerring a Martha’s Vineyard History Package for fall that combines all of the above with 2 nights room accomodations for 2, continental breakfast, and a 2 1/2 hour narrated bus tour of the entire island.  It’s a great value!

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

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It is the Holiday Season again, and with Thanksgiving behind us, the next big event on Martha’s Vineyard is “Christmas in Edgartown”.

Let me say up front that I am…less than enthusiastic, shall we say…of the Christmas season. I have an incredible dislike of commercial jingles, (did they start in mid-October this year? Curses…), smarmy holiday TV specials infuriate me and flamboyant decorating drives me nuts. I like a holiday of quiet reflection in keeping with my faith; I enjoy quality time with family without all the madness of shopping and messages of greed that assault us. I never achieve this, so I become a GrinchTM.

I know where this comes from. My mother is a very religious woman and every year, she vows to organize herself with her holiday crafts and gift ideas well beforetime and every year plans more than she can possibly accomplish. She wants so much to have a quiet holiday that every misstep in the schedule causes frustration and anxiety. Therefore, she cancels it.

From when I was maybe eight or nine years old until…well…two or three years ago, actually, my Mom cancels Christmas. All of Christmas, mind you. No half measures here. Dinners, cookies, trees lights, gifts…you name it, she’s done with it. This starts anywhere from the end of September and last until two days before Christmas. We always HAVE Christmas, but the three months of ranting cancellations have perpetually dampened my Holiday Cheer.

Genetically, I tend toward this pattern, but I have an almost two-year old girl-baby. She loves Christmas. The photo shows her at the Wharf Pub last year at the Breakfast with Santa event. She doesn’t look very enthused about it, but THIS year…well, from talking with her, she’s ready this time. (Video evidence of this years trip to the Christmas Loft store tends to make me doubt this claim…but we will see!)

(If your browser won’t display this video, click here to open a new window.)

Kate’s enthusiasm for Christmas this year and participating in last Christmas in Edgartown events last year are slowly chipping away at my Fortress of Grinchitude.

Edgartown is beautiful in so many ways, throughout the entire year, but during the ‘Christmas’ weekend December 11th – 13th, the town becomes truly magical.

The Edgartown Board of Trade organizes the weekends schedule the weekend, and posts aCalendar of Events. So many Inns and shops participate that there are very few places where there is no sparkly-wonderment to be found.

The excitement for that weekend is evident. Reservations requests for available Suites to rent for that weekend have been coming for months. The Edgartown Residence Club is participating in the Inns of Edgartown Tour on Friday and Saturday from 2-4PM.

From the lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse to hayrides from Main Street to the end of Water Street, there are free events that are great fun for all ages. (Even I enjoyed seeing Santa cruise into town on a fire engine during the Saturday morning parade down Main Street.)

Several events, like the Felix Neck gingerbread cookie decorating or Donaroma’s wreath making workshop, have a fee charged for the cost of the materials.

Some events have entry fees that support the organization’s event. The Minniesinger’s concerts on Friday and Saturday are a longstanding tradition on the island, and the kids put a lot of hard work into each production. A Holiday Soiree at the Daniel Fisher House benefits the Martha’s Vineyard Preservation Trust.

For those of you who are bold advocates of a particular charitable organization now is your chance to call the shots! All you have to do is win the 4th Annual Cookie Tasting event at Espresso Love. The event proceeds go to the winner’s choice.

The Dickens Village display at the Point Way Inn from 11AM to 5PM and the Faith Community Church’s Live Nativity on the steps of the Old Whaling Church on Saturday will immerse passersby in scenes of Christmas tradition.

There is too much going on that weekend to pass it by.

My GrinchyTM heart may not end up two sizes too small that weekend.

 

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

There have been discussions around the Colonial Inn since we started posting blog articles. Several of us have realized that…our hotel guests often see more of the Island than we, who live here, do!

Now, in our defense, hotel guests are here to visit. They have the freedom to meander and see the sights during their time of leisure. A large part of my job is to send them to lovely places. I have been to many places on the Island that are lovely, but I may not have been there recently.

Yesterday I took a very looong walk with my daughter. It started out as a quick trip to the library but as we exited, my toddler hung a hard left and strode with Purpose down Water Street. She was a trooper. She walked on her own until a half block from the end of the street and then said “Dada, up, please” which of course is my only task on this journey. (Sherpa…a father’s job anywhere on the planet!)

Here’s what I found: I have worked on North Water Street for five and a half years now and I hardly SEE it anymore. I scamper about the property during the summer trying to keep all the bells and whistles running, all the hula-hoops turning that a hotel requires. (Curse Bob Newhart, with his sweater vest and coffee mug. He makes running an Inn look so easy!)

Well, at full toddler speed, which alternates between full sprint and spiraling drift, I was able to look more closely at Water Street than I have in years. It truly is lovely. The old whaling captain’s houses, some of which are dated from as early as 1850, are in various states of disrepair and undergoing repair as we pass. The white picket fences are overwhelmed with greenery and blooms from all the rain. I was afraid to let Kate lean too heavily on some as there were several that may not have supported her, but we did stop to smell the roses.

There are tiny gates on many of the fences with thick green lawn behind. Some of those have paths that run back into trellises, dark little tunnels that look magical. We could not venture back there, although with a toddler I could have explained away the trespassing with ease.

My Little Adventurer rallied when we reached the path to the lighthouse. (There is nothing better than a crushed shell path to regain the energy in little legs…and the flowers are spectacular. We liberated a black-eyed Susan, which sadly was too well loved to finish the journey with us.) Boats and waves, gulls and shells, with Kate so fascinated with them all, I found myself viewing them with new wonder myself.

In an area that gets so busy with tourism and keeps me hopping during the summer months, I appreciate the time walking with my little one and looking at things in a fresh way.

By the time I carried her all the way back to the Colonial Inn, I needed a nap myself, but what a way to spend a rare sunny afternoon. She charted a course and swept me along. It was not the white edges of the map where there ‘be dragons’, but it was a good start for an 18 month old.

I want to teach her to love adventure, but it seems I’ll learn from her too. That’s a fair trade!

 

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