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Martha's Vineyard Activities

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

Evelyn

Walk around the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs and see the Gingerbread Cottages but be sure to look for Eleanor.  She’s well past ninety, a wealth of Martha’s Vineyard info, and she may even ask you to sign her visitor’s book.  She will be on her porch waiting for you to come by.

Oak Bluffs is a nice bike ride from Vineyard Square Hotel in Edgartown

Michael

Pack some snacks in Edgartown then drive, bike or bus up to Chilmark and explore the Great Rock Bight Preserve. (Top left hand corner, mouse over the #34 for info and directions.) After a hike, swim out to the Great Rock. (Bring some water-shoes! The barnacles are sharp!)

Vincent

Take the 13 bus up to Oak Bluffs and grab a slice of pizza from Giordano’s. Now take that delicious slice to Ocean Park, grab a bench, and enjoy your lunch; and one of the best views on the island.

Lane

To truly relax on your Martha’s Vineyard vacation, walk around the Lagoon, from Oak Bluffs to Vineyard Haven and back, at low tide. (There’s no beach at high tide!) No crowds, and the peaceful sound of the waves lapping on the sand is better than an hour of meditation.

Joanne

Stroll down the street from our Martha’s Vineyard hotel and hop on the harbor launch for a half hour ride around Edgartown harbor – “It’s only an island if you look at it from the water” (small fee)

Janice

Looking for a great Edgartown restaurant for seafood? Look no further than the Square Rigger Restaurant which has the best lobster in town. You can hop onto the #11 Park and Ride from Mayhew Lane at no cost and don’t have to worry about drinking too much for dinner.

Rob

I love going to the bar at Détente for an early dinner. Between 5:30 and 6:00 everything on the menu is half price. They have an often changing and always interesting selection of wines by the glass. This is one of the best deals on the Island.

CJ

Grab a lobster roll at Grace Church on Friday afternoon (voted “best lobster roll” on the island in “Best of the Vineyard” past five years) and head to your favorite Martha’s Vineyard beach for a picnic.  Evenings are a great time of day to enjoy the beach and cool off without the crowds!

 

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

Guitar Fingers by vl8189-resized-600

“What do you do here in the winter?” – It’s a question that almost every year-round resident has been asked by a wide eyed tourist in the height of August business.  The answer on the tip of the tongue for me is, “Enjoy the peace and quiet” but that’s not to say that there is nothing to do!  Open the calendar section of the MV Times and you will be amazed at the number and variety of events we have to choose from on any given week – Salsa Classes anyone? A Moonrise Meander thru Felix Neck Sanctuary? Movie nights, book clubs, fundraisers and pot luck suppers abound but the thing that amazes many winter visitors is the abundance of live music on the Vineyard in the dead of winter.
It will amaze most of you to know that, even in January, you can hear live music at least 5 nights a week on Martha’s Vineyard!  OK, on some nights there may be just one option, not the multiple choices of August but what we lack in quantity we certainly make up for in quality – most of those summer favorites are year round Vineyarders, strumming and crooning all winter long.

Let’s start the week on Tuesday (Sunday and Monday seem to be musician ‘weekend’ on MV), with jazz at Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs. Join well known Island favorites Eric Johnson and Jeremy Berlin for a set as smooth as the beers they accompany.

Return to Offshore on Wednesday night for Irish music – always a well attended and fun evening in this cozy atmosphere.

Thursday night takes us to Season Pub in Oak Bluffs for a night with the Mike Benjamin Band.  If you have been at the Colonial Inn on a Thursday evening in summer, you will be familiar with Mike and his crew.  They can really get the crowd hopping with their mix of covers from across the musical spectrum.

The latest addition to the ‘scene’ is Friday nights ‘In the Window’ at the Wharf pub in Edgartown with local favorites Don Groover and Kevin Keady.  With Kevin’s gravelly vocals and Don’s amazing guitar skills, you could easily think you had been transported to a smoky club in a big city, not quiet little Edgartown in January!

On Saturdays the Ritz Café in OB has live music from a variety of Island musicians throughout the winter.  They really liven up the sleepy winter months for us!

This selection is just the tip of the musical iceberg and doesn’t even scratch the surface of all the special events, fundraisers and the like that have their musical accompaniment on any given week.

So, do you still think there’s nothing to do on Martha’s Vineyard in winter?

Do you have a favorite Island artist? Who are your ‘must hear’ musicians? What is your favorite music venue on the Vineyard?

Photo Credit: vl8189

 

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

Sunset at Lamberts Cove by PetersbarThis year was my 10th Thanksgiving.  Yes, it’s the Scottish girl again with an outsiders perspective but I feel I might not be fully qualified for this post.  You see, the problem is that ALL of my Thanksgiving experiences have been here on Martha’s Vineyard and from what I can tell from friends in the ‘real world’ and all the crazy talk on TV, Thanksgiving on Martha’s Vineyard, like everything else about this Island, is quite unique.

Yes, the lines in the grocery store are huge on Wednesday, but then I can always go toMorning Glory Farm for my veggies and a yummy fresh baked pie.  Yes, many flee to destinations far and wide to spend the holiday with loved ones and many also arrive to spend Thanksgiving with loved ones on the Island but there are no 4 hour back ups on our highways – that would take every car on the Island on State Road all at once!  Yes, there are sale signs in the stores, but there will be no “Doorbuster Specials” or lines outside stores at 4am to buy a cheap TV or the latest must have toy.  It’s just different here.

The transient nature of many of our residents means that a lot of folks cannot be with their families for the holiday and so this is where our ‘Island Family’ kicks into high gear.  Let’s face it – there’s no Thanksgiving where I come from, so I’m not heading home for the holiday.  Also, my hubby and I almost always work at least part of Thanksgiving Day helping others enjoy their holiday but every year we are invited to at least 5 homes to share the holiday with our Island loved ones.  There is always an extra place at the table, delicious food to be shared and many laughs to be had along the way.  Now I know what you are all thinking, “That’s not so unusual Joanne – we do the same with our friends here!”.  But how many of you can come home from a long day of serving up turkey and the trimmings to hundreds of hungry guests, feet throbbing and tummy growling, to a cooler on your doorstep, left anonymously with a “Happy Thanksgiving – Enjoy!” note, packed with yummy leftovers ready to be made into that long awaited leftover sandwich?!  It was like a secret Santa but for Thanksgiving!  Now, I know the next thought in your head, “Really? You ate food someone left for you on your doorstep and you don’t know who left it???” and that’s the unique part – we didn’t think twice about that – some lovely friend (we’re still not sure who and this was a few years ago), was sweet enough to think of us and deliver a feast, complete with dessert, to make our day a little brighter!

Living on Martha’s Vineyard has taught me to lead a simpler, more honest and more trusting life.  I don’t need to shop til I drop.  I don’t need to buy things just because I got a deal.  I don’t pour money into the big box store machines.  I buy almost everything I need right here, in locally owned and operated stores.  I get my shoes at Brickmans or Petunias, I get my clothes at Basics or the Green Room, I buy home goods, not at Home Goods, but at Le Roux, Bowl and Board, or one of the other amazing boutiques here.  Yes it costs a little more sometimes but it helps my friends and neighbors maintain a life here, just like my friends helped me by delivering yummy treats to a hungry worker.  I’ve learned to appreciate the simple stuff that many are missing in the ‘real world’ as they sit in traffic, waiting to get a parking spot at the mall.

I am truly thankful that I landed on Martha’s Vineyard and made it my home.  We are all lucky to be able to experience this little slice of heaven, whether you are here for a few days, a few weeks or a lifetime – there’s no place like it!  What makes you thankful to be on Martha’s Vineyard?

Photo Credit: Petersbar

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

 

Fall-sky-by-deel34
Fall Sky by deel34

1. You HATE sunny days with temps in the low 60’s – “Give me the 90’s and humid or nothing!”
2. The only thing you hate more than that is a cool, crisp evening with a breeze blowing in the window – must have AC!
3. You can’t stand being able to walk into all the great restaurants with no reservations and still get a great table, great food and great service.
4. It drives you mad when people are friendly and helpful and can take an extra 10 minutes to show you their favorite spots to visit – you much prefer the harried and rushed service that sometimes comes with the summer crowds.
5. You always like to pay full price for everything – sales, discounts and promotional rates are not your thing at all!
6. Empty beaches are the enemy – long walks on the beach with not a soul to be seen sound boring.
7. You have no interest in learning – all the seminars, festivals and educational activities are an awful waste of time.
8. The highlight of your vacation is that 4 hour wait in the stand-by line at the ferry – it just wouldn’t be the same if you could get a reservation at the time you prefer.
9. Hustle and bustle are what you thrive on – serene views, quiet streets and a slower pace of life are hell for you.
10. Most of all – you LOVE to be stuck in traffic wherever you go – the 10 minute wait to get through 5 corners and the 20 minutes to get through the Triangle are what life is all about!

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