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Martha's Vineyard Transportation

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

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

ferry1Probably one of the least romanticized aspects of Martha’s Vineyard is the Steamship Authority‘s ferry service.  It’s old.  It’s stodgy.  It’s even smelly on occasion.  People may make disparaging comments about the boats or the service or the crowds, but I’ll have none of it.  Think of me what you will, but I like the ferry.  It’s the people’s option.

The best part about taking the ferry is the separation that it provides from the land-locked life.  When I’m riding on the ferry, traversing Vineyard Sound to the Island, I can feel the anxiety and stress falling from me as if an oversized knapsack has been loosed from my back after a long, arduous hike.  As I anticipate a stay on the Island, my shoulders seem to rise an inch or two from the sheer relief of burdens picked up on the mainland.  I need that time of adjustment.

If there were a bridge or tunnel to the Vineyard, as some souvenir car stickers would have you believe, I would still take the boat.  I like the physical and emotional transition that it affords.  That’s why, when taking the car on the ferry, it’s best to get out and spend the crossing time topside.  Getting into the car and not getting out until you are on the Island has the same effect as driving over a bridge.  You just don’t get the break you need to start a real vacation.

Ferry-by-takomabibelot (1)Today there are two primary steamships making the voyage from Woods Hole, mypreferred point of departure: the three-year-old “M/V Island Home” and the venerable (by comparison) “M/V Martha’s Vineyard”.  (There is also a set of freighter ships, but I prefer to stay with the passenger vessels.  Even I have my limits!)  My preference is for the bi-directional newer ship.  It doesn’t need to turn around upon MV arrival as the older boat does.  Thus, I can set my feet on Island soil that much sooner.

The Steamship is reliable and consistent.  It runs year round and only the harshest of weather keeps it from its appointed rounds.  Its persistence accounts for some exciting happenings.  I recall a particularly rough crossing, during which one courageous soul insisted on sitting on the outside deck of the ferry.  As he sat alone  (no one else was foolhardy enough to venture outside on this passage) reading his newspaper, a rogue wave came over the front of the ship, engulfing him in bone-chilling salt water.  He came back inside, humbled, wiser, and soaked to the marrow.

I don’t mean to disparage the obvious benefits of the alternative means of transport.  The “Island Queen”, a passenger-only vessel that takes its patrons from Falmouth Harbor to Oak Bluffs Harbor, is fast and convenient, with far less hectic departures and arrivals.  From the other side of Falmouth Harbor, the quaint “Pied Piper” will drop you off right in downtown Edgartown.  (How cool is that?)  I won’t touch on the relative merits of the air routes to the Vineyard.  That discussion is left for the more affluent among us.

All things considered, however, I prefer the pace, tradition, and yes, the price of the Steamship Authority option.  Truth be told, anything that gets me to the Vineyard is appreciated!  In this case, because of the delights of the destination, getting there is not nearly half the fun!

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

Hello to friends of the Colonial Inn and Martha’s Vineyard. I’m happy to be back at work and in the loop after a quiet winter away from everyone. The Vineyard is bustling with spring activity. All of the busy little worker ants are scurrying about getting the island ready for our 2010 visitors. Restaurants and stores are opening their doors at record speed. As usual, you will find much the same, as well as some changes.

MV Bridge by cdsessumsTo follow up on the island doings I discussed in my last blog, let me start with the bridges along State Beach between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. As I mentioned then, they will be only half finished for this upcoming season, but you will certainly be impressed with the progress. From what I can tell, as I peek through all the work equipment as I drive by, both bridges will now arch a bit in the center, making the jump from Big Bridge a bit more challenging for all you aquatic daredevils. The railing is now going up, and it is an architectural delight.

Another work of art awaits you at the dock in Oak Bluffs. The new ferry terminal accomplishes what few new structures can. It is not only stunning and functional, but looks like it belongs to the scenery it inhabits. In addition to the impressive new building itself, the walkway down the Steamship Authority terminal dock is now much sturdier and completely covered to protect you when you happen to arrive on one of our infrequent stormy days. Just across the street, new road construction will keep the traffic flowing far better than ever before.

On the way into Vineyard Haven, check out our fantastic new hospital. Don’t hesitate to stop in and visit the long awaited, state of the art facility. Travelling on, you’ll find the now completed, temporary Lagoon drawbridge. The old bridge has finally disappeared into thin air, or at least to some salvage yard, and the area is greatly improved. The only thing you might find disconcerting is that there is now a bend in the road as you both approach and leave the bridge. Take special heed of this especially if you are dining in Vineyard Haven, whose residents have just agreed to allow beer and wine sales in restaurants. (That’s right folks. No more BYOB!) After all, we would hate to see you miss the curve and end up several feet beyond in the new hospital.

All in all, the Vineyard is mightily spruced up and waiting for you. Come see us soon.

Photos Credit: cdsessums

 

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