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Nature Trails

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Great Rock by Joanne Sardini

I already covered most of the Edgartown area beaches in an earlier post, so now to venture a little further afield…
I mentioned in my last post how fun State Beach is – lots of kids, lots of fun, great swimming. If you continue on Beach road to Oak Bluffs you will come across Inkwell Beach, just minutes from the downtown area. You will see lots of people swimming ‘laps’ between the 2 breakwaters every morning and it’s a great spot if you don’t have a car as it is easily accessible on the VTA bus route 13.

Between Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs, next to the drawbridge, is Eastville Beach. A small parking lot can take about 30 cars so it’s always pretty quiet and I love to sit and watch the ferries and other boats coming in and out of Vineyard Haven harbor – sometimes you can be lucky enough to see one of the Black Dog Tall Ships, the Shenandoah or the Alabama, in full sail – spectacular! You can take a ride on one of these beautiful ships, or just sit back and admire.

Head ‘Up-Island’ to the more rural areas of Martha’s Vineyard and public beaches are a little scarcer. Many of the beaches in this area are private or restricted access, so be careful not to wander where you may not be welcome. With that said, there are a few gems that cannot be left out…One of my favorite hidden gems is Great Rock Bight. Not the easiest beach to find, it is about 3.8 miles along North Road from the intersection with State Road. Parking is very limited so be prepared to get there early. The property is managed by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank and has a lovely walking trail which winds through scenic woodlands to the beach. Be aware that the stairs to the beach are very steep – it can be a tough climb back, so pack light! When you get to the beach you can’t miss the Great Rock about 20 feet off shore. Relax on the sandy stretch near the stairs, or wander along the rocky stretch to your left and discover rock ponds and hidden coves.

Another ‘Up-Island’ gem is Moshup Trail – featured on the Travel Channel as America’s best walking beach – this is another Land Bank property. Less than half a mile from the public parking and bus stop at Aquinnah, this stretch of Atlantic beach sits in the shadow of the Aquinnah Cliffs and Gay Head lighthouse. It takes a little effort to get to this out of the way location, but it is definitely worth it! Just don’t climb on the cliffs, they are a Nationally Protected Landmark and it is a Federal offence to climb on them or take a piece home. Enjoy the surf, the sand and have a roll in the clay mud – it is said to have restorative powers.

There are lots of other great spots – which one is your favorite?

 

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

When I say that Martha’s Vineyard is too “City-fied” for me, people laugh.

squirrel2Here is my perspective: I came to the Vineyard after living for ten years in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. I lived in a condominium where bears came through the parking lot to the dumpsters on a regular basis and if I took a wrong turn out of the back yard, I could be lost for hours in the deep woods. THAT is a walk in the woods for me!

The Island is rural, but I like ‘the wilds’ so yes… “City-fied” is the word I use.

There ARE places on the Vineyard that come close enough to solitude to suit me. Okay, July and August there is NO seclusion to be had, but most of the time I can find a short trail with a decent level of quiet.

Felix Neck is great. We have taken several long walks through the Sanctuary over the years and it is full of gorgeous birds and plants.

Its location is also very nice. It lies well off the Vineyard Haven / Edgartown road and looks out across the State Beach area on the far end of the Sanctuary. As there is the wide expanse of water between the Felix Neck property and the Beach Road to Oak Bluffs, it feels more secluded than it really is.

I also enjoy it for the rabbits and squirrels. Most people would not suspect it to look at me, but I am a ‘squirrel-talker’. I can chirp and call red and gray squirrels from the trees to within several feet of me. They will chatter back at me as well. I also had a rare black squirrel accost me aggressively in my own yard once…pretty cheeky of him, but as I have no idea what I said first to him, I guess I have to overlook it.

I can’t wait to teach my daughter the ways of the ‘Squirrel-Talker’, but I digress!

The Colonial Inn is on the Felix Neck e-mailing list so ask at the Front Desk for a run-down on events. They have various guided tours and special events of different styles throughout the summer: Down By The Shore, Creature Feature and Coastal Water bird Walk all occur before July 4th but there is a daily guided tour that is free of charge Monday through Friday.

A recurring event throughout the summer is the Felix Neck Kayak Quest from the increasingly popular treasure hunt series for children. $40 per boat for non-Audubon Society members will provide boat, paddles (always helpful), lifejackets and the Quest materials. You work at your own pace and self-guide through the Sengekontacket Pond and the Quest book clues will lead your band of adventurers to the hidden Box.

That just has fun slathered all over it!

Tell the squirrels I said ‘Hey!’

Image courtesy of John Morgan

 

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