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

things to do on martha's vineyard

A woman walking around a museum while visiting Martha's Vineyard in winter.Martha’s Vineyard is known for being a go-to summer vacation destination. However, this New England is the perfect escape any time of year. If you’re looking to get away from the crowds, try visiting Martha’s Vineyard and Vineyard Square Hotel & Suites in the winter. This season is a fantastic time for couples looking to enjoy quality, uninterrupted time together while enjoying a slower-paced vacation.

5 Things to Do in Martha’s Vineyard in the Winter

While winter is the shoulder season on Martha’s Vineyard, there is still plenty of fun to be had. Remember that some attractions may be closed or operate on limited hours, so be sure to call or check online for the most current information.

  1. Martha’s Vineyard Museum is open year-round, giving you the perfect indoor adventure, but hours vary depending on the time of year. Wander the range of exhibits that explore the history and heritage of the island.
  2. Winter is the perfect time to get new mittens or sweaters from the Island Alpaca Company. Located in nearby Oak Bluffs, the gift shop features a variety of products made from alpaca. 
  3. A majority of the shops in Edgartown close down for the season, but if you’re hoping to do some holiday shopping, head to Vineyard Haven. While you’ll still want to check out store hours, a large portion of stores in this Martha’s Vineyard town are open through the winter.
  4. If you’re looking to spend some time outdoors, make your way to Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury. The grounds are open daily from sunrise to sunset, but the visitor center is closed starting in mid-October.
  5. Get in the holiday spirit by timing your visit to coincide with Christmas in Edgartown. Taking place at the beginning of December, this annual festival includes the lighting of the Edgartown Lighthouse, an art and crafts festival, a parade, and more.

Our concierge staff can help answer any questions you may have about what attractions are open.

Reserve Your Winter Getaway Today

A guestroom at an Edgartown hotel to stay in while visiting Martha's Vineyard in winter.There’s still plenty of time to plan your winter vacation to Martha’s Vineyard. There’s no better place to call home on your visit than Vineyard Square Hotel & Suites. Found in the heart of charming Edgartown. Our hotel expertly combines luxury amenities and incredible lodging options, all at an affordable price.

We offer a blend of traditional guest rooms and luxury accommodations, which means you can find the perfect room type for you. After a day of exploring, come back and grab one of our board games to play back in your room. For more information about booking your stay or special offers, call 508-627-4711.

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

We dedicate a healthy chunk of this blog to helping first-time visitors learn island basics for planning a classic Martha’s Vineyard vacation — but what about those of you coming back for your second, third, or 30th year? For all who hope to expand their horizons, perfect their timing and planning, and master Martha’s Vineyard like locals, we sat down with a good friend who’s been returning season after season. Sue rides the ferry with the same group of friends every year, and, like many Vineyard veterans, she mixes new adventures into her classic routine on every visit. Even if you’ve heard of some of the Martha’s Vineyard activities below, Sue’s personal tips just might help you get the most out of them.

 

Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluffs | Martha's Vineyard Vacation Attractions

 

Sue’s Staples: Classic Martha’s Vineyard Vacation Activities

In addition to the usual downtown Edgartown attractions, Sue’s group usually heads over to Oak Bluffs for at least an afternoon. She insists that Cottage City, home of the island’s famed gingerbread houses, is genuinely worth an afternoon jaunt. We agree — if you haven’t taken a stroll to look at these colorful 19th-century cottages up close, you’ve been missing out (although we certainly understand the urge to stay in Edgartown). It really does feel like you’re in Candyland (minus the threat of Lord Licorice and Glumpy), and you’ll notice new architectural oddities with each visit. The best part? It’s free. Stop in to the Cottage Museum for all the details on how this unique neighborhood came to be.

 

The Martha’s Vineyard Concert Series is another perennial favorite. Serious artists play to small audiences at the Old Whaling Church, just around the corner from Vineyard Square. Authors, comedians, and other non-musical acts keep the schedule fresh and fun. The MV Playhouse, too, is more than just a rainy day aside — its professional performances belong front-and-center to any Martha’s Vineyard vacation.

 

A New Discovery: Bowling On-Island

This year, Sue’s group found its way to The Barn in Oak Bluffs and had a ball (many, in fact). This modern bowling alley has quite the cocktail list and is an ideal spot for indoor fun. To the delight of serious bowlers and non-New-Englanders alike, the lanes here use regulation bowling pins and balls — no candlepins in sight.

 

Sue’s Martha’s Vineyard Restaurant Tips

Sharky's Cantina Martha's Vineyard restaurant
Photo: 6SN7 via Flickr

If a restaurant has lasted more than a year or two on the Vineyard, you can pretty safely bet that it’s excellent. To narrow down your dining list, Sue’s found a couple of stand-outs over the years: she usually eats at Chesca’s at least once or twice — the convenience and creative fare make it irresistible (and it doesn’t hurt that it’s right next door to our Edgartown hotel). The second Martha’s Vineyard restaurant on Sue’s list is less obvious: venture inland from downtown Edgartown and grab a seat at Sharky’s Cantina. Don’t let the casual, unassuming vibe fool you — Sue swears by their steamed cod fish tacos.

 

Seasonal Hours at Chilmark Chocolates and Other Island Small Businesses

This is neither the first nor the last time you’ll catch us raving about this up-island gem, but Sue had a few sweet ideas even we hadn’t thought of. Sue’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation falls in June, and she usually arrives Saturday or Sunday for a fairly long visit. It’s a perfect time of year to come — we get prime summer weather, and things haven’t hit full-crazy yet since kids are still in school. The only catch is that some businesses, like Chilmark Chocolates, don’t switch to their longer summer hours till later in the month. Sue likes to stop there twice: once at the very beginning of her trip for treats to enjoy on-island, and once right before leaving to pick up gifts and a couple of extra chocolates for the road (a foolproof way to make sure you don’t eat the gifts). The trick, she says, is to time your ferry so you can get to the shop right before their offseason early closing time, while traveling to or from your Edgartown hotel. You’ll avoid crowds and skip making an extra car or bus trip.

 

P.S. Those seasonal business hours can vary from year to year, and some websites and Facebook pages don’t always keep up. If you’re not sure what’s going on with your favorite shop or restaurant, give us a call while booking your stay and we’ll get you the confirmed local scoop.

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

This probably doesn’t come as a surprise, but our internal compasses are pretty much always pointed towards the beach. Few things are as craveable or satisfying as warming your skin in the hot sun or letting your feet sink deeper and deeper beneath the surface of the sand. No matter what the season, a Martha’s Vineyard beach getaway should always be on the schedule.

 

Martha's Vineyard Beach Vacation

 

5 Martha’s Vineyard Beaches To Explore

South Beach

Known also as Katama Beach, this gorgeous three-mile stretch of sand and ocean is located just three miles away from the Square. Hop aboard your bike or take a stroll down to the water — you’ll find continuous paths the entire length of your journey. Plus, if you travel with your surfboard, ride Katama’s rough waves into surfing glory. Maybe we’re biased because it’s our neighborhood beach, but if you can only hit the sand at one spot on the island, be sure to stop at South Beach on your Martha’s Vineyard beach getaway.

 

Wasque Beach & East Beach

Though our neighboring island, Chappaquiddick, is only a few miles away, it feels like it’s a world apart. Take your bikes or your car across the ferry to Chappy and head to Wasque Beach, located in the Wasque Reservation. Relatively uncrowded and easily accessible, you can enjoy gorgeous, unobstructed views of sand, sea, and sky. Looking for a little more privacy? Make the trek to East Beach, only accessible by bike, hike, or car with four-wheel drive (or minivans with a lot of heart).

 

Menemsha Beach Fish MarketMenemsha Beach

It’s not a Martha’s Vineyard beach vacation without a lobster roll on the beach (and a good, solid sunburn). Just steps from Menemsha Beach, you’ll find food vendors in tiny grey houses selling everything from ice cream to shrimp cocktail. Menemsha just happens to be a working fishing village, so, trust us, you’re in for a treat no matter which vendor you visit. Take your spoils down to the beach during sunset and soak in the colors of the island at this family-friendly spot.

 

Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach

Conquering the island via bike? Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach (aka State Beach) just happens to run along the paved bike path between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. Ditch the car and pedal to this popular stretch of Martha’s Vineyard beach (some would argue it’s too popular, but trust us, it’s a dream in the shoulder seasons). With smooth waters and (relatively) warm waters, State Beach makes an ideal stop when you’re craving a dip in the ocean. Plus, if you happen to be a movie buff, you can jump off of Jaws Bridge and swim in the Great White’s waters (if you dare).

 

Vineyard Square Beach EquipmentLobsterville Beach

This Aquinnah Beach certainly lives up to its name — a quiet, two-mile stretch of Martha’s Vineyard beach, this spot boasts ample wildlife from sea critters to birds. There’s no parking available on-site, so while it’s not ideal for every Martha’s Vineyard beach-goer, it makes a lovely end to a bike ride or hike to its shores. Wade into the shallow, calm waters of Lobsterville Beach and take in the rainbow colored cliffs of Aquinnah.

 

Your Martha’s Vineyard beach vacation shouldn’t be just sand and surf. After a day warming yourself in the sun, breathing in the salt air, and swimming in the island’s crisp waters, take shelter and relax inside Vineyard Square Hotel. Recharge in your room and then head out for another day of beach fun with our complimentary beach chairs and umbrellas in tow.

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

Out with the rowdy — in with the awesome! Bachelorette parties don’t need to be a one-size-fits all affair. Embrace the era of the alternative bachelorette party and give yourself (or your friend) a celebration that honors their individuality (before they become a pair). Give singledom a grand farewell with these unique bachelorette party ideas on Martha’s Vineyard.

 

Unique Bachelorette party ideas on Martha's Vineyard

 

Unique Bachelorette Party Ideas For (Almost) Every Type Of Bride

For the craft beer loving bachelorette:

The ocean isn’t the only place to find foam on the island. Martha’s Vineyard’s craft beer scene has been on the upswing in the past few years, making it a perfect unique bachelorette party idea for any craft beer loving brides. Spend a day outside at Bad Martha’s Beer where you can soak up the sun while trying their flagship brew, Martha’s Vineyard Ale. For the hungry beer drinker, make the trip to Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs for some crisp beers and pub fare.

 

Unique bachelorette party ideas - shoppingFor the shopaholic:

Trade in the chain stores for adorable boutiques with this unique bachelorette party idea. The quiet streets of Edgartown are famous for their offbeat selections ranging for antique jewelry to locally published books. Pick out a one-of-a-kind vacation frock at our neighbor Mikel Hunter or hunt down a local artwork to hang on the newly married couple’s walls.

 

For the over stressed bachelorette:

Between crossing people off her guest list to coordinating her bridesmaids, it’s quite possible that the guest of honor may be a tad overstressed. Luckily, if you’re looking for unique bachelorette party ideas, Martha’s Vineyard happens to be a haven of serenity, filled with calm beaches to stroll on and quiet towns to explore. Sea Spa Salon, located at the Square, offers thai massages, mani/pedis, and spa treatments give provide your party with a bit of pampering. If she needs an extra shot of relaxation, book a wellness weekend at the Square, so she can cleanse her body with meditation, yoga, and a healthy diet.

 

Biking at Vineyard Square HotelFor the athletic types:

A destination for hikers, bikers, and swimmers alike, Martha’s Vineyard’s nearly 100 square miles of land offer plenty of adventure. Take some bikes out for an all-day excursion and stop at a beach to toast the bride-to-be. If the bachelorette is a water lover, hop aboard Mad Max for a sailing excursion across the island. You can take one of their daily cruises or charter a private trip.

 

For the sleepover enthusiast:

In our opinion, the best part of any girls’ getaway, bachelorette party or otherwise, is getting to reconnect and bond with friends. Stay in one of our luxury suites as a group, and have an old school sleepover complete with popcorn, manicures, and a nostalgic movie. While this may not be the most raucous of our unique bachelorette party ideas, it’s certainly the coziest.

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

If you ask us, there’s only one way to get around Martha’s Vineyard. No, it’s not train, plane or hover board (we’re pretty sure we would fall off one of those anyway) — for us, it’s all about the bike. Whether you fancy yourself ready to conquer the Pyrenees in the Tour de France or get intimidated by biking on the street, Martha’s Vineyard biking has a route that will amp up the fun for every skill level.

 

Martha's Vineyard biking routes

 

Bike to South Beach and Back — 6 miles

Avoid the stresses of parking at the beach by gathering up your beach gear and taking the bike path to South Beach. Good for the directionally challenged, this bike route is pretty much a straight shot along Katama Road from Edgartown. At three miles one-way, this Martha’s Vineyard biking route makes a great day trip for beginning bikers (plus exercise is always better with the promise of a lazy afternoon at the beach). Pack a picnic lunch, spend the day swimming in the ocean, and then enjoy a leisurely ride back into Edgartown.

 

Take the Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven Loop — 16 miles

When you’re looking to up the biking ante, but still value the ability to stop, go shopping, and have a glass of wine mid-bike ride, we recommend you head out on a tour of our neighboring towns to the north. Head out of Edgartown on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven path (we’re saving the really gorgeous views for when you’re feeling a bit more worn). On this seven-mile road, you’ll get a glimpse at the quiet, lushness of the island’s interior before you arrive to Vineyard Haven. Grab some fuel at Black Dog Tavern, but keep it light — you still have miles to go before you’re through.

 

Hop back aboard your bike for the three-mile jaunt to Oak Bluffs. We suggest starting out on Beach Road and then continuing onto East Chop Drive. While this road may not be the most direct path to Oak Bluffs, its scenic views and lack of car congestion make the detour worthwhile. Along your journey, be sure to stop at East Chop Light for a quick photo-op and some rehydration. Once you arrive to Oak Bluffs, stay aboard your bike and peddle through the town’s famous gingerbread cottages, known for their whimsical colors and names. If you’re desperate to give your rump a rest, head to Offshore Ale Company for a bite and a brew.

 

We told you we were saving the best for last! Offering scenic views of State beach and Sengekontacket Pond, it’s no wonder that Beach Road, the six-mile path between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, is one of Martha’s Vineyard’s most popular bike routes. Be careful crossing the Pond though — we hear there are mighty big fish in these waters

 

Martha's Vineyard Bking
MV Challenge

 

Take The Full Martha’s Vineyard Biking Tour — 100 Kilometers

Okay, full disclosure: although Martha’s Vineyard might seem like a tiny island from the perspective of Google Earth, we’re actually rocking quite a hefty circumference. Coming in at about 100 kilometers, the full island loop is not for the faint of heart.

 

If you’re feeling froggy, take the Cycle MV Bicycle Challenge and depart from Edgartown towards Oak Bluffs. While the Down-Island Loopers got to take a shortcut between Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven, we know you can handle the MV Challenge’s path down County Road and then back up on the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven path (though we won’t tell if you decide to cheat). Here comes the tough part: take State Road for 17 miles, past Chilmark until you hit Aquinnah. We highly suggest grabbing some grub by at the tasty food stands by the lighthouse. And for goodness sakes, take a little break!

 

As they say, it’s all downhill from here (so to speak). Your Martha’s Vineyard biking route continues along South Road and then to Edgartown-Tisbury Road for about 19 miles. Keep an eye overhead for planes along this thoroughfare — or better yet, get a snack at the Plane View Diner at the airport. The last leg of your MV Challenge involves a quick ride down to Katama Beach where you can wash the sweat off your body before you head back to Edgartown.

 

No matter which Martha’s Vineyard biking route you choose to conquer, we’re ready to greet you home at Vineyard Square with a snack (and maybe even a massage at Sea Spa Salon. Don’t see your favorite bike route on our list? Share your go-to Martha’s Vineyard biking spots with us on Facebook or Twitter.

 

 

 

Tips for safe biking on Martha’s Vineyard

As you embark on a bike ride across the island, remember these tips (courtesy of the Martha’s Vineyard commission) to keep your ride safe as well as fun.

  • Bicyclists shall ride WITH traffic. DO NOT ride against traffic!
  • Bicyclists 16 and under MUST wear a helmet (adults should do the same).
  • Bicycles ridden at night (½ hour after sunset to ½ hour before sunrise) must be equipped with a white front light and a red rear light or reflector and have reflectors on both pedals (or cyclist’s ankles). Reflectors or reflective clothing visible from the sides is also required at night.
  • Narrow, rural roads are part of the Island’s charm, but they often have little or no shoulder for cyclists – especially Up-Island. Make it easier for motorists to share-the-road by staying to the right and, if riding in a group, spacing yourselves to allow passing.
  • Riding on sidewalks is permissible, except in downtown areas where posted.
  • However, cyclists ALWAYS have the right to ride in the road, even when there is an adjacent path.
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