For someone who lived in New York City for years, it’s hard to believe that I’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard until recently. Almost everyone I know had been there and for some odd reason I was just pleased to hear them tell their stories with awe. As a matter of fact, hearing their stories so many times made me feel like I’ve already been there myself. But of course there’s nothing like seeing it with your own eyes and chronicle it with your own experience. Martha’s Vineyard is a must see and I already know this even before I set foot on that island. In my opinion, it should be a required destination.
There are different ways to get to the island. You can either go by plane, by a private boat, or by ferry. In our case, we took the ferry because it was the most convenient for us. We were already in Cape Cod. We were staying at Falmouth and luckily the Island Queen Ferry is right across the street from our Bed and Breakfast. We literally just walked to the dock and boarded the boat. You can also park and leave your car at the ferry’s parking lot if you want. You can check their website for the fees. The Island Queen sails a few times daily from Falmouth to Oak Bluffs. It was a short 40 minute ride and Oak bluffs is so convenient because it’s centrally located and easy to get around to. You don’t have to bring your car to MV. We found out it’s actually easier and cheaper to rent a car when you get to the island rather than dragging your car along with you on the boat. It was a beautiful day so we rented a soft top-down jeep. A red one that is!
Our first stop was Edgartown. It’s an elegant little seaport village east of Martha’s Vineyard. I fell in love with its waterfront setting and its boutique stores lined up on its quaint streets. The town is more upscale compared to the other towns in MV but it’s also very welcoming. It’s where the historic Harbor View Hotel is located. Right across from it is the Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse. Probably the most famous and romantic lighthouse in Martha’s Vineyard. There’s a long wooden pathway that connects the lighthouse to the shore and this walkway became known as “The Bridge of Sighs” because it was supposedly where the young men of Edgartown took their girlfriends before they went off on a whaling trip. The town can easily be traversed on foot so we parked our car and roamed around. Walking the streets and browsing the shops along Main Street was such a treat. We had lunch at MacPhails Cafe and had the best clam chowder I’ve ever tasted in my life. It was to die for! I would definitely spend more time at Edgartown on my next visit. It’s definitely my favorite place in MV.
Next stop was Aquinnah. We went to see the Gay Head Cliffs which is a national landmark of MV. It’s known for its colorful clay cliffs and natural serene beauty. It’s seriously endangered so climbing on the cliffs and removing clay is against the law. The view of the cliffs with the Aquinnah lighthouse standing next to it was stunning. Well worth the stop.
Vineyard Haven is another town that’s favorited by tourists but we didn’t get to explore it much. We drove around it and snapped some pictures but we didn’t really spend much time there. It’s a harbor town just like Oak Bluffs with restaurants and shops along the harbor but it just didn’t seem to have that same charm as Oak Bluffs. It was good enough to see it but I don’t think you want to spend too much time there if you only have a day to explore.
Oak Bluffs is more lively. It’s more diverse and it bustles with shops, restaurants, bars and activities. It’s also one of only two towns that allow alcohol(the other one is Edgartown). It’s the perfect place to end our tour. The Gingerbread Houses was an eye candy. It’s a huge tourist draw in Oak Bluffs. The colorful houses looked like pages from a story book. It’s hard to believe that people actually live in them and they don’t really mind if you take snapshots of their homes.
We were back at the dock a little more than an hour before our ferry sails back to Falmouth so we decided to get a drink at one of the bars along the dock. The bars start to get crowded around late afternoon so if you want to get a table come a little early. Remember, it’s one of the only 2 towns you can get a drink so they do get packed. We got to do a little bit of people watching and it was fun. The sun was setting and the company was perfect. It definitely was a memorable Vineyard experience and I sure would love to come back.