Katama Delight   of
Martha's Vineyard

Click here to edit subtitle

Twenty Five Things to Do on Martha's Vineyard
One

1. Take a hike


Stand atop the 150-foot cliffs at Aquinnah, cast your pole in one of the Island's best fishing holes, climb into the fissure a lightening bolt cut through Waskosim's rock.  Pick huckleberries in the woods, watch an Osprey dive for fish, or slip a canoe into a quiet waterway off the beaten path.  So, lace up your hiking boots--adventure's afoot!
  • Waskosim's Rock Reservation, Chilmark. Stand atop one of the highest peaks on the Island, travel alongside a pretty brook and trek across foothills and valleys on this 184-acre preserve. Waskosim's Rock, atop a ridge with dramatic water views, is a remnant of glacier activity. A lightning bolt created the interesting fissure down the center. Many think the landmark resembles a breaching whale. Access: Follow North Road up island past the Chilmark-West Tisbury line. The reservation is on the left before the Tea Lane intersection.
  • Sepiessa Point Reservation, West Tisbury. Walking and horseback riding trails span this 164-acre preserve with stunning frontage on Tisbury Great Pond, Tiah's Cove and Tississa Cove. The Chilmark hills and a barrier beach on the Atlantic Ocean are also part of the gorgeous scenery. Sailing, canoeing, swimming, picnicking, shellfishing and bicycling opportunities abound. Access: Follow Edgartown Road to New Lane. Continue 1.2 miles down New Lane, which becomes Tiah's Cove Road, until you reach the on the right.
  • Cedar Creek Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, West Tisbury. Miles of trails lead you over hills, alongside brooks and bogs and to a wonderful rocky beach on Vineyard Sound overlooking the Elizabeth Islands. Access: Follow State Road up-Island. Turn onto Indian Hill Road and continue about 1.3 miles to Obed Daggett Road.
  • Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, Edgartown. Plants, birds and animals inhabit this 200-acre preserve, featuring woodlands, grasslands, marshlands and fresh and saltwater ponds. The Sanctuary, run by the Massachusetts Audubon Society, features an exhibition center and offers various programs throughout the season. There is a nominal admission fee. Access: Follow the Edgartown/Vineyard Haven Road to the Felix Neck Signs.
  • Menemsha Hills Reservation, Chilmark. Follow this trail over Prospect Hill, where you'll be treated to dramatic views of the north and south coasts from the top of Great Sand Cliff. Avid hikers can also follow the trail down to the beach. Access: Off the north side of North Road, one mile east of Menemsha.
  • Wasque Reservation, Chappaquiddick. A wooden walkway leading to Wasque Point, one of the island's best fishing holes, is part of this lovely 200-acre preserve, surrounded by water on three sides. Miles of barrier beach, dramatic surf and the lovely Katama Bay, a great spot for clamming and windsurfing, make this a popular destination. The adjacent Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge features an additional 500 acres for birding, exploring and picnicking. Access: Take the ferry from Edgartown Chappaquiddick. Follow the paved road from the dock. It becomes a dirt road, leading to the reservation.
  • Long Point Wildlife Refuge, West Tisbury. Although the bumpy and sandy road leading to this 633-acre preserve provides a bit of a challenge, once there the lush grassland, heathland, forests and secluded beach don't disappoint. Trails lead to Long Cove Pond, home to river otters and South Beach, a terrific place to cool off with a swim. Access: Off Waldon's Bottoms Road.
  • Manuel E. Correllus State Forest. Paved bike, nature, horse and hiking trails meander through this 5,146-acre preserve in the middle of the Island. Access: Airport Road.
  • Aquinnah Cliffs and Beach. A spectacular view awaits at the top of these 150-foot cliffs, while miles of shoreline below invite walkers. Access: Take South Road west through town.
  • Fulling Mill Brook Preserve, Chilmark. Hike through woodlands brimming with blueberry and huckleberry bushes to one of the Island's highest peaks on this 46-acre preserve. Fulling Mill Brook is one of the best trout streams on the Island. Access: Middle Road toward Beetlebung Corner. The property is on the left, a half mile past the Tabor House Road intersection.
  • Christiantown Woods Preserve, West Tisbury. A charming chapel, old Indian burying ground and crumbling stone walls and foundations are sights along this lovely wooded trail. Access: Follow State Road to Indian Hill Road, where you'll see a sign for Christiantown about a half mile down on your right.
  • Sheriff's Meadow Sanctuary, Edgartown. A diverse flora and fauna accent this 17-acre sanctuary, featuring marshland, fresh and saltwater ponds, meadows and woodland. Access: From Main Street (near Cannonball Park), turn onto Pease's Point Way. Continue to Planting Field Way. The sanctuary is about .02 miles on the right.
  • Caroline Tuthill Wildlife Preserve, Edgartown. This often overlooked preserve along Sengekontacket Pond is an excellent place for birdwatching and berry picking. Access: From the Triangle Intersection, take the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road about a half mile west.
  • Chappy Five Corners Preserve, Chappaquiddick. Flora and fauna of the forest and wetlands are part of this 27-acre preserve. Access: From the ferry dock, travel 3.3 miles on Chappaquiddeck Road to the intersection of School, Wasque and Litchfield Roads.
  • Mytoi, Chappaquiddick. This striking Japanese Garden features 14 acres of Japanese maple, holly and sweet gum and flowering beauties, such as azalea, rhododendron and wild roses. The creek-fed pool with koi and goldfish is an added bonus. Access: From the ferry dock, follow Chappaquiddick Road for about 2.5 miles. At the bend in the road, continue straight on Dyke Road.
  • Poucha Pond Reservation, Chappaquiddick. Because of the large pond filled with fish and crustaceans, birds love this 99-acre reservation. Access: From ferry dock, follow Chappaquiddick Road for about 3.8 miles. At Wasque Road, turn left.
  • Tisbury Meadow, Wompesket and Ripley's Field Preserves, Tisbury. Trails connect these three preserves with trails over 150 acres of woodland, marshland, meadows and grasslands. Access: Tisbury Meadow Preserve is located off State Road, about 1.5 miles from the Steamship Authority Wharf. Reach Wompesket from the Mai Fane house on the Tisbury Meadow Preserve. Ripley's Field is on John Hoft Road.
  • Pecoy Point Preserve, Oak Bluffs. This 14.3 acre preserve includes 1,000 feet of frontage on Sengekontacket Pond. Access: Located directly across from Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary.
Or, choose from one of dozens of other hikes described in the island guides at our house.
Two

2. Enjoy the ripe berries of the season

The season for strawberries, cherries, raspberries, blackberries, peaches, and blueberries is just juicing up.  Find your choice of summer fruit at one of the island’s many local farms and bake up pies, tarts, muffins and more.  Make a fruit salad for a taste of summer.   Pick your own blueberries and huckleberries at Fulling Mill Brook Preserve at Caroline Tuthill Wildlife Preserve.

Three

3. Explore Chappaquiddick Island

The origin of Chappaquiddick Island comes from an Indian word "cheppiaquidne" meaning "separated island"; so named because the island is separated from Martha's Vineyard by a narrow strait.   The island was once mainly the home territory of the Chappaquiddick Band of Wampanoag Indians remaining theirs even into the early 1800s.  It still has a reservation of about a hundred acres of brush land on the interior.

 

Chappaquiddick is the least-known part of the Vineyard. But this tiny island is also one of the most beautiful places on the Vineyard.  Hidden among its pines and oaks is the 14-acre Mytoi Japanese garden.  Its red fretwork bridge, designed by architect Hugh Jones, is framed in daffodils, azaleas, hinoki cypress, and holly (depending on the season).  You can hike, fish, kayak, bird-watch, and pick blueberries. To get there, take the barge-like On-Time ferry from the Edgartown wharf (Dike Rd.; 508.627.7689; (thetrustees.org).

 

There are 14 miles of hiking trails in the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge on the eastern edge of Chappaquiddick, including a stretch along a seven-mile barrier beach. The refuge includes ponds, cedar groves, salt marshes, and the 1893 Cape Poge Lighthouse, and there are tours that cover natural history, fishing, lighthouses, and wildlife (aboard a kayak or canoe) as well as self-guided tours. Over-sand vehicle permits (available at the gatehouse for $180) allow four-wheel-drive vehicles access to 14 miles of dune roads.

 

The southeastern point of the refuge is called Wasque Point – it’s a popular fishing point to catch bluefish, striped bass, etc.

 

If you are familiar with Chappaquiddick and would like to explore further, visit Cuttyhunk Island. 

 

Cuttyhunk Island is part of the Town of Gosnold.  The island rests 8 miles west of Aquinnah.  It’s a great place to do “a whole lot of nothing.”  There is a small beach, a harbor, fishing, a few dozen houses, an ice cream parlor, and some beautiful hiking trails.  Cuttyhunk is a quiet, isolated, beautiful ocean environment.  It’s a perfect place to enjoy a relaxing day with family, catch up on your reading,  or take a leisurely walk. 

Four

4. Dine Al Fresco

You come here for the ocean air, so why not explore the island's many outdoor dining options?  Be sure to bring a light jacket or sweater to dinner - Vineyard nights can get cool.

OAK BLUFFS - Harbor

The Oak Bluffs Harbor is busy all day long and it boasts a half dozen open air dining/drinking spots.

Nancy's Snack Bar has a big menu that includes some Mediterranean choices along with standard snack bar fare. Sit under a straw umbrella and enjoy a frozen drink with your hummus plate.

The Sand Bar does have both real sand and a big circular outdoor bar. They sometimes feature live music and it's the busiest bar scene on the harbor.

Coop de Ville is the most bare bones of the harbor choices but it's a local favorite and probably the cheapest.

Fishbones is a little more upscale. They've got some nice gourmet entrees.

Newcomer Sugar Shack is a Caribbean style restaurant complete with ethnic food and tropical drinks.

Pop around the back side of the harbor and enjoy Italian cuisine under the stars at the brand new Stella, featuring sidewalk cafe style seating.

 

OAK BLUFFS - Circuit Ave and More

The island's prettiest outdoor dining space can be found at the top of Circuit Ave. at the award winning Sweet Life, featuring French cuisine in a magical twinkling garden.

The Island House has an outside patio where you can observe the action on Circuit Ave. while enjoying a frozen mudslide and a leisurely lunch or dinner. Across from the ferry landing is the popular Lookout tavern. Nosh on sushi or fried seafood and a brew or two while waiting for your boat to come in.

 

EDGARTOWN

The Seafood Shanty offers the best views of the Edgartown Harbor. They have recently supplemented their selection of standard seafood choices with a sushi bar, and the deck is a lovely location for dinner.

Alchemy's menu of gourmet dishes with French flair can be enjoyed from sidewalk seating on Main Street.

Whether you're in the mood for pizza or fine Northern Italian cuisine, Lattanzi's has sidewalk cafe style tables for both their adjoining restaurants. The elegant l'etoile has one patio garden table. Request it for a special romantic evening out.

The outdoor cafe at Espresso Love is a veritable Garden of Eden with seasonal landscaping featuring some exotic blooms. Salads, sandwiches, pizzas and apps are available at dinner time, the usual fare for breakfast and lunch.

Enjoy breakfast or lunch literally Among the Flowers at this pretty downtown Edgartown garden spot.

 

VINEYARD HAVEN

The sidewalk tables at Main Street's Zephrus are popular for people-watching and drive-by greetings.

Mediterranean Restaurant has upper decks overlooking the VH Harbor and terrific ethnic influenced food.

In the Tisbury Marketplace on Beach Road you can grab lunch from the Net Result and feast at their picnic tables facing the harbor; or dine pond side from a good selection of breakfast or midday take-out options from The Daily Grind.

 

UP ISLAND

The Homeport in Menemsha has long been a popular destination for those seeking great local sea food and a spectacular sunset view. The restaurnant does not have outdoor seating but if you order takeout from the back window you're welcome to eat at the front picnic tables.

The Aquinnah Restaurant sits atop the Gay Head Cliffs. The view can't be beat from either the indoor dining room or the upper deck.

The Outermost is one of the Vineyard's most scenic restaurants and, though you can't dine outside, the patio bar is an incredible spot to savor the view while sipping on BYOB refreshments.

Information courtesy of:  http://vineyard.plumtv.com/guides/al_fresco_dining

Five

5. Find inner peace

What better way to start off the day than with a moment of zen?   Gentle stretching and sun salutations frame an outdoor yoga class that greets the sun and a new day on the Vineyard. 

Yoga on the beach and other relaxation ideas:

http://www.sacredcircleofyoga.com

Six

6. Visit the Farm

The FARM Institute (TFI) is a wonderful, teaching farm. It educates and engages children and adults in sustainable agriculture through the diverse operations of a  working farm. TFI provides year-round educational programs offering learning experiences in: Farming (field crops, produce, fruit, hay); Land preservation; The culture and history of Martha's Vineyard farming; Nutritional awareness; and Humane livestock management (cattle, poultry, swine, sheep, goats).

The FARM Institute

Katama

http://www.farminstitute.org/

 

http://almanac.vcsmv.org/photos/farm_institute_logo.gif
Seven

7.  Lobster ice cream?  Yes, butter, cream, sugar, and chunks of lobster.  It's amazing.  Try it at Mad Martha's (Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven) or Ben & Bill's Chocolate Emporium (Oak Bluffs).  Word has it that Ben & Bill's is preferred, but both shops have delicious, flavorful ice cream.  And, to complete your ice cream samplingmight as well stop by Vineyard Scoops on Main Street in Edgartown - kids love their just-right-sized cones and the cartoon cow on the wall.   There's also a Vineyard Scoops on Main Street in Vineyard Haven.

Eight

8.  An Adventure in Kiteboarding

Let the wind blow - harness the wind for a fast, cool, and exhilarating ride.   Kiteboarding is an up-and-coming water sport, and its making it's mark on the Island. 

Also known as kitesurfing or kiting, kiteboarding is an extreme sport, and it has come onto the national scene just in the past few years, but its origins are difficult to trace. Kitesurfingnow.com claims that kitesurfing can be traced as far back as the 12th century, where it was used as a mode of transportation in China.  Modern kitesurfing, however, dates back to the 1970s, when people experimented with para-glider wings and surfboards. Kitesurfing as it is practiced today was created in the '90s by adventurous windsurfers, but it has not been recognized nationwide until recently.

Geoff Cassel, owner of Wind's Up in Vineyard Haven, first learned about kitesurfing eight years ago while he was in Hawaii.  He began participating in the sport three years later.   "Five years ago there was no one doing it," said Mr. Cassel. "Now there are a handful of people on the Island doing it regularly."

One of these, Mark Begle, is the only kiteboarding instructor on the Island and the owner of SkyHigh Kiteboarding. Mr. Begle has been a kiteboarding instructor here since 2002.

A first lesson

"Ten knots is pretty much the minimum," said Mr. Begle, who estimated that the wind was blowing about 12 knots at the time of the  lesson.  "Fifteen knots is really good, and twenty knots can be very fun but only for experienced riders." At the Katama Bay landing on Edgartown Bay Road, the novice signed the necessary waivers before venturing into the water.  Mr. Begle's inflatable black Zodiac crossed the bay on a southeasterly course, landing several minutes later on the bay side of the beach.

An array of kites, lines, boards, vests, and helmets takes up the front two-thirds of the vessel. The kiteboarder wears an impact vest and a helmet, and the lesson begins on the beach with Mr. Begle explaining how to control the kite. It was a two-line, three-meter foil kite, designed specifically for beach use.

Kiteboarding kites do not resemble a typical kite. They take on a crescent shape, similar to that of a stunt parachute. Attached to the kite are lines (two on the beach kite, but usually four on regular kites) that connect to the steering bar, as well as attach to the impact vest worn by participants. The impact vests are fairly heavy, inflatable vests, with many gel-like pads sealed inside. More comforting than restraining, the vests have a hook with which to attach the lines, and a plastic tube that prevents the lines from getting unhooked. The control bar, always red on the left and blue on the right (you figure it out), is just that, a metal bar with lines attached to it.

The boarder steers the kite by extending his arms, and tilting the bar left or right. While flying the kite, Mr. Begle explained the "Wind Window," and told his student to imagine the kite as the top half of a clock. The neutral position is at 12 o'clock, essentially the highest point, straight above the participant. Moving the kite to the right from neutral, the kite flies at one o'clock, then two o'clock, before touching the ground directly to the right at three o'clock. Likewise for the left side, where nine o'clock is the ground to the student's left, with ten o'clock and 11 o'clock getting higher in the air until the kite reaches neutral.

To launch the kite, Mr. Begle tossed it into the air, and the student proceeded to jolt the kite this way and that in an attempt to harness the wind and lead the kite into the sky. After repeated unsuccessful attempts, the student managed to get the kite up into the sky and attempted to maintain its position.  After an hour or so, it was time to get on the water.


Wading through the shallowest part of the bay, about waist high, Mr. Begle helped his student launch the four-line, eight-meter inflatable kite. While significantly larger than the land kite, the difference in difficulty was minimal. The larger kite had more of a pull, but the steering provided no more difficult a challenge than the land kite.

It was time to try the power stroke, a quick fluid movement to generate wind pull on the kite. Steered to the ten and eleven o'clock range, and then quickly back across neutral to the one and two o'clock range, the kite gets pulled strongly and quickly, resulting in the boarder's being aggressively dragged through the water, surprised by the strength of the pull and out of control.  At this time, Mr. Begle tried to teach the water relaunch, a means of forcing the kite into the air from the water.  In a swift movement that involves bringing the control bar over the surfer's head and then releasing it, the kite is supposed to roll over and get picked up by the wind. Unfortunately, this lesson's water relaunch generally consisted of Mr. Begle lifting the recalcitrant kite into the air.

The wind, which had been decreasing, now died away completely, and the lesson was over without the student ever getting on a waterborne board.

Kiteboarding is a challenging sport to learn.  Although most people can be up on a board with the most basic skills in hand after two lessons, a lot of time and commitment is required to become proficient.

"It's a lifestyle thing more than a sport," said Mr. Begle. "It's not a sport that you have in your garage and you do once or twice a year."

And, "It's a niche sport for sure, but if you look at how the sport has spread from the west coast, it's only going to get bigger and bigger."


Mark Begle at Skyhigh Kiteboarding

508-259-2728 or www.skyhighkite.com

source for information listed here:   MV Times

Additional information:

Boston Globe

Kiteboarding Magazine

Nine

9. Hit the trail

There are smooth, well-maintained bike paths that traverse significant sections of the island as well as long stretches of virtually untrafficked roads that, while rough in spots, traverse breathtaking country landscapes with sweeping ocean views.  Serious cyclists will be interested in a 1-day circle-the-island tour through the up-island towns and out to Aquinnah, stopping in Menemsha before heading back down-island, passing through all six Vineyard towns and encounter some unique businesses along the route.

 

For much of this trek, you'll travel country roads, so you'll need to lookout for sandy shoulders and blind curves.  Avoid tour buses by taking routes outlined, such as the Moshup Trail to Aquinnah or the triangle of paved bike paths between the down-island towns. These bike paths, roughly 8 miles to a side, link the down-island towns of Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and Vineyard Haven (the sound portion along Beach Rd., flanked by water on both sides, is especially scenic). From Edgartown, you can also follow the bike path to South Beach (also known as Katama Beach).  The bike paths are accessible off Edgartown-West Tisbury Road in Oak Bluffs, West Tisbury, and Edgartown.

 

The up-island roads leading to West Tisbury, Chilmark, Menemsha, and Aquinnah are a cyclist's paradise, with sprawling, unspoiled pastureland, old farmhouses, and brilliant sea views.  But the terrain is often hilly, and the roads are narrow and a little rough around the edges. Try South Road from the town of West Tisbury to Chilmark Center (about 5 miles).  En route, you'll pass stone walls rolling over moors, clumps of pine and wildflowers, verdant marshes and tide pools, and, every once in a while, an old Vineyard farmhouse.  About halfway, you'll notice the road becoming hillier as you approach a summit, Abel's Hill, home to the Chilmark Cemetery.  A mile farther, don't miss the view of Allen Farm, an operating sheep farm amidst picturesque pastureland.  Middle Road is another lovely ride with a country feel and will also get you from West Tisbury to Chilmark. (It's usually less trafficked, too.)

 

A favorite up-island route is the 6-mile stretch from Chilmark Center out to Aquinnah via State Road and Moshup Trail.  The ocean views along this route are spectacular.  Don't miss the Quitsa Pond Lookout, about 2 miles down State Road, which provides a panoramic vista of Nashaquitsa and Menemsha ponds, beyond which you can see Menemsha, the Vineyard Sound, and the Elizabeth Islands -- it's an amazing place to watch the sunset on a clear evening.  A bit farther, just over the Aquinnah town line, is the Aquinnah spring, a roadside iron pipe where you can refill your water bottle with the freshest and coldest water on the island.  At the fork after the spring, turn left on Moshup Trail -- a regular road -- and follow the coast, which offers gorgeous views of the water and the sweeping sand dunes. You'll soon wind up in Aquinnah, where you can explore the red-clay cliffs and pristine beaches. If you wish, on the return trip, you can take the handy bike ferry from Aquinnah to Menemsha.  It runs daily in the summer and on weekends in May.

 

A word about Aquinnah: Almost every visitor to the Vineyard finds his or her way to the cliffs, the tour buses line up in the huge parking lot and there are rows of tacky concession stands and gift shops, which makes it seem like a hyped-up tourist trap.  But, don't miss the observation deck, with its view of the colorful cliffs, the brick lighthouse, and the Elizabeth Islands beyond.  It will make you glad you bothered to stop and explore beyond the parking lot and shops.

 

The adventurous mountain biker will want to tackle the trails in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest (tel. 508/693-2540), a vast spread of scrub oak and pine in the middle of the island that boasts paved paths and hiking and horseback-riding trails.  The trails are so extensive that even during peak summer season it is possible to not see another soul for hours.  On most of the conservation land on the Vineyard, mountain biking is prohibited for environmental reasons.

 

Bike-rental operations are ubiquitous near the ferry landings in Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs, and there are also a few outfits in Edgartown.

 

The chamber of commerce has a great bike map available at its office on Beach Road in Vineyard Haven.

 

source: http://www.frommers.com/destinations/martha%27svineyard/1745020086.html

 

More about the local bike trails available in guides at our house. 
Ten

10. Lighthouses

The lighthouses of Martha’s Vineyard are as diverse as its towns.   Explore one of the five lighthouses on the island.  All of the lighthouses are on the north side of the Island: they look out over Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound, and over the entrance to Edgartown Harbor and Cape Poge.

 

The West Chop Lighthouse was the Island's last manned light. The lighthouse was built in 1817, and in 1838 the wooden building was replaced by the present brick structure. It was moved back from the edge of the 60-foot-high bluff in 1848 and again in 1891. Vineyard Haven's harbor has been recognized as a port of protection since 1645, and for 300 years it was one of the most important ports on the Atlantic coast.

 

The East Chop Lighthouse in Oak Bluffs stands on the site of one of the first telegraph signals, set up in 1828. Signals from Nantucket were received here and relayed on to Woods Hole, Bonnedale, South Plymouth, Duxbury, Marshfield, and Dorchester Heights. A series of raised and lowered arms and flags conveyed news about cargos of ships arriving at Nantucket.  In the mid-1800s, Captain Silas Daggett built a privately owned lighthouse on East Chop. It was funded by local merchants who sailed in the area and by some of the ships passing through.  Many, however, refused to pay a fee after they arrived safely in port and the scheme lasted only six years.  In 1875, the U.S. government bought the lighthouse and its land and the present cast-iron structure was built on the cliff 79 feet above the sea. Until 1988, when it was painted white, the East Chop Light was fondly called the Chocolate Lighthouse, for its brown-red color.

 

These lighthouses were beacons in history as well as in navigation, for Vineyard Sound and Nantucket Sound once saw more ships sail through them than any other place in the world except the English Channel. The opening of the Cape Cod Canal in 1914, as well as local weather conditions, changed this.

 

The original Edgartown Lighthouse was built in 1828, on a small man-made island in the Edgartown harbor. An Act of Congress allocated money to build it 1/4 mile from shore.  For the first year, the only way to get to the light was by boat, until funds were allocated to build a foot bridge.  The first structure was replaced in 1938 by one that was rafted to the Vineyard from Ipswich. Although the new light was placed on the original site, sand had filled in the area between the island and the mainland, and the current Edgartown Lighthouse stands on shore.

 

The Island sits in treacherous seas, with one tide coming in from Boston, affecting the south side of the Vineyard, and another from Rhode Island, affecting the north shore. There are reefs, rocks, and shoals, and the infamous Devil's Bridge off Aquinnah.  

 

The Gay Head Lighthouse has always been perilously close to the ever-eroding cliffs. The red brick light was built in 1844 to replace a wooden tower authorized by President John Quincy Adams. In 1856, a marvelous lens, the Fresnel, with its 1,009 prisms was installed, after being exhibited at the World's Fair in Paris.  It’s now preserved at the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society in Edgartown, and is lighted every evening after dark throughout the year.

 

The Gay Head, East Chop, and Edgartown Lighthouses are maintained by the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society.   Each light has a large, fenced-in park area to relax and enjoy the island’s view. 

 

The Cape Poge Lighthouse is by far the Island's most remote, built in 1801 on a 4 acre site.  The original lighthouse was made of wood and had a small caretaker's cottage. By 1838, the building was destroyed by the ravaging sea and rebuilt farther inland. It lasted only 50 years before the sea again claimed it and it was rebuilt.  The lighthouse was reclaimed by the sea in 1892, and rebuilt as a 33-foot-tall tower; it lasted only another 35 years.  The present white wooden structure was built in 1922, 55 feet high with a light visible for a distance of 12 miles. The lighthouse is presently sited 300 feet from the ever-hungry sea.

 

All of the Island's lighthouses, except the Cape Poge Lighthouse, are easily accessible by road.  A tour of the Island's unique and still-vital lighthouses is a fascinating way to learn about an important  part of the Island’s seafaring history. 

More information about the history and touring the lighthouses is available in guides at our house.

Eleven

11.  Take in a concert

From jazz, to chamber music; to choral singing; to progressive rock; to reggae, worldbeat, and rock, folk, and blueswhatever your musical interests - it's playing on the Vineyard.

For complete concert and music listings:

MV Gazette Online

Martha's Vineyard Calendar of Events   (MV Chamber of Commerce)

Twelve

12. Learn the traditions of the Wampanoag Tribe

 

Annual Legends of Moshup Pageant

Reenactment of the Wampanoags' arrival on Nope (Martha’s Vineyard). Learn about Moshup, the tribe's legendary father, and their creation stories remembered since the beginning of time. Starts at sunset.  This is a beautiful performance that celebrates the Tribe's oral traditions. The annual pageant is staged on a natural amphitheater in front of our on-site Wetu. Pageant participants weave through the crowd; lit by torches, dressed in full regalia, traditional singing and exhibition dancing around open fires is only part of the allure.

 

Weaving Demonstration

See how Traditional Wampanoag Baskets were made using natural fibers. These baskets are woven so tightly that they can hold water!

 

Making Scallop Shell Necklaces

Learn how to construct Scallop Shell Necklaces with a tribal member who uses these colorful shells to make beautiful jewelry. Try your skills and make one of your own!

 

These events, and many more are listed at:  http://www.mvol.com/mvy-events

 

AQUINNAH WAMPANOAG

The ancestors of Wampanoag people have lived for at least 10,000 years at Aquinnah (Gay Head) and throughout the island of Noepe (Martha's Vineyard), pursuing a traditional economy based on fishing and agriculture. The Aquinnah Wampanoag share the belief that the giant Moshup created Noepe and the neighboring islands, taught our people how to fish and to catch whales, and still presides over our destinies. Our beliefs and a hundred million years of history are imprinted in the colorful clay cliffs of Aquinnah.

source:  http://www.wampanoagtribe.net/Pages/Wampanoag_WebDocs/history_culture?textPage=1


 

WAMPANOAG PLACE NAMES ON NOEPE 

 

Aquinnah (formerly known as Gay Head): The shore or end of the island

Capawack: The separate people

Kuppiegon (Cape Higgon): A good enclosure for shelter/thicket

Manitouwatootan (Christiantown): God's town

Mashatanauke (in the vicinity of Old South Road): Big town (main settlement)

Massapootoeauke (near Quansoo): Land of great blowing (whales)

Msquepunauket (Squibnocket): At the place of the red cliff or bank

Nashaquitsa (between Menemsha and Squibnocket Ponds): At the little divided island

Nashawahkamuk: (Chilmark) Between the land (common land for hunting)

Noepe (the island of Martha's Vineyard): Dry land

Nunnepog: A pond (body of unsalted water); literally means "when there is water there"

Paquahauke (near Sengekontacket Pond): Quohaug land

Sakunket (end of Long Cove, Tisbury Great Pond): Skunk place

Sanchiacantacket (Sengekontacket): Place where the brook flows into the river

Sequinauk (north of Sengekontacket): Early summer land (perhaps a summer village place)

Squibnocket: at the place of the red cliff or bank

Taakemmy (West Tisbury): Where he or she strikes it (corn processing place)

Tchepiaquidenet (Chappaquiddick): Place of separate island

Wampanoag: People of the First Light

Waskosim (North Road): New stone

Wawitukq (Menemsha Creek before being made into a channel): Winding, twisting river

Winnetukqet (Edgartown Great Pond): Place of good river

 

source:  http://www.wampanoagtribe.net/Pages/Wampanoag_Way/other 
Thirteen
13. Go fishing

Cast a line this summer.  Enjoy the art of fly-fishing, the thrill of deep-sea fishing, or a lazy day on a pond.  Charter a boat, fish from the shore, or off a brdige.  The Island is a fisherman's dream.  Any of the major beaches allow shore fishing.  Favored fishing spots are Wasque on Chappaquiddick, Aquinnah's Lobsterville Beach, and Dogfish Bar on the jetties in Chilmark.

More information about fishing on MV including boats, charters, weekly fishing reports, and much more:  

Larry's Tackle Shop

The Skipper of Oak Bluffs

MVOL Fishing Directory    (all types of services)

Fourteen

14. Jump off a bridge

 

The wooden drawbridge at Joseph A. Sylvia State Beach is a local landmark, and visitors and islanders alike have been jumping off it for years.  Could be why it’s also known as the jumping-off bridge.  The water flows out of Sengekontacket Pond and is warmer than the ocean waters.  It's a great place to enjoy watching outrageous jumps, and impressing others with a jump of your own!

Midway between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, the beach stretchs for a mile.  This placid beach, flanked by a paved bike path, has views of Cape Cod and Nantucket Sound and is prized for its gentle and relatively warm waves.  A perfect beach for swimming.   State Beach is one of the Vineyard's most popular; come midsummer, it's packed. The shuttle bus stops here, and roadside parking (approximately 500 cars) is also available -- but it fills up fast, so be early.  Located on the eastern shore of the island,  the waters are shallow and rarely rough.

State Beach, Beach Road between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown 

Fifteen

15.  Dance

Take a dance class, attend a performance, or get out on the dance floor.   Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Nightlife

 

 

Classes and Instruction

Martha's Vineyard Hip Hop Dance Studio

36 Kate's Way

Vineyard Haven

508.696.8567

 

Performance

The Yard Inc.

Chilmark

508.645.9662

 

Festivals and Workshops

Built on Stilts

Martha's Vineyard's homegrown dance and performance festival

 

 

 

 

 

Sixteen

16.  Paddling Around

To get a close look at the birds, grab a paddle and kayak (or canoe) with the Trustees of Reservations.  Trips leave from the group's reservation booth next door to Mytoi (Chappaquiddick). The nearly three hour tours lead to osprey nests atop tall poles.  A nest can weigh as much as 300 pounds and have been found to contain rope, bits of T-shirts, even a teddy bear.  You can see large osprey swoop in and out of nests as you make your way through a marsh on a sinuous waterway.  View the great expanse of salt marsh and tranquil tidewaters.  In addition to ospreys, you'll see ducks cormorants, and perhaps a great blue heron.  

You can stop at a deserted beach to eye jellyfish, the conch-like whelk, and to look for that perfect shell.  Then you might pick up a flat rock and skip it along the water.

Wildlife kayak or canoe tours (and much more):

Trustees of Reservations
Islands Regional Office Vineyard Haven
508-693-7662

thetrustees.org

Seventeen

17.  Join the crowd at the Tabernacle

 

Community Sings are held weekly in the Tabernacle throughout July and August. Fun for the whole family.  Included in the program are hymns, folk songs, spirituals, rounds and patriotic songs.

Also at the Tabernacle/campgrounds:  Concerts, films, preachers, walking tours, and much more.

Oak Bluffs

Website for the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association:

http://www.mvcma.org/

Eighteen

18.  Find a Festival

There are so many wonderful, unique events on the Vineyard.  Here are a few highlights from an extraordinary range of celebrations:  

Agricultural Fair

Martha's Vineyard Festival

African American Film Festival

Martha's Vineyard Food and Wine Festival

a celebration of sea, farm and vine on Martha's Vineyard

 

For a complete listing of Island festivals and events:

MV Gazette Online

Martha's Vineyard Calendar of Events   (MV Chamber of Commerce)

Graphic:  Martha's Vineyard Food and Wine Festival

Nineteen

19. Catch a Cape League game

Catch some of the stars of tomorrow in America's most storied amateur baseball league. The league attracts many of the top-tier college athletes, who get their first experience with wooden bats, and gives fans a glimpse into baseball's not-too-distant future. The league comes to Martha’s Vineyard at least once each summer. Click here for a schedule of games.

Twenty

20.  The Right Fork Diner 

Terrific diner food served inside or on their deck right in the center of all of the action at the Katama airfield.
 
 Breakfast and Lunch.
12 Mattakesett Way (right at Katama Field Airport)
508.627.5522

 

 http://www.schofields-flying-club.com.au/newsletter/images/dec07/katama.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twenty-one

21.  Chilmark Chocolates

These chocolates have become a trademark of Chilmark, hand dipped or handmade, and sold just down from Beetlebung Corner.  A line of customers spills out of the small building into the parking lot; inside it's time for tough decisions as customers select their personal favorites among milk, dark, nuts, or fruit.

 State Road, Chilmark

508.645.3013 

 http://farm1.static.flickr.com/86/277553344_b2f9f63cf8.jpg?v=0

 

 

 

Twenty-two
Twenty-three

23.  Savor seafood

MVOL picks the best lobster on the Island:

Lobster Rolls

 

Offshore Ale

Kennebec Avenue

Oak Bluffs


Lobster Bisque

 

Seafood Shanty

on the harbor

Edgartown

 

Lobster Quesadilla

 

Zapotec

14 Kennebec Avenue

Oak Bluffs

 

Lobster Etuvée

 

L'Etoile

North Water Street

Edgartown


Lobster Gnocchi

Lure Restaurant

Winnetu Resort

South Beach

Edgartown 

 

Four uniquely Island seafood experiences:

The Net Result

Tisbury Marketplace

79 Beach Road

Vineyard Haven

508.693.6071
The Net Result is a delightful fish market, sushi bar and take-out spot that offers an outdoor dining area to enjoy impeccably-prepared fresh offerings from the sea. This family owned and operated fish market and restaurant consistently offers exemplary customer service, large portions and reasonable prices. Appetizers include steamed clams, steamed mussels, stuffed Quahogs, Shrimp Cocktail, and Crabcakes.  Several types of rolls and wraps, such as Fried Clam Roll, Chipotle Shrimp wrap, Tuna Roll, Hummus wrap, and Lobster Salad on a roll or in a wrap, are always delicious.  Don't miss their fabulous Lobster Roll.  Clam Chowder and Lobster Bisque are also on the menu.   Bountiful platters include clam, scallop, oyster, shrimp, or fish and chips options, all served with French fries, cole slaw, and cocktail or tartar sauces.  Steamed lobsters and individual portions of seafood items are also served.

 

Lookout Tavern

Sea View Avenue

Oaks Bluffs

508696.9844
Open daily for lunch and dinner, the Lookout Tavern is casual and relaxed.  The menu features the freshest Maki to be found on the Vineyard.  Excellent views of scenic Nantucket Sound and incoming ferry boats are a highlight of dining here. There is an excellent raw bar with many varieties of sushi and sashimi.  The menu also features grilled seafood items, appetizers, salads, and juicy burgers and panini sandwiches. Standout menu items include Miso Soup, Peppered Seared Tuna, Kani Salad, Lobster Roll, grilled Yellowfin Tuna, and Tuna Salad.  Traditional fried platters are also on the menu.  The tavern's big screen tv draws a crowd for watching Red Sox games. Service is friendly and prices are moderate.  

Seafood Shanty

31 Dock Street

Edgartown

508.627.8622
Great views and a relaxed, casual atmosphere; indoor and outdoor dining. Located near Edgartown Harbor, this seasonal restaurant offers a wide variety of exceptionally prepared seafood selections.  There's also a walk-up counter that offers virtually all of the eat-in menu.  Appetizers include Clams on the Half Shell, Fried Calamari, Three-Cheese Quesadilla, and Mussels Shanty Style.  Several garden fresh salads and homemade soups are other great starters.   Fish sandwiches, Lobster Rolls, and Fried Platters are favorites here as well as entrees such as Fish & Chips, Boiled Lobster, Vineyard Style Crab Cakes, and Baked Cod.  Desserts served include Double Chocolate Mousse, Key Lime Pie, and Italian Cannolis.  Beer, wine, cappuccino and espresso are served and a children's menu is available.  Service is friendly and gracious

 

The Bite

29 Basin Road

Menemsha

508.645.9239
A true island experience.  Fried everything. This clamshask is located at the beach in Menemsha, The Bite is renowned for their delectable Quahog Chowder and, some say, the finest fried seafood available on the Vineyard.  The fish and chips is made with fresh local flounder and served with shoe-string potatoes or "Bite" fries, which are chunks of skin-on fried potatoes.  Expertly cooked fried clams, oysters,scallops, shrimp and squid are served in three sizes:  small, medium, and large; along with scrumptious cole slaw and potato salad.  Chicken sandwiches, flounder sandwiches, tenderloin fingers, and wings are also on the menu. The staff is friendly and helpful, the decor is funky-kitschy and, most importantly, the whole belly clams are the plumpest and sweetest on the Vineyard.   Be prepared for long lines.   Seating is outdoors and in the rough - several picnic tables are it.

To purchase fresh seafood for a home-based meal, two highly recommended markets:

Larsen's Fish Market

56 Basin Rd, Menemsha

508.645.2680

 

The Net Result

79 Beach Road

Tisbury Marketplace

Vineyard Haven

508.693.6071
Twenty-four

24.  Sunset at Menemsha

Don’t miss sunset at Menemsha, a historic and picturesque fishing village with a working harbor in Chilmark.  The harbor is home to several local draggers and lobster boats, charter fishing boats, and a fleet of recreational craft.   Head to the harbor at the end of the day (but not too late – parking fills up), spread a blanket on the beach and enjoy the beautiful sunset over the calm Vineyard Sound water.  Pack a picnic dinner or get some take-out from one of the restaurants on the harbor.  Stroll on the docks, check out the daily catch, or bring a fishing pole and try for a daily catch of your own. 

 

 

Twenty-five

25. A Glassmaking Visit

Visit the Glassworks gallery and studio to view the unique and beautiful art by some of the finest glassblowers.  You may also be able to observe internationally renowned artists at work and learn about the art of glassblowing.  

 

While you're there, stop into Humphreys Bakery, for a  belly bomb - It’s big, it’s cream-filled, and it’s chocolate-topped. There’s a jelly and powdered-sugar version too.  Later in the day, try the cupcakes or big, old-fashioned, homemade cookies. There's a Humphreys in every down-Island town in case you can't stop in Tisbury.


Humphreys Bakery

Woodland Market, State Road, Tisbury, 508.693.6518
1 Lake Avenue, Oak Bluffs, 508.696.6890
32 Winter Street, Edgartown, 508.627.7029


Martha's Vineyard Glassworks

683 State Road

West Tisbury

508.693.6026 

 

Plus one

+ Aircraft charters

Strap on your cap!  A biplane ride from Classic Aviators combines a unique opportunity to ride in a classic biplane while enjoying the beautiful scenery.  Martha's Vineyard is stunning from the air!  Several routes available.  Located at the Katama Airfield. 

508.627.7677

more information:  Classic Aviators

 
 
PLUS  Two 

A walking tour of seafaring Edgartown

 

The age of whaling shaped the Federal and Greek Revival homes of Edgartown.  Born in 1642, as the Island's first settlement, the town grew steadily during the 17th and 18th centuries. By 1825, it was a major whaling port.

 

See the seafaring history of the island. Edgartown is a picturesque whaling village where ships set sail for long perilous voyages.

 

Although Edgartown was first settled in 1642, the vast majority of buildings in the historic district date from 1830 to 1845 ? popularly known as the golden era of whaling. The building boom which took place during that time, the direct result of rapidly amassed fortunes, was not dissimilar to the Island's present real estate expansion

 

This walking tour provides an introduction to the distinguished Federal and Greek Revival homes built during that era, as well as some erected much earlier, the oldest of which dates to 1672.

 

Walk in Edgartown

 

Walks in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven:

Oak Bluffs


Vineyard Haven

More information on the history, architecture, and culture of the Vineyard and the towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven is available in the guide books at our house and in online guides listed on the links page. 

Plus Three

 Visit Island Alpaca Farm


       


Island Alpaca Farm has a herd of 51 huacaya alpaca (and growing!).

Visit the alpacas:

  • Meet and enjoy the sweet and gentle alpaca, running and playing in the pastures every day
  • Take the self-guided, walking tour of the farm
  • Learn about these extraordinary animals
  • Take in the history of the reclaimed hand-hewn oak, post & beam barn that is nearly two centuries old, imported from Export, Pennsylvania
  • Take one of many knitting and spinning classes

Learn more about Island Alpaca