Martha’s Vineyard is a jewel of an island just seven miles off the southern coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, and has served as an affluent coastal retreat to many famous figures in America for decades, including artists and politicians. It is also known for being one of the major filming locations for Steven Spielberg’s Jaws.
Accessible only by boat or plane, the Vineyard is a feast for the eyes, ears, and the mouth, of course, offering plenty of breathtaking views, the sound of the ocean all around, and delicious food to be had in any of its towns. If you’re looking to spend a couple of days in this quaint and lovely island, let us tell you all the best things to do!
Let’s begin with one of the most “touristy” entries on the list, but for a good reason. You’ll definitely love visiting Menemsha, a tiny fishing village in the town of Chilmark. Any movie buff worth their salt will instantly recognize this as the filming location for the harbor in Jaws, so expect to see other people in a pilgrimage of sorts.
There’s more to Menemsha than that, of course. The sunsets and seafood are both delicious and amazing, with the Larsen’s Fish Markets selling freshly caught (and even cooked) fish, and the Home Port restaurant offering tasty dishes in a cozy setting.
Chappaquiddick Island is a small peninsula (and sometimes an island) connected to Martha’s Vineyard by a barrier beach known as Norton Point, and a place visited by locals and tourists alike for hiking, cycling, nature tours, and the MyToi Gardens, which is an adorable little Japanese-style garden planted amongst the native brush flora.
To reach it, head to Dock Street in Edgartown and sail (or cycle) the 500-foot distance to Chappaquiddick, and enjoy Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, Wasque Beach reserve, or the aforementioned MyToi Japanese Garden, three perfectly zen and scenic places.
Located on the island’s western tip, Aquinnah is a National Historic Landmark as is home to the Wampanoag people. Its warm-colored cliffs offer one of the most beautiful sights in all of Martha’s Vineyard. The public beach below the cliffs lends itself to long, tranquil walks along its shores while you enjoy the sound of the Atlantic Ocean and the beautiful scenery of the waves rolling near you with every step.
The oldest colonial settlement in all of the island, and also the most lively entertainment center around. A picture-perfect collection of red-bricked and narrow streets, white clapboard homes and historic buildings that you can enjoy along the many boutiques and art galleries, which are definitely a few levels above any you’ve tried before.
At this point, we should mention that Martha’s Vineyard is composed of both wet and dry towns. It’s lovely all around, but if you want to end the day with a drink, it’s good that you plan and know if you’re allowed to. Thankfully, Edgartown is a wet town with a lively bar scene.
Described as “an island culinary adventure”, the people at Farm.Field.Sea organizes events that blend local food, guided forays into the island’s agri and aquaculture, as well as storytelling and a communal spirit all in beautiful locations. Their seasonal pop-up picnics with regional chefs and farmers end in an absolutely delicious dinner banquet that takes full advantage of the local ingredients. You’ll meet terrific people, enjoy amazing food, surround yourself with beautiful vistas and learn what the true heart of Martha’s Vineyard is all about.
As you can see, Martha’s Vineyard is a joy to visit if you enjoy smaller yet cozy and significant experiences. The scenery is very well worth at least a couple of days visiting, and there’s no telling how many wonderful people you can meet. And once you see the lovely gingerbread houses, you’ll want yours to look at least as tidy!