Experience Martha’s Vineyard

Lifesaver on the Martha's Vineyard Ferry

By Mary Moran

Photography by L.V. O’Connell

If you are looking for a true Cape Cod experience, hopping on the ferry and spending the day on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard is an absolute must. From fabulous public beaches to unique shopping and dining to picturesque lighthouses, this island will surely not disappoint. Every town, whether it is Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, or Aquinnah, has something special to offer. Also, if you want to travel to all of these great locations, just grab a $7 day pass from the Vineyard Transit Authority and the bus will take you to and from all the sights.  Also, from Memorial Day through Labor Day there are narrated tour busses that will take you to points of interest on the island. The tour takes two hours. Some visitors take the tour then spend the remainder of the day, returning to the locations that most interested them.

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard from the Cape Cod Ferry
Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard from the Ferry
Martha's Vineyard Ferry at dock in Woods Hole
Martha’s Vineyard Ferry at dock in Woods Hole

Most likely, Vineyard Haven will be your first stop when arriving on Martha’s Vineyard. This spot is the year‐round connection to and from the mainland. Here you will find excellent retail shops and eateries including the infamous Black Dog Restaurant and gift shop. Admiring the beautiful harbor and West Chop Lighthouse is always a good time. Don’t forget to pack your camera!

Dock Street & Kelly Street
Dock Street & Kelly Street

Oak Bluffs, the Vineyard’s other ferry destination, is a wonderful place to explore with the family. Water‐front restaurants and beautiful beaches are far from scarce in this popular island town. Art galleries and unique shopping boutiques are around every corner and you are guaranteed to find something you love! Also, strolling through the streets and taking a look at the one‐ of‐a‐kind “gingerbread” cottages with their well kept flower gardens, will be sure to bring out your inner child. There are over 300 of these brightly colored houses all with their own name and personal touches. When you are finished getting your fill of these crazy little houses, be sure to take a ride on one of the oldest operating carousels in the country: The Flying Horses. Try your best to grab a brass ring! If you do, you get another ride for free and a great memory to last a lifetime. There are also many places to rent a bicycle, moped or even a Jeep for the day so you can continue on around the rest of the island.

For some excellent public beaches that have an abundance of parking available, Edgartown is the place to go. You can get a nice tan and a dose of the sand, salty air, and warm ocean water. The breathtaking ocean scenery is outstanding any time of the year. Edgartown was a whaling community and the streets are lined with beautiful old sea captains’ homes. In addition, in Edgartown, you will find some prime high‐end shopping areas and wonderful restaurants to help you to unwind.

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Martha//'s Vineyard, Massachusetts

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Palmer House Inn: 41.555639, -70.620020
Vineyard Haven: 41.380498, -70.645473
Edgartown: 41.389005, -70.513360
Oak Bluffs: 41.454279, -70.561972
Aquinnah: 41.335237, -70.800786
Gay Head Light: 41.346630, -70.836450
West Chop Lighthouse: 41.480500, -70.599900
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Palmer House Inn
81 Palmer Avenue, Falmouth, MA, United States
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Vineyard Haven
Martha/'s Vineyard, Vineyard Haven, Dukes County, MA, United States
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Edgartown
Edgartown, MA, United States
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Oak Bluffs
Oak Bluffs, MA, United States
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Aquinnah
Aquinnah, MA, United States
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Gay Head Light
Gay Head Lighthouse, Aquinnah, MA, United States
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West Chop Lighthouse
West Chop Lighthouse, Tisbury, MA, United States

Harbor
Harbor

Finally, for a more relaxing and scenic experience away from the hustle and bustle of retail therapy and delicious seafood, take a trip over to Aquinnah. There, you will find the first lighthouse to be built on Martha’s Vineyard. The Gay Head Light was originally constructed in 1799 and is a Cape Cod viewing necessity. Continue on through Aquinnah and check out the beautiful red clay cliffs that surround this old whaling town. Aquina is also where the Native Americans have their shops with many interesting and one of a kind items.

Sidestreet
Sidestreet

Everywhere you look; there are endless options for fun and adventure on Martha’s Vineyard. No matter what part of the island you visit, you are sure to have a great time and a unique experience that will be remembered.

While you are staying with us at the Palmer House Inn, planning a day trip to the Vineyard will be hassle free. We have ferry schedules, maps of the island, and you can even get your ferry tickets from us at a slight discount,  at the front desk. Not to mention, the Steamship Authority shuttle bus to the ferry landing in Wood’s Hole is only a ten minute walk from our Cape Cod bed and breakfast inn!

More information on Martha’s Vineyard


Cape Cod's Stowe Room, A
Harriet Beecher Stowe room
Cape Cod's Roosevelt Room, B
Cape Cod’s Roosevelt Room, B

While all of our rooms have their own individual charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures exploring Martha’s Vineyard and Cape Cod, we recommend the Harriet Beecher Stowe room, the Theodore Roosevelt room or the Emily Dickinson room. These rooms feature comfortable king beds, fireplaces, jacuzzi-style tubs and a relaxing stay before and after your day.

Martha’s Vineyard Daytrip

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard from the Cape Cod Ferry

A Daytrip to Martha’s Vineyard

(Updated April 2012)

Many guests who visit our Inn plan to spend a day exploring the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard. For your convenience, we sell the ferry tickets at our front desk. We also have maps of the island and Pat and Bill enjoy telling guests about the island’s history and the most frequently visited locations.

The free shuttle bus pick-up is a short stroll from the Inn. The bus travels four miles, to the ferry landing in Woods Hole. When you arrive on the island you will be able to purchase a Martha’s Vineyard Day Pass for $7, this allows you to ride the island busses all day.  You will get a swipe card that will allow you to ride the buses all day and get on and off as many times as you please. During the mid-summer months there is an informative tour bus company that meets each ferry. This bus will take you to the island’s highlights while the driver tells you about the island’s history both old and new. After you have been given this overview many folks return to the public busses and revisit the locations that they liked the best.

Edgartown

Edgartown is one of the Vineyard’s most interesting towns. It had its heyday during the time when the whaling industry flourished. The streets are lined with sea captains’ homes and white picket fences, unique shops and galleries. A great place to have lunch is at the News From America Pub at 23 Kelley St. If you want to know how it got that name, just ask Pat when you check into the Palmer House.

While in Edgertown you can travel aboard the “On time” ferry to Chappaquiddick, a smaller island just a stone’s throw from Edgertown. There one can visit a peaceful Japanese-style garden set within an island forest.

Oak Bluffs

Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard from the Cape Cod Ferry
Oak Bluffs, Martha’s Vineyard from the Ferry

Another interesting town is Oak Bluffs. This area was built around the turn of the 19th century. It is best known for its charming gingerbread style cottages. It also has the oldest continuously operating merry-go-round in the country. Grab the brass ring and win a free ride.

Oak Bluffs has a beautiful white sand beach with a beach house.  It also has two excellent restaurants, “Nancy’s” is on the dock and specializes in seafood. “The Good Life Cafe”  is a favorite of the Obamas during their summer visits to the Vineyard.

Aquinnah

A beautiful area to visit is Aquinnah, formerly known as Gay Head. There, one can stroll along Moshop Beach for a good view of the clay cliffs, a geological wonder that tells the hundred-million-year old story of the island’s origins.

Menensha

While you are “up island,” walk around the charming fishing village of Menensha. For the island’s best sunset, settle in on the public beach at dusk.  For the movie buff, a visit to Menensha is a must. Menensha is the location where the 1970’s movie “Jaws” was filmed.

The last ferry departs for Falmouth from Vineyard Haven at 9:30 PM, where your comfortable room at our Cape Cod B&B awaits.