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.
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!
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.
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.
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
- Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing Bus
- Martha’s Vineyard Daytrip (2009)
- Martha’s Vineyard’s Edgartown Lighthouse
While all of the bedchambers at the Palmer House have their own romantic charm suitable for relaxation after the most wonderful day of adventures traveling 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 for a relaxing stay before and after your day.