Steeped in scenic beauty, Martha’s Vineyard attracts wide-eyed day-trippers, celebrity second-home owners and burnt out city slickers seeking a restful getaway… and then there’s us.
When we got off the ship we were pleasantly surprised by the sleepy little seaport of Vineyard Haven that awaited us. We studied the map, visited the famous Black Dog, a must-stop shop and cafe/tavern, and away we went!
Our itinerary for day 1 went something like this: 1. Visit the Island Alpaca Farm (3 miles biking distance)
Who knew that Martha’s Vineyard had these cute little creatures!?
This one below was caught in the act.. Fun Fact: “This act” is also known as The Gold Rush because they produce “Alpaca Gold” a rich form of fertilizer, popular amongst gardeners, that is sold at a fairly high price. Cha ching!
2. Bike to Menemsha (13 miles), a small fishing village known for its unparalleled seafood and for being the background of Steven Spielberg’s famous film, Jaws, which is about to have its 40-year anniversary!
In need of a snack, we stopped at the Menemsha Fish Market for the freshest, juiciest, most incredible mussels in America… and maybe even the world. Literally, they are claiming this title, and for good reason! You can also see Lobsterzilla (who I wanted to buy and set free) or get a non-cartoon, fully-edible version of a Crabby Patty! 🙂
A well-known spot for watching the sunset, we had to move on so we could make it to our final destination in Edgartown before dark. A total of 33 miles and 1 heaven-sent bus ride later, and we were reunited with our friend David, photographed below, a Vineyard native who we happened to meet while Kuku Campering in Iceland!
At the height of the whaling era, Edgartown, known as “Amity Island” to film buffs, was home to more than 100 sea captains whose fortunes built the grand old homes that still line the streets today. Geared towards upmarket travelers, Main street has more shops and boutiques than any other area of the island. Our favorites were the Vineyard Vines flagship store and Soft As A Grape, the perfect spot to pick up a signature “Nantucket red” sweat shirt for mom. You’ll also want to look into Espresso Love, Katama Beach and taking the “Chappy Ferry,” the oldest business on the waters of Martha’s Vineyard.
As we left Edgartown and headed towards Oak Bluffs, we biked over the famous Jaws bridge just before happening upon one of the most beautiful beaches we had yet to see. We wished so much that we had a sub in hand so we could go picnic on the sandy shores of the opulent blue Nantucket Sound, so we continued on to Oak Bluffs and did just that. 2 sandwiches to go at Skinny’s Fat Sandwiches and we were in heaven.
We also found time to squeeze in some balancing postures…
Oak Bluffs is the principle destination for summer tourists, bustling with restaurants, shops, bars, ice cream parlors and America’s oldest carrousel (brought from Coney Island in 1884), it seriously has something for everyone! Originally named Cottage City, our favorite part was walking through the historic “gingerbread cottages,” which were in remarkable shape having been built in the mid-1800’s. Look at how adorable they are!
This one even had a matching birdhouse with little kitties on it!
With 15,000 year-round residents comprised of artists, musicians, fisherman and back-to-nature types, visiting The Vineyard was a much more down-to-earth experience than we had ever imagined. Virtually untouched by the rampant commercialism found on the mainland, we left The Vineyard on the sunset ferry feeling refreshed and in tune with the incredible beauty that surrounded us, that day and everyday.