by J. SCHLOEDER
The largest island in New England, Martha's Vineyard sits seven miles off the Cape Cod coast and is so beautiful you won't want to spend it in a car or a boat. Though the island covers 100 square miles of land, most Vineyard shopping and sights are within walking distance. But, there are busses and taxis, as well as bicycle, auto and moped rentals to help you navigate the streets. You can also bring you car over on one of the ferries, but it's best to leave it home.
Martha's Vineyard is broken into six towns: Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury on the upper island; and Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown (which includes Chappaquiddick) on the lower island. Most beaches are public, but beware not to disturb the dune grass that helps prevent beach erosion. Also beware of poison ivy, which grows wild, and watch out for ticks that are native to the area. There's a good amount of public land that's been preserved to protect the natural habitat, and can be identified on the Martha's Vineyard Land Bank Map, available by calling 508-627-7141.
Arts programs and lectures are abundant on this laid-back island, as are entertainment, music, drama, and dining possibilities. Don't miss the Flying Horses Carousel, America 's oldest carousel and national landmark. Several performing arts centers offer lectures, children's programs, and open-air concerts, and there's food, food and more food, including dozens of opportunities to chow down on a legendary New England lobster roll.
There are five lighthouses on Martha's Vineyard, and the Gay Head, East Chop, and Edgartown Lighthouses are all maintained by the local historical society and open to the public. Check out the numerous museums and historic buildings on the island, and dozens of places of worship. Naturally, there's lots of fishing, boating, snorkeling, kayaking, parasailing, jet skiing and other water activities to keep you smiling and wet.
You can also bring your car by ferry, airplane or by private boat, with marina and mooring services at Edgartown, Menemsha, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven.
Harbormaster Contact Info:
Edgartown 508-627-4746 or 508-627-6185 Monitors ch. 9, 16; working ch. 74
Menemsha 508-645-2846 Monitors ch. 9; working ch. 8
Oak Bluffs 508-693-9644 or 508-693-4355 Monitors ch. 9; working ch. 71
Vineyard Haven 508-696-4249 or 508-696-4200 Monitors ch. 9; working ch. 69
Submitted by Onshore Magazine