The western portion of Martha’s Vinyard is marked by boulders, sand and clay deposits from the glacier. But nothing is more dramatic than the colorful cliffs of clay at Aquinnah (Gay Head). The cliffs are open for public viewing, from a high point near the Gay Head Lighthouse. From this vantage point, there is water on three sides, and Noman's Land can be seen to the south and the Elizabeth Islands (both part of Dukes County, but mostly unoccupied) are on the opposite horizon. The view from here of the cliffs and the lighthouse is breathtaking. Equally impressive, though, is to follow a boardwalk down to the ocean, where there is a public swimming beach and a view of the cliffs from below.
The cliffs and the beach below, as well as the hills and land around Gay Head, are the property of the Wampanoag Tribe, the largest collection of Native Americans in Massachusetts. There are more than 900 members listed on tribal rolls; 300 of those live on Martha's Vineyard, and about 150 in Aquinnah. In 1987 the Wampanoag tribal council was recognized by the federal Bureau of Indian Affairs as an official tribal government.
Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority buses serve Aquinnah and connect it to the island's other towns. Parking is notoriously difficult at the cliffs and beach. Be prepared to drop guests and continue around the loop.
Lobsterville Beach, located on the calm north shore beach. Parking is very limited.
West Basin, at the end of Lobsterville Beach. Parking is, again, very limited.
Moshup Beach, a Martha's Vineyard Land Bank property. Expect to pay a hefty day rate to park.
Gay Head lighthouse - located on a dramatic high point – opened in 1799
Black Brook Forge & Gallery State Road, 508-645-9092
Gay Head Gallery State Road, 508-645-3634
Yates Gallery 9 Aquinnah Circle, 508-645-9746
The Aquinnah Shop & Restaurant 27 Aquinnah Circle 508-645-3867
Faith’s Seafood Shack & Sushi Bar 33 Aquinnah Circle 508-645-4080
The Outermost Inn Lighthouse Road 508-645-3511
The Duck Inn 10 Duck Pond Lane 508-645-9018
The Outermost Inn 81 Lighthouse Road 508-645-3511
Totem Pole Inn 1 Totem Pole Way 508-645-2815
Aquinnah Real Estate