Live Martha's Vineyard

Live Martha's Vineyard

IslandOfMarthasVineyardMartha's Vineyard is a refreshing blend of the cosmopolitan and the simple life — and most definitely, the romantic. Watching the shoreline move into view from the outdoor deck of one of the Island's big ferries is awe-inspiring. People making the trip say they begin to drop the cares and concerns of their mainland life at almost that instance.

The Vineyard, and the Vineyarders, work hard to make sure you keep that feeling. While the Island is dotted with elegant restaurants, few of them require more than casual clothing. There are no fast food chains on the Island (the attempt several years ago to locate the Golden Arches here led literally to an Island-wide revolt), and many locally owned galleries and stores.

Life is slower and the pleasures are simpler. A good day may start with a trip to the Farmer's Market held each Wednesday and Saturday at the Agricultural Hall in West Tisbury, and a good night may end with a Wednesday community sing at the outdoor Tabernacle on the Martha's Vineyard Camp Meeting in Oak Bluffs.

Visitors and residents have six grocery stores from which to choose. Supplementing those, though, are distinctively "Vineyard" shopping opportunities – farm stands that stock only locally grown, usually organic products, honor system flower stands that let you pick and pay without ever seeing another person or the amusing offerings at Alley's General Store in West Tisbury where a bobble-head Sigmund Freud doll may share the same grocery bag as a quart of milk. One word of caution: It's an island. Prices are high. Nothing offends an Islander more than over-hearing complaints about quality and costs since they pay them year-round.

Martha's Vineyard is a paradise for those who love the outdoors. With 124.6 square miles of shoreline, there are beaches of all kinds, from the coasts of the Atlantic Ocean to the gentle ones along Beach Road on the Nantucket Sound. Supplementing the beaches are dozens of ponds, some fresh and some salt water, where kayakers or canoers, swimmers, sailors, and picnickers can spend hours on the water or on blankets on the shore.

The Martha's Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby fishing tournament held in the fall brings hundreds of dedicated fishermen here every year, and there are plenty of "secret" fishing spots guarded by serious fishermen. But a more casual approach can be found on almost every beach and from the Edgartown Memorial Wharf. And, if you're trying to multi-task, the harbor at Oak Bluffs is a wireless computer hotspot – fishing, gawking and 'net surfing all available from a harbor-side outdoor bench.

When you want to stretch your sea legs, the Island offers miles of trails across protected lands and through myriads of terrain. Maps and guidebooks can be found in the Island's two bookstores that identify the locations of all public trails on the Vineyard.

Visitors and Islanders alike mark the progression of the season through a few key events – the July 4 parade in Edgartown that starts it, the Agricultural Fair in West Tisbury, and the fireworks in Oak Bluffs that traditionally signal summer's end. Although the true summer season here is only the two months of July and August, those who own seasonal homes are now extending their time into the shoulder seasons of spring and fall.

The mild fall, facilitated by the surrounding water that cools slowly, keeps the Vineyard warmer long past Cape Cod and the mainland's own fall. The long fall allows the Vineyarders who have worked all summer taking care of summer visitors to enjoy the beaches, restaurants—and each other. Although Island businesses mostly close for the winter months, "Winter is when we get really busy," as one 13th generation Islander puts it.

Learn more about Martha's Vineyard!

Today on the Vineyard| History of MV| Island Video Tour

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