Oak Bluffs, MV
Of course you're going to do it: hop on your stead and lean way out to grasp a brass ring. The Flying Carousel is the nation's oldest platform carousel and is a national landmark. It waits for you in its signature red barn. Just listen for the Wurlitzer organ. Carved wood horses and some very interesting paintings.
Oak Bluffs, MV
The artistry and size of this cottage "camp" will blow you away. It's where Victorian gingerbread was born in the 1800s and it's an Oak Bluffs' hidden secret. Oh the colors! Perfect place for an Instagram pics.
Vineyard Haven, MV
The beach to watch the world on drift by. Excellent shops, fine restaurants, and a beautiful harbor are only a few of the attractions that make Vineyard Haven so special to tourists and residents alike. The boats alone are quite a scene.
Vineyard Haven, MV
It took a minor act of war by the town to restore this historic view to the public, so take a stroll to see what the fuss is all about. The ocean meets the land in a sweeping, romantic vista. If you were looking for a place for that first kiss, consider this one.
With rolling hills and unmatched coastline, Chilmark was once home to sheep and the original pastures of Martha's Vineyard. Today, Chilmark's stonewalls are an art form unto themselves, undulating gorgeously over hills and lanes. It's gravity–defying sculpture and painted in granite greys and soft green lichen. Bring your sketchpad.
West Tisbury, MV
This town has evolved from many things over the years, from inns to fine whaling captain homes. You know "Famous Old Guy Slept Here" kind of credibility. Today, it's a lovely collection of shops, architecture and beautiful people. Pop by The Grange Hall for posed pics in this grand post–and–beam barn. If you're lucky, a farmers market, artisan fair or antiques show may be happening too.
West Tisbury, MV
Chances are, whatever you need, Alley's has it. The oldest operating retail business on Martha's Vineyard, Alley's still delivers as "dealers in almost everything." But the store is much more. It is a community meeting place, a historical institution and an Island tradition. From beach essentials to stocking stuffers, milk & bread to hammers and nails, you can find everything you need — and didn't know you needed! — at Alley's.
There's no romance in life as a lighthouse keeper. In 1799, fourteen lamps burning sperm oil produced both the light and enough smudgy smoke that it took all day to clean the glass–only to light it again at dusk. Lather, rinse, repeat. In the 1830s, the lighthouse was lowered so beacon would be seen under the fog. Still the tallest structure on the island, it was seemingly purpose built for lightning strikes. Unstable clay cliffs required a few moves—islanders did love to move buildings about—and it got a fancy Fresnel prism lens in the 1860s. Gay Head Light is also the first and perhaps only lighthouse tended by a Native American, Mr. Charles Vanderhoop, a member of the Wampanog tribe. It was only electrified in 1952.
Some things are simply cosmically bigger than we self-important humans. Prepare yourself for the astonishing colors and luminesce of the Aquinnah Cliffs. Land once flat has been pushed and pulled like taffy by seawater, tectonic plates and grinding glaciers. Today, natural erosion turns the seas red and turns up amazing fossils. Fossils tell us that great sharks once hunted over what is now Chilmark and camels and wild horses ranged across Martha's Vineyard. Camels! Bits of charcoals that look like burnout campfires are actually lignite from the Cretaceous period. Gaze upon the ribbons of color and be awed—but just with your eyes. To protect the Cliffs, climbing and the removal of clay and fossils are both prohibited and policed (empty those pockets).
Edgartown, the eastern most point, was the Vineyard's first town and is the largest, as it includes the island of Chappaquiddik as well as the beautiful South Beach in Katama. Edgartown, which boasts two historic lighthouses, was founded by whaling captains and retains that historic feel in its gardens and architecture. - See more at The MV Chamber of Commerce.
The Whaling Church is finest example of Greek Revival architecture in New England. What makes it fascinating—and you'll experience this inside—is that it was built by whaling ship carpenters and shipwrights. It feels a little like an upside–down ship. The roof trusses were hand–hewn—chopped and planned—to make the two–foot square beams. Hoisting them into place was no small engineering feat in the 1800s. The original whale oil lamps remain in place and as is the dramatic trompe l'oeil architectural mural by Swiss artist Carl Wendte. Get a little dose of the fearful almighty. It's all way cool and offers great photo options.
The art, the culture and the texture of generations of island life are celebrated at the museum. It is a one–stop immersion in all things island. Explore antique homes, a lighthouse Fresnel lens, period gardens, whaling ship "tryworks," lightning rods, vintage whale boats and railroad antiques and even anchors. Events and exhibits unfold all year long. Founded in 1922 as a historical society to collect Revolutionary era artifacts, this institution today is literally a treasure.
Part of the MV Museum campus, this is fun opportunity to walk the spiral stairs up, up, up to the light. Because of its cute size, Edgartown Lighthouse is a much loved and much painted lighthouse. The lighthouse keeper is on hand and you can pepper him with questions.
Chappy is what Martha's Vineyard before the development: sand dunes, waving grasses, glittering ocean blue, sandy single–lane roads and few cars. Even getting there is old–school: the small Chappy ferry. On your way you’ll pass one of the island's most historic and graceful harbours. On Chappaquick, you'll find several beautiful uncrowded beaches, nature reserves and even a Japanese garden. There's one sort–of shop in a house that sells some basics but you really should bring what you need (hydration, sun screen). Oh, and there's no bathrooms.