Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Guide to Martha's Vineyard

(Photos courtesy of my lovely sister)

This is a snobby thing to say, but I'll tell you anyway. When we drive to Woods Hole every summer to board the ferry to Martha's Vineyard, many of the cars speed off to various exits on the Cape, and I can't help but feel a little sad for those people. I want to shout, you're not there yet, keep going! Wait till you see Martha's Vineyard.

I've been vacationing there with my family for 13 years, and we've discovered many favorite places along the way.

Things to do:
  • Beach day at Gay Head (Aquinnah): This beach is a bit of hike (both from the main towns on the island and from the parking lot!), but it's worth it. The clay cliffs are striking. And it's one of the few US beaches were you can go nude! (Do I need to mention that we don't participate?) South Beach is fun, but Gay Head is the best.
  • Grange Hall: There's a fantastic farmer's market on Saturday and Wednesday mornings, and an artisan fair every Sunday.
  • Sunset at Menemsha: Grab dinner at The Bite, open a bottle of wine, and watch the sun dip into the ocean. 
  • Vineyard Sound: Look, I know acapella is sort of dorky, but these guys are super fun. As a young teenager, I had high hopes of marrying a member (didn't really matter which one), so maybe it's just a sentimental soft spot for me.
  • Walk through the cottages in Oak Bluffs: So cute, just a little creepy.

Things to eat:
  • Breakfast at Art Cliff: Almond crusted french toast and the Bull's Eye are two favorites. They also have a food truck at night serving dinner (so hip!).
  • Detente: My favorite restaurant on the island. The menu is local and creative and everything is beautifully presented.
  • Ice cream: We have an on-going debate about the merits of Ben and Bill's vs. Mad Martha's. I contend that Mad Martha's is creamier, hence more delicious. Everyone else is swayed by the huge list of flavors at Ben and Bill's.  You'll have to try both - repeatedly! - to see where you stand.
  • Net Result: Order the plate with steamed mussels, clams and lobster, a side of fries, and walk across the parking lot to the quiet picnic tables by the cove. This is always one of my favorite meals of the year.
  • Lambert's Cove: The food at Detente is fab, but the setting at Lambert's Cove is magical. Sit by the pool for a drink before dinner (it's BYOB, so take wine along!). Bunnies and birds and even a doe might appear in the garden! The dining room is lovely, and the food is quite good, too.
This certainly isn't a complete list of everything the island has to offer, but it would be a good jumping off point :) Does anyone have anything to add to the list?! Are you taking any little trips this fall? It's such a great time for a weekend getaway!


  1. Would you believe that I've never been to Martha's Vineyard? I'm kicking myself for not having visited before now because this round-up of places is so enticing!

  2. This makes me miss it so much!

  3. All your recommendations sound fantastic. If I ever make it out to Martha's Vineyard I'll have to look to your referrals, for sure.

    It's definitely a place I'd love to visit.

  4. Yay for MV!! I love that restaurant with the big garlic clove on it in Oak Bluffs - I am blanking on the name!! Such fun times!! :)

  5. oooh - this is definitely on my to-travel list! i'm thinking an all-family trip would be the perfect excuse - next summer perhaps?


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