This summer we explored the beautiful island of Martha’s Vineyard. Lying just 6 miles off the southern coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, The Vineyard was once inhabited by the Wompanoag tribe and is now known for it’s gorgeous beaches, laid back style, and occasional vacationing president. Here are photos of some of our favorite spots and memories.
We rented a house through VRBO about three weeks before our trip. Since we had just canceled our big, much researched California coastal vacation (no time to explain, but picture a lot of moping) we wanted to stay somewhere “adventurous”. We chose the town of Aquinnah on the southern most tip of the island, a 35 minute drive from the ferry. Aquinnah is the last place on the island where Wampanoag still live. The beaches are untouched and breathtaking. Gayhead beach is known for its dramatic clay cliffs (and nudie bathers…make sure to warn your 7-yr old boy so they don’t point and giggle). Our favorite beach was Moshup, which is a 10-minute walk from the car down a cleared path, and adjoins Gayhead beach. There are rocks of all colors and boulders that look sculpted, along with the softest sand. The waves break further out so the kids could walk on the sandbar and body surf.
We visited all of the Vineyard towns. Some were sleepy places with just a general store and a post office. Others were destination spots with restaurants, inns, shopping and lots and lots of ice cream and candy! My kids were in heaven. Our favorite was the old whaling port of Edgartown. Full of pretty shingle style houses built by whaling captains, a walk down Water Street along the harbor is dazzling. Edgartown is also home to the island’s most popular beach, South Beach. We loved this beach, too (but with it’s crashing surf it is not the best beach for little kids). Our favorite shop was Portobello Road. They sell eclectic paintings, books, signs and all sorts of cool collectibles. Another lucky find was Chilmark Pottery (in Chilmark, of course) which sells the most beautiful hand made wares. Master potter Geoffrey was so nice to let us watch him work. We eat from his bowls every morning now!
Lighthouses abound on The Vineyard. We visited lots of them. Our favorite was the Aquinna lighthouse, probably because it was at our doorstep, but also because they are making a big effort to raise money to move it because it is falling into the ocean as it sits right on top of the red clay cliffs of Gayhead beach. We took a tour and climbed the stairs to the top and looked at some of the old photos of when there used to be a lighthouse keeper. It was pretty cool for the kids to make a connection with the past and also help problem solve for the future. (On a side note, speaking of lighthouse keepers, have your read The Light Between the Oceans? A heartbreaking story, but a good summer read.)
We also found some calm lakes, like that of Long Point Reserve, which was a beautiful day for all of us. It gave the kids a break from the pounding waves and they were able to just swim in the water for hours. The fishing village of Menemsha offered us a casual place to eat at The Galley, and was one of the spots where they filmed Jaws (my kids became a little obsessed with this fact). Menemsha also has a quieter beach where you can climb the rocks, and has the best sunsets on the island.
We loved our vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. We hope some day to go back and explore the island some more on bike (but first we will have to teach 7-yr old mr. stubborn to ride). Sorry for all the photos, I just couldn’t narrow down anymore. There were just too many pretty spots to show you!