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Martha’s Vineyard

by Jenn & Hannah

Just a short ferry ride from Wood’s Hole, on Cape Cod, is the summer paradise of Martha’s Vineyard. If you’re staying on the Cape for a while, why not take your bicycles and backpacks, board the ferry for the Vineyard and get away from it all for a weekend? While summertime is perfect the shoulder seasons of spring and fall provide a solitude that is often lacking on Cape.

Cycle vs. Drive

You can take your car on the ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, but a bicycle might be better. You’ll save a bundle on the ferry as the fare for a regular car, round trip, is $85.00 but a bike is only $8.00. Parking can be a serious challenge on the island, especially in the busy summer months, and the backroads beyond the villages are perfect by bicycle. There are some designated bike paths, but the secondary roads are paved and comfortable for cyclists. Drivers on the Vineyard are used to bicycles in traffic and you’ll find them courteous and willing to share the road. Bicycles are easy to rent on the island, just look near the ferry docks in either village. You can pick up a bike map at the Chamber of Commerce in Vineyard Haven, on Beach Road.

**Note: If you take your own bike on the ferry, DO NOT trust the bike stands on the boat, if the boat pitches and your bike falls over you can bend that front wheel beyond repair. Trust us, we know. If that DOES happen, there are bike mechanics just off the ferry who seem all too familiar with this repair.

Where to Stay

Weekend rentals are easy to find, with over 1600 available through Flipkey alone. Summer is the peak season for vacationers on the Vineyard, so you can expect to pay more June-September and should plan to make reservations as far in advance as possible. The village of Oak Bluff is especially quaint, and will have easy access to plenty of shops and fun restaurants to suit any taste. But if you prefer quiet, look for a beach house, perhaps on Chappaquiddick, a secluded island that was recently separated from Martha’s Vineyard during a storm in 2007. Don’t miss the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge if you want quiet communion with nature.

Don’t Miss Out!

No weekend on the Vineyard would be complete without a ride on the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluff, one of the oldest carousels in the country; dating back to 1870. At just $2.00 a ticket it’s a cheap trip back in time for the young or the young at heart.

If you’re a movie buff then you will want to pay your respects at John Belushi’s grave site. His body was moved in 1983 to keep fans from desecrating the site. The memorial stone is still there.

The Gingerbread Cottages in Oak Bluff are darling and an interesting architectural attraction on the island. If you’re on a bike, you’ll get the best view as traffic won’t push you on past too quickly! There are more than 300 cottages painted in rainbow hues.

The Martha’s Vineyard Museum, in Edgartown, is worth an afternoon if you have it. Chock-full of history and cultural information about the island, it will help you develop an appreciation for the hardy souls who’ve called the island home for centuries.

Hungry? It might be cliche, but have lunch at the Black Dog Tavern, in Vineyard Haven, anyway. Just don’t buy a sweatshirt, or you’re marked as a tourist for sure! (Oh go ahead, buy the shirt!) Their food is legendary and you’ll find locals and off-islanders alike in the dining room. Be sure to ask to sit by a window, the view of the harbor is lovely.

Of course there are beaches, lighthouses and the clay cliffs to see too, the more time you have to explore, the more places you’ll discover that you love!

A dynamic mother-daughter duo of travel writers, Jenn & Hannah are in their fourth year of an open ended world tour. Their partners in crime are Dad & 3 brothers and together they are http://www.edventureproject.com

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by Scott Garrity

Oak Bluffs Mad Martha's

Many folks visit Martha’s Vineyard during August and September and, each month offers different attractions and qualities. If you’re thinking of planning a visit to the Vineyard this month or next, here are some thoughts to help with your planning.

August is a great month to visit the Vineyard because the weather and the water temperatures are generally at the warmest of the year. President Obama has scheduled two vacations on the Vineyard during August in past years and is expected once again during this month this year.

The Top Gun Marlin & Tuna Shoot-Out Tournament and the 12-Metre Edgartown Regatta are two events held during August. If you are an offshore fisherman, you can register for the marlin and tuna tournament at the Wesley Hotel in Oak Bluffs. Viewing the regatta race can be quite thrilling and may be a unique experience to try to be a part of.

Flying Horses Oak BluffsVisiting the Vineyard in September comes with the benefit of reduced prices on lodging and fewer crowds and lines at the favored attractions. The majority of Martha’s Vineyard hotels, inns and rentals reduce their rates after Labor Day because many people are in the “back to school” and “summer is over” mode. However, the weather can still be quite nice and sunny days in the 70’s are possible. Although you might not dare to swim at the beaches, the charm of the Vineyard scenery is still fun to enjoy in jeans and a sweatshirt. There will be less traffic and fewer waits at restaurants and shops during this time.

The West Tisbury Farmer’s Market is a popular event during September. The Grange Hall in West Tisbury is the venue and showcase for fresh produce, unique flowers and great home cooking. This fits into the “quintessential New England Fall activities” category and is sure to please folks young and old.

Of course, any time of year is a great time for taking in the sights in downtown Oak Bluffs. Stroll down Circuit Ave and browse through the charming shops. There are many options for coffee, snacks, lunch and dinner. Mad Martha’s is a favorite spot for ice cream and Murdick’s Fudge has fresh fudge made daily. The Flying Horses Carousel is a landmark attraction and is the nation’s oldest operating platform carousel. The rides are a huge bargain, about $2 per ride, and if a rider gets the special brass ring they get a free ride.

August and September are great months to visit Martha’s Vineyard and we hope these ideas help you plan your visit to the island.

Scott Garrity runs marthas-vineyard-vacation-tips.com. Visit his site to see large photos and read about other tips for a Martha’s Vineyard vacation.