Good Ole' Martha
We spent the most amazing and much needed 4 days in Martha’s Vineyard.
We packed the car with sandwiches, snacks and a cooler of ice and drinks for our 4 hour drive. (Car filled with gas at our local gas station). Then drove into Folmouth to take The Steamship Authority’s Ferry into Martha’s Vineyard. The Steamship Authority has paid parking and there is a free shuttle from parking lot to ferry. Passenger reservations are not needed. Passengers traveling without a vehicle may purchase tickets at the terminal on the day of sailing. The trip from Woods Hole to beautiful Martha’s Vineyard takes only 45 minutes. You have your choice of two ports to arrive into: Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. We opted to take the Vineyard Ferry because it ran more frequently.
We stayed at The Summer Camp Hotel located in Oak Bluffs (nod to Oak Bluffs' history as a summer "camp" destination for the Methodist Church), a 20 minute car ride from Vineyard Haven's Ferry and a 5-10 minute walk from Oak Bluffs’ Ferry. Check out the harbor from your deck chair, grab a snack from the Camp Canteen, or play ping pong or Twister in the game room. I must have contacted the hotel, at least 3 times before I booked with many questions on the safety precautions they are taking. The staff was kind, patient and understanding of my concerns. The hotel just reopened 3 days prior to our check in. Upon Check in reception explained:
1. Hand sanitizer available throughout public areas of hotel for our use.
2. Guests are required to wear masks in all public spaces.
3. Linen and towels are replaced every 5 days unless requested. If requested, guests are required to stay out of the room for 4 hours.
4. You can reserve the game room for 1 hr at a time. The hotel shuts down the game room after each use to disinfect.
The hotel just rolled out their brand new Martha’s Vineyard mobile concierge tool, which provided expert advice on bars,restaurants, attractions... and even where to find the best coffee and ice cream! Mmmmm Ice-cream, we’ll get back to that later. The hotel offers an Instagram Scavenger Hunt for a fun and creative way to explore the area… with a chance to win prizes.
Must see activities on an extended weekend?
Beach Beach Beach We had no clue just how beautiful the beaches were at Martha’s Vineyard until we arrived. There are about 18 public beaches on the island. With only a few days on the island we only visited a few. You should note, the beaches did not have signs with their names so we used landmarks to navigate.
Inkwell Beach- Just a 10 minute walk from our hotel and a nice short walk from/to downtown Oak Bluffs. If you're African American, the Inkwell is a "must experience". Historically known as the "black beach", the Inkwell was the only beach where black Americans could go and enjoy the beach. The beach is very rocky but shallow water so very safe, great for kids and families. There are so many beautiful beaches on the island that this one does not compare in beauty but it has a lot of history that is easily appreciated.
Oak Bluffs town Beach- Across from Ocean Park and another shallow beach begins near the Steamship Authority dock and ends at Joseph Sylvia State Beach.
Joseph Sylvia State Beach- Located between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown is one of the most known family beaches, easy to get to via bike or car. The water is clear and warm. The waves were quiet. Along most of the stretch of beach there is also access across the road to Sengekontacket Pond, which is popular for kayaking and windsurfing.
South Beach- It's a beautiful, well-maintained stretch of fine sand, popular but not overcrowded, easily accessible by bus from downtown Edgartown. South Beach is extremely exciting because it has the biggest waves on Martha's Vineyard! It is a perfect beach for people who want waves to body surf.
Other great outdoor activities
Flying Horses- unfortunately the ride was closed during phase 2. Maybe next time!
Ocean Park- Beautiful open park. We flew kites, rode bikes and at times just sat and took it all in.
Rent Bikes - As they say when in Rome...... `There are tons of places to rent Bikes and people out riding bikes. After all, it’s Martha's Vineyard. It felt as though there was a Bike shop on every corner So no worries if you didn't bring your own bike. The ride from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown is scenic and much fun even for beginners.
Gingerbread Cottages- Most of these colorful Victorian style homes are privately owned and so you will have to view from the sidewalk. There is a cottage museum within the cluster if you want to take a look inside a typical Campground cottage from back in the 1800s.
East Chop Lighthouse- Open for sunset tours only on Sunday evenings.
Mytoi Japanese Garden- This hidden treasure is a quick ferry ride from Edgartown to the Island of Chappaquiddick. There are a variety of trees, bushes, and flowers that grow so along the paths and across the hillsides above the tranquil pond where turtles, frogs, and goldfish enjoy their peaceful existence.
There is so much to eat and many seafood restaurants, which we opted to avoid due to a shellfish allergy.
Lookout Tavern- Probably one of Juan’s favorite. This seems to be a popular restaurant on the island so be prepared for a little wait. We enjoyed the view of the Nantucket sound
Linda Jeans- Another one of our favorites. So much so we ate here a couple of times. Good menu with much variety for a family. You get A LOT of food for your money. Can’t beat that on MV.
Giordano's Restaurant & Clam – This was our favorite place to grab a slice of pizza to go. Did not disappoint.
My favorite part of the trip. Who doesn’t like treats???
Nauti Cow Creamery- HOLY COW!! The ice cream is dreamy, creamy, and tasty. Yes, sampling is allowed. They offer so many flavors from traditional ice cream, sorbet and even vegan. Quite a few vegan flavors. The place is scrupulously clean, attends to details of protecting customers against the spread of COVID-19.
Ben + Bill's Chocolate Emporium – What can I say? We love ice cream. A popular spot, the selection and taste of the flavors are top notch, and the servings are very generous for the price.
Back Door donuts- Worth the wait! A donuts shop that opens up their back door (after 7pm), where you wait in line to purchase delicious donuts. They are open until all donuts are sold.
Murdick’s Fudge- The cashew brittle was so good. We took a box home and ate from it all week.
You’ll find tee shirt shops, restaurants and high end shops strolling up and down Circuit Ave. I can’t honestly say I took a note of the T-shirt shops we visited. They all pretty much carry the same T-shirts and Souvenirs. Also we didn’t want to spend much of our limited time on shopping, so I’ll just mention two of our favorite shops.
Vineyard Vines- Can’t come to Martha’s Vineyard and not stop by Juan’s Favorite store. Yup we went to both locations in Oak Bluffs and Edgerton. It was pretty cool that he was able to sign his name and post it to the door frame of his favorite store.
Sanctuary Martha's Vineyard /The Life Divine- Sanctuary focuses on gifts and souvenirs inspired by the philosophies that are at the core of Yoga. I started collecting Alex and Ani bracelets from places we’ve traveled. If you’re a collector of Alex and Ani Charmed Bracelets you must stop here.
Overall we had such a great time that we’re thinking of going again this summer. Martha’s Vineyard will definitely be a yearly summer go to for our family.