A Weekend on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard

There is so much to do on Martha’s Vineyard that even a long weekend wouldn’t suffice to see it all. Whether you’re looking for beaches, fine dining, historic lighthouses, fishing, exciting nightlife or just a relaxing time to recharge, Martha’s Vineyard has what you need.

Getting to Martha’s Vineyard

You can only get to Martha’s Vineyard by ferry or plane; there are no bridges or tunnels that go to the island.

There are quite a few ports that have ferries to Martha’s Vineyard, but the port in Woods Hole (Falmouth, MA) is my recommendation for convenience.

The Port in Woods Hole, Falmouth, MA
Steamship Authority Port at Woods Hole in Falmouth, MA

Some other departure points: Hyannis, MA (Brant Point); North Kingstown, RI (Quonset Point); New Bedford, MA; Highlands, NJ; New York City, NY; and Montauk, NY. You can also reach Martha’s Vineyard by air.

Woods Hole (Falmouth) Ferry

When traveling to Woods Hole, pay attention to the big sign they have on the highway (Rt. 28).  It will inform you if the main parking lot is full and if you need to park in the satellite lot called the Cataumet parking lot.

The Woods Hole Ferry is located here:

View Larger Map

We did not see the sign and got all the way to the main lot only to find out it was full, it’s a 9 mile backtrack to their satellite lot so we ended up missing our ferry and had to wait to the next one.

The shuttle from the Cataumet lot to the dock is a bumpy, bumpy ride.

The shuttle from Cataumet lot to the main lot in Falmouth
The Steamship Authority shuttle from the Cataumet lot to the ferry.

Things to Do at Woods Hole While You Wait for the Ferry

There are a few locally owned restaurants and shops near the port; try Coffee Obsession on Water street for some coffee and snacks if you need to kill some time.

You can also get some great views of the ocean, it’s worth it to go off exploring and see what you find. The Steamship Authority building doesn’t have much else to do but sit around and wait.

Coffee Obsession in Woods Hole, Falmouth
Check out Coffee Obsession in Woods Hole while you wait for the ferry

The Ferry Ride to Martha’s Vineyard

During nice weather, the ferry is a very pleasant ride; there is a lot of outdoor seating where you can enjoy gazing into the ever-stretching ocean line.  The ferry takes about 45 minutes.

Steamship Authority Ferry to Martha's Vineyard
The Ferry to Vineyard Haven from Woods Hole, Falmouth

Where to Stay on Martha’s Vineyard

There are many great places to stay in Martha’s Vineyard. We stayed at the Kinsman House in Vineyard Haven; it’s a cozy inn run by long-time resident (Doreen Kinsman).

She’s very helpful, knows the island very well and had many suggestions for activities during our stay. It was also very affordable; we were booking the trip last minute and everything was either full or charging extraordinary prices.

We stayed at the Kinsman House on Martha's Vineyard
The B&B, Kinsman House in Vineyard Haven; a short tax ride from the ferry.

Best Places to Eat on Martha’s Vineyard

Restaurants that get the thumbs up:

  • M.V. Bagel Authority – 96 Main St, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568 (Although I heard it had closed down, can anyone confirm this?)
  • Faith’s Seafood Shack and Sushi – 33 Aquinnah Cir, Aquinnah, MA 02535
  • Waterside Market – 76 Main St, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568

Breakfast at Waterside Market is a must, it was tasty, the service was fast and the food was very fresh.

Bagels on Martha's Vineyard, M.V. Bagel Authority
The M.V. Bagel Authority in Vineyard Haven, a short walk from our B&B.

The Public Transportation System

The public transportation system can be a little tough to navigate, the bus routes don’t go too far so often you end up needing to take multiple buses.

For instance, to go from Vineyard Haven to Aquinnah, you will need two buses and it takes about an hour.  If you plan on using the buses, buy a day pass.  You can get them right after you get off the ferry in the terminal.

Best Sights to See on Martha’s Vineyard

You must check out Gay Head cliff (Aquinnah) and the lighthouse.

Moshup Beach in Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard
The clay cliffs at Martha’s Vineyard Moshup Beach, the lighthouse is located just a little ways away.

There is also a small plaza with souvenir shops and food shacks – Faith’s Seafood Shack mentioned above serves great muscles.

Faith's Seafood Shack in Aquinnah (Gay Head)
Faith’s Seafood Shack and Sushi Bar in the plaza near the Gay Head Lighthouse.

A short walk away is a long stretch of beach where you can lay out and enjoy the sun.  If you’re there later in the evening, watch the sunset from Gay Head cliff; it’s beautiful.

A sunset from Gay Head Cliff in Aquinnah
The sunset view from Gay Head Cliff in Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard.

If you’re in the mood for something light-hearted, head to the Wharf in Edgartown during “Scaryoke” (scary karaoke) for some fun.  The DJ really gets into it and knows how to work the crowd. The Wharf Pub & Restaurant is located at 3 Main Street, Edgartown, MA.

This trip was done in a weekend, not nearly enough time; I foresee a few more future adventures back to Martha’s Vineyard to see all the sights that we didn’t have time for.

For prices and the schedule for the ferry, check out the Steamship authority site: http://www.steamshipauthority.com/


    • says

      Hi Michelle, I love Martha’s Vineyard. The locals try very hard to keep the island looking as “small town” as possible. They don’t allow big chains like McDonald’s or Dunkin Donuts on the island, which I think makes the island feel so much more like a private, secluded, vacation getaway.

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