Last summer I shared some of our favorite things to do in Martha’s Vineyard.
When we went back this year with kids ranging in age from 7 to 14, we returned to some of our favorite spots (bridge jumping at State Beach, sunset at Menemsha, and inlet paddle boarding) but also tried some new adventures….
West Tisbury Flea Market—I love to shop on vacation and an outdoor market featuring local artists is right up my alley. I bought a fresh-baked popover and happily perused the stands of jewelry, clothing, home decor, art and photography. The locals were friendly and the wares creative. Although some prices seemed high, this market on State Road is a great way to spend an hour shopping outside, especially if you need to buy gifts.
Yoga Barn— Whether you’re a devoted yogi or never down-dogged, a visit to the Yoga Barn in West Tisbury is a perfect vacation activity. As the name suggests, the studio is a refurbished old barn in the middle of a gorgeous meadow, bathed in natural light. Most classes are for all levels and the teachers are experienced and welcoming. There’s something about the unique structure of the space and the setting that was instantly calming and peaceful.
Long Point Beach—South Beach, near Edgartown, is known for huge waves, which may be a deterrent for some. But we heard about Long Point, which is further down South Beach, off Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. Don’t be discouraged by the long drive through thick woods to reach the beach, it’s well worth the hike. Now my favorite beach on the island, it’s long and wide, with white sand, preserved dunes, and few people. You can have fun surfing waves at low tide, or get your ass kicked at high tide. Or walk over to the fresh water pond that’s only two to three feet deep, which is perfect for both toddler splashing and teen paddle boarding.
Vineyard Haven run/walk—While staying at a house in Vineyard Haven, we discovered a great route for either exercise or scenic jaunt. Start on Franklin Street near St Augustine’s Church off Colonial Lane and go north towards Vineyard Sound. You get a feel for the local neighborhood, then pass the lovely West Chop Club tennis courts before you make the turn to Main Street. The rest of the run has a view of the Sound on your left, spotted with gorgeous homes—from cottages to mansions—that will make you swoon. The road takes you right through Main Street in Vineyard Haven and back up to Franklin or anywhere you want to stop. It’s about four miles of pretty.
Chappaquiddick—It’s a schlep, but worth it. If you travel light, I recommend you find parking near Edgartown and walk on the 5-minute ferry to Chappaquiddick Island. If you haul loads of food, drinks, booze, towels, sports equipment, and chairs like we do, you’ll need to wait in line to get your car over, which can take anywhere from 10 to 45 minutes, depending on the weather and time of day. Once you’re on the island you drive a ways and then park, and drag your crap across sandy roads and dunes to the beach. But the beach is untouched, beautiful, and quiet. You can’t see any civilization for miles around and you can’t help but find Zen there. Everywhere you turn is a picturesque view, and all you hear is seagulls and the water lapping at the sand. It’s a great spot for a long walk collecting seashells and rocks… or a nice nap.
Oak Bluffs cottages—The Vineyard has strict development rules so there are no high buildings and all the houses have that weathered shingled look. That’s why a walking tour of Oak Bluffs is a breath of fresh sea air. The town, overlooking Nantucket Sound, is a great place to meander, with lots of stores and restaurants. You can plant your kids at the local arcades, or take a family tour of the historical Victorian “gingerbread” homes in the area. Many of the “Carpenter’s Gothic” architectural style-cottages are painted and decorated in colorful designs and have names like “Angel Cottage,” Pink House,” and “Oz.” Tucked behind the main streets is the beautiful Trinity Park and Tabernacle—a circular, open-sided pavilion dating back to the 1880’s, which continues to be a venue for community events. Walking back there is like stepping into a 19th century novel set in New Orleans.
John Belushi’s grave—As a pop culture addict, I wanted to see the infamous grave of the former Blues Brother, who died of a drug overdose in 1982. Although Belushi died in L.A., he loved the Vineyard and had a house there. Legend has it, he’s actually buried in an unmarked grave at the Abel’s Hill Cemetery in Chilmark so he can rest in peace. But when you arrive at the cemetery, there is a plot separated from the rest, with a Belushi tombstone that reads, “I may be gone but Rock N’ Roll lives on.”
Any beach you choose, any sight you see, it’s all good. Look at these happy faces!
I’d love to hear any of your favorite spots in the comments.