Often mentioned in the same sentence as the names Obama, Clinton or Reese Witherspoon, Martha’s Vineyard is known as the exclusive summer playground destination for Washington and Hollywood elites.
For the third installment of Edition01’s Summer Destination Guide, we once again pulled together the best tips from the inside crowd to bring you the ultimate guide on where to stay, eat, shop and play in Martha’s Vineyard.
The quaint island sanctuary with its idyllic, small-town USA feel is located just south of Cape Cod in Massachusets. Made up of six distinct towns — Aquinnah (recently named one of America’s best beaches), Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and West Tisbury — Martha’s Vineyard is the perfect place for a vacation with family or friends.
* Island located off the East Coast of USA
* Best time to go is early autumn, but is accessible throughout all seasons
* Accessible by air or sea; most visitors get there by ferry departing from Montauk or Nantucket.
* The movie Jaws was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard in the fishing village, Menemsha, and the town of Chilmark. Several island natives appeared in the film, and the island often celebrates the anniversary of the film with a weekend-long Jawsfest. Wacky!
WHERE TO STAY
Harbor View Hotel & Resort
This grand New-England-style resort, whose cottage suites have recently been redecorated in a new sleek, modern fashion, is the town’s oldest and largest hotel.
131 North Water Street, Edgartown, MA
Winnetu Oceanside Resort
Bordering South Beach, one the most beautiful beaches on the island, the Winnetu is a relaxed inn perfect for families, who can enjoy the resort’s wide variety of family activities, including a putting green, and canoeing and kayaking excursions on Poucha Pond. All suites and studios at the resort have washer-dryers, kitchens (which can be stocked for guests in advance), and decks or patios facing the ocean. For guests seeking more privacy, the resort also has a private cottage. Yes please!
31 Dunes Road, Edgartown, MA
Lambert’s Cove Inn & Restaurant
The definition of luxury on the island. The 1820 farmhouse is almost a mile from the ocean, but is one of the most romantic places to stay on the island, making it a popular wedding locale. The Inn’s rooms each have their own distinct country aesthetic, and guests get a heated, saltwater swimming pool and complimentary chairs, umbrellas, and towels to private Lambert’s Cove beach.
90 Manaquayak Road, West Tisbury, MA
WHERE TO EAT
The restaurant at this charming hotel has a casual and low-key vibe despite attracting a celebrity crowd. (Including Bill Clinton, Carly Simon, Dan Aykroyd, and James Taylor.) Locally grown vegetables and freshly caught fish can be found on the menu.
“High on both my hotel/restaurant list. The inn is run by Hugh Taylor (brother to James) and they have amazing dessert. It’s at the very tip of the island, and is by far my favorite place to watch the sunset.”
- Courtney Weinblatt, Senior Market Editor, Marie Claire
Courtney on vacation on Martha’s Vineyard
81 Lighthouse Road, Aquinnah, MA
No trip to Martha’s Vineyard is complete without fresh seafood right along the best beach on the island, South Beach. Located at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort, Lure focuses on local, sustainable ingredients, including fresh-caught fish and produce grown just down the road at Edgartown’s Farm Institute. For families visiting Martha’s Vineyard, there is a space in the family dining room where kids can indulge in a kid-height buffet, lounge on beanbag chairs, and watch movies in the corner of the restaurant.
31 Dunes Road, Edgartown, MA
A cute little shack along a small side street in Menemsha. Many have said they have the best fried clams, oysters, squid, shrimp, and scallops on the island. There are only two picnic tables near the shack, so be sure to take your food to go!
29 Basin Road, Menemsha, MA
Sweet Life Cafe
A favorite for locals and housed in a charmingly restored Victorian house, this restaurant’s warm atmosphere and antique furniture will make guests feel as if they’ve entered someone’s home, while they enjoy a sophisticated and constantly evolving, French-inspired menu using seafood and local produce. And as its name points out, make sure to order one of the superb desserts, like the dark chocolate cake with cappuccino custard and ganache or the warm chocolate fondant with toasted-almond ice cream. Diners can also choose from a choice of intimate dining room, outdoor bar, or a serene candle-lit garden.
63 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs, MA
WHERE TO SHOP
A boutique filled with vintage jewelry, clothing and art.
99 Dukes County Ave., Oak Bluffs, MA
The go-to place for eclectic gifts. Find retro furniture, eco-totes, and vintage clothing and housewares at this funky boutique.
6 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, MA
Owned by Carly Simon and Tamara Weiss, this charming Anthropologie-like space sells housewares, hippie-chic clothing, and a selection of eco-friendly bath products, jewelry, books and music.
“This store is for the boho-luxe shopper. The linens are amazing and she (Carly) always has the most interesting selection of shoes, denim and dresses. Plus always the latest CD release from the Simon-clan (Carly and James’ kids are also singers) and great books – not unlikely to find an Avedon tome or a book on farming.” - Courtney Weinblatt, Senior Market Editor, Marie Claire
18 Water-Cromwell Lane, Vineyard Haven, MA
WHAT TO DO
Sail Ena-Vineyard Sound Sail Charters
Sit back and relax while sailing along the gorgeous coast of Martha’s Vineyard, or perhaps take a group or private sailing instruction class!
Flying Horses Carousel
Ride this historic landmark located in Oak Bluffs. The oldest operating carousel in the country, the Flying Carousel has delighted generations of island residents and visitors since 1884.
15 Lake Avenue, Oak Bluffs
Visit one of the island’s many art galleries, featuring photographs, etchings, prints and paintings by local and world-famous artists alike. Some favorites include:
Alison Shaw Gallery (88 Dukes County Avenue, Oak Bluffs; (508) 696-7429)
Edgartown Scrimshaw Gallery (43 Main Street, Edgartown; (508) 627-9439)
Granary Gallery (636 Old County Road, West Tisbury; (508) 693-0455)
SARAH DURHAM-WILSON is a journalist, yoga teacher, reiki master and spiritual writer. She happens to live on Martha’s Vineyard where she spends her days teaching and writing. Naturally, when we were putting together our destination guide, we knew we had to ask her to share some of her local secrets.
(photography: Geoff Parkhurst)
Stay… ” I love to stay up-island in the peace and quiet of Chilmark. The location of my cabin— a mile from a private beach and about two miles from Alley’s general store and the library— affords me everything I need.”
Eat… “I’m often at State Road restaurant in West Tisbury; it’s seasonal, locally-sourced food that’s so delicately and delishily made. Sophisticated but totally comfortable, my NYC friend calls it “Williamsburg meets the Vineyard.” Everything on that menu is a knock out, from their homeade ricotta from Grey Barn, to the Menemsha Lobster spaghetti. And definitely don’t miss the brunch.”
Shop… “I find a lot I love at Midnight Farm, Carly Simon’s upscale bohemian boutique in Vineyard Haven. It’s hard to walk out empty-handed with their treasure trove of romantic silk dresses, cashmere sweaters, beautiful scarves and selection of tough but femme shoes- I just bought a pair of silvery white shell-covered sandals that I love to wear with silk pants and LBDs.”
Play… “I go visit the magical up-Island fishing village of Menemsha. In the off-seasons I’ll head up there just to sit on the rocks that meet the water and chill out, in the warmer seasons when friends are visiting we get fries and ice cream cones from the Galley, the affordable little family-run fish and burger shack nestled in the harbor. It’s also fun to bring a bottle of wine to the porch of the Homeport, dine on their seafood from the take out window and watch the sun set- the most glorious sunset on Island.”
WHAT TO WEAR
This capsule collection has been curated especially for the perfect summer trip to the quaint island sanctuary. The collection brings together clothing, shoes, accessories and jewelry from some of our favorite designers so that you will have everything you need in your wardrobe: just add sunshine!