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Tag Archives: Martha’s Vineyard

The New Oak Bluffs Fishing Pier

A beautiful addition to the Oak Bluffs waterfront is the new fishing pier.

The pier is not only a great place to fish, but it provides wonderful views of the Steamship Authority ferry terminal, the Oak Bluffs waterfront, and the entrance into Oak Bluffs Harbor. It also happens to be the largest recreational fishing pier in Massachusetts.

But rather than describe it in words we will let a few pictures tell the story…

For more information on the Fishing Pier see: Oak Bluffs fishing pier is bathed in praise


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Martha’s Vineyard Sound Festival

The Martha’s Vineyard Sound Festival, an international indie music festival, will take up residence for the first time in Waban Park in Oak Bluffs on Martha’s Vineyard on July 12, 2014 from 3 PM to 10 PM. For those of you familiar with OB Waban Park is right across the street from the Town Beach.

The lineup for the festival includes:

  • John Cruz
  • Dukes County Love Affair
  • Dwight & Nicole
  • Good Night Noise
  • Alex Karalekas
  • Johnny Hoy and the Bluefish
  • Lexie Roth
  • Ben Taylor
  • Willy Mason
  • Will Evans of Barefoot Truth

Additional artists will be playing at the Dive Bar (Peg House), the Ritz (Mike Benjamin, Rich Brown & Paul Size, and Funkwagon), and DJ App and Euphony will bring it all home at the MV Sound after party at the Island Bar & Grill.

The Martha’s Vineyard Sound Festival will benefit Our Island Collaborative (OIC).

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The Morning After

Mother Nature provided the fireworks this year for the 4th of July with Hurricane Arthur blowing through. But fret not, the day after we awakened to a gorgeous, cool and dry summer day…

Picture of Vineyard Haven Harbor July 2014

Vineyard Haven Harbor, Martha’s Vineyard

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Big Week On Martha’s Vineyard

It is finally upon us – the biggest week of the summer on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. Why is this the biggest week? Because three of the largest and most anticipated events of the summer happen this week.

Picture of a Decorated House - Grand Illumination, Martha's VineyardGrand Illumination
First up is Grand Illumination on Wednesday, August 14, 2013 in Oak Bluffs at the Campground and the Tabernacle of the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association. The Illumination is preceded by a community sing at the Tabernacle. Grand Illumination has been delighting residents and visitors since 1869. This is always great fun for the entire family.

Picture of a Poster for the Martha's Vineyard Agricultural FairMartha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair
West Tisbury plays host to the 152nd annual Agricultural Fair from Thursday August 15, 2013 through Sunday August 18, 2013. Always a great time the fair attracts big crowds through its run at the Fairgrounds in West Tisbury.

Oak Bluffs Fireworks in Ocean Park
On Friday, August 16, 2013 Oak Bluffs will put on their spectacular fireworks display in Ocean Park. The fireworks are preceded by a concert by the Vineyard Haven Band in the Ocean Park gazebo. Also a great family event.

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Planning a Martha’s Vineyard Vacation

Picture of the

Gay Head Light & the Cliffs in Aquinnah on Martha’s Vineyard

So you are thinking of a vacation to Martha’s Vineyard this summer. Here is a little information to help you out as you plan your trip.

How To Get There

While some do fly to Martha’s Vineyard, the most common way to get to the Island is by ferry. And of all of the ferry services to the Island, the boats of the Steamship Authority carry the most passengers to and from the Vineyard. During the summer they run boats to and from both Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. The Steamship Authority is the only year-round service to the Vineyard. They are also the only way to get a car back and forth.

Other seasonal ferries running to the Island include:

Do You Need to Bring a Car?

The next question you need to answer is whether or not to bring your car. Keep in mind when making this decision that Martha’s Vineyard has excellent bus service making it relatively easy to reach most points on the Island. In addition, taxi service is plentiful. Bikes are also an excellent way to get around on the island. Cars can also be rented on-Island.

For me, if I were going over for a weekend or long weekend (2 to 4 days) I would definitely not take my car. Between the bus service and the taxis you can typically get anywhere you need to go, including the beach.

For a vacation of a week or two it would probably be nice to have a car. Plan your car reservation well in advance though, it gets harder to book car passage during the high season…

Where to Stay?


Picture of the View from the Porch of the Harbor View Hotel

View from the Porch of the Harbor View Hotel

The answer of where to stay is probably driven the most by how long you intend to stay. For trips of a week or more it is probably best to think about renting a house.

For trips of a week or less you probably want to think of one of the Islands hotels or a nice Inn or Bed and Breakfast. The three largest hotels on the Island are the Mansion House in Vineyard Haven, the Wesley Hotel in Oak Bluffs, and the Harbor View Hotel in Edgartown. Staying in one of these hotels puts your right in the middle of where the action is as these are the Island’s three most populous towns offering the greatest variety of things to do.

Both the Mansion House and Harbor View are open year-round. The Wesley is seasonal. There are also numerous quaint inns and B&B on island that provide wonderful accommodations.

For more lodging options see our Martha’s Vineyard lodging page.


As for physically where you want to be on island… Down-island has the largest towns (Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown) and the most to do. So if you want to be right in the “thick of things” you probably want to stay down-island. Up-island (West Tisbury, Chilmark, and Aquinnah) is for those looking to get away from it all including at least some of the summer crowd. Up-island is more serene and quite but still beautiful and lots of fun.

When to Go?

So many different things happen during the summer on Martha’s Vineyard that it can be hard to decide when to go. There really is not a bad time to go but think about the following when trying to decide.

Want to Miss the Crowds?

For those of you without kids who may wish to miss the peak crowds, Memorial Day Weekend or Labor Day Weekend can be great for long weekend getaways to the Vineyard. If you want a week-long stay the period between Memorial Day and the weekend before the Fourth of July can be a great time to go – not very crowded, the weather and the water are warming up, and everything is open. Similarly, the weeks after Labor Day can be a great time to to get to the Island. The weather is still warm, the water is at its warmest, and the crowds are gone.

Taking In the Peak Season’s Big Events

Picture of the

4th of July Parade in Edgartown

For families with school-age children the season compresses somewhat and it is pretty difficult to miss peak season. But not to worry, peak season is very manageable and some truly great things happen during the summer that you will not want to miss. Some particularly good weeks to mark in your calendar include:

  • Fourth of July Week – Try coming the week of the 4th of July. If you do you can take in the wonderful small-town 4th of July Parade in Edgartown and enjoy the fireworks over Edgartown Harbor. This is great fun for the whole family.
  • Picture of Grand Illumination - Oak Bluffs, MA

    Grand Illumination in Oak Bluffs

    Tisbury Street Fair Week – On July 8 the Town of Tisbury (Vineyard Haven) throws itself a birthday party known as the Tisbury Street Fair. Main Street is blocked off to traffic and vendors, food merchants, and entertainment fill the street. A great family event.

  • The Middle of August – The biggest events, the biggest crowds, and the most fun all packed into one week. Typically the second full week of August you get three major events: Grand Illumination in Oak Bluffs, the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair in West Tisbury, and Fireworks at Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs. You want to take in this week at least once…

What to Do on Martha’s Vineyard

You’re on an island! Go to the beach. Enjoy all kinds of ocean-based water sports. There is plenty of fine dining. If you are looking for some Summer Island traditions then try out a few of these:

  • For families with small children (10 and under) check out the Saturday morning plays put on by the Fabulists at the outdoor Vineyard Haven Amphitheater.
  • Check out the annual Summer Artisans Festivals in West Tisbury that run all summer long.
  • Take in the West Tisbury Farmers Market which happens every Saturday and Wednesday from 9 AM to noon all summer long.
  • Enjoy some live theater at the Vineyard Playhouse in Vineyard Haven.
  • Get down with the Vineyard Haven Band as they perform live band concerts on Sunday evenings alternating between Owen Park in Vineyard Haven and Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs.
  • Participate in the community sing that happens every Wednesday evening in July and August at the Tabernacle in Oak Bluffs.
  • Take in an event at the Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs.
  • Ride the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs. It is the oldest platform carousel in the United States.

If you run out of things to do on Martha’s Vineyard your are not trying very hard… For more things to do see Martha’s Vineyard Things to Do.

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Holiday Strolls on Cape Cod and the Islands

It’s not too early to mark your calendar for the upcoming holiday strolls throughout the Cape and the Islands. The Cape bustles every weekend starting November 23rd, right through to January 1st.

Picture of Carolers

The Nantucket Christmas Stroll (November 30 through December 2, 2012) is a feast for the eyes as the entire main street is alive with color, light, concerts and carolers.

On the mainland, my favorite events include the charming Route 6A strolls of:

  • Brewster (12/01/12 to 12/02/12)
  • Chatham (12/07/12 to 12/08/12)
  • Dennis (12/09/12)
  • Orleans (11/24/12 to 12/31/12)
  • Osterville (12/14/12)
  • Yarmouthport (12/02/12)

All provide free B&B Inn tours (decorated in full holiday spirit), live music, and holiday refreshments. To learn more about holiday festivities on Cape Cod see Christmas on Cape Cod and the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce event calendar for December.

Not to be outdone by the Cape and Nantucket, Edgartown on Martha’s Vineyard celebrates its annual Christmas in Edgartown the weekend of December 7 to 9, 2012. Enjoy holiday events and shopping and even the 28th annual Great Chowder Contest.

For a great family opportunity, may I also suggest the Enchanted Village weekend specials at the Cape Cod Resort and Spa.

Picture of the Enchanted Village at the Cape Cod Resort in Hyannis

The Enchanted Village at the Cape Cod Resort in Hyannis

Note the Cape Cod Resort and Spa’s exciting holiday calendar, including The Enchanted Village, concerts, ice sculpting demos, caroling, visits from Santa, and much more!

Picture credits: The picture of the carolers is courtesy of the Cape Cod Chamber of Commerce. The picture of the enchanted village is courtesy of the Cape Cod Resort and Spa.

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Video of Grand Illumination – Martha’s Vineyard

One of the joys of late summer on Martha’s Vineyard is Grand Illumination which happens in August at the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association in Oak Bluffs. We had the opportunity to attend the 2012 edition of this marvelous event and kept the camera rolling. Enjoy…

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Video of August Oak Bluffs Fireworks on Martha’s Vineyard

This is a video of the annual Oak Bluffs fireworks display that takes place every year the Friday of the third week of August in Ocean Park in Oak Bluffs, MA on the Island of Martha’s Vineyard. This video was filmed on August 17, 2012.

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Big Week on Martha’s Vineyard

It’s the week that visitors circle in their calendars well in advance. It’s the week that locals dread because of the increased crowds and congestion. It’s the third week of August on Martha’s Vineyard…

What is so special about the third week of August? It is the week when many of the Island’s biggest events take place.

Chilmark Road Race – The week kicks of with the 35th running of the Chilmark Road Race. For runners, the Chilmark Road Race is one of the summer’s highly looked after events and the unofficial warm-up for the Falmouth Road Race which happens the next day off-island back in Falmouth. The 5K (3.1 mile) Chilmark Road Race will start at 10:30 AM on Saturday, August 11, 2012.

Picture of a Decorated House - Grand Illumination, Martha's VineyardGrand Illumination – How often to you get to attend an annual event that first happened in 1869? When you attend Grand Illumination at the Campground in Oak Bluffs that is exactly what you will do. This wonderful throwback to a bygone era starts with a community sing and band concert at the Tabernacle which is followed by the illumination of hundreds of colorful Chinese and Japanese lanterns adorning the houses of the Campground. Grand Illumination this year happens on Wednesday, August 15, 2012. It starts around 7 PM with the band concert and community sing with the lantern lighting happening at dark.

Picture of a Martha's Vineyard Ag Fari PosterMartha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair – Not to be outdone by Illumination Night, the first Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society Livestock Show and Fair was held in 1858. This annual tradition, run by the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Society, will kick off this year on Thursday, August 16, 2012 and run through Sunday, August 19, 2012.

Picture of FireworksOak Bluffs Fireworks – The truly spectacular Oak Bluffs fireworks display in Ocean Park also happens in this big week. This year the fun will kick off at 7 PM with a concert by the Vineyard haven Band at the Ocean Park Gazebo with the fireworks to follow at dusk.

This is a great fun-filled week with something for every member of the family. The only downside (if you ignore the crowds), is that when it is over there are only a few weeks left to summer…

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Video: Cape Poge Light and East Chop Light

Two more videos posted, both about lighthouses on Martha’s Vineyard. Check out Cape Poge Light on Chappaquiddick and East Chop Light in Oak Bluffs…

Cape Poge Lighthouse

East Chop Lighthouse

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