I had the pleasure of revisiting Martha’s Vineyard this summer after 25 years!! The word that kept coming to mind was “lovely”. This island is just so lovely!! Martha’s Vineyard is located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts and if you have never been please put it on your list! The weather, the people, the food make it the perfect place for a summer vacation with family, friends or in my case a girls getaway. Once you get there, here are my picks for the top 10 things to see and do on Martha’s Vineyard!
1) a) Eating Seafood. It is fresh, it is affordable and it is everywhere!! I had been craving a lobster roll all summer and this was the perfect place to have it! I also delighted in decadent New England clam chowder, lobster bisque and the best fried fish sandwich of my life! My favorite seafood restaurants included Look Out Tavern (the site of the warm sauteed lobster roll below that changed my life), Linda Jean’s and The Net Result. I wrote an entire post on eating seafood on Martha’s Vineyard on Travelnoire.com so be sure to read it here.
b) Eating donuts at Back Door Donuts. Back door donuts is part of Martha’s Vineyard Gourmet Cafe& Bakery in Oak Bluffs. Ordering and eating donuts from their back door is a Martha’s Vineyard tradition. Yes there will be a line but it is so worth it and the line moves fast. The back door is open from 7 pm until 12.58pm so we arrived close to 7 pm. You are able to check out the menu prior to getting to the “back door” to order. The donuts are given to you hot and fresh and they are oh so yummy! Besides donuts the apple fritter is a big hit!
c) Eating at The Black Dog Tavern. Have you ever noticed someone with a Tshirt that has a black dog on it and it says Martha’s Vineyard? The stores are all over Martha’s Vineyard selling cool apparel and then there is the Black Dog Tavern and coffee shop in Vineyard Haven. The tavern is open 7 days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner and is located on a dock so you can take in great views of the ships and ferries. There is also a new dockside cafe in Oaks Bluffs! Expect seafood items, ribs and large scrumptious desserts! I particularly enjoyed the “Quahog Chowder” made with fresh island quahogs and topped with homemade croutons! (a quahog is a hard clam)
2) Watching the sunset at Menemsha beach. Beyond beautiful!! This is a tradition on the island and both tourists and locals alike flock to this particular beach to watch the sunset. The colors setting on the ocean were brilliant. Bring your own food and beverages or order from restaurants along the waterfront including fresh lobsters from Larsen’s fish market. I also observed a rather large clam bake on the beach. Fun! Be sure to stay until the sun fully fades away and you will be treated to delightful applause!
3)Visiting the town of Oak Bluffs. This is a bustling area known for it’s
a) quaint and colorful gingerbread cottages,
b) shopping along Circuit Avenue,
c) taking a ride on the Flying Horses carousel which is a US national landmark and the oldest platform carousel in the country. d) You can then relax on the town beach also known as “Inkwell beach”. Lying on this beach you have the beautiful views of the ocean on one side and the gingerbread cottages on the other.
4) Bike riding around the island. What a great way to take in the amazing views all around you! Being on a bike allows you access to areas cars cannot and it’s a great way to get exercise while on vacation. There are trails everywhere and you can ride inland or along the ocean or the bay. You will notice many bike rental shops and bikers everywhere!
5) Visiting Edgartown. I would describe this town as chic, clean, polished, crisp and “sophisticated”:-). As soon as you enter this area you can tell the difference compared to the more relaxed, almost rural look of the rest of the island. Be sure to take the stroll down to the Edgartown lighthouse! This is mentioned in another topic on this list of the top 10 things to do and see.
6)Eating lobster on the beach. Have you ever done this? After seeing many people do so all week on the island we couldn’t leave without doing the same! On our last day we ordered lobsters from Edgartown seafood and drove out to South beach to relax and indulge in this island tradition. I highly recommend it!
7)Visiting South Beach. Yes they have a South Beach too! Here you will have a full wide beach with soft sand which allows for pleasurable long walks. ( The other two beaches we visited-Menemsha and Inkwell had a lot of shells). There are uninterrupted ocean views and it is less crowded than the town beach of Inkwell.
8)Exploring the Lighthouses. I have always loved lighthouses and they are all over Martha’s Vineyard! Most are very accessible and the fee to enter is a simple $5. The water views from the Edgartown lighthouse and the Gay Head lighthouse were breathtaking and relaxing!
9)Visiting the town of Aquinnah. This is the home of the Gay Head cliffs and lighthouse! Well worth the drive no matter where you are staying on the island. It is also home to the Wampanoag tribe. There is a monument and tribal home that contains artifacts and information on their history.
10)Updated 8/2019. Partying at Lola’s is no longer an option. Unfortunately this establishment closed. There is a new restaurant that has taken its place but I have been told its not the same atmosphere. But, there are so many places to go and events that take place on Martha’s Vineyard so you have options. Take a look at this link while doing your planning…
As you can tell my friends and I had a wonderful time on this enchanting island! If you are visiting for the first time or returning I hope my Top 10 Things to Do & See on Martha’s Vineyard will help you make the most of your vacation there! For tips on planning a vacation on Martha’s Vineyard be sure to visit the post “Summertime on Martha’s Vineyard.”
Have you been to Martha’s Vineyard or planning a trip there? If so share your thoughts with us below!
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Dr. Nadeen White is a "Blogger by Day, Physician by Night". She is an award-winning travel blogger, Amazon bestselling author and speaker. The Sophisticated Life Blog covers affordable luxury travel, culinary travel and wine. Her domestic and international travel guides gets people to the destinations of their dreams. So, if you are living the sophisticated life or desire to do so, this is the blog for you!