Martha’s Vineyard is an island located 6 miles off the coast of Cape Cod Massachusetts. To get to Martha’s Vineyard you must take either a plane or a ferry, there are NO bridges or tunnels connecting Martha’s Vineyard to the mainland. The most common method of transportation to the island of Martha’s Vineyard is by ferry. There are quite a few different ferries you can take, but if you would like to bring a car across your only option is the Steamship Authority ferry that leaves from Wood’s Hole. Passenger ferries leave from Rhode Island, New Bedford, Falmouth, and Hyannis, but make sure to check the schedules for the different ferries as many ferries only run in season (May – September).
Martha’s Vineyard does have an airport and although it isn’t as busy as the ferries, more and more people fly to Martha’s Vineyard every year. Flying into the Vineyard can seem expensive, but with growing competition among charters flights reasonable fares can be found. The amount of time and effort saved by flying in versus driving and ferry time is a major factor for many when considering the value of a flight. The celebrity factor at the airport must also be considered. Most high-profile visitors fly in on charter or private plane which makes for interesting people watching especially during the summer months.
Daily, year round automobile and passenger ferry service is available from Woods Hole, Massachusetts via the Steamship Authority ferries, www.steamshipauthority.com . Daily, year round passenger-only ferry service is also available from New Bedford, Massachusetts on the Martha’s Vineyard Express Ferry, www.mvexpressferry.com, and from Falmouth Harbor, Massachusetts aboard the little known Patriot Boats, www.patriotpartyboats.com . Seasonal passenger-only ferry service is also available from other ferry companies that operate out of Falmouth, Hyannis and New Bedford Massachusetts (see listings below). All ferry services offer pay-parking lots at their mainland docks, usually about $10.00 per calendar day. You virtually never need a reservation as a walk-on ferry passenger at any of the ferry companies, and your bicycle is always welcome for a nominal additional charge. Reservations are required to bring an automobile over with the Steamship Authority. Year-round and seasonal air service to Martha’s Vineyard is also available.
An important note about bringing your car to Martha’s Vineyard on the Steamship Authority boats: A ferry reservation for your car is relatively expensive during the summer (up to $124.00 round trip, plus passenger fare of $12.00/person) and can be hard to get. If you can’t get a convenient ferry reservation for your car, why not consider parking your car on the mainland at any of the ferry company parking lots and come over as a walk-on passenger. Martha’s Vineyard has a terrific public transportation system of buses and taxis that make it easy to get anywhere on Martha’s Vineyard without your car. And the Nashua House Hotel is right in the heart of the village of Oak Bluffs and is a short walk from any of the ferry docks. From the Nashua House you can easily walk to all of the wonderful historic sites, restaurants, shops and beaches in Oak Bluffs, and take the public bus or a taxi to our neighboring towns of Vineyard Haven and Edgartown. Bicycle and car rentals are also available on-island.
Unlike the Hamptons or Aspen—where the beautiful people compete to see who can look more beautiful—the island of Martha’s Vineyard is where the rich and the famous like to let their hair down. Titans of Wall Street walk around Edgartown with sand in their rolled-up Dockers, while Hollywood actresses don sandals and leave (most of) their make-up at home.
The island really was covered with wild grape vines when explorer Benjamin Gosnold first happened upon it in 1602 and named it for either his daughter or mother-in-law (you be the judge). Many years later, the scenic island 25 miles off the Upper Cape developed a reputation as a retreat for writers and artists. Celebrities followed, and residents got used to seeing the likes of Billy Joel and Michael J. Fox at the corner market.
Apart from the splendid views of the scenic beauty oozing here, Martha’s Vineyard is an ideal vacation destination with its huge variety of quaint boutiques, restaurants and galleries that are perfect for an unforgettable dining and shopping experience. You can opt for a cozy hideaway in any of the numerous Martha’s Vineyard vacation rental houses to enjoy canoeing, fishing, kayaking, snorkeling, bird watching, biking, and hiking.
Experience a bit of island living in New England with a Martha’s Vineyard vacation. This island of wild grapes is a favorite summer destination for New Englanders and out-of-town guests. Tourism is undoubtedly the main economic factor that keeps this island afloat, but celebrity A-listers also find peace and solace in Martha’s Vineyard, thanks to hidden homes and private beaches. Martha’s Vineyard is far less developed than Cape Cod, but that’s what makes this island so appealing. Martha’s Vineyard is a vacation back to simplicity. Farmer’s markets, miles of beaches, outdoor concerts and plays, and plenty of easy-going nightlife options keep this island area buzzing.
Each town in Martha’s Vineyard has its own unique personality. Vineyard Haven is the island’s main port and where ferries from Nantucket and Cape Cod arrive and where private yachts dock year-round. Oak Bluff’s is the Vineyard’s “fun” town. The Flying Horses Carousel in the middle of the village is the focal point and surrounded by cookie-cutter homes, ice cream stands and pizza parlors. Edgartown is the quaint and graceful village with stylish boutiques and restaurants, modern homes and impeccable landscapes. Regardless of which town you visit, Martha’s Vineyard is always friendly and welcoming and visitors will find plenty to do during a Martha’s Vineyard vacation.