My Day As A Tourist on Martha’s Vineyard

Greetings from Martha's Vineyard - Let The Adventure Begin!

We’ve all gotten that call or email from friends or family, “Hey we’re coming to the Vineyard for the day this week.”  I don’t know about you, but my mind immediately starts racing and trying to figure out what I’m going to do to show them how amazing this place is.

Lucky for me, there’s Facebook – an immediate resource for someone like me who’s sleep deprived and not so organized anymore.  I asked for some ideas, and people were happy to help, thank goodness.  With my list ready, I decided it was going to be my day for being a tourist and have some fun too.

My friends were coming on the 10:15 a.m. ferry into Oak Bluffs.  I tried to enjoy a quiet morning, but I was too excited to see my friends.  At 10:oo a.m., I grabbed my four-month-old, Anderson, a cooler full of water, and off we went to pick up two friends from my college days at Oswego University, Jen and Beth.  Whoohoo class of 1998 Funnelle Hall girlies.

Here comes their boat!Waiting for them with anticipation and excitement, I saw that there were actually four people heading my way.  Beth had brought her hubby Sean, and her daughter Caroline, who is seven. Uh oh I thought.  After all the hi’s and hugs, I thought, what I am I going to do with all these people since my Volvo wagon is full of stuff from two kids, car seats, strollers, beach stuff.  Oh nuts I thought.  However, I live close by, so I cruised home and emptied my car and left all the stuff by front door, and now I was ready.  One little hiccup conquered quickly –  we all have one or two when guests come.

I took the advice from my friend about doing a “half and half” —  half of the day up-Island and half of the day down-Island. Luckily we had a gorgeous August day, even low humidity, and I had an entire day planned for them.  So much stuff we could have probably used another day, but I am an overachiever when it comes to good times.

Up-Island Adventures

We were going to start with Menemsha first, since they wanted to catch starfish, and according to their research and friends on Facebook, we could do that there.  We piled into my car and we were on our way.  I took the back roads, and they were quite surprised how rural Martha’s Vineyard is.

I think people think it’s only beach and the three main towns which is far from the truth.  The pastoral beauty was a great surprise to them.  Also, they were surprised how big this place is and how long it took to get to Menemsha.  Why does it always feel like you’re driving cross country when going there?

Looking for Starfish At Menemsha Beach Martha's VineyardI love watching the faces of those who see Menemsha for the first time.  Their awe of the working fishing boats, the sweet little fishing shacks, and the beauty of that beautiful beach.  Caroline just about jumped out of the car with excitement, grabbing her parents and quickly headed to the jetty to get her fill of starfish.  Jen, Anderson, and myself stood back to enjoy this special moment she was waiting for.

Fried Clams At The Bite Menemsha HarborSadly, no starfish were found that morning, but there were plenty of spider crabs and fish to be seen.  A little disheartened, clearly she was in need of some fried clams from The Bite, and perhaps a slushie from Beetlebung.  Those will make me even happier too!  But first, a little adult fun, fresh Katama Bay oysters from Larsen’s.  Darn those yummy Menemsha treats, looks like I’ll be eating my way across the Island today.

Gay Head Cliffs ViewWith a little something in our bellies, it was off to Aquinnah to take in more sights and grab lunch.  My guests were captivated by the view of the water in Aquinnah.  Just breathing in that fresh air and enjoying that view is enough to make your day, but onward, for there is still so much to do.  As a tour guide, I do try to run a tight ship.

As we were heading towards the shops, my friends were quite surprised to see that you had to go across the street for rest rooms and that you had to pay 50-cents.  Of course they loved the lighthouse, and lots of family pics were snapped, but it was our lunch that really made our time there.

Lunch on the Cliffs At Aquinnah RestaurantWe went to the Aquinnah Shop Restaurant, and sat at a table with the most spectacular breeze  and view imaginable! Savoring the view while eating fresh MV blue fish, drinking a Samuel Adams Summer Ale, with good friends from college – an amazing combination.  It was one of those great Summer moments that will be a memory that we will all fondly look back on, but enough of the sentimental thoughts, we had to move on.

Alley's General StoreOf course we had to take a quick pit stop in West Tisbury to run into Alley’s General Store.  Who doesn’t love a little fun at Alley’s?  Something for kids big and small! Also, a quick look across the street at The Field Gallery.  Crossing things off the list of things people suggested!  So much to do!  Three towns down, three more to go!

Down-Island Adventures

Now onto Vineyard Haven — only time for a quick drive through, since we spent a lot of time up-Island.  I pointed out the big things, Black Dog Tavern, the Steam Ship Authority, the fact that we have mini-golf, my friend Liz’s store Bespoke Abode, and a must  a drive through West Chop, plus show them Hutker Architects, where my hubby works.

East Chop LighthouseNow off to Edgartown but by the scenic route.  We meandered, actually obeying the speed limit, along East Chop, enjoying all those breathtaking water views and the East Chop Lighthouse!  Then we cruised along State Beach amazed by how jam packed it was with cars, pausing only to watch people jump off the bridge ( we’re saving that for their next trip).

Espresso Love Edgartown Mommie & AndersonThe new welcome to Edgartown sign was noticed and complimented by my guests as we slowly got by it, since we were stuck in the notorious Triangle traffic.  Once we got to Edgartown Village, there were lots of ooohs and aaahs as we drove through.  So much to do here as well!  We stopped at the Edgartown Lighthouse of course.  We wanted to have a drink at the Atlantic, but we decided it would be better to grab an iced coffee at Espresso Love.

Everyone really liked it there.  Tucked away behind Main Street, my friends felt as though they were being let in on a local secret hot spot.  I didn’t tell them otherwise.  Sometimes it’s good just to be be quiet and let people enjoy these things.

Murdick's Fudge EdgartownWith caffeine coursing through our veins. it was on to shopping, earrings from my friend Kate’s store, Katydid and of course FUDGE from Murdicks!  All of us agreed that Edgartown is picturesque and fun.  Wishing they had more time to shop, but once again, it was time to move on.  So much more to do — I felt like the rabbit from Alice in Wonderland.

Caroline & Sean at The Campgrounds Oak BluffsOak Bluffs here we come!  First on the list, a ride on the Flying Horses Carousel for Caroline. Of course she loved it, and though no brass ring was caught, she did get a fabulous snow globe with the Carousel  and the Vineyard in it.  I think she would have spent her entire evening there if she had a choice.  After that and walking around Circuit Ave, and exploring the Campgrounds, and then it was time for dinner.

Oak Bluffs Harbor View From Nancy's Restaurant Martha's VineyardWe decided on The Sand Bar, which they loved.  Who doesn’t love the sand between their toes when on vacation?  What a rare treat to be able to do at a restaurant.  Another reason is that the kids seem to always fair well there and we had three now, since my husband and daughter joined us for dinner.  I would have rather done Red Cat or The Lookout, but sometimes easy is good.  Also, it was the perfect spot for hopping on over to Nancy’s to have a drink upstairs (my husband took my kids home at this point).  Overlooking the harbor on a cool Summer night with a drink in hand, not a bad thing at all.

Sadly, as I looked at my watch, I saw that it was almost time for them to catch their 8:30 boat.  We only had one more thing to do, Backdoor Doughnuts!  Apple fritters are a well deserved treat after a long day of fun Vineyard activities. They really are the best, and when on vacation, you can eat a whole one and not feel as guilty, since it’s a special occasion.

Walking them to the boat, I was sad that the day was coming to an end.  We had one fabulous day together.  The first one in years, and it was over.  However, once they left, I realized that I was beat.  All that fun in one day wiped me out!

Jen, Guin, & Beth 2012

As I type this, I have to say WOW!  I really think my friends got a pretty good sampling of what there is to do on Martha’s Vineyard.  Imagine if we had a week?  Also, it was a lot of fun showing off were I live and work.  Sometimes I forget, but this place really is amazing.  I am so lucky to be able to call it home.

Special thanks to Caroline Flanders, Kate Walpole, Marsha Ahearn, and the rest of my Facebook friends who helped with ideas!  It was a memorable day for us all.  A great way to enjoy time with college friends, and I got my fill of touristy stuff for a bit.  I only wish I got to take more pictures!

Let me know if you have some other must-do tour stops that I missed. Thanks for reading On Point. Please let me know if you have any fun blog ideas, and don’t forget to  “Like” us on Facebook, on follow us on TwitterLinked InPinterest and YouTube.

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4 thoughts on “My Day As A Tourist on Martha’s Vineyard”

  1. I’m going up to Martha’s vineyard for the first time in September and I just loved your blog. It definitely has given me ideas for a wonderful vacation. Thanks again.


    1. Thanks Theo! Glad you enjoyed it! September is the most beautiful month! You’re going to have a wonderful time!!

  2. I am heading to MV this July with my family in tow (two boys, 14 & 12).

    Our one day on MV providing me with the feeling that you really cannot do it all. Was considering touring the island clockwise as it seems that Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven would be the best to see.

    Any other suggestions you could make?


    1. Hi Chad,
      I woud definitely visit Edgartown – it’s quaint and historic. Oak Bluffs would be a good option too since there is an arcade, a fishing pier, the Flying Horses and plenty of ice cream shops. Vineyard Haven has less to do for young kids though there is good shopping.

      Enjoy your trip to MV:-)


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