There is something simply magical about the Island of Martha’s Vineyard during the winter months. The once-busy streets are quiet, the trails and bike paths too, and the beaches tranquil and private. Unlike any other time of the year, you can really enjoy nature and the beauty of the Island in silence and feel like you have the whole place to yourself. Martha’s Vineyard maintains a population of around 23,000 during the winter months, along with a peaceful, charming, and more reserved mood.
This time of year Vineyard Haven is home to the only Steamship Authority ferry terminal and the comings and goings of Vineyard residents and visitors funnel through this historic town. But don’t just pass through! Whether you’re planning to visit the Island this time of year or you’re a local looking to get out of the house, keep reading for our recommendations on what to do in Vineyard Haven on Martha’s Vineyard this winter. For us locals, the quieter times make us extra appreciative of the wonderful shops and restaurants that choose to stay open in Vineyard Haven during these more muted winter months!
Exploring and Appreciating Vineyard Haven in the Winter – Explore The Island’s History at The Martha’s Vineyard Museum
The Martha’s Vineyard Museum is located in the former 1895 marine hospital in Vineyard Haven overlooking Lagoon Pond. Having just moved there in 2019, this space is brand new and absolutely stunning! With rotating exhibitions, you can always find something new. Pick a rainy day and set aside a few hours to stroll through; the Museum is the place to go if you want to learn about the history of Martha’s Vineyard.
Our favorite One Island Many Stories exhibitions have incredible information about the diverse history of Martha’s Vineyard, and The Challenge of the Sea exhibit tells stories of life on the water. Don’t forget to explore the downstairs level too, where you can see the old Aquinnah Lighthouse lens and visit the hands-on kids exhibit. Don’t have time to take it all in? Even a quick stop at the museum cafe where you can admire the incredible Fresnel lens is worth visiting. Now at the heart of the museum, this incredible artifact made of over 1,000 glass prisms, once served as the guiding light of the Gay Head Lighthouse. You can read more about the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in our dedicated post Martha’s Vineyard Bucket List: Exploring the Martha’s Vineyard Museum.
Exploring and Appreciating Vineyard Haven in the Winter -Experience Authentic Island Art at The Miner Family Gallery and Althea Designs
Located at 34 Beach Road in Vineyard Haven, this gallery is a shared space for two incredible year-round Island artists. The space is both a gallery and a workshop, and it’s absolutely worth a visit! Craig Miner is a painter and mixed media artist with multiple bodies of work on display at the gallery and a long history of vibrant, and thought-provoking art. The incredible colors of his artwork are enough to brighten anyone’s winter day!
Sharing the space is Althea Freeman Miller who specializes in playful painted folk art and block print design. Her mission with her art is to empower others to seek joy and celebrate life and her whimsical pieces do just that! She runs her creative wellness and print shop year-round and also hosts workshops and private art lessons. Stop in for a deeper look at these artists’ work and chances are you’ll meet one or both of them, who on top of being extremely talented, are two of the friendliest people you’ll meet on Martha’s Vineyard.
Exploring and Appreciating Vineyard Haven in the Winter – Enjoy Chinese, Sushi, and Seafood at Copper Anchor Seafood House and Sushi Bar
We often get asked about year-round restaurant offerings on Martha’s Vineyard and Copper Anchor (previously named Copper Wok) always makes our list. The restaurant is located adjacent to the Mansion House Hotel on Main Street and is one of the only full-service restaurant options within walking distance of the Steamship Authority ferry terminal in Vineyard Haven.
Not only can you get your favorite sushi and Chinese dishes here, but you can now order from their classic New England-style menu made popular at their sister restaurant Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company in Oak Bluffs. If you have a discerning table of diners, this may just be the spot where everyone can find something satisfying to eat! Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, we recommend dining in, but you can always order takeout too. Plus, the liquor laws recently changed in Vineyard Haven, meaning that you can now enjoy a cocktail without having to order food, should time only allow for a quick refreshment.
Exploring and Appreciating Vineyard Haven in the Winter – Savor the Flavors at Waterside Market
A year-round favorite, you will find Waterside Market busy in the summer and winter months! It’s hard not to love a place with all-day breakfast, but if that doesn’t draw you in, their delectable sandwich menu will. They put a fun spin on classic sandwiches and have something for everyone, and locals and visitors alike show up in droves.
Their newest and first vegan sandwich, the Lucy Vincent, with Harissa roasted cauliflower, vegan garlic aioli, and pickled red onions is a must-try even if you’re a meat eater. If you’re in the mood for something extra hearty, try the John Alden, a Thanksgiving meal in a sandwich on grilled ciabatta. Don’t forget to shop around the market while you’re there to grab a bottle of wine or seltzer from the cooler, and some of their homemade potato chips and beloved baked goods. On a nice winter day, you can even sit outside on the covered porch and enjoy some fresh air with a warm coffee!
Exploring and Appreciating Vineyard Haven in the Winter – Shop Treasures and Treats at Morrice Florist
Whether you need a birthday gift for a friend, fresh flowers to brighten up your day, or new items for your home, Morrice Florist is the place to visit. There is no better time than the slow winter months to switch up your style and try something new. Head to Morrice for a thoughtfully curated array of housewares that will inspire you to redecorate and reimagine your space. We like to visit just to enjoy the beautiful greenhouse and all of the plants throughout the store. Simply being in the space will fill you with a sense of calm and tranquility.
Exploring and Appreciating Vineyard Haven in the Winter – Shop Treasures and Treats at Martha’s Vineyard Made
Martha’s Vineyard Made is another shopping spot in Vineyard Haven, showing off the goods of Island artists and makers exclusively. All of their products are made by local artists, so shopping here is always a great way to support Martha’s Vineyard’s small businesses and entrepreneurs! From pottery and dishware to soap and skincare to original prints, there is something for everyone in this unique store. They do take a winter break but products are always available online at marthasvineyardmade.com. Their curated gift boxes make great hostess gifts and congratulatory gifts for new Martha’s Vineyard homeowners.
No matter what you do this winter, we encourage you to make a stop in Vineyard Haven and support our local businesses that contribute so much to the fabric of our Island community! Bundle up and enjoy a walk through town while the streets are still quiet, and grab a coffee while you’re there! If you’d like to stay in Vineyard Haven this summer and enjoy all of these Island businesses (plus so many more), we can help you find your perfect Martha’s Vineyard vacation rental home to meet all of your needs!