If you’re looking to book a getaway that doesn’t entail jet setting or renting a car, there’s a wonderful destination you might be overlooking.
Martha’s Vineyard is five hours from midtown Manhattan by ferry, and (barring sailing your own boat) is one of the most exhilarating nautical adventures a New Yorker seeking a weekend in New England can have. Once you’ve docked in Oak Bluffs, there are plenty of affordable activities, beautiful uncrowded coves, bright kooky houses, and all that fresh seafood to sink your teeth into.
In the off season, take Amtrak to Kingston Station in Rhode Island, then take the Little Rest Limousine ($22/pp) to the Vineyard Fast Ferry at Quonset Point, RI. In the high season, seafarers (and folks with strong stomachs) can take the SeaStreak ferry ($230/RT) that departs from mid-town Manhattan every weekend and arrives at Oak Bluffs port five hours later.
You can bring your bike on the ferry for an additional $20, or rent a set of wheels (we recommend the kind with pedals) at Sun n Fun Rentals to venture around the island to places like Long Point Wildlife Refuge or Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary.
Where to eat:
Charge up with a light breakfast at Mocha Mott’s before heading out on your day’s adventures. For lunch, try the Fried Green Tomato B.L.T. ($9.75) with a side of truffle fries ($7) at Slice of Life, a summer staple in Oak Bluffs. Or, Humphrey’s Bakery in Edgartown has served up wait-worthy sandwiches and delectable baked goods for the past 50 years. For a casual, sunset dinner, stop at the oceanfront Menemsha Galley for simple, but delicious food (try the $10 lobster roll), cold Coronas, and a breezy atmosphere (508.645.9819).
Things to do:
Featherstone Center for the Arts hosts a flea and fine arts market every Tuesday 9am-2pm; check the website for the summer schedule of poetry readings, exhibits, and art classes. Take a leisure 50-minute bike ride over to the West Tisbury Farmer’s Market, open Saturdays and Wednesday mornings. The Farm Institute offers classes and activities to educate kids and adults in sustainable agriculture and the history of farming on the island.
Where to stay:
Brush the sand off your feet after an active yet rejuvenating day, open a bottle of wine on your private porch and snuggle in at Tivoli Inn (from $95/off season, $125/in season). The Madison Inn (from $89/off season, $269/in season) is in the heart of Oak Bluffs and is another one of the Vineyard’s many delightful B&B’s. The SeaStreak Ferry also offers getaway packages (from $599), which includes two roundtrip tickets and two nights at Edgartown Commons or the Vineyard Harbor Motel.
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Annie is a travel writer, environmentalist, and surfer based in Venice, CA. She heads up our West Coast team, keeps our grammatical errors in check, and makes sure our California writers always have a plan for their next adventure. Follow Annie’s travels @annelisemcb.