Marthas Vineyard in May?
May 5, 2011 1:24 PM   Subscribe

I am going to Martha's Vineyard this Saturday (May 7th) with my 3 sisters and my mother. I'd love recommendations for things we must see, and the best places for lunch and dinner. My mom won't be up for biking from place to place, so advice on using the buses would be appreciated too!
posted by Ranindaripley to Travel & Transportation around Martha's Vineyard, MA (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I used to go to Martha's Vineyard as a child and have so many fond memories of it! You must go to the Flying Horses Carousel- it's a proper one with rings and everything. Mad Martha's ice cream is very highly recommended as well- they make a black raspberry ice cream that is absolutely to die for. Oh! And the Methodist camp! I know that sounds odd, but they have the most gorgeous little Victorian summer huts. The Valentine House is probably the most well known of them, but there are many other very interesting ones.
posted by Polyhymnia at 1:48 PM on May 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

As a summer person I have a lot of recommendations! Oh, where to begin.

I'd start off by saying that a lot of things may not be open yet, because it's not the summer - many, many stores and restaurants don't open until Memorial Day or just before. So don't be surprised to see closed doors and windows.

You'll be landing in Vineyard Haven. Vineyard Haven has a main drag, Main Street, that is just a short walk from the ferry. However, since it's not really the season yet, not everything will be open. Still, there are cute shops with jewelry and stuff like that, and stuff may definitely be open.

Vineyard Haven is also pretty quiet, in terms of touristy things. However, if you want to eat (and I don't know what time you're getting there), you can check out the famous Black Dog Tavern. It's a little touristy and overrated, but I think the food is actually pretty decent. And you get a nice view of the harbor, too. It is literally steps from the ferry, just go to the left when you get off the boat.

The bus, aka Vineyard Transit Authority (VTA), is super easy to use. There is a bus stop at Vineyard Haven - just walk straight off the ferry toward the bank there (I think it's a Middlesex Savings? Actually not entirely sure). You can pay right on the bus but bring plenty of singles since the driver can't make change. You can get an all-day pass for $7 (it's $1 per town for your fare) and I think you can just buy that right on the bus.

Since you're only going to be on the Vineyard for a day, I would recommend heading either to Oak Bluffs (which is where all the stuff Polyhymnia recommended) or Edgartown. Oak Bluffs has more of a boardwalk kind of feel. There are plenty of restaurants for lunch and dinner along Circuit Avenue, but I wouldn't say there is much in terms of shopping, at least for nice things (you can definitely pick up a cheap t-shirt, though). I like The Sweet Life on Circuit Avenue for lunch. But again - things might be closed. I've eaten up and down Circuit Avenue and most places are pretty good.

Edgartown is an old New England whaling town, so it has a lot of that flavor. There are many, many nice restaurants there, so it would depend on your price point for where you'd like to go. Atria is very nice, as is Alchemy (both on Main Street, both would be for dinner, not lunch). Humphrey's on Winter Street in Edgartown is awesome for lunch.

And on Main Street in Edgartown there is also some shopping, with a mix of lower- and higher-end goods.

There is tons more to do, of course, but that's where I'd start. Have a great trip!
posted by sutel at 5:53 PM on May 5, 2011

I think you can park there in the off season without a permit... but Lambert's Cove is my faaaav place. Take a picnic there.

Water is still super chilly. Like intense cold. If you're brave... jump the jaws bridge.

Tons of places are still closed though. If weather's some bikes.

If you go to the black dog... go for breakfast. Get some fun pancakes. Grab some of their granola bars to take home cuz they're yummy. Don't forget a black dog tshirt to take home. Anyone awesome has them to prove they rocked out there.

My fav bar is in Edgartown ... The Newes.


It's my fav place on all of earth.
posted by mittenbex at 6:51 PM on May 5, 2011

Seconding Humphreys. Are they open yet? IF SO. Get a gobbler sandwich. OHMYGOD-good.
posted by mittenbex at 6:52 PM on May 5, 2011

If you go to Oak Bluffs check out the Campground, hundreds of small victorian gingerbread houses in multicolor.

For some local flavor the townie bar in Oak Bluffs is the Ritz, on Circuit Ave.

Ride the bus all the way out to Gay Head and walk on the beach, the ride out there is gorgeous, you'll see great landscapes and a couple of little towns, West Tisbury and Chilmark and the beach and the cliffs at Gay Head are spectacular.

Do not, repeat, do not, rent mopeds! Very dangerous on narrow roads, people get killed every year. I know, I lived there for 8 years. I moved away 6 yrs ago, don't know what restaurants are still there, but a lot of stuff is open in May.

I miss it all, it's a beautiful island and has some wonderful people, especially the people who've been there their whole lives.
posted by mareli at 7:21 PM on May 5, 2011

If you want something off the beaten track, you could visit Island Alpaca. Given the time of year there will probably be infant alpaca's for you to admire. They are extremely cute!

When I was there a couple of years ago they charged admission to their barn. That was surprising to us, but we paid up and had a very fun time.
posted by alms at 6:52 AM on May 6, 2011

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