Cape Cod - Martha's Vineyard MA

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Martha’s Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard Cape Cod Massachusetts

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Background and history
The popular island of Martha’s Vineyard, to the south of Cape Cod, was first settled by the English in the mid-1600’s, though the island was already inhabited by a Native American tribe, the Wampanoag, who still inhabit tribal lands on the island in the town of Gay Head (Aquinnah). The island gained prominence as a whaling port in the 1700 and 1800s, but as the whaling industry declined, tourism became the primary industry on the island. The beautiful beaches, historic lighthouses, and charming towns (Aquinnah, Chilmark, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury) attract crowds in the summer as well as celebrity and presidential guests of note.

Popular activities
The down-island towns (Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven) tend to be larger and more populated, whereas the up-island towns (Aquinnah, Chilmark, West Tisbury) are smaller, quieter, and more remote. From the country’s oldest carousel in Oak Bluffs to stunning red clay cliffs of Aquinnah, there is much more than pristine beaches and historic lighthouses to enjoy on “The Vineyard.” Hiking, cycling, kayaking/canoeing, fishing, birding, people watching, gallery/museum hopping, and shopping are all popular pastimes for locals and visitors alike. Excellent food and accommodations are plentiful as well.

How to travel to Martha's Vineyard
The island is accessible by ferry or plane. Ferries to the Vineyard originate in the Cape Cod towns of Woods Hole, Falmouth, and Hyannis, as well as from New Bedford MA, Quonset Point RI, Montauk NY, and New York NY. The Woods Hole Ferry is the only ferry to the island that transports cars, and the only ferry that runs year round. Flights can be had year-round to Martha’s Vineyard Airport from Boston, Nantucket, Hyannis, and New Bedford, as well as seasonal flights from Providence RI. Once on the island, there is an excellent bus system that serves all the towns and beaches (day and week long passes can be purchased). Bicycles are also an excellent way to get around the island as extensive bicycle paths span the island (there are several bike rental shops to choose from in Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven). Whatever your means of getting there and getting around, you’ll be glad to have included Martha’s Vineyard as an addendum to your visit to Cape Cod.