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Vacation in New England - Martha's Vineyard

Family-Friendly Fun on a New England Island

1974 saw the making of the Spielberg blockbuster, "JAWS" on Matha's Vineyard. That movie, thou before the high tech filmaking of today using computers, is timeless, simply put - good acting, a great director and cast and that wonderful iconic sound track make us all remember the Movie. But do we remember the location it was filmed in and should we think of vacationing there? Martha's Vineyard, known locally as just "the vineyard" provides a calm, family-friendly island experience.


Most of the scences in the movie, and much of todays commercial fishing still revolves around Menemsha on the western end of the island. Menemsha has it's own great beaches to watch the sunset. menemsha is not much more than a Fishing harbor, there's no main village center to speak of. But the two or three seafood shacks provide all many want - local fresh mouth watering calms, lobster and fish. Try the fresh clams on a paper plate sitting on an old cable wheel - you'll soon know what we mean! The island offers plenty of other beaches and inland areas that offer the tranquility many people want on vacation. It's an island with pleanty of history, it's been a destination for many years before that movie was made and a historic fishing island before that. You won't find many modern looking buildings, bustling night clubs and endless sunbathing on hot beaches, no malls or mega movieplexs. It's not that sort of vacation island, it's one where things start to slow down, come for a day or rent a house for a week or more, you won't forget it. You may even come to enjoy a slightly slower pace with salt air breezes.

Main towns for vacations

"the Vineyard" does have a year round population and it's fairly easy to get to. There is even jet service from New York and smaller charter flights from nearby. The main access thou is by the ferry system mainly from Woods Hole. These carry cars and passengers to Vineyard haven and Oak Bluffs.

Edgartown, the hip town with up-market galleries and stores. There are good places to eat across the island but in Edartown you may find the most fine dining on the island. It's also the home to the Chappaquick ferry. The harbor here also gets visited by many vacationing yachts and the outer harbor will often be the anchoring home for mega yachts on charter. They will be bringing their guests in by tender to explore the shops and galleries.

Oak Bluffs A more laid back town just between Edgartwon and Vineyard haven. Home to the brighty painted Cottages which are a must to walk thru. Nancy's on the harbor is pretty well known for it's seafood. There's a fading grandness to some of the homes on the point by where the ferry comes in which conveys some of the history of the Oak Bluffs.

Vineyard Haven Here is the focal point of traffci coming and leaving the island, between this harbor and Oak Bluffs just a few miles up the road to the east comes the vast majority of traffic arriving by car ferry. It's a busy town because of this that still carries some charm and exploration opportunities.

There is public transportation in the form of buses that runs frequently during the summer, easy to use and get around from one end of the island to the other.


Families may head to "the Vineyard" for shopping, beaches and a vacation a little away from the pace of the mainland. plenty to do if you want to be active, golf, walking trails, and biking would all be popular, you can rent a bike in what seems like countless shops near the ferry landings. For a little new england history, " the Vineyard" has a few historical places worth a short visit. There's the Flying Horses Carousel, the Old Schoolhouse Museum, the East Chop & West Chop Lighthouses, and for a walk back in time go to Williams Street Historical District with it's row of former sea captains' homes. A great sightseeing excursion for the bold at heart would be a Bi plane ride from the grass airfield at Katama, just watching these old planes come and go is worth the visit - there's a real good home grown breakfast to be had at the diner by the planes too!


Of course, being an island with a few protected harbors, yachting or boating must be a part of a vacation experience here, be it watching them come and go in the harbors, taking a ride on a old tall ship from Vineyard haven or actully arriving on a boat youreself.

This island has approximately 100 square miles of quite island life to enjoy with moderate temperatures and endless scenery to enjoy walking or biking. A vacation here would be one of many questions - all of which have great answers. Wdo you like to walk on the beaches on in and out of shops and galleries? Do you prefer to bike or ride the easy local buses? Is the ice cream better in Edgartwon or Vineyard haven? See what I mean? The pace is slower, the activities uncomplicated.

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