MARTHA'S VINEYARD INFO (updated 3/17)
WHAT ARE PEOPLE SAYING ABOUT OUR MV DESTINATION SHOWS?
"Amazing! First Class job all the way!" (Gregg & Sue L. - Chicago, IL)
"Incredible all the way around! The Vineyard is an amazing place and the show, food, venue were all great. Thanks JP for an awesome excuse to spend the weekend there. I wanted to stay for the year! (Keith W. - NYC)
"Totally worth the trip from Texas. Beautiful venue, great food, great people. We love JP and especially LOVE JP Destination Events!" (Brady & Megan W. - Dallas, TX)
"We had a ball. Loved the event, the venue, the music, and the people. It was great getting to catch up with y'all and see your sweet families." (Susan S. - Austin, TX)
(HINT: Get your tickets NOW, these super-special shows sell out months in advance)
Get your Tickets HERE
WHAT AND WHERE IS MARTHA'S VINEYARD (MV)?
"The Vineyard" (as it's commonly called) is an 87 sq mi island about 10 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, MA. Nantucket Sound is to the West, Vineyard Sound is to the East and the Atlantic Ocean is to the south. It's accessible by boat, ferry or plane.
It is the largest true island on the East Coast (not connected to mainland by a bridge or tunnel).There are many little towns on the island but there are three major ones: “Down-Island” (where most of our folks stay) is the eastern portion, home to the larger historic villages of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven. "Up-Island" is the western area, which comprises the three rural towns of Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury.
(HINT: Two great online resources for a LOT more information are www.MVY.com and www.TRIPADVISOR.com)
HOW DO I GET THERE?
(for the most helpful and up to date info we frequently visit http://www.mvy.com)
1. The by-far most expensive but by-far most convenient/efficient is flying. You can fly direct to MVY on USAirways, Jet Blue, Delta and Cape Air from Boston, Providence, NY and DC. You can book the entire trip on sites such as Expedia, etc. You can take a cab to your hotel.
2. The next best option is to fly into BOS and take a cab/car to the http://www.seastreak.com Dock in New Bedford. Once on the Vineyard, take a cab or public transportation to your hotel. If you've never used the personal car service app (for your phone or tablet), Uber, it's great and you get $20 off your first ride by using discount code: uberjackopierce.
(HINT: It's always a bit of a dance making sure you get into Boston in time to catch your ride to catch your ferry. All well worth the dance - but just make sure you're prepared. Again, it's a whole lot easier to fly directly to MVY airport but it can be very expensive.)
3. If you prefer, you can rent a car in Boston or Providence and drive your car to the car ferry dock in Woods Hole (the only ferry that takes cars to MV - www.SteamshipAuthority.com). The two problems with this way are: 1. Cape traffic can be brutal on weekends 2. These car ferries only become available on Jan 1 and they sell out quickly.
4. The cheapest and most inconvenient is flying into Boston (BOS) or Providence and taking the bus to one of the many ferry docks in Woods Hole, Hyannis and others. www.SeaStreak.com will give you info on taking the bus from Boston.
5. If you live in the New York City area, there is a 5+ hour ferry that will take you from New Jersey or Manhattan to the Vineyard (http://www.seastreak.com) but it only leaves on Friday and returns on Sunday.
6. There is also a Fast Ferry from N. Kingston, R.I.
DO I NEED TO RENT A CAR?
No, but there are car rental agencies on the island and at the MVY airport. The public transportation is very good and cabs/Uber are readily available. Scooters and bikes are also readily available and a great way to get around. If you are renting a house and staying for more than a few days, renting a car might be a good option since you will need to go to the grocery store, etc.
WHERE DO I STAY?
Note: July/August is the busiest/most expensive season on MV so book early and read hotel cancellation policies closely. We had several people in the past wait to the last minute and almost could not come. Definitely get your hotel booked NOW. www.MVY.com is the BEST RESOURCE for last minute rooms. It shows all of them in one place.
One of the best parts of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs, and Vineyard Haven is that you can walk everywhere, so take that in consideration as you find a place to stay. There are several other properties that are in Edgartown and cheaper. I only put the hotels below that I could really recommend. There are also plenty of hotels/B&B's in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.
www.HARBOR-VIEW.com is the best hotel that I visited and it probably houses more JP guests than anywhere else every year. It’s a minimum 2 night stay on weekends..
Pros: Beautiful rooms, lobby, pool, etc. Walking distance to beach and to town. Big full-service hotel with really nice staff and beautiful grounds.
Cons: Expensive (fyi - the Mayhew rooms are "cheaper" but very nice - that's where we stayed)
Note: their sister property, www.KelleyHouse.com is slightly cheaper, right in town and just got a nice, recent facelift, though I'm not sure if the rooms did.
www.HOBKNOB.com is a really nice Bed & Breakfast
Pros: Really nicely done B&B
Cons: Expensive and only 17 rooms
www.WINETURESORT.com is a really nice resort in South Beach. (pron WIN-ET-OO)
Pros: Really nice, suite-like rooms with little kitchenettes. It's a full-service resort that is walking distance to a beautiful beach.
Cons: Hard to find any but it is very expensive and over a mile from Edgartown. No big deal on a bike or in a car.
www.CHARLOTTEINN.comis a Relaix & Chateaux property - which is a very select, boutique group of hotels around the world. I've not seen any rooms there, but it looks really nice. It's decorated very traditionally. You have to call for reservations.
Pros: It's a Relaix & Chateaux property. In town, private - only 25 rooms
Cons: Very expensive ($600 and up)
www.EDGARTOWNCOMMONS.com is a great value for the price. It is smack-dab in the middle of Edgartown, has a pool, playground and outdoor grills.
Pros: Location. "Cheap" - you can get a one bedroom for $225/nt up to a 2 bedroom suite for $375
Cons: It's bare bones, no frills, no AC, lots of families and noise - as all the windows are open all the time. Does not allow booking until Jan 1.
www.CLARIONMV.com looks nicer and more "put together" than the Edgartown Commons. It is more of a hotel (front desk, AC, restaurant, services, etc). I've never been in it but it definitely looks nice for the price. This place books up WAY in advance.
VINEYARD HAVEN & OAK BLUFFS are tied for my second favorite towns on MV. We've had several of our folks stay at the www.MVMANSIONHOUSE.com and love it.
Also in Vineyard Haven is Nobnocket Boutique Inn. We’ve never been but the Inn looks great and we’ve had several folks stay here over the years. And good news for Vineyard Haven - it’s no longer a dry town… Cheers!
Also we had a regular Destination Show attender really enjoy the reasonably priced www.NASHUAHOUSE.com. They also own www.MADISONMV.com and the www.DOCKSIDEINNMV.com. We've personally never stayed or been there so please check out their reviews to see if they are for you. All three are in Oak Bluffs. Not sure about Nashua but the Madison and Dockside are completely renovated and have fun perks like continental breakfast, snacks, coolers, beach towels, beach toys, etc. I've personally stopped by The Madison (more tucked away on side street) and Dockside (way more action on busier street) . Both looked very nice for being in the $300 range.The Dockside was featured on the Today Show - check out the video on the site at www.VineyardInns.com
Renting houses is a great way to go - just know that most houses usually rent Saturday to Saturday or Sunday to Sunday. Reminder that our Founders Dinner and concert are at the Daniel Fisher House and the Old Whaling Church on Main St in Edgartown Saturday, July 29, 2017. If you are used to air conditioning, I would consider getting a house with AC. Although, the weather on the Vineyard is bound to be great, it can still get humid and stuffy inside a house. I would also make sure you know how close you are to town if you don’t have a car. House rentals can say “Edgartown” or “Oak Bluffs” but could still be miles outside of town. If you’re Google-mapping houses, you can use these landmarks to gauge your proximity to downtown: Vineyard Vines is the center of downtown Edgartown on Water Street; Vineyard Vines on 56 Narragansett Ave in Oak Bluffs and The Mansion House in Vineyard Haven.
HINT: When searching houses you'll see a price range. July/August will always be the highest month so when you see "Price Range $1,500-$3,000 per week" you'll know that means $3,000 for that house in July/August. Knowing this should save you a ton of time online.
Also super-important to know is that many rent houses overlap (you will see the same house on multiple sites) but many houses are exclusive to one company or to one site. Therefore, to really see all that's out there, you need to view as many sites as you can handle. And when you find what you like, BOOK IT. There are thousands of people looking at the same houses and August is the HIGHEST SEASON of the year.
Though we are partial to staying "in town" in Edgartown, if you want to be more "out" in the woods/further from town, there are tons of rentals further out in Edgartown, Tisbury, West Tisbury and way out in Chilmark. You can get some great deals out there. Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven are also usually cheaper than Edgartown.
Here are the House Rental Sites:
www.FlipKey.com (Trip Advisor's vacation rental site)
www.PointBRealty.com (Kristin Buck has worked for us before)
(HINT: If you stay in/near downtown Edgartown, the Old Whaling Church Bells chime EVERY HOUR - 24 hrs a day. A BIG wake up call for us - and we were half a mile away from the church. Thankfully we had AC in the house so we could close windows at night and the bells were not a problem. We did stay in a house further away from the church last year and had a house without AC and we did just fine. FYI The Harborview is far enough away from the church, has AC and nice thick windows so the bells aren't a problem there.)
Katama (pronounced Kuh-Tay-Muh) is another great option for house rental. It's an easy bike ride to Edgartown and to South Beach. And generally Katama house rentals are cheaper than in Edgartown.
THINGS TO DO/SEE
There are SO many things to do/see on MVY. I recommend getting a travel guide (like Frommers or Lets Go). The MVY Chamber of Commerce website is also very helpful: www.mvy.com.
Here are a few things:
All three main towns, Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven all have their share of shops, restaurants, sites and beaches. And they are all completely walkable.
-Edgartown has great shops, galleries, restaurants, hotels and beaches - so if you are just spending a couple days, Edgartown has more than enough to keep you busy. You can also take a tiny ferry over to the Chappaquidick beach where Jaws was filmed.
-It's also worth seeing all the Victorian houses in Oak Bluffs. While you're there, I would have lunch at The Coop De Ville down at the end of Circuit Ave. It's a in a weird little mall but has a deck overlooking the harbor. Great steamers, lobster, chowder and it's old by our friend, Petey. I met him on the trip when I wrote "Vineyard" and we've stayed in touch ever since. Great food and very cheap. You have to have a basket of steamers. If you've never had them, make sure they show you how to eat them. Tell him we sent you! Across the street is the little yellow 2 story house where I stayed when I wrote Vineyard in 1991. It’s a yellow house on Circuit Ave Extension that has a bike/car rental shop on the ground floor. Also pizza by the slice is great across from the Flying Horse in OB.
-Also in Oak Bluffs, you got to have Mad Martha's Ice Cream (there is also one in Edgartown) on Circuit Ave and pop your head into the Flying Horse arcade and merry-go-round.
-Although there are Black Dog gift shops in Edgartown and OB, the original Black Dog Cafe and Bakery is in Vineyard Haven near the ferry dock. Though I have not been there in a LONG time, the locals swear by it.
-There are bike trails around the entire island. This is a GREAT way to see the island if you have the time. We've had good luck with www.WheelHappy.com on S Water St. in Edgartown for bike rentals.
-A lot of MVY is wide open hilly farmland. It's beautiful to just bike and explore.
-The W Tisbury Farmers Market on Wednesday Mornings is very nice and there is a great playground for kids, Ally's General Store and a GREAT food place next door
-The Aquinnah Cliffs are beautiful and worth seeing. It's pretty spectacular out there. I would plan on doing Menemsha on the same trip - as they are both way "up island."
-If you are on island for several days or more, you may want to consider taking the hour long fast ferry (http://www.hy-linecruises.com/nan/inter-islands.html) or flying (www.FlyCapeAir.com) to Nantucket. Nantucket is beautiful and since it's further away, it's even more exclusive and "private" feeling. The 360 year old town is full of great shops, galleries, restaurants and hotels. There are also great beaches. A bus ride trip will take you to Sconsiat - a tiny little town with a general store for lunch. On Nantucket there are very strict building codes that only allow houses to be covered in cedar shingles and 3 different colors of shutters: black, dark green or white. There are only a handful of exceptions that are in town. The downtown streets are the cobblestones that were used as ballast in the old whaling ships.
Last I checked, both the ferries and planes are rigged in a way that you can't just go over for the day anymore.
Check it out for yourself and see if you can make it work.
-The breakfast at the www.Harbor-View.com was great, of course.
-Alchemy on 71 Main St is great for fine dining and a great, happening bar.
-We've also heard nothing but great things about Atria - also on Main Street. The outdoor site is BEAUTIFUL.
-Our favorite restaurant in Edgartown is www.LuckyHanksMV.com (reservations are a must for dinner). It's super casual, renovated old-house atmosphere but high-end food and wine list. It reminds us of George's in Alys Beach, FL.
-Another great fine dining staple that overlooks the Edgartown Harbor is The Atlantic.
-www.SeaFoodShanty.com just got a facelift and looks GREAT. Food and view of the harbor is great, too.
-www.BehindTheBookStore.com is great for breakfast, coffee, lunch and dinner.
-Fun place to shop/grab a picnic lunch: www.MorningGloryFarm.com. (from their site): "Our tables are overflowing with the wonderful breads, pies, muffins, cookies and quiches that our Bakery produces from scratch.� Our salad bar is the freshest on the Island bursting with our beautiful produce and ingenious sides and soups. We also stock our cooler with lots of unique entrees and appetizers�made with as many of our own products as possible."
Good coffee now abounds in Edgartown
-www.RoseWater.com is an excellent, beautiful new market on Summer St near Main that serves great coffee, breakfast and lunch. It's worth popping in.
www.EspressoLove.com is behind the bus station which is across the street from the Old Whaling Church. They also have great salads, sandwiches, etc.
www.BehindTheBookStore.com is great and has a really nice patio.
www.NotYourSugarMama.com sells real juice and incredible gluten free baked goods
-Linda Jean's is a GREAT traditional breakfast place on Circuit Ave in Oak Bluffs. From there you can walk to all the Victorian Houses. If really busy, see if you can sit at the bar in back.
-While in Oak Bluffs, make sure you visit www.CoopDeVillemv.com and the house where I stayed when I wrote Vineyard in 1991. It's a yellow house it's on Circuit Ave Extension that has a bike shop on the ground floor and
-Whatever you do, make sure you have lobster and clams. The best place on the island is the www.larsensfishmarket.com in the village of Menemsha in the town of Chilmark. Obama stays in Chilmark when comes to the island. It’s a 30ish minute ride from Edgartown.For years we swore by Larsen’s which is great but the lines are always super long and chaotic. So we started going to Menemsha Fish Market instead and it was completely on par and there was no line and the ladies were sweet. There is no restaurant - tables are giant net spools outside, no chairs. You take your dinner out on the dock and you sit where you can. You can bring your own beer and wine. We always get lobster, steamers (steamed clams), lobster bisque and clam chowder. The Lobster Rolls are excellent but get one made fresh - not out of the fridge. Then you can get dessert from the ice cream place around the corner or at the gas station. After you eat, follow the thousands of people to the beach to watch the sunset. It's a BIG Menemsha tradition and it is awesome. There are a few shops (including Menemsha Blues) to check out, too, if you want to make an evening out of it.
You can buy tickets HERE