Martha’s Vineyard : The Last Stop

Lucy Pilgrim
By Lucy Pilgrim  - Senior Travel Editor 3 Min Read

As an underappreciated diamond just off the coast of Massachusetts, Martha’s Vineyard brings the quintessential East Coast luxury to a bespoke island, as visitors (many of which are high-profile figures) flock to gaze upon the rolling hills, taste the unmissable seafood, and experience the feeling of a James Dean film.  

World-renowned as a haven of natural beauty, the island showcases throws of windswept beaches, rocky cliffs, open marshes, and a friendly-inviting atmosphere. It is, therefore, no wonder that the island getaway attracts thousands of Americans and global visitors every year in search of beach-filled bliss, with the average population of 23,000 climbing to 200,000 in the summer months.  

Whilst inhabited by the Indigenous Wampanoag Native American Tribe, the island was originally known as Noepe, meaning ‘land between the streams’. However, the island was renamed upon the arrival of the British colonies in 1602 by explorer Bartholomew Gosnold, who named it after his daughter Martha, and the vineyard found growing in the foundation of the island’s foundation.  

Film buffs will also love to hear that the island was home to Stephen Spielberg’s iconic film, Jaws, as the setting of Amity Island. It was said that the location was chosen as the filmmakers felt that areas such as Long Island were too crowded, whilst Martha’s Vineyard was much less populated, making it easier to get the perfect shot.  

Upon stepping on dryer land, the friendly neighbourhood spirit characterises the region. They are made up of six close-knit towns, namely Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, Chilmark, Aquinnah, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown, each with its own charming features.  

Edgartown in particular, is filled to the brim with boutique shops and artisan restaurants. Especially popular is ‘Behind the Bookstore’, facilitating the ultimate indulgence in a luxurious hot chocolate and warm Fall temptations. Although a popular spot for the island’s locals and tourists, it is worth the wait.  

Perceived to be one of the liveliest towns on the Island, Oak Bluffs is one of the few places where the ferry travelling to the island meets the docks, making it an instant success for incoming visitors. Alongside a bustling nightlife, many tourists gravitate towards the colourfully cute gingerbread cottages, transporting you to the fairytales you read as a child. The oysters and seafood that are so delicately fresh and tantalising also cement Oak Bluffs at the top of any visitors list.  

Overall, Martha’s Vineyard oozes quintessential beachside nostalgia, adorning a long-history of sun-filled fun and quaint beach town living that has characterised the region since the 1960s.

Read Issue 15 of Outlook Travel Magazine