OK call me crazy – you won’t be the first and I’m hoping not the last – but your next winter vacation should be to Martha’s Vineyard.
Dispel those visions you harbor of boarded up stores, “Perfect Storm” ferry trips, gnarly islanders, sideways rain and a scary silence from your Uber app. Not true – well except for the gnarly islanders and to be fair we’re here all year.
Embrace the beauty of a Martha’s Vineyard winter and the joy of being typically 5-10 degrees warmer than Boston with a corresponding lack of snow.
Here are the top 10 things to enjoy this winter on Martha’s Vineyard:
- Winter Walks
The Vineyard Conservation Society and Polly Hill Arboretum schedule monthly walks through the winter. These guided winter walks will take you to some of the island’s most beautiful spots and give an insight into the flora and fauna that grace the island. Wrap up and bring good walking shoes.
- MV Museum
The newly renovated Martha’s Vineyard Museum is open year round. Now happily residing at its new location on a bluff overlooking the harbor in Vineyard Haven, the museum is a short walk from the Nobnocket Boutique Inn. The new museum also now houses the famous Fresnel lens from the Gay Head lighthouse in a purpose built space. The lens itself is worth the entry fee, it’s something very special to see.
- Island Alpaca Farm
When do you most need an alpaca scarf, mittens or sweater? Winter of course! So that is the exact time you should be coming over to see these adorable animals and get yourself kitted out in the latest alpaca fashion.
- Martha’s Vineyard’s Beaches
In summer the beaches are indeed stunning, but you do have to share them with hundreds of your closest friends (and I mean close) and many beaches are private and inaccessible. In winter all the beaches can be yours and you’ll have them to yourself. The sand is just as soft and the views just as breathtaking. OK I’m not suggesting that you whip off your clothes and go for a dip but there is something simply breathtaking about beaches and sea air in the winter.
- Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
Chilmark plays host to our favourite film festival every March. This is truly a best kept secret on the island. The event is filled out with locals and those in the know and showcases many of the films and documentaries that would have debuted at Sundance a month before. We sponsor a film and volunteer each year, so if you want us to escort you to your seat make a date to be at the next film fest!
- Vineyard Haven Stores
It’s true that the main drags in Edgartown and Oak Bluffs are pretty much shut down in Winter but Vineyard Haven is open for business. A good 75% of the stores stay open through the winter and its when canny shoppers head there to see what bargains can be snagged.
Through the winter the historic Capawock (Vineyard Haven) and Strand (Oak Bluffs) theaters show current movies and the plush Film Center (Vineyard Haven) shows art house films. So even on the coldest, wettest days you can still grab yourself some popcorn and go the the movies.
- Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge Tour
Each month throughout the winter the Trustees of The Reservation put on “Winter Beach Safari” tours on Chappaquiddick out to Norton Point, Wasque and the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge. Binoculars are provided.
Funnily enough the sun goes down in winter as well! Head to those favorite spots like Menemsha, Lambert’s Cove Beach, West Chop or Gay Head Light and capture a beautiful sunset without the applauding crowds.
There is a special light in the winter that brings photographers to the island to capture images. The lowering of the sun in the sky and the light’s steeper angle makes the light softer as it stretches out along the shadows.
Add to this the easy, patient rhythm that exists on an island in off-season and you will find Martha’s Vineyard an incredibly peaceful and relaxing place. A place to breath in deeply and slowly exhale.