We woke up before the alarm went off at 7 AM, so we could be sure to make the 9:00 ferry to Martha’s Vineyard. We had breakfast and pulled out about 8:15 for our 20 minute ride into Falmouth. Morning traffic was light and we found the Island Queen parking lot with ease.
We parked the truck and walked 2 blocks to the ferry and ticket office.
After buying our tickets, we went on board and found a seat on the bow.
The ferry left 10 minutes early because we were at full capacity. We slowly left the dock and meandered out of the harbor.
This big yacht was sitting at the dock next to us before we left. There were quite a few big boats in the harbor.
The day was just beginning and people were anxious to get to the island. Seas were calm, skies were sunny, and the temp. would be in the low 80’s today. We approached the Oak Bluffs harbor and we could see the familiar Cape Cod homes perched on the bluffs above.
From the ferry, we could see the East Chop Lighthouse sitting on the bluff high above the city. There are a total of 5 lighthouses on the island.
We pulled up to the dock at 9:30 after a 40 minute ride across Nantucket and Vineyard Sounds.
Martha’s Vineyard is 100 sq. miles of geographic and architectual diversity with each of the 6 towns offering its own one-of-a-kind image. The island is basically triangular in shape, bounded on the northeast by Nantucket Sound and on the northeast by Vineyard Sound. The Atlantic Ocean is to the south. After disembarking, we walked into the town of Oak Bluffs to locate the office for Martha’s Vineyard Sightseeing Tour. We wanted to get an overview of the entire island and give Bob some relief from all the driving he’s done.
We decided to take the 2 1/2 hour narrated tour of the island, through each of the six towns, including a 30 minute stop at Gay Head Cliffs. We boarded the blue tour bus and left on the 10:05 tour.
Our tour guide, Jim, began the tour in Oak Bluff down at the waterfront at Oak Bluff harbor. Oak Bluffs is the island’s second port of entry with the main port being Vineyard Haven. The area was overflowing with people.
The homes across the street had very intricate designs of filligree trim.
We headed out of town to our next stop which was the town of Vineyard Haven. Vineyard Haven, the main port of entry to Martha’s Vineyard, grew into a bustling seaport during the age of whalng. It was a natural refuge used by schooners waiting for fair winds and tides. This is its protected harbor.
The larger town around it is called Tisbury. This is the Tisbury Police Station and jail which are still in use.
Our guide pointed out all the important landmarks, filled us in on the local history, pointed out the homes of stars and other important people, and interjected humor and bits of storytelling along the way. The next area we came to was Chilmark as we circled the island to the west. Chilmark is a rural town. Rolling hills and stone fences are reminiscent of the farming prevalent in the 17th century. Sheep still graze on farms with the Atlantic Ocean beyond.
The town of Mememsha was nearby. It is a working fishing village as seen in the movie “Jaws”. The city just finished Jawfest last weekend. It was a 4 day celebration of the Universal Studios 100th Anniversary and release of “Jaws” on Blu-Ray. “Jaws” was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard.
Here, two roads converge in Chilmark to form Beetlebung Corner.
The word “beetlebung” was invented on Martha’s Vineyard and refers to the tupelo tree. A grove of them stands at the intersection. The hard wood from the tupelo tree was used to make stoppers (bungs) for barrels and the mallets, or beetles, were used to hammer in the stoppers. Hence, beetlebung. (I just like the word.) From here, we zipped across the countryside to the western tip of the island and Aquinnah where we found the Gay Head Cliffs.
The Red Clay cliffs stand in sharp contrast to the deep blue water.
On Moshup Beach below, people were sunbathing and walking along the water’s edge. There are quite a few public and private beaches on Martha’s Vineyard, one of them being a nude beach. The driver made sure to tell us where that one was!
Gay Head Lighthouse stands like a sentry on the cliffs of Aquinnah, where Wampanoag Indians still live.
President John Adams commissioned the first lighthouse at this location in 1799.
It stands 170 ft. above sea level and was moved back from the cliff’s edge 75 ft. because of erosion. I climbed to the top of the lighthouse while Bob waited down below.
The view from above was gorgeous!
I even climbed into the very top of the lighthouse where the red and white light was rotating.
The volunteer at the lighthouse was kind enough to take our picture while we were there.
The tour bus spent 30 minutes at the lighthouse to give us some time to walk around. After our time was up, we reboarded the bus and continued on our way. Our tour continued along the southern coast of Martha’s Vineyard through the countryside, past the airport, and into Edgartown.
Our driver was from Edgartown, so he was able to share some firsthand knowledge about the town. The town building code states that all buildings must be white clapboard exteriors with black or grey shutters of the Federal and Greek revival homes.
Edgartown became a major whaling port by 1825. Most of the buildings date from 1830-1845, the golden era of whaling. This one is dated 1838.
This is the Old Whaling Church built in 1843. The 92 ft. clock tower can be seen far out at sea.
The Beach Road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs was crazy with bikers, beachgoers, and traffic.
It followed the shore in Nantucket Sound where the Bend in the Road Beach stretches the length of the entire highway.
As we neared Oak Bluffs, we passed Ocean Park and bandstand.
The houses surrounding the park reflect the more affluent families in their size and style.
Once back in Oak Bluffs, Jim, our tour guide, suggested we take a look at the gingerbread cottages. We walked 2 blocks through town to the entrance to the cottages.
Here, this central part of Oak Bluffs is filled with whimsical, multicolored gingerbread cottages.
Everyone is different and more beautiful than the other. People take real pride of ownership in these private homes.
After our tour, we searched out some refreshments with a view of the harbor at the Lobsterville Bar and Grill.
After a couple of beers we went back to the ferry dock on the other side of the harbor for the 2:15 ferry back to Falmouth.
The ride back found a little rougher waters, but the ferry gave us a calm ride. As we approached Falmouth, we caught a view of the beautiful homes on the bluff.
The beach was busy as we entered the breakwater. We were back at the Falmouth dock at 3:00.
We had a wonderful day on Martha’s Vineyard.
Back at the campground, Auggie was anxiously awaiting our return. We took him to the dog park where he had the place to himself.
He had a great time crawling in and out of the tires and sniffing everything.
After a drink from the blue tub, he was ready to go home.
We relaxed outside before dinner and cooked pork chops on the grill. We spent the rest of the day just chilling out. Later, Auggie and I took our evening walk. It was finally cooling off after a humid afternoon. We watched some TV before retiring for the evening. It was a busy, active day!