More than likely, your summer plans shuffled around this summer. Maybe you even ended up on Nantucket for longer than you expected. Now that it’s starting to quiet down, we are looking forward to fall activities. And though we can’t travel internationally, there are other options out there for exploring close to home. If you feel like you’ve seen it all on Island, it might be time for a day trip or even an overnight trip to Martha’s Vineyard.
There is a healthy sibling rivalry between Nantucket and the Vineyard, especially in October when Nantucket High School plays Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School in the Island Cup. But, we have to admit, even though it’s a very different island, we love it over there. If you’re in the mood for something new, the Vineyard has a lot to offer. Both the landscape and the vibe, which change from town to town, have a unique feel that can’t be found on Nantucket.
How to Get There
Best of all, it’s a short trip to get there on the inter-island ferry. Hyline Cruises runs trips three times a day between the islands. Grab the 10:30 AM ferry out of Nantucket and you’ll be there just before noon. If you plan on staying for the day only, you’ll have a little over 4 hours before the last ferry returns, so it may be helpful to plan an itinerary.
What to Do
We’d recommend bringing your bikes to get the most out of the day there. Like Nantucket, there are bike trails throughout the Vineyard, connecting each of it’s six towns. If you have more than a day, it’s worth checking out each one. But with only four hours, it’s best to target your adventure as much as possible.
The ferry will drop you at Oak Bluffs on the Northern tip of the island. There you can find classic summer souvenir shops, saltwater taffy, and (most importantly) the Gingerbread Cottages. While sadly not made of real gingerbread, these Victorian cottages are a must-see. If you think Nantucket feels like a fairytale, you’ll be in awe of each cottage’s whimsical details and cake frosting colors.
From there, pedal down Sea View Avenue, which runs along the Atlantic for several miles. Not gonna lie, we’re a little jealous of their scenic seaside road. Depending on your relationship with the film Jaws, the next sight will strike fear or wonder in you.
If you continue down Sea View Avenue, you’ll end up in Edgartown, the closest thing to ACK on MV. It’s the perfect place to stroll around and admire stately, historic homes and vibrant window boxes. We’re partial to Nantucket’s lighthouses, but we gotta say that the Edgartown Lighthouse is also worth a visit.
Where to Eat
Back Door Donuts: Not too far from the ferry, these are some seriously delicious donuts. Be warned, there is often a long line (yes, longer than The Juice Bar) to get ’em while they’re hot.
Nomans: Just off Sea View Ave, Nomans is a restored barn with a massive backyard and incredible food. If you’re in the mood for cocktails, lobster rolls, tacos, cornhole, an intense game of Jenga or two….you get the idea. There’s a lot to love about Nomans.
Behind the Bookstore: Tucked away in a shady back patio, BtB is an adorable hidden gem. If you’re feeling a little sluggish, they have pour-over coffee and croissants to zap some life into you before the ride back.
Have more than a day?
If you have enough time to stay there overnight, we highly recommend Aquinnah and Chilmark on the island’s South West corner. Like Madaket, they’re known for their chilled-out atmosphere and idyllic scenery. If you’re looking for something you can’t find on Nantucket, Aquinnah’s clay cliffs are breathtaking (and surprisingly high) compared to the topography of Nantucket.
The sister restaurant to The Nantucket Hotel, The Winnetu Oceanside Resort is open year-round and offers special discounts. In the off-season, they offer free hotel rooms, provided you have dinner at the hotel, pay a small cleaning fee, and purchase ferry tickets from Nantucket to Martha’s Vineyard directly through them. Fisher tip: they do not advertise this on their website, but you can sign up for their newsletter to get the alerts.