Chunky sweaters, cinnamon-scented candles and the start of football season can only mean one thing: Autumn is right around the corner. And although sweater weather is my favorite time of year, I can’t help but woefully reminisce about my Summer as I scroll through my camera roll. I didn’t venture on any extravagant Summer trips this year, but one of the most memorable places I visited was only a 45-minute ferry ride away.
Martha’s Vineyard: you stole my heart.
When I think of Martha’s Vineyard, the word “charming” comes to mind. And yet, “charming,” doesn’t even begin to describe the beauty that is the Vineyard. Between its beautiful beaches, freshly-caught seafood and picturesque villages dotted across the island, it’s the ultimate New England summer escape. If you’ve never been, but are contemplating why you should visit, here are a few reasons:
The Campground | Oak Bluffs. If you have a strong appreciation for HGTV, enjoy attending open houses or have ever read the story of Hansel and Gretel, you cannot miss the campground cottages of Martha’s Vineyard. Sure, they are a popular tourist attraction and may be crowded with guests, but they are the most adorable houses I have ever laid eyes on. Imagine a whimsical village filled with brightly colored houses, each with ornate, almost gingerbread-like details. All of the houses are uniquely painted and many have their own theme. My absolute favorite house was one of the most famous cottages – the Pink House covered in hearts and flowers. As it turns out, this house has been used for engagement and wedding photos.
Illumination Night | Oak Bluffs. Grand Illumination Night has been a summer staple of Martha’s Vineyard for 148 years. On the third Wednesday in August, hundreds of unique lanterns cast a magical glow over the gingerbread cottages at the Martha’s Vineyard Campground. The entire experience was so unique – the night began with singing in the Tabernacle and for several hours, residents of the gingerbread houses sat on their porches as they watched visitors admire the bright lights throughout the village.
The Red Cat Kitchen | Oak Bluffs. Located at the bottom of Kennebec Avenue in Oak Bluffs, lies The Red Cat Kitchen, home to one of the best meals I have ever eaten. The menu changes several times a week as seasonal ingredients come and go but the soulful spirit of the restaurant is always the same. And don’t be fooled by the size of the establishment – the restaurant itself can hold a total of maybe 50 people – but the menu is peppered with scrumptious surf and turf options such as pork tenderloin, pan-roasted halibut and “big ass scallops.”
Edgartown. As basic as it sounds, there is no better way to describe Edgartown than “Instagram-worthy from every angle.” The streets of Edgartown are lined with magazine-worthy homes and budget-busting boutiques. As I walked down the street, I couldn’t help but notice everyone was adorned in either brightly colored patterns from Lily Pulitzer or the sea-inspired casual wear of Black Dog. We also spent a day at South Beach, a popular beach in Edgartown that runs along the entire southern length of the island. I was surprised by how blue the ocean looked from the shore.
Long Point Beach | West Tisbury. Long Point Beach is unique for a few reasons. For one, you have to travel 2 miles on a dirt road through a wild refuge to get to the beach itself. I felt like I was driving through the woods with no clear end in sight, but I promise you, the destination is well worth it. On one side is the sandy beach that boasts Atlantic waves and on the other side is a calm, freshwater lake for swimming, kayaking and paddleboarding. The lake is meant for younger children but if you walk into the water and stand still enough, the fish will come up and swim up against you. They also have a strict cut off on the number of cars that park in the lot so the beach itself is not very crowded.
Lake Tashmoo | Vineyard Haven. Tashmoo has a hidden gem of a beach that serves as the perfect escape when the crowds in Vineyard Haven get too overwhelming. The beach is quaint and is a great place to lay out, take a dip or watch boats come in and out of the channel. During the day, you can find visitors fishing off the jetty and at night you can occasionally find a bonfire or two. Tashmoo was one of the first beaches I ever visited on Martha’s Vineyard so it holds a special place in my heart.