The Island of Martha’s Vineyard
Just four miles off the coast of Cape Cod, the island of Martha’s Vineyard is a world unto its own. Visitors have long been drawn to its magnificent beaches, picturesque harbors, historic villages, lively markets, and miles of walking trails. Many, however, are content to settle into a relaxed island frame of mind, iced tea in hand on a shady porch.
Whatever your inclination, look to the front desk staff at The Charlotte Inn for personal advice and tips on enjoying the special places and best-kept secrets of Edgartown and further afield on Martha’s Vineyard. From stunning sunset vantage points to the island’s popular new coffee houses to sailboat and fishing charters, we’re happy to help you indulge in your next adventure.
After an active day of outdoor adventures, shopping, and exploring Martha’s Vineyard, you’ll relish your return to The Charlotte Inn for an exquisite dinner at our fine restaurant, The Terrace, and a luxuriously relaxing evening in your well-appointed guest room.
The six towns of Martha’s Vineyard
As our guest of honor, you’ll find classic simplicity and sophistication everywhere you look in this historic whaling village. After exploring the old-world charms of your one-of-a-kind guest room at The Charlotte Inn, we suggest taking a short walk to Edgartown harbor. Stroll past stately captain’s houses with fragrant roses tumbling over white picket fences. Watch working fishing boats unloading the day’s catch, the Chappy ferry chugging back and forth across the channel, sailboats and motor yachts cruising the waters, and at the easternmost point of land, the Edgartown Lighthouse standing sentinel over the harbor entrance. You’ll find countless cafes and coffee bars, art galleries and jewelry stores, bookstores and clothing shops to while away the hours.
Colorful Island charm characterizes Oak Bluffs. In the heart of town is the Camp Ground, home to whimsical gingerbread houses and the Tabernacle, which hosts events all summer. Nearby, families enjoy the Flying Horses Carousel, the country’s oldest operating merry-go-round. Circuit Avenue has a lively pulse, with restaurants, shops, nightclubs, and cultural events. With plenty of open parks, public beaches, and a lighthouse overlooking Nantucket Sound, Oak Bluffs has plenty of plein-air photo opportunities, too.
Also called Tisbury, this thriving town is anchored by the island’s main ferry port. Restaurants, a lively collection of shops, and several working boatyards populate the downtown and waterfront. Eastville Beach by the lagoon drawbridge has roadside parking for fabulous views of boats entering and leaving the harbor, a great spot to enjoy take-out lunch from the nearby fish market. Hidden vistas include Lake Tashmoo, whose overlook off State Road offers a peek at Vineyard Sound, and the West Chop Meadow, at the north end of Main Street heading toward the West Chop Light.
Home to the twice-weekly farmer’s market and the Agricultural Fair in August, West Tisbury also boasts a lovely stretch of south shore beach at Long Point Wildlife Refuge, along with the Polly Hill Arboretum, year-round artisans festivals, and Alley’s General Store. Enjoy its many walking trails across island conservation lands and explore the woods, the north shore and Tisbury Great Pond. A meander along State Road will bring you past cafes, gourmet farm stands, and artisan workshops such as Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks.
A small up-island town with some big vistas, Chilmark includes the picture-perfect fishing village of Menemsha, the pounding surf at Squibnocket, sweeping views over south shore farmlands to the Atlantic Ocean, and longtime island chocolatier Chilmark Chocolates. Browse the Chilmark Flea Market and Menemsha shops, explore menus at its many restaurants, and try the mango lassi at Mermaid Farm on Middle Road. This town has some of the prettiest rural drives to be found anywhere.
People come from all over to see the dramatic outcropping of clay cliffs, the sturdy brick lighthouse, long sandy beaches, and top-of-the-bluff cafes and little shops at the westernmost point of the island. Once known as Gay Head, Aquinnah has long been home to the Wampanoag people, whose tribal lands are here. It’s a bit of a hike from wherever you are to get to Aquinnah; once there, however, its quiet natural beauty is soothing. Don’t miss Moshup Beach, a land bank jewel open to the public for swimming, sunning, and fishing.
Art and antique shops: Spring, summer, fall, or winter – anytime is the perfect time to seek out fine art galleries, watch a master glassblower at work, take a painting class at Featherstone Center for the Arts, or discover nautical antiques, vintage books, and island museum collections. The Vineyard Artisans festivals at West Tisbury’s Ag Hall offer countless creative reminders of your island visit.
Shopping: With so many fun and distinctive shops across the island, you can’t help but find that perfect something to bring home to loved ones. And it’ll be hard to resist picking up a little something for yourself as well. From crisp prep to artsy and flowing to edgy European, you’ll find an intriguing range of fashion styles among island clothing shops.
On the water: Why not spend your afternoon at sea? Sailing, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, and stand-up paddleboarding are all popular pastimes in the island’s ponds, harbors, and surrounding waters. And if you’re looking to try something you’ve never done before, we’ll help you find a knowledgeable guide to get you safely up to speed.
Recreation: Rent a bike to explore the island’s winding rural roads, go horseback riding on a remote up-island beach, or pick up a set of golf clubs and head to one of the island’s many golf courses – have the time of your life outdoors on beautiful Martha’s Vineyard. If a rainy day keeps you indoors, you’ll find plenty of books and magazines and cozy spots to enjoy them throughout the inn.
Gardens and farms: In the spring, summer, and fall seasons, stop in at one of the island’s bountiful farms (the über-popular Morning Glory Farm and FARM Institute, for starters) for a quick snack, a beach picnic, or a basket of the freshest produce. Or visit one of several ornamental gardens, such as the Japanese-themed Mytoi Gardens on Chappy, or the magnificent Polly Hill Arboretum in West Tisbury.
Fitness: In recent years, Martha’s Vineyard has seen a tremendous blossoming in fitness offerings both physical and spiritual. Yoga and Pilates classes, deep tissue massage and acupuncture, spas and salons, and more – Martha’s Vineyard now provides dozens of excellent personal health services and classes in a wide range of settings. Follow this link for a comprehensive, up-to-date listing of island yoga classes.
Entertainment: Martha’s Vineyard harbors a wealth of cultural events and other entertainment offerings in all six island towns. Ask us for suggestions about performing arts centers, concerts, special events, bars and pubs with live music, movie theaters, and more. Edgartown’s Old Whaling Church is the site of frequent concerts and other events throughout the summer months.
Hiking the island’s wild areas: Martha’s Vineyard has thousands of acres of conservation land with miles of trails open to the public. The MV Land Bank, located in Edgartown, has comprehensive maps showing all the accessible areas you can explore.