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What You Should Know About Marthas Vineyard

Jul 31, 2008
Approximately 7 miles south of Cape Cod on the Massachusetts coast sits an island called Marthas Vineyard. Approximately 100 square miles, the island is the largest island in the New England area. The Vineyard is part of the state of Massachusetts and was originally named for the vast grape growing areas on the island in the 1500s. The island has six primary communities, the most prominent of which is Vineyard Haven.

The Vineyard is one of New England's most popular tourist attractions, offering miles of beautiful cycling, running and walking trails. The roads in West Tusbury and Chilmark and the hiking trails found in West Chop Woods are the most widely used and offer scenic views. In the village of Menemsha, the fishing is wonderful. Deep-sea cruises and many different water sports can be found just about anywhere on the island.

The residents of the Vineyard have dedicated a large area of the island to wildlife conservation. Visits to wildlife refuges and sanctuaries are very popular with those visiting the island.

In the warm months of the year, tourists never fail to flock to the gorgeous sandy beaches. In addition to visiting the popular wineries, visitors can go to the Aquinnah Cliffs which offer wonderful views of sunrises and sunsets, the Aquinnah Lighthouse, the Eastchop Lighthouse and the Flying Horses Carousel, which has been in operation since 1876.

Many different forms of accommodations are available on the island of Marthas Vineyard, although, because it is so popular, reservations need to be made many months before visiting the island. Ferries move visitors from the mainland to the island and dock in many areas, although most dock at Oaks Bluff or Vineyard Haven.

The most preferred places to stay are in Vineyard Haven, the islands most commercial town, and Oaks Bluff, known for its night life. Edgartown is a town that has many large houses, built by the sea captains of years ago, that are now used as bed and breakfasts. In the upper island area, hotels can be found in the towns of West Tisbury, Chilmark and Menemsha.

The economy of Marthas Vineyard depends heavily on tourism. The fact that the island is visited regularly by famous celebrities and people who are very wealthy helps to attract visitors. Many of these people own homes on the beaches. Tourism offices offer day trips and excursions to Chappaquiddick Island, which is close by. Maps of the island, information about tourist attractions and general information are all available in Vineyard Haven at the Chamber of Commerce office.
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