Beach Weekend Getaway in Martha's Vineyard
1Start the adventure with roughly 45 minutes aboard The Steamship Authority. With the island's most frequent service, the line offers numerous daily departures to and from Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs. Arrive early enough to scope out a seat if you have a preference for indoors or out and make sure to leave an extra hour for parking and traveling to the dock from the off-site lot. The Steamship is the only boat that hauls cars, but reservations are nearly impossible to score, and you're probably better off without the car anyway.
2Seafood specialties — fresh gumbo, seafood risotto, and of course lobster — are only part of what's to love at the Blue Canoe Waterfront Grill. Grab a seat on the deck and enjoy the fresh air, the view over the harbor, and the evening breeze. Newly introduced to the formerly dry town: beer, wines, and spritzers (no hard alcohol).
3Enjoy a walk through the quaint shops of Vineyard Haven. The hamlet has a lower-key vibe than its neighbors, shutting down early, thanks to its formerly dry-town status (there are still no liquor stores, but some restaurants now serve wine and beer). Those longing for harder alcoholic refreshment will need to visit either Oak Bluffs or Edgartown.
1Breakfast starts with a pastry and a cup of coffee from the Island staple — the Black Dog Bakery Café. Make sure to get a bottle of water or fill a reusable one for the trip ahead.
2Walk across the street to Martha's Bike Rentals. Outfitter and owner Bob will set you up with wheels, helmet, lock, and map, before directing you out on to the road. The ride out of Vineyard Haven is a little tricky, roughly three miles of travel with traffic along Beach Road. Once in Oak Bluffs, lock the bikes and investigate the town.
3Leaving Oak Bluffs, begin the quieter ride among the gingerbread houses, past Ocean Park toward the main bike trail. The trip along Seaview Avenue offers protection from traffic and the ability to enjoy the ocean breezes, the sound of the waves, and a leisurely six-mile or so pedal along the water.
4Park the bike at one of the beach access points across the street from the bike path (cross carefully!) and stick your toes in the surf and sand along Joseph Sylvia State Beach.
5Pedal over the American Legion Memorial Bridge (otherwise famously known as the Jaws Bridge) and into Edgartown town center. Walk the bikes and rest near the ferry dock at Among the Flowers Café where breakfast—homemade pancakes, waffles, and fresh omelets — can be ordered all day long (they have lunch, too).
6Take the 5 to 10-minute walk over to the Edgartown Lighthouse where the light keeper is available daily in summer to let you walk the stairs to the lantern room.
7Back in Edgartown, hit Mad Martha's for ice cream—you've earned it — before getting ready to make the return trip to Vineyard Haven. Too tired? Public Martha's Vinyard Transit busses run between the two towns — they can take up to two bikes at a time (no bikes allowed inside busses), but availability is hit or miss.
8Return the bikes and clean up for dinner. Taxi to Edgartown and then enjoy a sunset water transport from Edgartown to the lovely Lure Grill. Specialties of the house include seasonal seafood and locally grown vegetables.
1The Right Fork Diner is the place for all-American breakfast staples like eggs, pancakes, French toast, corned beef hash, and the all-important home fries. Sit on the deck outside and watch the scenic biplanes take off and land on Katama Airfield—if you're brave enough, think about signing up for your own scenic flight.
2Head back to Edgartown and take a walk along the quaint shops. Look for a number of galleries sprinkled on North Water Street as well as on the outskirts of Main Street.
3The over-the-water deck at the Seafood Shanty has a boat vibe. Pretend you're at sea while enjoying your all-important fish 'n chips or fish sandwich before hopping the ferry back to the mainland.