July 25, 2011

#56 Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard is GORGEOUS! There are a couple of choices of port cities to land in when traveling from Woods Hole, and I chose to land at Oak Bluffs. This was purely a scheduling decision based on what time I wanted to leave for the island. After the whole tour debacle yesterday, I was really nervous about a recurrence, but pretty much as soon as you clear the dock there were tour operators directing you to the departure spot. I arrived about 15 minutes before their next tour was leaving so I was able to hop right on.

This tour was a full school bus so it wasn't very personalized, but the guide was engaging and funny. She made a point to ask every person where they were from so that she could find something about the island to relate to their hometown. Utah got a shout out for the pony express and the spiral jetty.

Something you all should know, the stereotypical Boston/Massachusetts accent that you hear on TV , it's real y'all. As we started around the island the guide pointed out the harbor on the right, explaining how pretty much every boat must sail through Vineyard Sound to enter/depart the island. She actually said, "If you look to your right you'll see the harbor, or for those of you from Massachusetts, the hah-bah - I try to enunciate when I'm working!"

We drove about half way around the island looking at beautiful beaches, forests, and houses all the while with her keeping up a running commentary on island history, what it's like to live on the island, and amusing gossip and anecdotes about past/current residents and visitors. One of the things she told us was that as immigrants started pouring in they didn't speak or read English so they used weather vanes to denote what kind of business was operating out of that building. A pony express rider, for instance, was used for the local post office, while a grasshopper meant they were a green grocer.

We did stop in Aquinnah, home of the famous Gay Head Cliffs. It was so, so amazingly beautiful, and finally a clear day, to boot!









Back in town - we learned that the Vineyard used to be a huge draw for religious revivals and originally had a big tent city for those who participated. As the income grew tents became houses, but built exactly on the original tent sites - so they are really close together. This little area has the most Victorian architecture anywhere in America - including Cape May, NJ.









Martha's Vineyard is also home to the oldest carousel in America. It was moved here from its original location, Coney Island, NY.



After the tour, and walking around the city, and getting something to eat I still had about an hour before my ferry departed. I spent that time sitting on a bench looking at the beach and the ocean. It was perfect!