There are tiny islands, and then there's Martha's Vineyard. Known as an affluent summer colony featuring the likes of James Taylor, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama as part-time residents and visitors, Martha's Vineyard is the third largest island on the East Coast and boasts 100 square miles of beautiful terrain: the perfect destination for anyone looking for an elegant Massachusetts vacation rental.
From its beginnings in the 17th century as the home of the Wampanoag tribe to its whaling-center past, "The Vineyard," as it's often dubbed, now sees an influx of wealthy summer visitors thanks to its pleasant weather (it rarely goes above 90 degrees Fahrenheit), beautiful beaches, myriad lighthouses, and chic eateries. Any of our Martha's Vineyard vacation rentals would be a great home-away-from-home in this lovely enclave, just seven miles off the shores of Cape Cod.
The Vineyard is known for its pristine beaches, all of which are easily accessible. Locals head to South Beach, aka Katama, for its soft sand and protected salt pond. Norton Point Beach is another local favorite thanks to its 4.5 miles of walking trails and 2.5 miles of sand dunes - perfect for shellfishing, swimming and bird watching. Formed during the Ice Age, the Long Point Wildlife Refuge boasts more than 600 acres of beach and woodland and is a bird-watching mecca.
Other notable wildlife refuges include the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, which offers 14 miles of bike paths, the Polly Hill Arboretum, boasting 60 acres of trees, shrubs and azaleas, and Mytoi on the nearby island of Chappaquiddick, a Japanese garden with walking trails and a stone garden.
Children of all ages will delight in the Flying Horses Carousel, the nation's oldest platform carousel, and the gingerbread houses in Oaks Bluffs. The former was originally located in Brooklyn's Coney Island; the latter features small brightly hued cottages evoking fairy tales of old.
Lighthouses can be found throughout the island. Edgartown Light, built in 1828 via congressionally-approved funds, is open in the summer for tours. Gay Head Light was the first lighthouse constructed on the island, and was recently acquired and saved by the town of Aquinnah. The East Chop Light and the West Chop Light are also notable. The former can be rented for weddings and events, but the latter isn't open to the public.
The Vineyard is centrally located, allowing for many fun day trips. The nearby island of Chappaquiddick, though infamous for a Kennedy family tragedy, still lures visitors for more wholesome reasons: its myriad fields, forests, and barrier beach.
Martha's Vineyard's sister island, Nantucket, (also a former whaling station) lies 38 miles away and boasts great beaches, lighthouses, and chic boutiques and restaurants. Vibrant Boston is a plane ride away, and offers historical sites and arts and cultural attractions galore. Cape Cod lies on the mainland, offering a wealth of adventure and excitement from base to tip.
Beautiful beaches, elegant restaurants, historic lighthouses, and preserved refuges await you at any of our Martha's Vineyard vacation homes!
Photo credit: Matthew Bird via Shutterstock