There is certainly something memorable about the feel of being on an island like Martha’s Vineyard that is incomparable to any other. The famous north east summer spot has the best of both, past and present, by blending commerce with conservation.
Legend Has It
Martha’s Vineyard’s oldest legend tells the story of an Indian giant named Moshup, who created the island with the sand from his moccasin. American Indians migrated to the island and began populating here roughly 5,000 years ago. The first European settlers to arrive dates back to 1602, beginning with an English navigator, Bartholomew Gosnold. The first official settlement, however, did not happen until 1642 with credit to Thomas Mayhew, Jr. He and his father, also named Thomas Mayhew, were given the rights to plant and inhabit the islands of Martha’s Vineyard by William, Earl of Sterling, a representative of Charles I. Even during the King Philip War of 1676-1677, where other European settlers and Indians battled on the mainland, the residing American Indians and European settlers lived amongst the island extremely well together!
Most Popular and Picturesque Destination of New England
This convenient respite takes visitors to a unique island world where time slows, sun brightens, and salt air refreshes. The island is a renewed balance of active commerce and peaceful conservation, all of which is probably what draws 16,000 year round residents and 100,000 summer visitors. Some famous stars of stage and screen reside on Martha’s Vineyard like Dan Ackroyd, Jim Belushi or Carly Simon, but the real stars of the island are the five unique lighthouses. The West Chop Lighthouse, East Chop Lighthouse, Edgartown Lighthouse, Gayhead Lighthouse, and Cape Poge Lighthouse all carry with them their own individual history. Remarkable views, old-world villages, charming gingerbread cottages, elegant sea captain’s homes and much more await your ferry’s arrival in Oak Bluff’s Harbor on the North East tip of Martha’s Vineyard. Among the six towns making up the island, Oak Bluffs stands for an abundance of oaks and ornate woodwork giving the gingerbread appeal of such a quaint resort town.
An Original Telegraph Signal Site
The East Chop Lighthouse is located on one of the original telegraph signal sites. Signals were received here from Nantucket and relayed on to Woods Hole, Bonnedale, South Plymouth, Duxbury, Marshfield, and Dorchester Heights. During the mid-1800’s, Captain Silas Daggett built a privately owned lighthouse here that was funded by local merchants. The U.S. Government purchased the lighthouse and land for $6,000 in 1875 and it wasn’t until 1988 that the current structure, formerly known as the Chocolate Lighthouse because of its red-brown color, was painted white and renamed as the East Chop Lighthouse. You can see the current East Chop lighthouse as you arrive on the island by ferry.
Eating and Shopping
Martha’s Vineyard surrounds visitors by sea, farmlands and unique non-chain stores, making it the best choice for an incomparable choice of foods, exclusive shopping, and sites to see. Start the day off right with fresh baked goods from any of the many fine bakeries and break for lunch with the freshest seafood, a bowl of chowder, or a cool inventive salad with fresh greens. After you’ve recharged with authentic Vineyard cuisine, one of a kind merchants warmly welcome everyone, offering a little bit of a whole lot! From carefully edited clothing collections, delicious small batch pantry items, beautifully crafted handworks, summer gear, and all the basics, Martha’s Vineyard provides an assortment of genuine merchandise that can only be seen to believe.
- Wheelchair accessible
- Many gift shops on the island