Martha’s Vineyard

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We’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard (MV), it’s an area of the country we’ve not explored, though I lived in New England for a few years, many years ago. My company was going to hold a planning meeting in MV and not having met any of my remote co-workers, it was a great opportunity to meet them and understand more about the future plans and focus of PostalAdvocate. Thank you very much! Great meeting!

One of the things that always strikes me when I come to New England is how much woodlands there are and how many trees there are, in comparison to North Texas, where the only trees are what you planted. As densely populated as cities are, it’s nice to visit an area like MV where areas outside of Vineyard Haven and Edgartown are rural. The fall foliage is in it’s beginning stages and I imagine the blaze of color will accelerate in the next few weeks.

We had not planned any time in the city of Boston, though it’s somewhere we would like to visit. Flying into Boston’s Logan airport, we took a 2 hour bus ride (Peter Pan bus!) to Woods Hole, where we caught the ferry for the 45 minute ride to Martha’s Vineyard. Between the flight time, bus and ferry, by the time we arrived in MV, it was 6:15pm and dark! The hotel was just a few blocks from the port. The meeting would be a day and a half and we had planned for the same amount of time to explore parts of MV. The weather during the entire time on the island was really nice; blue skies and 68-74 degrees. It wasn’t all work and no leisure time during the meeting, as we drove out to Menemsha Beach, where we had a picnic on the beach.

Business meetings over, it was time to explore the island. We decided to go to Oak Bluffs and see the Methodist Camp Meeting Association.

Some of these are still occupied, but most appeared to be empty, whether due to the late season or their historical protection. The style and decor definitely takes you back in time, as these 100+ year old homes testify to a different period in our nation’s history. There seemed to be quite a bit of preservation work going on in anticipation of winter.

The next day we ventured out to Edgartown to see the lighthouse (one of five on the island). The portion of Edgartown we saw has a much different composition than Vineyard Haven. From the bus stop, we could see that there was less commercial and much more heavily residential composition. There are some restaurants and shops down near the waterside. Edgartown was the first of two towns founded on Martha’s Vineyard. Colonized in 1642, it was Incorporated in 1671. Edgartown became a primary whaling center in the 1800’s. In consequence of the wealth brought from the whaling industry, ships captains built homes along North Water street which looks out over the harbour and is along the path to the lighthouse. These older homes stretch along both sides of the street in this area and are immaculately maintained.

We took a path out to the lighthouse and saw that a wedding had just concluded. Fortunately for us, it appears that they had obtained access to the lighthouse, which would otherwise have been closed for the season.

By the beginning of the 20th century, whaling’s influence on the tiny town which had made its fortunes through the industry, was ended. Today the town is more known for tourism, as well as the site of Chappaquiddick, where Ted Kennedy’s infamous incident took place in 1969. Chappaquiddick is a smaller island, usually connected by ferry to Martha’s Vineyard, but has been disconnected at times due to storms.

Martha’s Vineyard’s population and economy are hugely dependent on tourism. The base year-round population is around 16,000 but during peak season balloons to over 100,000. As pleasant as it was while we were here off season, imagining five to six times more people here would feel insanely crowded. A number of the stores we passed were already closed for the season in mid-October until May.

Martha’s Vineyard really was a relaxing world away, not so far away from the hectic world in which we live.

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