Last weekend the forecast promised a hot mid-September day, our kids had the plans of their own, and we found ourselves on the market for a “couple’s day” away ideas. Living in a Boston suburb, there are day trips possibilities in any direction, but the plan did not seem to fall into place until … the island of Martha’s Vineyard came to mind.
(A couple of summers ago we spent a family day on Martha’s Vineyard and told you about it here).
Taking our car on the ferry. This time we decided to take our car with us – which could only be done from Woods Hole via Steamship Authority ($85 each way including 2-passenger tickets). (A much cheaper, but also much less convenient option would be to go without a car and take a public transportation on the island). In the summer you need to book a ride for your car several months ahead, but in September calling or reserving online a day or two ahead works. It was actually pretty cool and convenient to drive onto the ship in our own car, not to spend a minute extra getting out of the ship and not to worry about parking in Woods Hole (should you decide to leave your car behind, there is a remote parking lot in Woods Hole to where you are transported via free shuttle, but it takes extra time and energy, especially after a long day of travelng).
From Woods Hole, it only takes about 40 minutes to reach the island (arriving either in Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven).
AQUINNAH CLIFFS PHOTO ESSAY
It was a gorgeous summer-like day on the island, so we decided to spend it on the beach and drove straight to the Aquinnah- the western-most village on the island (40-minute drive from Oak Bluffs). The Moshup’s Beach by the Aquinnah Cliffs is part of the Wampanoag Reservation land and is a National Historic Landmark. It is our favorite place on the island and arguably its biggest attraction.
If you have not felt like being miles away from reality already, you certainly will find your piece of tranquility on this beach. We found ours and did not let go of it for most of the day – basking in the last warm rays of the summer sun and cooling off in the ocean (well, at least one of us was cooling, as the water was too cool for me). The isolation and natural beauty of this beach is “countered” by the lack of any facility near water, so be sure to use the bathroom at the parking lot and bring your water and snacks with you.
As we were child-free this time, we were able to freely walk away from the “family” area (around the beach entrance) for a good mile along the cliffs, to where people (or rather a few people that you would find there) would be clothed (or unclothed) to their liking. These are the photos of the sacred cliffs we brought back for you to admire.
The next stop on our short itinerary of the day was sunset with the drinks as taken in from the outdoor deck of the Aquinnah Shop restaurant (27 Aquinnah Circle) hidden at the end of the souvenir shops alley. Apparently, even off-season, with its 180-degrees views of the ocean and the best position on the island to watch the sun disappear into the water, it was a very popular destination this time of the day. Take my tip and make a reservation! Without one, we had a lot of convincing to do before a hostess finally allowed us to proceed to a hidden side bar of the terrace.
After so much trouble getting the coveted spots (the views were spectacular) we decided to stay for dinner (the meal of sautéed strip bass with a side of lobster mashed potatoes and grilled vegetables was amazing).
With our ferry leaving from Vineyard Haven at 9:30pm, we now only had about 30 minutes or so for a planned Main street walk in Edgartown, the most “upscale” village on the island which we thought would be suitable for a night walk. We passed several trendy looking restaurants, but not a single tea or coffee shop we desired. We had tea on the ferry instead. It was a very smooth ride.
For more ideas on what to do and how to get around on Martha’s Vineyard, read our post Martha’s Vineyard for a Day.