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martha's vineyard

martha's vineyard

Trip Plan Tags: 
beach + island
Martha's Vineyard,
North America,
United States

My husband, son, and I rented a house on Martha's Vineyard along with some friends for Thanksgiving Week 2008. This Trip Plan shows some of the places we went and activities we enjoyed.



Zephrus Seafood & Grill, Massachusetts

9 Main Street
Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts 02539
Tel: 508 693 3416

At Zephrus, the Mansion House's casual restaurant, fresh salads topped with shrimp or soft-shell crab and generously sized sandwiches (grilled chicken breast with spinach, roasted red pepper, and melted cheddar, for example; or grilled yellowfin tuna with lemon aioli on ciabatta bread) are served all day at reasonable prices. There are also larger entrées, from swordfish steak to fish-and-chips to Angus burgers. If you're on your way out of town and don't have time to eat in the hip dining room or on the screened-in front porch, order the Steamship (turkey breast, avocado, mayo, lettuce, tomato, and Cape Cod potato chips) for the ferry ride to Woods Hole.

Went here for lunch in 2009. Good food, great service. Note that Vineyard Haven is a dry town, but you can BYO.


Water Street, Massachusetts

131 North Water Street
Edgartown, Massachusetts 02529
Tel: 508 627 6371

The view of Edgartown's harbor and lighthouse just outside the picture windows of the Harbor View Hotel's Water Street restaurant competes with the kitchen for the diners' attention. But the food here is up to the challenge. Chef Josh Hollinger is classically trained in French cuisine, but at Water Street he focuses on New England favorites: He balances the silkiness of day-boat scallops with a snappy corn-and-lima-bean succotash and calls on the flavors of his childhood (Hollinger grew up on a 1,400-acre farm in Mennonite country) for his signature dish of Katama Farm chicken and gnocchi-like Mennonite dumplings in pan gravy. For the quintessential coastal dinner, tie on a lobster bib and dig into the Vineyard Shore Dinner: steamed lobster, littleneck clams, linguiça (Portuguese sausage), boiled red bliss potatoes, and corn on the cob. Many menu items are served as small plates that families can share, though you can order most of them as entrées. Water Street also has one of the best wine lists on the island, plus an impressive choice of scotch, bourbon, cognac, Armagnac, and port.

Open mid-May through late October.

Had Thanksgiving Dinner here in 2009. Marvelous buffet. $38 per person, not including drinks tip, but worth every penny of it.
$400 or more
Editor's Pick


Harbor View Hotel, Massachusetts

131 North Water Street
Edgartown, Massachusetts 02539
Tel: 800 225 6005 (toll-free), Tel: 508 627 7000, Fax: 508 627 8417

In May 2008, a stem-to-stern renovation of this gray-shingled Victorian was completed under the watchful eye of owner Alan Worden (a former investment banker who once sailed from Nantucket to New Zealand with just one other crew member). Originally opened on the Edgartown Harbor in 1891, this grand New-England–style resort is the town's oldest and—with 141 rooms spread among two main buildings and several cottages—largest hotel. Linda Woodrum, of HGTV's Dream Homes, redecorated the cottage suites, and while they feel plucked out of a Pottery Barn catalog, they have the best of everything: kitchenettes, walk-in closets, flat-screen TVs, fireplaces, private gardens, and outdoor showers. Ask for suite 24 in the cottages for its relative seclusion, ocean view, and brand-new, high-end appointments; or for any of the more traditionally decorated, ocean-facing rooms in the main house (some of which have private balconies). Avoid the motel-like Governor Mayhew building by the pool. The restaurant, Water Street, turns out sophisticated New England–style dishes, and the comfortable bar, Henry's, serves an all-day menu of crowd-pleasers, such as lobster rolls and chocolate-chip cookies. Befitting the hotel's maritime feel, a 31-foot center console boat ferries guests to private beaches (although there is a small sand beach and heated pool on site), and the young-adult learn-to-sail program will keep the kids occupied while you watch from the wraparound porch as yachts drift by. The town is a five-minute scenic walk away—far enough to keep the hotel's vibe relaxed. Guests also get advance tee times at the nearby par-72 Farm Neck Golf Club, and a spa and health club are planned.

Note: The Harbor View has announced plans to sell off up to half of its units as condos (priced from $526,000 to $1.3 million). The rest will remain available to guests.

Open mid-May through late October.

See + Do

Biking on Martha's Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard has miles of bike routes, most of them wide paths set apart from the main roads by grassy strips. There are short trails such as the scenic two-mile run along Main Street in Vineyard Haven to the West Chop Lighthouse, the three-mile route from Edgartown to South Beach, or the seven-mile path from Vineyard Haven to Edgartown. More serious cyclists can ride 20 miles from Edgartown, around the state forest, and back. Bringing your own bike to the island costs from $3 to $6 each way on the ferries, bicycle rental shops proliferate, and most hotels and many inns have bicycles for loan or rent. (There are bike racks on the buses of the Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority.) On coastal routes, be aware of occasional patches of sand and strong head winds; inland trails aren't always particularly scenic.

The bike routes are clearly marked on most street maps; otherwise you can find a trail map online at or, or pick one up at Anderson's Bike Rentals in Oak Bluffs (23 Circuit Ave. Extension; 508-693-9346) or Edgartown Bicycles (212 Main St.; 508-627-9008; Trike Panther Travel Adventures, started by a retiree who cycled from California to Florida, rents recumbent trikes and leads half-day, full-day, and five-day guided island tours (888-443-2071;

Information may have changed since the date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.