Map and Guides to Martha’s Vineyard

Guide to town’s and general orientation.

Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard, a Massachusetts island, sits in the Atlantic just south of Cape Cod. A longtime New England summer colony, it encompasses harbor towns and lighthouses, sandy beaches and farmland. It’s accessible only by boat or air. There are 6 separate towns on the island. Wikipedia

Vineyard Haven, which is closest to the mainland and the main ferry port is the island’s commercial center. The area was called “Nobnocket” by the Wampanoag people and was first referred to by the colonial settlers as “Homes Hole”, The village officially changed its name to Vineyard Haven in 1871. The name Vineyard Haven technically refers only to one section of the town of Tisbury, but the names are used interchangeably and Vineyard Haven is commonly used as a title for the whole town of Tisbury. Wikipedia

  • Oak Bluffs is just to the East of Vineyard Haven and has Carpenter Gothic cottages and an iconic carousel, the oldest in the county. It is one of the island’s principal points of arrival for summer tourists, and is noted for its “gingerbread cottages” and other well-preserved mid- to late-nineteenth-century buildings. The town has been an historically important center of African American culture since the eighteenth century. Wikipedia
  • Edgartown is on the eastern end and is known for it’s white whaling captain’s homes, fine dining, beautiful beaches and active summer community. Edgartown is a tourist destination on the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Dukes County, Massachusetts, United States, for which it is the county seat. It was once a major whaling port, with historic houses that have been carefully preserved. Today it hosts yachting events around its large harbour. It includes the smaller island of Chappaquiddick, remembered in connection with a fatal incident in 1969, involving Edward Kennedy, who was staying in one of the town’s hotels. Wikipedia
  • West Tisbury is located to the west of Tisbury where the town of Vineyard Haven sites. It is primarily agricultural and pastoral. It reminds one of Scotland. West Tisbury was first settled by English settlers in 1669 as part of the town of Tisbury. The town was officially incorporated in 1892, the last town on Martha’s Vineyard to be incorporated. Despite its separation from Tisbury, the original settlement of the town is still located in West Tisbury. Historically, it has been the agricultural heartland of the island. Up through the 1980s West Tisbury was one of the quickest growing communities on the island. Wikipedia
  • Chilmark is further West and continues the island’s pastoral beauty. Chilmark has the beautiful fishing port of Chilmark where much of Jaws was filmed.
  • Aquinnah is the most western of the island’s seven town’s. Until 1997, the town was called Gay Head. The population was 311 at the 2010 U.S. census. It is known for its beautiful clay cliffs and quiet natural serenity. In 1965, Gay Head Cliffs were designated as a National Natural Landmark by the National Park Service. Aquinnah has become celebrated as a center of Wampanoag culture and a center of pride and tradition among members of the federally recognized Wampanoag Tribe of Gay Head. They make up about one-third of the town’s voters and are one of two federally recognized tribes of Wampanoag people in Massachusetts. This area is one of the earliest sites of whaling. The Wampanoag harvested whales from small boats and the shore, using harpoons, long before the 19th-century industry of whaling became the major maritime industry of Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, and New Bedford, Massachusetts.

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