The island of Martha’s Vineyard encompasses 100 square miles and is home to five towns. Each one has its own character, style, and things to do. When July and August arrive, the island is hopping with tourists. Whether you are a new resident or have opted to explore the region on a getaway, we will explore the best hidden gems on Martha’s Vineyard.
Exploring the Hidden Gems on Martha’s Vineyard
If you want to explore the hidden gems on Martha’s Vineyard, then you’ll want to pick a home base if you are not a resident. Sometimes, getting away from the rush of tourists is best if you are seeking a little solitude. Vineyard, Edgartown, and Oak Bluff are all historic towns on the northern shore. Each one is located only a few miles apart. If you would prefer to stay in the far southwestern region of the island, then consider Chilmark where you can visit beautiful visits and take a few photos of Aquinnah Cliffs.
Top Must-See Sites on Martha’s Vineyard
Luckily, there are many hidden gems on Martha’s Vineyard to explore. Below we will explore the must-see sites.
Edgartown Lighthouse – Martha’s Vineyard is home to five lighthouses, but the Edgartown Lighthouse is truly picturesque. It has been in commission since 1939. Originally, the tower was constructed of cast iron on an artificial island that was connected to the island by a stone causeway. Over time, sand started to build up on the causeway and created a beach that would later be dubbed Lighthouse Beach. Now the lovely beach has become a popular place to picnic and enjoy brilliant sunsets.
Gingerbread Cottages -One of the hidden gems on Martha’s Vineyard is the gingerbread cottages. There are 318 gingerbread cottages located on Oak Bluffs. Each one was built as a part of a Methodist church camp in the 1860s. The goal of the gingerbread houses was to replace tents. Each of the cottages was designed to look Gothic with wide porches, steep roofs, and lots of rocking chairs. The cottages have been brightly painted and stand out in bold contrast. Nowadays, you can even rent one of the cottages short term and call it home base on your Martha’s Vineyard getaway. Many of the cottages are privately owned but they do come up for sale on occasion.
Martha’s Vineyard Museum -Take the time to learn about the fascinating history of Martha’s Vineyard. The Martha’s Vineyard Museum has an abundance of exhibits for both adults and children. You’ll learn about the island’s whaling industry and how it became a vacation hotspot. The museum holds documents, artifacts, photos, and more. It’s the perfect retreat on a rainy, chilly day.
Menemsha Hills –Menemsha Hills is a breathtaking 211-acre nature reserve that sits by Chilmark. There is a rugged shoreline. Take a hike along the three-mile trail and enjoy lush woodland groves and wetlands. When you reach the 308-foot Prospect Hill you’ll marvel at the large boulders and other landmarks. The area is home to black oaks, red maples, and beech trees.
Poly Hill Arboretum -Poly Hill Arboretum made its debut in the 1950s. There is a 20-acre garden that is filled with shrubs, trees, and flowers. The place is also home to a 40-acre woodland preserve. You can choose either a self-guided or guided tour. You’ll see roses, magnolias, rhododendrons, hollies, and conifers.
Lucy Vincent Beach -Lucy Vincent Beach is home to white sandy beaches, massive rock formations, and pristine ocean water. The entire location feels secluded. The location is one of the only beaches on the island that allows nude sunbathing and swimming.
Island Alpaca Company –The Island Alpaca Company is home to over 50 alpacas. You can tour the facility and lots of photos. Depending on the time of year you can enjoy special events like the annual shearing day, alpaca yoga, and the alpaca walk and talk. One of the hidden gems on Martha’s Vineyard is also the onsite gift store where you’ll find a wide assortment of alpaca fleece fits and items.
Granary Art Gallery-In the countryside outside of West Tisbury, you’ll find Martha’s Vineyards’ oldest museum, the Granary Art Gallery. It is home to Dan Vanlandingham seascapes, contemporary art by Heather Neill, and Alfred Eisenstaedt photos. Throughout the year there are many first-night events where local artists are highlighted.
Vineyard Haven Main Street Shopping – One of the best hidden gems of Martha’s Vineyard is the Vineyard Haven Main Street Shopping which is where locally owned boutique stores are located. You’ll find jewelry, interior design items, clothing, and local art. Peter and Carly Simon both own boutique stores at the Vineyard Haven main Street Shopping location. Unlike parking in Edgartown, this shopping location isn’t as crowded with tourists and is really a local secret.
Back Door Donuts -One of the most delicious hidden gems on Martha’s Vineyard is Back Door Donuts. The bakery is a favorite of locals. You’ll find fresh donuts and sand fritters that are fried on-site. The purple door is assuming but the bakery is usually hopping late at night.
Whether you have recently moved to the island or are a tourist, any of the above hidden gems on Martha’s Vineyard are a must-see to soak up the area’s enthusiasm and atmosphere.