If you’ve never been to Martha’s Vineyard, you might imagine it as one big yacht club — a hoity-toity haven for rich people. In fact, the Vineyard is a charming, laid-back and diverse island that doesn’t put on airs, despite its share of big-name visitors.
Where to stay
Once you get to the Vineyard, you’ll find yourself in an idyllic seaside village. There are many cozy hotels and bed-and-breakfasts from which to choose, such as the Dockside Inn (www.vineyardinns.com) in Oak Bluffs, a family-run institution that’s steps away from the town’s main drag.
There are only a few main roads in Martha’s Vineyard, and congestion is a problem in the summer. That’s why renting a bike is the easiest way to explore the island. On two wheels, you can putt around the three most populated towns — Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven — all of which boast their own distinctive character. Highlights include the famous gingerbread cottages of Oak Bluffs, Edgartown’s ferry to tiny Chappaquiddick Island (of Ted Kennedy fame), and beautiful beaches.
For a considerably longer ride, check out the “up island” towns of Menemsha, Chilmark, West Tisbury and Aquinnah. Less populated than their touristy counterparts, -these hamlets are often where big-name visitors, such as President Obama, decamp to avoid prying eyes.