View of the pier and boats on Martha's Vineyard

Day Tripping on Martha’s Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard was high on my list of places to visit in New England. I was hoping to experience a small slice of idyllic island life; pretty lighthouses, rugged beaches, sailboats and salty air – and that was pretty much what we got, along with cute gingerbread houses and a stunning sunset.

View of the pier and boats on Martha's Vineyard

*Update: you can read our complete 2016 New England Fall Foliage Guide here. This includes tips on where on when to see the best foliage, what to eat, which festivals to visit, how much our fall trip to New England cost and our favourite destinations in New England.*

Visiting Martha’s Vineyard

The Vineyard is well-known for being an affluent summer getaway and holiday home to celebrities such as Bill Murray and Meg Ryan; the Obamas visit almost every summer. Martha’s Vineyard also served as the fictional Amity Island in the film Jaws and boasts a selection of colourful gingerbread houses, which visitors travel from far and wide to photograph.

Martha's Vineyard Lighthouse, Pier and Sign

The only drawback to visiting Martha’s Vineyard is the price. Even in late September, we found that accommodation prices on the island were too much for us, so we hatched a plan to take a day trip to the island instead, catching a ferry from Falmouth. We disembarked early in the morning at Vineyard Haven, a small harbour town where we ate eggs on toast and slurped hot tea in a cosy diner.

Boats docked on Martha's Vineyard

We caught the local bus over to the Island’s largest hub, Edgartown, where we strolled along the waterfront and followed a sandy path out to a beach spotted with patches of green grass and bright yellow flowers. At the sea’s edge sat a short and stout white lighthouse, men fished in the shallows on the beach next to us and boats sailed by in the distance or bobbed on their moorings in the harbour.

Oak Bluffs Beach, Martha's Vineyard

Oak Bluffs and the Gingerbread Houses

We spent most of our day in Oak Bluffs, a town I fell just a little bit in love with. Since the summer crowds had dispersed the island was fairly quiet; Oak Bluffs had the most bustle to it with a short stretch of lively restaurants along the seafront, a high street lined with shops and a handful of beachgoers camped out in deckchairs on the sand, a few people were even braving a dip in the cold, choppy water.

Lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard, New England

Our favourite part of Oak Bluffs was the warren of candy-coloured, gingerbread houses. I could have walked the streets for hours gazing at the collection of fairytale-esque homes, each uniquely decorated and lovingly cared for. Porches were decked-out with flowers, ornaments, rocking chairs and wind chimes; window frames were brightly painted, roof trimming was elaborately carved and lawns were carefully manicured. It was all very Disney, but in a good way.

Gingerbread House in Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard

Oak Bluffs Gingerbread Houses on Martha's Vineyard

When we’d pulled ourselves away from the gingerbread houses we walked up to another lighthouse, this one on a hill looking out towards the thin stretch of Cape Cod. After stopping in town for a cup of tea and a donut, we wandered along the windy beach, feeling the salt air seep into our hair and coat our skin. The sand was littered with the alien-like shells of horseshoe crabs and clutches of tangled seaweed while the sea was rocky and churning in a way that reminded me of the seaside back home in England.

Horseshoe crab shell on the beach at Martha's Vineyard

As the afternoon sun turned lemony and the nip in the wind grew stronger we boarded a ferry back to the mainland. The crossing was choppy and we stood on deck, braced against the fierce wind to avoid getting seasick; as we neared the coast we were given a final gift from our day at Martha’s Vineyard, a warm orange-red sunset which stained the sky in shades of melting butter.

Sunset over the sea in New England

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12 Comments
  • Gilda Baxter
    Posted at 16:28h, 10 October Reply

    Your writting is so beautiful, I love your style. The gingerbread houses are seriously cute and I did think that they look like they belong in a Disney film. Your plan of going over for a day trip was a good idea, since I can imagine it would be a very expensive place to stay overnight and you got that lovely sunset on the way back:)

    • Amy
      Posted at 02:41h, 11 October Reply

      Thanks so much Gilda. I think it would be so fun to stay in one of those gingerbread houses; I’ve heard that they cost a lot to maintain though, so owning one would be a lot of work!

  • Jenia
    Posted at 18:28h, 10 October Reply

    So neat! Glad you guys figured out a way to sample this little bit of north eastern seaboard — it’s pretty fairy tale like and *very* American 🙂 You may also try to check out Cap Cod, which should be slightly more affordable…though may be too late in the season for it!

    • Amy
      Posted at 02:42h, 11 October Reply

      Yes, we definitely want to check out Cape Cod when we’re back down that way, it will probably be very cold by then and we might not see the best of it but I’m still excited to check it out.

  • Louisa Klimentos
    Posted at 05:37h, 11 October Reply

    I loved those Gingerbread houses and the light house too!Keep on travelling ,love louisa

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:47h, 11 October Reply

      We will Louisa 🙂 The Gingerbread houses were awesome.

  • Jonno
    Posted at 13:04h, 11 October Reply

    Love your blog, it’s so well written with great photos and just a really down to earth interesting read. Your story is so interesting and it’s great that your are still travelling after all this time and making money from it too. Brilliant. We did exactly the same as you back in may when we sold our house, quit our jobs, got rid of all of our stuff, and decided to set off on a little adventure. The only difference, and I guess it’s a big one, is that we are in our mid 50s. So far so good after 5 months and we’re loving every moment. We’re still novice bloggers (https://jwalkingin.wordpress.com/) and would appreciate any advice you have. Just want to make it as good as possible as reach as many people as we can.

    • Amy
      Posted at 13:49h, 11 October Reply

      Hi Jonno, thanks so much for your kind words about our little blog. I love your story too, it must be so much more of a wrench to leave when you have a house and all the stuff that goes along with it. I will definitely check out your blog and leave some comments, thanks for reading 🙂

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