Martha’s Vineyard on the Atlantic

Saturday, 19 December 2015 - 01:00 pm (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General

Dock on Martha's Vineyard © flickr.com - m01229/cc-by-2.0

Dock on Martha’s Vineyard © flickr.com – m01229/cc-by-2.0

Martha’s Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts, known for being an affluent summer colony. It is accessible only by boat and air. It includes the smaller Chappaquiddick Island. Martha’s Vineyard is part of a chain of islands known as the Outer Lands. The island is a part of Dukes County, which also includes Cuttyhunk, as well as the island of Nomans Land, the latter of which is currently a US Wildlife preserve closed to the public. Martha’s Vineyard is divided into six towns. Each town is governed by a board of selectmen elected by town voters, along with annual and periodic town meetings. Each town is also a member of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, which regulates island-wide building, environmental, and aesthetic concerns. Each town also follows certain regulations from Dukes County.

The towns are:

  • Tisbury, which includes the main village of Vineyard Haven, and the West Chop peninsula. It is the island’s primary port of entry for people and cargo, supplemented by the seasonal port in Oak Bluffs.
  • Edgartown, which includes Chappaquiddick Island and Katama. Edgartown is noted for its rich whaling tradition, and is the island’s largest town by population and area. It is one of the island’s “wet” towns.
  • Oak Bluffs is most well known for its gingerbread cottages, open harbor, and its vibrant town along busy Circuit Avenue. Oak Bluffs enjoys a reputation as one of the more active night-life towns on the island for both residents and tourists, and is also a “wet” town. It was known as “Cottage City” from its separation from Edgartown in 1880 until its reincorporation as Oak Bluffs in 1907. Oak Bluffs includes several communities that have been popular destinations for affluent African Americans since the early 20th century. It also includes the East Chop peninsula, Lagoon Heights and Harthaven.
  • West Tisbury is the island’s agricultural center, and hosts the well known Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair in late August each year.
  • Chilmark, including the fishing village of Menemsha. Chilmark is also rural and features the island’s hilliest terrain. It is the birthplace of George Claghorn, master shipbuilder of the USS Constitution, a.k.a. “Old Ironsides”.
  • Aquinnah is home to the Wampanoag people tribe and clay cliffs.

Sailboat on Edgartown Harbor © Robert Havasy/cc-by-sa-3.0 Martha's Vineyard Cottages at Wesleyan Grove © flickr.com - Michele Schaffer/cc-by-2.0 Chappaquiddick Ferry 'On Time II' © Arwcheek/cc-by-sa-4.0 Edgartown Harbor Light © Elkman/cc-by-sa-4.0 Edgartown Town Hall © John Phelan/cc-by-3.0 Vineyard Haven Terminal © John Phelan/cc-by-sa-3.0 Dock on Martha's Vineyard © flickr.com - m01229/cc-by-2.0
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Martha's Vineyard Cottages at Wesleyan Grove © flickr.com - Michele Schaffer/cc-by-2.0
The Vineyard grew as a tourist destination primarily because of its very pleasant summer weather (during summers, the temperature rarely breaks 32 °C / 90 °F) and many beautiful beaches. It is primarily a place where people go to relax. Most social life and activity takes place at people’s houses, not in the very small towns. During the whaling era, wealthy Boston sea captains and merchant traders often created estates on Martha’s Vineyard with their trading profits. Today, the Vineyard has become one of the Northeast’s most prominent summering havens, having attracted numerous celebrity regulars. The island now has a year-round population of about 15,000 people in six towns; in summer, the population increases to 100,000 residents, with more than 25,000 additional short-term visitors coming and going on the ferries during the summer season. The most crowded weekend is July 4, followed by the late-August weekend of the Agricultural Fair. In general, the summer season runs from June through Labor Day weekend, coinciding with the months most American children are not in school.

In 1985, the two islands of Martha’s Vineyard and Chappaquiddick Island were included in a new American Viticultural Area designation for wine appellation of origin specification: Martha’s Vineyard AVA. Wines produced from grapes grown on the two islands can be sold with labels that carry the Martha’s Vineyard AVA designation. Martha’s Vineyard was the home to the winemaker Chicama Vineyards in West Tisbury, though it closed after 37 years on August 10, 2008. Other popular attractions include the annual Grand Illumination in Oak Bluffs; the Martha’s VIneyard Film Center, an arthouse cinema operated by the non-profit Martha’s Vineyard Film Society, which screens independent and world cinema all year long; the Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival, which runs a winter film festival in March, a Summer Film Series and Cinema Circus every Wednesday in July and August, the Martha’s Vineyard African-American Film Festival, which showcases the works of independent and established African-American filmmakers in August, and Martha’s Vineyard International Film Festival in September; the Farm Institute at Katama Farm in Edgartown; and the Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs, the oldest operating platform carousel in the United States.

Read more on Marthas-Vineyard.com, Martha’s Vineyard Online, Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, Vineyard Gazette, Island Queen, a Martha’s Vineyard ferry and Wikipedia Martha’s Vineyard (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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