first day at sea brought us to the lovely island
known as Martha's Vineyard. What a
pretty place! Cute, charming, lovely,
peaceful, natural, unspoiled, rustic, quaint, all
Martha's Vineyard probably looks today much as it
did in 1900. Every resident seems to take
great pride in preserving the natural beauty of the
countryside as well as joy in maintaining the homes
in their original state.
If you want a place to retire or find a home for the
weekend that is close to civilization (Boston), but
has the feel of 'country', then Martha's Vineyard
has much to recommend.
The homes are all built in the cottage style for
which New England is famous. They tasteful and
well-kept. The porches have views to
kill for complete with rocking chairs and the
omnipresent American flag.
The countryside is heavily forested, but there are
open areas as well. There are many lakes and
inlets as well as marshy areas full of birds.
And of course no description of Martha's Vineyard is
complete without mention of the incredible beauty of
the vast Atlantic Ocean. In addition to the
post-card pretty sandy beaches, wherever you look,
you can see a veritable armada of sailboats, small
rocky islands supporting lighthouses, and ocean
birds flying in every direction.
Such amazing beauty!
Vineyard is comprised of six little hamlets and lots
Our cruise ship landed close to Oak Bluffs in the
northeast corner of the island.
Our ship was far too large for the harbor, so they
had to 'tender' us to shore. A Tender
is a covered boat that is used to ferry passengers
to and from the ship. It holds about 100-120
passengers and can double up as a lifeboat in an
emergency. Our ship had four different
tenders. There were many problems with this
process, but I will save that story for later.
We had a pretty exciting ride to shore.
Pictured at right are Marla plus Larry and Roz
(Larry is Marla's brother and Roz is Larry's wife).
All the indoor seats were taken, so the four of us
sat up top.
The weather was pretty rough. It was dark and
windy and the waves were definitely rough. .
As you can see from the wind-blown hair, the wind
was screaming and this boat was rocking and rolling!
After a ten-minute searide that had 'Astroworld'
written all over it, we landed in the lovely
village of Oak Bluffs.
were getting off the tender, I immediately looked
around to rent some bikes.
One of the biggest problems for me on cruises is
getting enough exercise, so every chance I get, I
look for some bicycles.
By chance, Marla and I ran into Dan and Judy Bates.
They had the same idea we did. To our glee,
there was a bike shop about 20 yards away.
What more could you ask for?
At my suggestion, we decided to rent tandem bikes.
It seemed romantic and cute at the time, but, sad to
say, we probably won't do that again. It turns
out the person in back is virtually helpless.
For example, every time I had to hit the brakes,
if I did without warning, poor Marla would come flying out of her seat.
I tried to be considerate, but there were all kinds
of headaches. You think I would learn after a little
practice, but I found out that a lifetime of 'bike
instincts' don't disappear that quickly. When
a situation called for brakes, I reacted first, then
remembered too late to be more gentle.
was Marla miserable from my mistakes, she couldn't
see a thing in front of her because my back blocked
Pictured at right is an exciting snapshot that
demonstrates Marla's excellent forward view.
Marla said this picture of my butt was not a deliberate picture, but I
have my doubts.
It wasn't just me. Judy said Dan made the same
mistakes. Judy said she was just as miserable as
Oh well, it seemed like a good idea at the time.
My conclusion is we will likely rent two bikes from
now on. Let me add all those smiles
below were in pictures taken at the start of the
trip during the downhill part of the ride. We were really worn out by the
We learned that the biggest town on the
island, Edgartown, was about 12 miles down
the road. That sounded like a good
destination. Our route took us right along
the Nantucket Sound complete with
lighthouses in the distance.
You can see our route in the map... just
follow the red line. Once we left Oak
Bluffs, we were thrilled to discover a bike
lane. Most of our ride was
countryside. Not only did we have
sailboats and the roar of the ocean on one
side, we also had beautiful homes, lakes and
marshes on the other side of our road.
Combining the incredible view with overcast
skies and a strong ocean breeze, you can
imagine our bike ride was total joy (until
our legs got tired, that is).
6 pictures from the trip
Below is a picture of Oak Bluffs that I took during our
tender ride to shore. As you can see, it was a very
it interesting that signs of wealth on Martha's
Vineyard stayed hidden.
On our tender trip ashore, from the distance I saw
what seemed to be very expensive homes on the raised
area that gives Oak Bluffs its name (see picture
above). However these homes were too far in
the distance to get a good look at.
I had expected to see all kinds of opulence, but at
least in the areas I visited, there were no estates
to be seen out of the ordinary.
If there were any huge estates, they were either on
the other side of the island or invisible. I
did see some hints however. When we reached
the forested area during our bike ride, I noticed
several little dirt roads off the main road with
signs indicating 'private drive'. My
imagination was that the special homes were back in
Marla and I didn't have the guts to explore the dirt
roads, but we did bike down one paved road to take a
picture of this beautiful home on the right.
Below is a
picture of the village of Oak Bluffs. Many New England towns
feature beautiful huge open spaces known as "Commons".
These homes pictured below not only had a lovely view of the
common area, you could also see the Atlantic Ocean just
another 100 yards away. Talk about a room with a view!
Oak Bluffs was definitely picture pretty.
regret during our trip to Martha's Vineyard was that there was
absolutely no Fall foliage. The picture on the
right was taken in a park at Edgartown. As you
can see, it is devoid of any signs of Fall color
other than the lush green.
I was pretty worried we were in big trouble if we
wanted to achieve
our goal to see the amazing fall foliage we had
Disappointed not to find any color, I went ahead and
bought a calendar complete with images of Martha's
Vineyard and posted the pictures below. I hope you enjoy them!
Harbor and Acadia National Park