Martha's Vineyard is an island located 8 miles off the Cape Cod peninsula in Massachusetts. Once a whaling center, it has become a favorite summertime haven of many celebrities. Due to this, it has picked up the nickname "Hollywood East". It is the 57th largest island in the United States and third largest on the eastern seaboard.
Residents have come to say "up island" to mean western areas of the island -- Aquinnah, Chilmark and West Tisbury. Edgartown, Oak Bluffs and Tisbury are "down island." These terms refer not to north or south, but to longitude. (From the islands whaling past...)
Celebrities have been coming to Martha's Vineyard for decades. Locals have gotten used to them and scarcely seem to notice any more. It's considered impolite to stare.
South-facing beaches have the most surf. Uncle Seth's Pond on Lambert's Cove Road (limited parking) and Long Point are the only freshwater beaches.
Martha's Vineyard Museum, 59 School St. (Cooke and School Sts), PO Box 1310, Edgartown, MA 02539, . Open: Summer: mid Jun-early Oct, Tu-Sa 10AM-5PM; Fall: early Oct-mid Dec W,Th,F 1PM-4PM, Sa 10AM-4PM; Winter: early Jan-mid Mar, Sa 10AM- PM; Spring: mid-Mar to mid-Jun, W,T,F 1PM-4PM Sa 10AM-4PM. Authoritative source for history and genealogy on the island. Excellent exhibits including the Thomas Cooke house, the Francis Foster Museum, the Captain Francis Pease House and Carriage Shed with coverage of whaling and Wampanoag history as well. Adm.: $7 adult, 6-15years $4, under 6 free.
Vineyard Haven, also called Tisbury, is the main port of entry for the Steamship Authority Ferries.
Steamship Authority Ferries, 65 South St., Hyannis, Phone: +1 508-477-8600, . To/from Woods Hole (Falmouth) and Vineyard Haven (year round) or Oak Bluffs (mid-May to mid-Oct). The only line that carries autos. Make reservations well in advance if you're taking your car.
Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry, 1347 Roger Williams Way, Quonset Point, North Kingstown, RI 02852, Phone: +1 401-295-4040, firstname.lastname@example.org, . Between North Kingstown (at Quonset Point), Rhode Island and Oak Bluffs.
Island Queen, Phone: +1 508-548-4800, . Falmouth harbor to/from Oak Bluffs.
New England Fast Ferry, 49 State Pier, New Bedford, MA, +1 866-683-3779, . To/from New Bedford, Massachusetts. One hour.
Hy-line Cruises, Phone: +1 800-492-8082 or Phone: +1 508-778-2600, . To/from Hyannis and Oak Bluffs. Year round.
Martha's Vineyard Transit Authority, 11 A Street, Airport Business Park, Edgartown, Phone: +1 508-693-9440, Fax: +1 508-693-9953, email@example.com, . Buses run all over the island. $1 each way per town you go through or buy passes. 1 day $7, 3 day $15, 7 day $25, 31 day $40.
Most of the vineyard's roads are accompanied by a bike path.
Anderson's Bike Rentals Circuit Avenue Extension, Oak Bluffs Phone: 508-693-9346
Edgartown Bike Rentals, One Main Street, Edgartown, Phone: +1 508-627-4052, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, . Apr-Oct. Daily 9AM-6PM. Book through phone or email. Delivery.
Edgartown Bicycles, 212 Main St., Edgartown, Phone: +1 508-627-9008, email@example.com, . Full service and on the bicycle path in Edgartown with parking. Delivery.
Marthas Bike Rentals, 4 Lagoon Pond Rd., Vineyard Haven, Phone: +1 508-693-6593, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, . Will pick-up and deliver to any Island location. $15-$50 per day depending on the bike.
Martha's Vineyard Bike Rentals, 2, Dock Street, Edgartown, Phone: +1 800-627-2763, . Apr-Oct. Daily 9AM-6PM.
Sun 'N Fun, Lake Av., Oak Bluffs, Phone: +1 508-693-5457.
Quawk Cycle of Martha's Vineyard, Vineyard Haven, Phone: +1 508-693-1188.
The Gay Head cliffs at Aquinnah are a "must see". Moshup Beach below the cliffs was also named as at top ten "walking beach" by the Travel Channel in 2003, beating out beaches in Hermosa Beach, CA and Maui. Menemsha is one of the few places on the east coast where you can see the sunset over the water.
Cape Poge Lighthouse. Located at the northern tip of Chappaquiddick. A 4-wheel drive vehicle is required to visit it. Tours available by the Trustees of Reservations 
Gay Head Lighthouse. Located at the end of State Rd in Aquinnah. Open to the public Tuesday-Saturday from mid-June to mid-September. 
East Chop Lighthouse. Located on Highland Dr in Oak Bluffs. Open to the public for sunset tours from mid-June to mid-September. 
Edgartown Lighthouse. Located in Edgartown harbor, this lighthouse was recently made open to the public. You can walk up to the top for $5 per person (children under 12 are free). Follow the path off of N Water St in front of the Harbor View hotel.
West Chop Lighthouse. At the north end of Main St in Vineyard Haven. Just under 2 miles from downtown Vineyard Haven. Not open to the public.
South Beach. Located in Katama section of Edgartown, this is a large public beach with good surf. Free parking, a few miles bike ride from downtown Edgartown, or via the MV bus system.
State Beach. Located between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, on Oak Bluffs Edgartown Rd, this is a large public beach with practically no waves. A good beach for young children. Free parking available along Oak Bluffs Edgartown Rd.
Aquinnah Beach (Moshup Beach). Located at the far western end of the island, this is a public beach with pay parking available. A small walk is required from the pay lots to the beach. This beach is known for the picturesque clay cliffs that rise up from the edge of the beach. Nudity has at times been common and tolerated on the northern end of the beach.
Lucy Vincent Beach. Located off of South Rd in Chilmark (listed as Lucy Vincent Rd on some maps, it is a dirt road just before the big bend at Windy Gates Rd), this is a private beach for town residents  during the summer. Nudity is allowed in the area that is more than 1,500 feet from the entrance. It is open to the public during the off-season, October 1 through May 31. A great beach.
Oak Bluffs State Beach. Adjacent to Steamship Authority, the Oak Bluffs State beach is a calm, sandy beach that's perfect for families. It is also directly across the street from Ocean Park, a popular destination for many looking to fly kites, and is also the host of many events, including firework displays and band concerts at the gazebo. Parking is available alongside the road, and showers and restrooms are located near the Steamship Authority Terminal.
Long Point Wildlife Refuge. Located off Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, the Long Point Wildlife Refuge has not only a beach, notorious for its powerful tide (No Lifeguards on Duty-Swim at Your Own Risk!), but also has a fresh and salt water pond adjacent to the beach, ideal for children. There is also a 2-mile walking path through the woodland that lies shortly inland of the beach. Beware of ticks and poison ivy. During mid-June to mid-September, parking is as follows: Members- Free, Nonmembers-$10 per car plus $3 per adult; pedestrian/bicyclist $3; children 15 and under- Free. Parking is free during the off-season.
Joseph Sylvia State Beach. Located in Edgartown between Nantucket Sound and Sengecontacket Pond, this beach is free and open to the public during the summer. The beach is typically sandy, and is a popular spot for families. A common activity performed by tourists and locals alike is jumping off the American Legion Memorial Bridge (Also known as "Jaws" bridge, after scenes from the famous horror movie were shot there) into the watery depths below. (This act is prohibited by Dukes County officials, though it is not enforced and has been a tradition for years.) Parking is free alongside the road, but parking on the beach itself is prohibited.
Bicycling-- As small as people think the Vineyard is, it covers 100 square miles and offers a great cycling opportunity to visitors. Most of the islands roads are accompanied by a bike path. With most of the island being relatively flat, this is a great opportunity for cyclists of all ages and levels to see the island in a different way and help reduce traffic congestion while doing so. The terrain up island tends to be a bit more hilly and windy. During tourist season the roads do get congested and care should be taken to keep an eye on street traffic as well as pedestrians. Also, be sure to obey all traffic laws as they also apply to cyclists and be aware that all cyclists under 16 MUST wear a helmet.
Several local groups have helped preserve many acres of land on the island, including miles of shoreline, for public use. This makes the Vineyard a great place to see on foot. Whether hiking the cliffs of Aquinnah or walking down to one of the great fishing spots available there is a hike to suit all visitors to the island. Here are some notable spots for Hiking:
Waskosim's Rock Reservation, Chilmark. Stand atop one of the highest peaks on the Island, travel alongside a pretty brook and trek across foothills and valleys on this 184-acre preserve.
Cedar Creek Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, West Tisbury. Miles of trails lead you over hills, alongside brooks and bogs and to a wonderful rocky beach on Vineyard Sound overlooking the Elizabeth Islands.
Aquinnah Cliffs and Beach. A spectacular view awaits at the top of these 150-foot cliffs, while miles of shoreline below invite walkers.
Public programs available all month long at the Massachusetts’ Audubon Center at Felix Neck.
The island supports a full range of restaurants from casual to fine dining.
The Black Dog Tavern-- (508) 693-9223, Vineyard Haven Harbor, MA. World-renowned for their Black Dog brand clothing, the Black Dog Tavern is where is all began. They serve different kinds of homestyle food all throughout the day, and are currently renovating their facility to have outdoor seating, live music and family events.
Flatbread- (508) 693-1137 17 Airport Rd., Edgartown, MA. The New England-based chain offers a wide array of exotic flatbread pizza flavors you'll be hard-pressed to find elsewhere. Every Tuesday, Flatbread donates a portion of their proceeds to a local non-profit.
Nancy's Restaurant-- (508) 693-0006, 29 Lake Avenue Oak Bluffs, MA 02557. Specializing in seafood, this on-the-harbor complex features a ground-level bar, an upstairs for fine dining, and the Snack Bar, famous for their Lobster Rolls.
Restaurant hours vary according to season. All restaurants are open during the summer tourism season, with less open during the shoulder seasons. February is the month when the most restaurants are closed. A real-time index of open places to eat can be viewed at http://mv2.me/open
There are two towns on the Island that permit the selling of alcohol: Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. A third town, Vineyard Haven, recently passed a law that permits the serving of beer and wine (but no hard liquor)at restaurants, and only with meals. The remaining three towns -- West Tisbury, Chilmark and Aquinnah -- have a "BYO" policy at most restaurants, enabling diners to bring their own alcoholic beverages. Places to grab a drink with (or without) dinner are
Sharky's Cantina. 31 Circuit Ave, Oak Bluffs 508-693-7501 & 266 Upper Main St, Edgartown 508-627-6565
Offshore Ale House, Kennebec Avenue, . The island's first microbrewery, open all year roundedit
The island of Martha's Vineyard features a surprising number of options for lodging. Victorian inns, sizable resorts, and private cottages are all available, residing mostly in Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven.
Pequot Hotel 19 Pequot Avenue, Oak Bluffs (508) 693-5087
Island Inn 30 Island Inn Road Oak Bluffs (508) 693-2002
The Madison Inn 18 Kennebee Avenue, Oak Bluffs (508) 693-2760
Ashley Inn Bed & Breakfast 129 Main Street, Edgartown (508) 627-9655
The Edgartown Heritage Hotel 227 Upper Main Street, Edgartown (800) 922-3009
The Clark House Inn 20 Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven (508) 693-3226
The Crocker House Inn 12 Crocker Avenue, Vineyard Haven (508) 693-1151
The Dockside Inn 9 Circuit Avenue, Oak Bluffs (800) 245-5979
The Harbor View Hotel & Resort, 131 North Water Street, Edgartown (800) 225-6005
The Hanover House 28 Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven (800) 696-8633
High Haven House 85 Summer Street, Vineyard Haven (508) 693-9204
The Lightkeepers Inn 25 Simpson's Lane, Edgartown (800) 946-3400
Mansion House 9 Main Street, Vineyard Haven (800) 332-4112
The Nashua House Hotel 30 Kennebec Avenue, Oak Bluffs(508) 693-0043
The Thorncroft Inn 460 Main St., Vineyard Haven (508) 693-3333
Mansion House (Martha's Vineyard Hotel & Spa), 9 Main Street Vineyard Haven, Massachusetts (MA) 02568 (From the Ferry in Vineyard Haven, it's just a short walk to Mansion House at the beginning of Main Street), ☎ 800.332.4112, . Mansion House is a luxurious hotel and spa located in beautiful Vineyard Haven. This quaint property offers 40 upscale guest rooms with modern amenities. The hotel is just a short stroll from various public beaches, shopping, dining, theaters and more. Also well equipped fitness centre and spa. $199. edit
MV Vacation Rentals & Real Estate Sales Inc, PO Box 1207, 107 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven, MA 02568, ☎ 508.693.7711, . Martha's Vineyard Vacation Rentals & Real Estate Sales features a wide selection of vacation homes on Martha's Vineyard, from quaint cottages to large luxury homes with private beach access. The company has been connecting vacationers with rental properties since 1987. edit
Menemsha Inn, 12 Menemsha Inn Road, Menemsha, MA 02552, ☎ 508-645-2521 (email@example.com), . The rustic, country charm of cottage-style accommodations offers the perfect atmosphere to immerse yourself in a relaxing, secluded vacation experience.edit
The island's newspaper since 1847 has been The Vineyard Gazette, 34 South Summer St., Edgartown, Phone: +1 508-627-4311 Fax: 508-627-7444, .
A less stylized, more newsy island newspaper is the Martha's Vineyard Times.
Martha's Vineyard has a unique low-power FM community radio station, WVVY at 93.7 FM. Its signal can also be heard clearly in Woods Hole and parts of Falmouth on the cape. Highly varied, eclectic music and news/affairs programming 7/24.
There is very little crime anywhere on Martha's Vineyard.
Beware of poison ivy, a low-growing vine (which may climb) with three shiny leaves. It can cause skin inflamation at any time.
Ticks can be a problem and may carry Lyme Disease. Also, ticks in Aquinnah, particularly at Moshup Beach, may carry Tularemia. Martha's Vineyard is the only place in the continental US where Tularemia has been known to be carried and transmitted by tick bite.
When you are at the beach, swimmers should be aware of jellyfish that float north in the summer. Jellyfish are common at the State Beach, on the Edgartown-Oak Bluffs connector.
There are multiple ferry services to choose from. Selections can be made based on ferry type, such as passenger only, roll-on/roll-off or a combination of the two, price, destination and speed. The choices are:
This is a usable article. It gives a good overview of the region, its sights, and how to get in, as well as links to the main destinations, whose articles are similarly well developed. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!