Sigh… I just returned from a blissful week away with my husband. Alone. Without kids. For the first time in over two years. We celebrated our tenth year of marriage, and we did it the way we hoped we would a decade ago: by staying in the same cottage where we honeymooned.
As a Texan (me) and a Pacific Northwesterner (him), we didn’t know much about New England when we were engaged, but we did know one thing: it’s supposedly beautiful in the fall. So when booked the date for our fall wedding, we thought it fitting to celebrate our marriage in the quintessential destination for colored leaves and maple candy.
Martha’s Vineyard is like no other island. Resting south of the Cape Cod mainland and west of Nantucket, it’s a popular summer destination for much of Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Founded in the early 1600s, it’s one of the earliest settlements in the entire country, and many of the buildings still hail from the 18th and 19th centuries.
There are no stoplights on the Vineyard, and the fastest speed limit is 40 miles per hour. There are no neon or backlit signs on any stores or restaurants: it’s all classic painted signs with a simple spotlight shining in the evening.
Our cottage was in Edgartown, the oldest of the six towns on the island and home to some of the best examples of restored Greek Revival architecture in the U.S. Downtown, you’ll find cozy-quaint streets lined with houses clad with white horizontal siding and black shutters. A few blocks out, and most houses don shakes grayed naturally by the weather. We easily walked from our cottage to the main town.
We spent our days walking, talking, reading out loud, sleeping in, and eating more than we should have. A near-perfect vacation, in other words. Oh, and we completed sentences without interruption. I know every parent reading this appreciates our enthusiasm for this oft-missed activity.
With our car, we explored slow country roads, pulled over for impromptu walks in the field, ate lunch on the beach, and perused old general stores that haven’t changed much in a hundred years.
And in the evening, we’d return back to our tiny little cottage, with room just enough for two, and we’d fall asleep near open windows, listening to the thunderstorm.
Ever thought about taking a trip to Martha’s Vineyard during the fall? Well, I’m no expert, but I’ve been twice now, so I have an idea or three about what’s worth the time. If you haven’t gathered, the most popular activity on the Vineyard is RESTING. Spending quality time with the ones you love and just… being.
And as you’re doing that, here are some of my favorite must-dos on the island.
There are plenty of summer-only activities as well, such as riding the oldest carousel in the country, hiring a day sail, and spending all day swimming in the warm Atlantic. We haven’t done these yet, since we’re fall visitors—but we look forward to heading back during the summer months soon, this time with our kids.
I also found useful the free Martha’s Vineyard app for the iPhone. You’ll want to call ahead at most of these places if you’re on the island any time outside of summer, since many places have different operating hours off-season.
Martha’s Vineyard is truly a magical place, and you don’t realize how tranquil it is until you drive off the ferryboat to head back to the airport and into the real world. Only a 45-minute boat ride from the mainland, but it feels like a place where time stands still.
Have you ever spent time on Martha’s Vineyard? What would you recommend doing?
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