Today we explore the eastern half of Martha’s Vineyard by bicycle. Since today is Sunday, the outbound ferries from Vineyard Haven (aka Tisbury) are packed with retreating weekenders. We cycle out of town against an incoming tide of vehicles and passengers, all anxious to cue up for the 9 AM ferry to Wood’s Hole. Our first destination is the town of Oak Bluffs, about three miles from Vineyard Haven.
Oak Bluffs is a vibrant village with an inner harbor (again, packed tightly with town moorings) as well as a shopping and entertainment district on Circuit Street. The major landmark in Oak Bluffs is a large circular tabernacle at the center of narrow circular streets adorned with small, turn-of-the-century gingerbread homes, reminiscent of Chautauqua, NY. In fact, the whole architectural theme of Oak Bluffs is gingerbread. We quickly add a layer of casual clothing over our lycra bicycle attire to attend the 10 AM worship service at the Methodist Church, then re-stash our church clothes in our panniers to resume the ride.
From Oak Bluffs, we cycle 5 miles southeast along an oceanfront bike path to the town of Edgartown. If you visit Marthas Vineyard, Edgartown is the place to be. The shops, restaurants and B&Bs in Edgartown are of a higher quality than those in Vineyard Haven.
From here, one can ride the ferry a short distance across the channel to Chappaquiddick Island. Although it is an additional 10 mile sail from Newport, Edgartown is the preferred harbor on Marthas Vineyard for cruisers. The town moorings in Edgarton’s inner harbor allow ample room for swinging during a shift in tide or wind.
From Edgartown, we continue our journey along a paved bike trail to Katama, home of South Beach. Beachgoers simply ride their bikes or park their vehicles anywhere along a four mile section of beach, then hike a short distance over the dunes to the ocean. We return to Edgartown, then loop back to Vineyard Haven by way of an inland bike trail.
By the end of our ride, we have accumulated 29 miles. Our post-ride reward is ice cream at Mad Marthas in Vineyard Haven. We give credit to Marthas Vineyard for developing an excellent network of paved bicycle trails that connect all of the towns and beaches. Having savored the best of Marthas Vineyard, the time has come to move Cutter Loose to a new destination in the morning.