Martha’s Vineyard: Follow in my Footsteps

Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs, Mass. One of many special places on Martha's Vineyard.
Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs, Mass. One of many special places on Martha’s Vineyard.
In My Footsteps: A traveler's guide to Martha's Vineyard. Read about six special places on this magical island.
In My Footsteps: A traveler’s guide to Martha’s Vineyard. Read about six special places on this magical island.

For centuries, Martha’s Vineyard, the Massachusetts island off the coast of Cape Cod, has attracted everyone from celebrities and presidents to everyday folks seeking a respite from the busier pace of the mainland. This travel guide takes you on a complete tour around the island, showcasing more than 75 locations. A mix of quaint charm and stunning natural beauty gives the Vineyard a truly unique allure.

In Christopher Setterlund’s new book, In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard, he offers a personalized tour of his favorite Vineyard places.

Historic homes, lighthouses, renowned restaurants, and miles of pristine beaches are only the starting points for the wonders that have made this island of not quite 100 square miles a coveted vacation spot. Through clear and concise directions, including addresses, distances, and GPS coordinates, this unique guide whisks you around the island, stopping at both must-see popular spots and lesser-known hidden gems treasured by the locals.

Ocean Park 

The Art Cliff Diner is a beloved breakfast and lunch spot in Vineyard Haven, MA.
The Art Cliff Diner is a beloved breakfast and lunch spot in Vineyard Haven, MA.

The beautiful bandstand is visible before one even steps off the ferry. The seven-acre Ocean Park is the very first site welcoming you to Oak Bluffs. The bustle of the ferry dock seems miles away though the park is only a few hundred yards away. Across the street from Inkwell Beach, the park is a slice of flat green land perfect for playing Frisbee or simply sitting on a bench and watching the gaggles of geese drink at the man-made pond.

The park is surrounded by beautiful Victorian homes on Ocean Avenue, some with unique looks and colors to them. The bandstand was built in 1887 by the Martha’s Vineyard Club to hold a twenty-five piece band.

GPS: 41.45688,-70.556066 Directions: From the Steamship Authority ferry dock turn left onto Seaview Avenue. It is 0.1 mile to the first destination.

Art Cliff Diner

39 Beach Road, Vineyard Haven

This small diner is one of the most popular spots to eat on the entire island and for good reason. It is small but cozy with creative and delicious breakfasts and lunches. The diner gets its name from two men, Art and Cliff, who purchased it in 1943.

It is currently owned by Gina Stanley, and there is even an Art Cliff Food Truck that travels around the island. This is a highly recommended stop. Note that parking is at a premium here; the lot is routinely full.

GPS: 41.453183, -70.599864 Directions from Previous Site: From Lagoon Pond. continue on Beach Road for 0.6 miles to the next destination on the left. (Distance: 0.6 miles; Driving Time: 1 min.)
The sculpture of the swordfish harpooner in Menemsha, Mass, on Martha’s Vineyard.

Menemsha Beach & Swordfish Harpooner Sculpture

Basin Road, Chilmark

The premier spot for a sunset on the island, Menemsha Beach is tucked in Vineyard Sound. The surf is gentler than on the ocean side of the island, and the views here are magnificent. Walk out onto the breakwater and look back toward the fishing shacks, and you’ll be reminded of the journey of Quint’s boat, the Orca, in Jaws, beginning in Menemsha Creek.

To the right of the parking lot among the beach grass stands a seventeen-foot-tall sculpture of a man harpooning a swordfish. It is an intriguing piece of art created by Jay Lagemann. It was put in its place in the sand in 1994. It is part of the magic of Menemsha.

GPS: GPS: 41.354748, -70.766723 Directions from Previous Site: From the inn head back out on Beach Plum Lane to North Road. Follow it 0.3 miles, then turn right onto Basin Road, and follow it 0.3 miles to the next destination. (Distance: 0.7 miles; Driving Time: 4 mins.

Edgartown Lighthouse

N. Water Street, Edgartown

Edgartown Lighthouse, located on a pretty beach with a great view of the Edgartown Harbor on Martha's Vineyard.
Edgartown Lighthouse, located on a pretty beach with a great view of the Edgartown Harbor on Martha’s Vineyard.

This is an unbelievable spot. The lighthouse sits a few hundred feet from the road, right on the shore. It seems as though every step from the road to the lighthouse gives you a fresh and beautiful view of the lighthouse. Once at the foot of the lighthouse, there are views of the Chappy ferry on the right while behind you is the majestic Harbor View Hotel.

The current lighthouse was actually moved to Edgartown from Ipswich’s Crane’s Beach in 1881. Before that the original light station looked more like a house with a lantern on top of it. There are frequent tours of the lighthouse from Memorial Day through Columbus Day, providing stunning views of the surrounding harbor.

GPS: 41.390904,-70.503066 Directions from Previous Site: From the Harbor View, the next destination is directly across the street.

“Blow Your Bugle Corner”

Pocha Road, Chappaquiddick, near Edgartown by ferry.

Heading back from Wasque, as you get to a three-way intersection, don’t blink or you might miss this odd landmark. On the corner is a granite stone with the phrase “Blow Your Bugle” engraved on it.

"Blow your Bugle Corner," on the small island of Chappaquiddick, near Edgartown, MA.
“Blow your Bugle Corner,” on the small island of Chappaquiddick, near Edgartown, MA.

Locals will refer to this spot as “Blow Your Bugle Corner” rather than use the names of the roads. In fact, many roads on Chappy don’t get called by their proper names—more likely, they’re referred to by landmarks at the end of the roads. Not until a modern 911 system came into use did the official road names on Chappy become more prominently used.

GPS: 41.369138, -70.475504 Directions from Previous Site: From Wasque, head back north on Pocha Road for 0.9 miles to the next destination on the right where Pocha Road meets Chappaquiddick Road. (Distance: 1.7 miles; Driving Time: 13 mins.)

Buy this book on Amazon: In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard

Christopher Setterlund is a 12th generation Cape Codder with some famous names from the area in his family tree. His passion for travel, adventure, and visiting new places is apparent in his writing, with vivid descriptions and crisp photos that help paint pictures for the readers and give them the impression of walking in his footsteps. He does his very best to share each and every place he visits with the love and care of a native but with the wonder of a first-time traveler.