Martha’s Vineyard is a large, exclusive island located off the coast of Massachusetts. Martha’s Vineyard, which is situated to the south of scenic Cape Cod, is considered a part of Dukes County. Martha’s Vineyard, known colloquially as “The Vineyard,” covers a total land area of about eighty seven and a half square miles, making it the third largest East Coast Island. Martha’s Vineyard has a permanent population of roughly fifteen thousand, although that figure swells to more than seventy five thousand during the summer months. In fact, more than half of the homes on Martha’s Vineyard are occupied only during tourist season. Martha’s Vineyard’s exclusive nature is perhaps best illustrated in its property values, which are nearly twice the national average. The original inhabitants of Martha’s Vineyard were Wampanoag Indians, who were eventually supplanted by British explorers and American inhabitants. Interestingly, the name Martha’s Vineyard was originally accorded to a smaller island off the coast of modern day Martha’s Vineyard, and the larger island was initially called Martin’s Vineyard. Martha’s Vineyard was important during the whaling era of the nineteenth century, and was also featured heavily in the two first Jaws films. In the modern day, Martha’s Vineyard has become primarily an exclusive residential community and a tourist destination.
There are six major communities on Martha’s Vineyard, ranging from fishing villages to old whaling towns. Aquinnah, also known as Gay Head, is home to the Gay Head cliffs and a Wampanoag Indian reservation, Chilmark is an old fishing community, and West Tisbury is home to the Martha’s Vineyard Agricultural Fair every August. Oak Bluffs is known for its unique architectural features and the attractions of Circuit Avenue, while Tisbury is a port village and Edgartown is the primary population center of Martha’s Vineyard. Martha’s Vineyard is primarily accessed by a number of ferry services, although the island is also home to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. Educational opportunities on Martha’s Vineyard are offered by the region’s public schools, including Edgartown, West Tisbury, Oak Bluffs, and Chilmark School, and Martha’s Vineyard Public Charter School. Martha’s Vineyard is known for having a pleasant climate throughout most of the year, especially during the summer months, when the island’s temperature is considerably cooler than the mainland of Massachusetts.
As the name of the island suggests, Martha’s Vineyard is home to a number of different wine growing fields and a number of associated attractions. The island also boasts a series of fascinating cultural events, such as the Grand Illumination and the annual Summer Film Series and Cinema Circus. Martha’s Vineyard offers a variety of beautiful beaches, which are especially popular during the summer months. Notable attractions in Martha’s Vineyard include the Capawock Theatre, the Katharine Cornell Theatre, and the Vineyard Haven Harbor. Martha’s Vineyard is also home to the Flying Horses Carousel, which is the oldest known functional carousel in the United States of America. The island plays host to the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest and the Farm Neck Golf Course as well as the Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary, and the Menemsha Hills Reservation.