Discover Mathaand39;s Vineyard  by Lee Sinai

Discover Matha's Vineyard Guide Book

by Lee Sinai (Appalachian Mountain Club Books)
Discover Mathaand39;s Vineyard  by Lee Sinai
Located 7 miles off the Massachusetts coastline, Martha’s Vineyard is a unique and beautiful spot to explore while hiking, biking, or kayaking. This new guidebook from the Appalachian Mountain Club details more than 45 of the best hikes, on- and off-road bike trails, and paddling routes on this peaceful vacation destination. From a winding trail leading to dramatic sand cliffs, and on-road biking surrounded by amazing panoramas in Vineyard Haven, to paddling in the remote Cape Poge Bay, this three-in-one guide leads you to the most unforgettable spots in and around the island. Nature notes and historical sidebars provide context for the active traveler. Perfect for active travelers and locals looking for something fun to do close to home, this guide will be your most trusted resource for outdoor recreation on Martha’s Vineyard.

© 2009 Lee Sinai/Appalachian Mountain Club Books. All Rights Reserved.

Trails from the "Discover Matha's Vineyard" Guide Book
Displaying trails 20 of 45.

Displaying trails 1 to 20 of 45.

In order to reach Aquinnah, you must bike through Chilmark, whose rolling hills and landscape resemble northern new england. When you reach remote Aquinnah, you will discover a village very different from other island towns. Many Wampanoags have settled in Aquinnah, and the town reflects this heritage. Most Wampanoag tribe members no longer earn their living farming and fishing as did their ancestors. Some are now store proprietors selling American indian items in the shops on top of the Gay Head Cliffs.
Aquinnah, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 42
The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank recently cut trails through Blackwater Pond reservation and it’s a fabulous addition to Vineyard conservation land. The paths wind around five different ponds, offering a variety of views. The reservation conveniently connects to Wompesket Preserve, a small but topographically interesting property that had been difficult to access. From the parking lot, walk by Northern Duarte’s Pond. During one of my visits two young boys were fishing from the wharf. They already had caught six trout. I could not imagine how fish arrived at this land-locked pond. I later learned that each spring the pond is stocked with trout in preparation for the annual Children’s Fishing Derby. Boating is also allowed so you can bring your kayak, launch it from the dock, and paddle around.
West Tisbury, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.5
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Now the liveliest island town, with the most nightclubs and fast food shops, ironically, oak Bluffs originated as a place to pray, not play. in 1835, members of the Methodist Church began meeting in what was then known as Cottage City. each August a small group pitched their tents in the campground, relaxed during the day, and attended nightly prayer meetings. Fifty years later, the town had turned into a full-fledged resort. To preserve their tightly-knit religious community with the church as its central focus, the Camp Meeting Association members built Victorian-era ornately trimmed, brightly colored homes, around the Tabernacle.
Oak Bluffs, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.3
At Cape Poge Bay, your only companions in this undeveloped “almost pond” (a narrow channel is the only opening to nantucket Sound) may be seagulls and the occasional person fishing for scallops. There are plenty of terrific places to swim and sun as the tour begins at east Beach and travels beside a 2.5-mile-long barrier beach in Cape Poge Wildlife refuge. Paddling around the bay entitles you to explore the refuge where you’ll also find sand dunes, salt marsh and tidal flats. Among the birds that nest and feed here are osprey, oyster-catchers, piping plovers, and least and common terns. Arrive early at east Beach. Parking is limited.
Edgartown, MA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 2.5
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This preserve, one of Martha’s Vineyard’s hidden treasures, was donated by John and nora Tuthill in memory of their daughter, Caroline, and is administered by the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation. even long-time residents are not aware of its hiking trails along the shore of scenic Sengekontacket Pond and the opportunities for bird-watching around the salt marsh. If you are looking for a conveniently located spot with varied but not taxing terrain that offers fields of lady’s slippers in spring and succulent blueberries and huckleberries in summer, head for the Caroline Tuthill Preserve.
Edgartown, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.4
Three separate trails provide a microcosm of the Vineyard’s natural features as they ramble through woods, across streams, by ponds, along a beach and up to a bluff for a panoramic view of Vineyard Sound and the elizabeth islands. As a counterpoint to all this beauty, a sphagnum bog provides a smelly diversion.
West Tisbury, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.8
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Since there is only one paved road on Chappaquiddick, it’s almost impossible to get lost. “Chappy” also offers mellow off-road cycling so you can alternate pavement with pine-needle-covered paths.
Edgartown, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 12.8
This loop highlights the dramatic physical difference in the island towns: from the rolling farmland of West Tisbury to the Vermont-like landscape of Chilmark. With its antique farmhouses, hilly tree-shaded roads, and rural character, Chilmark more closely resembles northern New England than an island resort community. You can go for a workout and complete the trip in two to three hours, or opt for a leisurely day trip with possible stops at any of the six conservation areas and the quaint fishing village of Menemsha to swim, stroll, shop, and sightsee.
Chilmark, MA - Road Biking - Trail Length: 34.5
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A narrow cove in Chilmark Lower Pond leads to Doctor’s Creek, which snakes its way through dense marsh grass to Chilmark Upper Pond, where yet another cove awaits exploration. Swimming is nearby at a Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank-owned section of spectacular Hancock Beach. The depth of this freshwater pond varies depending on when an opening has been cut in the barrier beach. if you visit in May or early June, right after the opening of the pond to the ocean, you will find a much shallower pond than in late summer.
Chilmark, MA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 2
To fully appreciate edgartown’s assets, stroll down its narrow streets, lined with majestic old, meticulously landscaped homes. While walking along the beach to eel Pond, you may notice other aspects of the town—elegant captains’ homes perched above the shore, boats sailing in and out of edgartown Harbor, and the rustic coast of Chappaquiddick and Cape Poge. Wear your bathing suit. Swimming, shelling, sunbathing and picnicking are at hand on this unspoiled stretch of sand.
Edgartown, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 3.4
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At the end of a bumpy dirt road lies the public boat launch for edgartown Great Pond, a wide body of water with one long cove and several shorter ones. you can spend a day exploring the whole pond or one hour paddling in one of the coves. Allow about two hours to visit Job’s neck and Jane’s Cove. if you wish to explore the largest cove, Wintucket, allow two hours. Paddling from Meshacket to Slough and Turkeyland Coves on the east side takes approximately 1 1/2 hours.
Edgartown, MA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 1.5
You may have to contend with boat traffic, which can be challenging and lively, but paddling in edgartown’s outer harbor offers many other less congested options. A northeasterly route allows exploration of eel Pond, nestled in Lighthouse Beach’s protective peninsula. It's shallow waters draw people and shorebirds seeking mollusks that inch along under the sand. you’ll experience relaxed paddling in the pond and through the marsh, but a bit more challenge as you head north into nantucket Sound and then return south to weave around the boats in edgartown Harbor.
Edgartown, MA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 6
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As you explore the sanctuary, mallards, Canada geese, osprey, or a horseshoe crab may accompany you on wide level trails along beach and salt marsh, through open fields and woodlands. Birders describe this Massachusetts Audubon Society property as one of the prime island locales for observing more than 100 species of native birds. Felix neck also provides an assortment of naturalist-led activities, from bird and wildlife identification walks to seashore explorations and kayak trips. Apply plenty of mosquito repellent.
Edgartown, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
Sound effects accompany you on this hike to one of my favorite picnic spots on Martha’s Vineyard. The brook that runs through this property provides an ideal environment for vegetation that prefers lots of moisture. The boulder- lined bank of Fulling Mill Brook is a good place to eat your lunch. The post-lunch return rambles across meadows and through woodlands. From the parking lot, walk behind the trail board onto the Green Trail where you will navigate your first brook crossing (easy, up the stairs and over the walkway). The boardwalk leads to a bridge where a bench awaits if you feel the need for a rest stop. The trail ascends before it meets a dirt road.
Chilmark, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 2.25
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Choose a clear sunny day to fully appreciate the panorama from the top of Gay Head Cliffs and for strolling along the beach. From the sand, your eyes will be drawn first to the majestic cliffs, rising steeply to flaunt their colorful striations and then to the beach-goers, in bathing and birthday suits, prancing in and out of the water and often wallowing—illegally—in the clay pits. Although Gay Head changed its name to Aquinnah in 1998, the cliffs and lighthouse continue to be identified with the town’s former name. Bear left onto a gravel road to see the Community Baptist Church, the oldest American Indian Protestant church in continuous existence in North America. This little white church, with its nine rows of pews and pressed tin ceiling, first welcomed Wampanoags in 1859. The original nineteenth-century lamps light the small chapel; only now instead of using kerosene, the lamps use electricity.
Aquinnah, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.5
Three different environments (meadow, woodland and wetland) provide plenty of variety on this short hike through a section of this 90-acre preserve. A shorter universal access trail leads to a viewing platform that offers a panorama of Menemsha, the north coast and Vineyard Sound. Because of the wetlands, bring mosquito repellent. Following your climb up the short incline, you can rest on the wood plank bench and admire the views of Menemsha Village and the north shore. A variety of wildflowers grow in the meadow. Look for chicory’s bright blue blooms. Chicory not only is pleasing to the eye, it also was used as a love potion. Several hundred years ago a gentleman would drop its seeds in the drink of his favorite female in the hope that she would be more attentive to him. Chicory also has been used as a mild sedative, for skin irritations, and to prevent scurvy. It originally was brought from Europe so that settlers could continue to roast and grind its fat root for use as a coffee substitute. Now it is added to coffee beans to enhance their flavor.
Aquinnah, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 0.8
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Finally—a spot on the north shore where you can hike and swim! Great rock Bight Preserve, a recent acquisition by the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, was worth the wait. it offers a universal access, shady, wide, level walking trail with benches where you can stop to admire vistas of Vineyard Sound and the Elizabeth Islands. A steeper trail leads to a sheltered bay where the “great rock” guards a sandy beach that runs for 1,300 feet beside the calm waters of Vineyard Sound.
Chilmark, MA - Hiking - Trail Length: 1.5
If you are looking for visual variety, head for Katama Bay where grand edgartown mansions overlook the water and luxurious yachts are anchored in the harbor. Across the bay from edgartown, you’ll find more relaxed paddling on tranquil Caleb’s Pond. Boat traffic increases as you paddle north into edgartown Harbor.
Edgartown, MA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 3
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If you are looking for a central location to launch your boat or just want a boat to launch, Lagoon Pond is for you. Separated from Vineyard Haven Harbor by a causeway and drawbridge, this deep pond serves as refuge for boats during major storms. Small pleasure craft are moored in the pond and often line up behind the drawbridge—it opens frequently—to enter Vineyard Sound. you also can choose to head into the harbor, but don’t bother waiting for the bridge to open; you can paddle under it.
Oak Bluffs, MA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 2
For a preview of coming attractions, stop at the Lake Tashmoo overlook on State road in Vineyard Haven to watch boats motoring in and out of Vineyard Sound. From this picture-postcard setting, it’s a five-minute drive to this small picturesque lake. My favorite areas are the quiet coves on the southern and northwestern tips. One reason for its popularity and a key to Martha’s Vineyard’s allure is its large number of scenic unspoiled areas. Far-sighted philanthropists and aggressive land conservation have allowed much of the Vineyard to remain as it was centuries ago. Once you step off the ferry or airplane and head out of the town centers, you feel as if you truly have escaped from the mainland.
Tisbury, MA - Flatwater Kayaking & Canoeing - Trail Length: 1.4
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