Martha's Vineyard in New England

Small Boutiques and Shops on the Island

In America, there are several Marthas: Martha Washington, Martha Stewart, and... Martha's Vineyard, the famous island south of Cape Cod. The island once thrived on whaling but was conquered by excursionists and tourists as far back as the 19th century. Many presidents spent their vacations there. The list of millionaires who have houses on the island seems endless, reason enough to pay the island a visit.

There are various ferries to Martha's Vineyard. The car ferries are not cheap, encouraging visitors to leave their cars on the mainland. Hourly, large boats transport hundreds of tourists from Cape Cod to Oak Bluffs, the first stop on the island. The place is known for its "gingerbread houses," small ornate, colorful homes, and its many souvenir shops for tourists.

As means of transportation, bicycles or the bus network are available. A visit to Edgartown, the capital in the south of the island, is definitely worthwhile. Well-maintained shops and streets invite strolling. In general, you can see the entire island by bus, but this won't take you into the well-kept areas known from the media. You'll only catch glimpses of the splendid mansions with their private beaches as you pass by on a boat. Overall, the island certainly thrives on its media fame from days gone by; not every place is impeccably maintained. Many Americans have recommended that we visit the neighboring island of Nantucket, perhaps on our next trip?