During the summer of 1993 and 1994 when President Clinton vacationed on the
Vineyard his presence brought traffic jams and media attention, unusual
for this laid-back island. Celebrities have been coming here for years, but
sighting them is not a usual pastime. The 23 mile-long island, near the shoulder
of Cape Cod, is a stretch of ponds, forests, sandy beaches
and small communities with carefully preserved homes, country inns, restaurants
and B and B establishments. There are no special spots where the gliterati gather
for the communities are scattered, small and often secluded. One senses that
a strong Preservation Society is monitoring the island's development. Nothing
disturbs the original New England setting. Edgartown, the largest resort
town, dating from 1642, with its rows of stately white Greek revival homes built
by whaling captains, looks like a prosperous seaport village. It boomed during
the 19th-century whaling days and became a yachting center during the 20th century.
|Shivrick Inn, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusetts
Restaurants, shops and a fine harbor where the ferryboats dock are the highlights
of Vineyard Haven (Tisbury). Nearby Oak Bluffs is a Victorian seaside
resort; its pastel-colored gingerbread houses line the beach front. West Tisbury
has all the characteristics of a typical tiny New England Village—white church, picket
fences, general store, post office, old mill and working farms. Without a map and
an occasional sign, you might drive by the other very quiet hamlets—Gay Head,
Chillmark and Menemsha, all down island, and hardly know that they
Fishing, golf, tennis, sailing and sightseeing in museums and historic homes.
Our favorite place to stay is a beautifully restored mansion dating from 1840,
Shiverick Inn on Edgartown's Pent Lane, a short stroll from the storybook
streets to the town's center. The inn's architectural details are splendid—hand-carved
moldings, marvelous mantels and wide floorboards. Antique furnishings, Oriental rugs,
paintings, chandeliers, china and crystal reveal that this is a collector's home.
Innkeeper Denny Turnelle is as cheerful and enthusiastic as Mary Poppins. "Can
I get you anything? Something to drink? Did you get your messages?" Isn't being
fussed over what vacation is all about?
Shiverick Inn, PO Box 640, Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, MA 02539. Tel.
508-627-3797, 800-723-4292. Rates start at $170 including breakfast. Highly
Although the restaurant has many fans and gets lots of publicity we found dinner
at the Beach Plum Inn to be disappointing. From all the hype we looked
forward to something elegant, but except for the view of Menemsha Bay the setting
was pedestrian. Fifty dollars for a three-course prix fixe dinner is a pricey
tab on the Vineyard. We liked the gazpacho, the veal with caper sauce and the
peach pie, cuisine that was more homey than haute. The same dinner at half the
price? Well, maybe!
Beach Plum Inn, Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard, MA 02552. Tel. (508) 645-9454,
(877) 645-7398. www.beachpluminn.com
Home Port, about a half-mile down the road from Beach Plum Inn, seems
to be the most popular restaurant on the island. The phone starts ringing in
April for summer dining reservations Don't head there without one unless you
want to eat picnic-style on the porch from their take-out counter. Twenty-six
dollars bought the special shore dinner–appetizer, corn, lobster, mussels, stuffed
clams and dessert. Other fish and seafood dinners were reasonably priced and
Home Port, 512 North Road, Menemsha. Tel. 508-645-2679. www.homeportmv.com
Fly Cape Air (800-352-0714) from Boston or Hyannis. Ferries shuttle
passengers from Falmouth, New Bedford, Hyannis and Woods Hole to the island.
The only car ferry leaves from Woods Hole. Reservations (508-477-8600) are
For brochures, listings of seasonal events and other information contact the
Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, P. O. Box 1698, Beach Road, Vineyard
Haven, MA 02568. Tel. 508-693-0085. www.mvy.com