Thursday, April 18, 2019

Visiting a Tourist Mecca Off-Season

There are advantages to visiting popular places off-season--lower hotel prices, special deals, less crowds. But there are also disadvantages to off-season travel when visiting locales where climate dictates the popular tourist season. The main disadvantage is experiencing hotels, restaurants, museums and other tourist attractions closed for the season.

The closed-for-the-season scenario is what hub and I found when visiting the island of Martha's Vineyard, off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, mid-April. Restaurants and retail establishments were beginning to open, but museums remained padlocked.

We enjoyed two sunny, fairly warm (high 50s) days, perfect for exploring outdoors, and one cold, gray morning which disintegrated to pouring rain by late afternoon. Martha's Vineyard strives to prevent wide-scale development, such as high-rise developments, and so far has been successful. The off-season ambience and scenic surroundings provided a relaxing respite.

Martha's Vineyard was/is the home of a host of famous people, including Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and other members of the Kennedy clan (Chappaquidick Island is part of Martha's Vineyard), the Clintons and Obamas have vacationed on the island, Carly Simon, David Letterman, Rosie O'Donnell, Neil Patrick Harris, Ted Danson and his wife Mary Steenburgen...and the list goes on and on and on. If thinking of investigating the Vineyard as a future first or second home site, be forewarned--home prices are steep and living expenses high.

In the spirit of pictures are worth a thousand words, here are some of my photos of Martha's Vineyard.

We encountered a number of these animals--domesticated feral turkeys, meaning they are descendants of domesticated turkeys that escaped and reproduced. No one is sure when the first  turkeys arrived on Martha's Vineyard, or who introduced them to the island. 
But apparently they came sometime in the 1970s and have proliferated since. 
It is estimated about 1,000 turkeys reside on the island. 

This staircase leads from the first to the second floor of the Edgartown Book Store
on Main Street in the town of Edgartown. 
A great place to wander and explore. 
No trouble finding interesting items to buy but, 
unless you have unlimited resources, 
you will have difficulty deciding what NOT to purchase!

View from Martha's Vineyard looking towards Cape Cod.

The fishing outpost of Menomsha.

The only retail store open in this tiny fishing port off-season.

Could not resist a picture of this street sign in Vineyard Haven.

The only way to get to Martha's Vineyard is via ferry or plane. There are parking lots on the mainland for those going to the island without their usual means of transportation. We parked on Cape Cod and took the ferry, the cost $8.50 per person (one way). A car costs $81 or $91 (not including driver and passenger) depending on the size of the car, one way. 

We purchased a three-day bus pass--$10 per person--and rode clean, comfortable buses all around the island. We used Lyft a couple of times when bad weather gave us an excuse to ride from the center of town (uphill) to our airbnb accommodations. 

We often stay at airbnbs when traveling because we like to eat some meals 'at home'. However the supermarket on the island, Stop & Shop, was closed due to a strike. The closest convenience store was out of eggs and other provisions. We settled for enjoying coffee at 'home' and eating meals out. 

In summary, Martha's Vineyard is a beautiful place to spend a few days, but be sure to take along a hefty wallet.

1 comment:

  1. ... and warm clothes at this time of year! But sounds like a nice visit.