Though diminutive on the U.S. map, Martha's Vineyard is big on fun!
When I landed in Martha's Vineyard, I realised why celebrities flock the place. A holiday home to many, including John Kennedy Jr., I discover that these islands have something to offer everyone.
On the map of the U.S., it may look diminutive, but the 100-sq.mile place offers a terrific geographical and architectural diversity.
The first thing that attracts you are the numerous lighthouses — in different shapes, colours and sizes, and a big slice of historical heritage. Interestingly, the lighthouses are available for wedding receptions, family reunions, banquets and birthday parties!
Martha's Vineyard can be reached only by air or sea; there are no land routes, bridges or tunnels. From Hyannis, The Steamship Authority offers luxurious passenger, state-of-the-art catamarans that ferry us across. These vessels have different viewing levels, outside sun-deck seating, climate-controlled interior seating and passenger vehicle transfer. Most of the islands' historical buildings are still in use — as homes or stores.
There's not a single five-star hotel around, though the place is frequented by celebrities. The film “Jaws” was shot here, and the film's director Steven Spielberg owns a cottage here!
Activity lovers can check out the walking trail at Cranberry Acres, the canoe and kayak expedition to cape Pagelight House, and the Museum Ross Fresnel Lens building with 100 prisms. The Flying Horse Carousal that has chocolates popping out of the horses' eyes is sure to be a children's delight!
But, what's most exciting is the Oak Bluffs' ‘Gingerbread Houses'. Oak Bluffs was originally a place for Methodist camp meeting, but after the Civil War, wealthy off-islanders who wanted a simple rustic experience, built houses there. They have a different style, and their combination of bright coloured, stained glass, turrets and all manner of Gothic architectural details is beyond comprehension.
Sights and sounds
Shops, museums have both antique and modern attractions. There are also a few modern architectural buildings to explore, but many things will remain unchanged — such as the sweep of the dunes at the National Seashores of Atlantic Ocean, the pink glow of sunset, the innocent laughter of children playing in the warm sands.
No description of this idyllic retreat will be complete without a mention of the Great Island Bakery — with pecan sticky buns, cheese Danish, elephant ear croissants, almond amaretto and Irish soda bread.
Whether it is sipping morning coffee in the serene seaside cottages or an afternoon walk along the sparkling clean waters or an evening meandering in the meticulously maintained private beaches — it is not only a unique but also the ultimate getaway.
Writer Henry David Thoreau said a place is magical when it doesn't lose its lure after years of visiting. I'm sure we can say that about Martha's Vineyard!