This gorgeous island, with its preserved village of sea captains’ homes and bumpy cobblestone streets, is a day-tripper’s dream.
The island is relatively small, a mere 14 miles long and 3.5 miles wide, but includes some 800 pre-Civil War-era homes, many of which have now been transformed into fine restaurants, inns, museums, and one-of-a-kind boutiques.
There are more than 80 miles of beaches on the island and acres of preserved and protected lands. You can wander the village, pop into a shop or two, try a local restaurant, rent a bike, go to the beach, or take a tour of the island. Do not forget to visit the Whaling Museum and Nantucket Basket Museum. This island can easily be explored in one day – however, we suggest that you plan ahead so you can make the most of your time on the island. There are several ferries to reach the island. The schedule and fares vary by time of year. Cape Air also flies daily to and from the island.
The Steamship Authority or Hy-Line – choose from a high-speed (1 hour – passengers only) and traditional ferry services (2 hours and 15 minutes – car and passengers).
From Harwich Port:
Freedom Cruise lines operates an express service (80 minutes – passengers only)
Once on the island, we recommend Gail’s Tours as a way of getting an overview of the island. Gail Nickerson grew up on the island and her hour-and-a-half tour is fun and informative.
Martha’s Vineyard has five distinctive towns and is much larger than Nantucket. Located just seven miles off the coast of the Cape, Martha’s Vineyard is just a 35-minute ferry ride from Woods Hole. This 110-square-mile triangle is a little bit funky, a little bit “colorful,’’ and a little bit “farmy,” which makes it a top destination to visit in the summer. The western end, known as up-island, is more rural and wild than the eastern, down-island end, which includes the most visited Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown.
From Woods Hole:
The Steamship Authority operates service to Oak Bluffs (45 minutes – passengers only) and Vineyard Haven (45 minutes – cars and passengers)
Once on the Vineyard, Island Transport operates a two-and-a-half-hour tour from Oak Bluffs, and there is also bus service from Vineyard Haven and Edgartown.
A visit to Cape Cod would not be complete without a trip to P-Town (Provincetown) and a Whale Watch. We highly recommend Dolphin Fleet Whale Watch, as they have partnered with the Provincetown Center for Coastal Studies which provides naturalists for each trip. They are very informative and add to the enjoyment of the experience. The Whale Watch runs between May and October, and advanced reservations are recommended in the summer months. The trip lasts three to four hours.