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Martha's Vineyard Island Travel Guide

Martha's Vineyard Island, Massachusetts USA: Travel and Tourism

Bobby Chapman
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Martha's Vineyard Island, Massachusetts USA. Travel and Tourism. This triangle-shaped island sitting about 8 miles off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts has been a secret summer hideaway of the rich and famous for more than a century. Today, the "Hollywood East" reputation is going strong thanks to frequent visitors like President Barack Obama, David Letterman and Bill Murray, among many others. But despite the all-star summer lineup, a laid-back lifestyle rules the island. The main draw rushing Vineyard visitors off the ferry is the chance to let their hair down for a long weekend. Sure, you'll find insanely expensive summer cottages, and a pricey dining atmosphere to match, in some corners of the town of Chilmark. But low-key towns like Vineyard Haven and Menemsha are still predominantly focused on their marine industries and offer a more casual experience. Even the island's must-have souvenir a Black Dog sweatshirt is informal. So swap the stilettos for your scrappiest flat sandals, and do play it cool when you spy some film stars in Edgartown; everyone deserves a slice of a Vineyard vacation. Tourism on Martha's Vineyard just "the Vineyard" to locals began in the 1800s, when the island became a summer "camp" destination for Methodists from around the country who'd come for annual meetings, with a side of seafood and sea bathing. And while the island just eight miles off the coast of Cape Cod has since become a preferred getaway for presidents (from Kennedy to Obama) and celebrities (Jake Gyllenhaal and Chelsea Handler, for example), the quaintness has never really subsided even as mainstream brands creep their way into town Bathed in unique beauty, Martha's Vineyard attracts wide-eyed day-trippers, celebrity second-home owners, and urbanites seeking a restful getaway; its 15,000 year-round residents include many artists, musicians and back-to-nature types. The Vineyard remains untouched by the kind of rampant commercialism found on the mainland there's not a single chain restaurant or cookie-cutter motel in sight. Instead you'll find cozy inns, chef-driven restaurants and a bounty of green farms and grand beaches. And there's something for every mood here fine dining in gentrified Edgartown one day and hitting the cotton candy and carousel scene in Oak Bluffs the next