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Martha's Vineyard Plan for one day

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I am finishing the plans for our trip next week. We have decided to take the Island Queen over to MV on Friday, July 16. Originally I had looked into the Steamship Authority vessel, but changed my mind--the parking looked like a hassle--it seems they change lot locations frequently. So will try the following itinerary: Please let me know if the times are sufficient or if we are missing something. Thanks Fodorites for all of your help!!!

9:00 Island Ferry departs for MV
Oak Bluffs-tour on own--gingerbread houses, shops 10:00-11:00
Catch bus to Chilmark-- Chilmark Chocolates, The Bite 12:00-2:00
Catch bus to Aquinnah--clay cliffs 2:30-4:00
catch bus to Edgartown 4:30-5:30
catch bus back to Oak Bluffs for 6:45 departure
* I think there is a later ferry at 8:45 if we miss the earlier one

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    A few quick thoughts, and of course, most of this is personal preference- but we spend 3 wks on island every summer -
    I could not do the gingerbread houses, tabernacle, etc and the shops on circuit ave in one hour. As long as you've looked thru their website, know you are going to navigate your way quickly up and down the shops - and only choose say 2 or 3 to quickly walk through, it seems like a rush to me. Maybe eliminate shops and you can do it. but the park overlooking the ocean with the big victorians around it , make sure you get a glimpse of that too

    I also assume you have gone over the bus schedule and taken into account arrival, departure times - and are sure the bus makes a stop at Chilmark Chocolates - is it a tour bus or the usual public VTA bus? Personally I've never seen the public bus stop there but that doesn't mean it doesn't - and sometimes when I drive by it is open and sometimes not so I would definitely call.

    The bite down in Menemsha is a nice place to grab some seafood , most especially at sunset - there are a handful of shops there - mostly fishing area otherwise, small beach and jetty - if you are going just for the seafood, I'd skip it and grab something up at the clay cliffs or at any of the great seafood spots in Oak Bluffs or in Edgartown down by the On time Ferry if you want a quick, eat outside seafood roll type thing.

    I love the clay cliffs, every year we go up at least 2 or 3 times and walk the beach path down and around along the shore as far as we can - if you bus up - you will see the lighthouse, the cliffs from a distance ( but still enjoy their colors and majesty) and there are some t shirts spots and you can grab a bite if you like - again, I don't know how long you have in between bus times for drop off and pick up -

    Egartown in one hour is one quick walk through - Edgartown is full of stores, galleries, spots to sit and people watch, great spots for lunch or a quick something by the On Time Ferry, eat it while you watch the ferry do it's minute run back and forth to Chappy - and half the beauty of Edgartown is walking some of the side streets and seeing the old homes and gardens.

    (taking the island queen is fine - the parking isn't really as confusing as it might have sounded - they have many lots to hold all the visitors, and when one is full, they direct you to another, they have a free shuttle to ferry that runs continually - it is actually quite easy - the only difference is the parking is maybe 3-5 more at island queen.

    So I guess maybe I would just think around if you want to skip the bite/chilmark -and how important the cliffs are to you - if so, maybe keep those and skip the former, giving you more time at Oak Bluffs and Edgartown

    did you look into any tours that actually take you up island to chilmark, menemsha, clay cliffs that might be a good way to know you'd see them all and then have time elsewhere on your own?

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    Thank you! The one thing I am NOT sure of is the bus schedules to/from each location-- using the transit buses. I really want to go to The Bite--an author that I read mentions this spot in all of her novels--goofy, I know! It isn't a must to stop at Chilmark Chocolates--just an idea. I haven't looked into any tours--pretty much just wanted to do it on our own. I am mostly interested in seeing the lighthouses (not all 5), the cliffs, gingerbread houses (from the outside).
    I think I need to plan this more-- maybe I should eliminate Chilmark Chocolates and head to The Bite, eat at the beach and move on to the cliffs.

    I also need to figure out the buses.

    Thank you so much

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    Ok, that isn't goofy - it means something to you - then keep the bite - and the lighthouse -
    it is a beautiful spot - so I would say head right up there if you can - leave the gingerbread houses for on your way back - that way, if you decide to take the later boat, you can still walk thru them - so maybe think of flipping your day -IF the weather is with you - if it is cloudy, overcast or foggy you need to wait for it to lift to go out to Aquinnah -

    I would think about getting right on a bus and head up to Aquinnah - at the top of the hill, see the lighthouse, clay cliffs, etc - if you want to, you can walk down thru the parking lot and there is a path, take a right when you get on the beach and walk about 10 minutes and you are at the base of the beginning of the cliffs and walk for another 20 - if you have the hour and want to do this -this is one of my favorite things to do on island, I love being on the sand and looking up at them ( don't touch, don't take any either !) the colors are beautiful from this viewpoint also - if not interested in the walk, you can enjoy the lighthouse tour, seeing the cliffs from up above, a handful of shops and head back down island -

    go to the Bite for lunch at Menemsha, sit on the jetty, enjoy the beach, walk the little street that winds with a few shops -

    then see what the time is - if you have time, go to Edgartown - if not, head straight back to Oak Bluffs and do the gingerbread houses - walk thru, make sure you see the tabernacle, grab something to drink/eat, see Ocean Park, sit on a bench , enjoy a bit before walking to your ferry at OB.

    If you have time to do Edgartown, then go - and if there are specific things you want to see there - (the on time ferry heading over to chappy, photos of that and that lighthouse) do those first - I believe all buses leave from the visitors center in Edgartown on the side street next to the courthouse - and there are great restrooms, cafe right next to that also

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    You are doing in one day what we do in 4 days! The shops on Cicuit are ok, kind of touristy, good for souvenirs. I wouldn't make it a priority. Definetly go to Menemsha (at sunset if possible) and Acquinnah. While the buses are very efficient, sometimes we wait a while in between buses, especially if there is a transfer to another route. We have in the past rented a Jeep (a little pricey) early in the morning and done the entire island in one day, including a drive around Chappy and a walk on the beach out there. Edgartown's shops are much nicer and I would eat at the Lookout Tavern in Oak Bluffs while waiting for the ferry. Don't be afraid of the Steamship Authority, it's much easier than it seems, and cheaper. They have an AM radio station as you are approaching the parking lot that gives you directions. Have a good time, you can always go back....

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    You can't do sunset at Menemsha - sunset is around 8pm or after, you will never make it back in time for the 8:45 bus - the shops in OB are far less expensive than Edgartown - and there are fewer - there are a handful of pricy boutiques/jewlery the rest are gift/t shirt - you'll find more of the same in Edgartown but more of them plus more galleries.

    here's the other place I was thinking of for lobster rolls, Grace Church - I don't eat them, but many in my family think they are the best on island -
    of if you like fried green tomato sandwiches, the Slice of Life Cafe on Circuit Ave ( sister of Sweet Life Cafe restaurant across) are aaaaamazing as well as some other items there- it's the first sandwich we eat every year while unpacking !

    also, check above site for calendar of events, there may be something interesting that day -

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