Cruising to Vineyard Haven

The Martha’s Vineyard port of Vineyard Haven seamlessly blends the history and beauty of a quaint New England seaside town with the excitement and life of a bustling tourist community. While the streets of Vineyard Haven have the feel of a 19th Century seaport, it also has the kind of fine restaurants and great shops you’d expect at an upscale tourist destination.

MB-16-VinHavenBoaters cruising to Vineyard Haven should pay close attention in Vineyard Haven Harbor, as the waterfront can be especially busy in summer. Currents can be strong off both West and East Chop, and boaters should stay well north of West Chop and buoy GC “25,” which marks a large rock.

Visiting boaters will find plenty of dockage and mooring options. Contact the harbormaster’s office (VHF Channel 9; 508-693-4249) for information on local moorings and dock space. The Black Dog Wharf (VHF Channel 72; 508-693-3854; www.TheBlackDogWharf.com) offers transient moorings and hourly dockage. Vineyard Haven Marine (VHF Channel 9; 508-693-0720; www.VineyardHavenMarina.com) has slips and moorings, as well as fuel. Maciel Marine (508-693-4174; www.MacielMarine.com) inside Lagoon Pond is a full-service marina with a ship’s store and fuel. Also, anchoring is permitted outside the harbor’s western breakwater, and along the eastern side of the harbor. You can also find good holding ground inside Lagoon Pond. If you need a pumpout, two municipal boats offer free pumpout service (VHF Channel 9).

Once on land, visitors will find it easy to get around. Bike and moped rentals are plentiful, there are several taxi services, and buses with the Martha’s Vineyard Regional Transit Authority (www.MVTransit.com) provide scheduled service throughout the island for just $1 per town each way.

black dog-bosunsNo trip to Vineyard Haven is complete without a stop at the famed Black Dog Tavern (800-826-1991; www.TheBlackDog.com) with its great food and views of the harbor. Another fantastic restaurant is Zephrus at the Mansion House (800-332-4112; www.MVMansionHouse.com), which serves seafood and grilled fare in a Victorian building.

When you’re done shopping and sightseeing, check out the sunset tours of East Chop Lighthouse (508-627-4441; www.MarthasVineyardHistory.org). You can also enjoy a sail aboard an old schooner with Black Dog Tall Ships (508-693-1699; www.TheBlackDogTallShips.com).