“VH,” as we say, is the official year-round town of the Island. There are plenty of people who live in the other towns off-season, but because this is where the ferry service runs twelve months of the year, Vineyard Haven is the economic center of the Island. It’s a handsome, unpretentious town with a working waterfront, a couple of decent restaurants and hotels, good shopping, and legendary boat building. It’s the most beach-deprived town on the Island, however, so if sun and sand are all you crave it may not be the place for you. Also, while the town recently approved liquor sales at restaurants, there are no bars or liquor stores.
- Getting Around: Vineyard Haven is the year-round entrance to Martha’s Vineyard, and for this reason, the transportation situation is relatively easy. Immediately after arriving in Vineyard Haven, folks departing the ferry can find the VTA bus terminal (with routes all over the Island), a taxi stand, car/moped rentals, and a couple of bike places. We’d say getting around VH is a cinch, but do beware the dreaded Five Corners. This five way intersection, just past the boat terminal, only has two stop signs and a lot of heavy traffic. Go slowly, mind your traffic rules and your manners, and if you’re lucky, a friendly driver or police officer might be there to wave you through.
- Where to Stay: Hotels in Vineyard Haven are defined by their history. The Mansion House Inn on Main Street, established in 1791, caught fire in the early 2000’s; the blaze was fought by volunteer firefighters who rushed from a formal event still in their tuxedos. It has since been restored. The 1720 house, a bed and breakfast, has been there since — you guessed it — 1720. Vineyard Haven doesn’t have the most lodging on the Island, but its few hospitable havens are all worth the stay.
- Shopping & Essentials: Vineyard Haven not only has all the supplies you could possibly need, but it has them year-round (a Vineyard miracle). VH has not one, but two grocery stores: Stop & Shop, near the ferry terminal, and down-Island Cronigs, off State Road. Vineyard Grocer, also off State Road, offers essential groceries plus some interesting specialty foods. There are two gas stations off Beach Road, one with a convenience store. A hardware store is nearby, as well as a Cumberland Farms. Next to that is the post office. Need something else? Just take a stroll along Main Street (for ATMs, beach supplies etc.), or a drive up State Road (for car parts and more), and you’ll likely find it.