The travel and lifestyle blog of Cape Cod author Christopher Setterlund. Discovering and sharing the best of today and yesterday. Beautiful and inspiring places to visit now, along with incredible stories of times gone by. Focusing on Cape Cod and its people but with branches spreading out as far as they can stretch.
time I visited Martha’s Vineyard in September it was much warmer and I was
felling much more adventurous. I rented a bicycle and rode twenty-five miles
through the streets of Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, and Edgartown.It was an amazing first act in the production
of my second book, In My Footsteps: Nantucket & Martha’s Vineyard.
the second trip would be different.Being in mid-November it was not going to be bicycle weather and this
would be further exacerbated by the fact that I needed to venture all the way
to the western coast of the island, about twenty-miles from the ferry dock in
So I caved and decided
to enlist the aid of a car to make this trip as productive as possible.
A big day
is better when properly fueled. I began with breakfast at the ArtCliff Diner in
Vineyard Haven. It was a fabulous meal.The diner itself is more cozy than small and was fairly crowded even in
November.Opened in 1943 ArtCliff Diner
has an array of offbeat memorabilia on the walls and some unique choices on the
menu.I chose breakfast tacos which
included eggs, chorizo, salsa and avocado.I would need several more trips to fully get a taste of what this
popular spot has to offer.
eating it was time to set off to the west coast of the Vineyard.There I would find one of the most impressive
sights I’ve seen in all of my traveling, and also one of the most fragile.In the town of Aquinnah sits Gay Head
Lighthouse and the appropriately named Aquinnah Cliffs.The cliffs are spectacular, 150-feet of
sediment and clay from six different glaciers.They are severely endangered though due to people climbing on them and
removing clay from the cliffs.From the
overlook at the top of Aquinnah Circle it is hard to grasp just how immense the
cliffs are, it is awe-inspiring. The cliffs are a sacred spot to the local
close to the edge of the cliffs sits the brick Gay Head Lighthouse, it is another
Vineyard treasure.It was originally
built in 1799 of brick made from the clay of the neighboring cliffs.The current structure stands fifty-two feet
tall and was built in 1855.It is very
obvious that this lighthouse needs to be moved or it will soon topple into the
ocean.There is maybe fifty-feet of land
between Gay Head Light and the cliffs, it seems like a lot of room but locals
know that a few large storms can quickly eliminate much of that land.I could feel the fragility of the lighthouse
and surrounding land while taking in the atmosphere.The fact that someday it might be gone made
me appreciate the fact that I was able to stand there.
Gay Head Light and Aquinnah Cliffs
leaving Gay Head Light and the Aquinnah Cliffs behind it was off to another
spot famous for a totally different reason.The fishing village of Menemsha may not sound familiar to many even
though it was established in 1694.However once you pop in a copy of the movie Jaws you will connect the dots.A good amount of the all-time classic movie was filmed in Menemsha.The old fishing shacks and charter boats
dotting the harbor can immediately make you feel like you’re a part of a real
life movie, maybe even hearing a few notes of the infamous Jaws ‘theme music.’This is
a location where this is not a specific destination to go to, for me it was
more of the atmosphere again.I enjoyed
just walking aroundIt is also home to possibly the best sunsets
on the island.I was not able to stick
around for that due to needing to catch the ferry home but I will be sure to
witness it for myself sometime.
Fishing shacks in Menemsha
nd the docks and fishing shacks and soaking it in.
Road in the neighboring town of Chilmark is the final resting place of a
Hollywood Icon, John Belushi.Though his
career was short he left a huge impact on the world of comedy for sure.He died in 1982 and was buried at Abel’s Hill
Cemetery that much is certain. After that it’s up for speculation.The story is that within a year of his death
his wife Judy had his body dug up and moved to a different location in the
cemetery due to people desecrating the grave.His actual tombstone was also moved to the cemetery gates, this makes it
quite easy to find.So the tombstone is
the real deal but it is not where John Belushi is actually buried, that spot is
probably only known by a select few.I
paid my respects to one of my personal favorites before heading back toward the
The last spot
I needed to see on my second Vineyard trip was one I missed the first time. In
Oak Bluffs there are the famous ‘gingerbread houses’ of Wesleyan Grove.It is also known as the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting
Association (MVCMA).Whatever the name
one thing is for sure, these cottages are like stepping into a fairy tale.The colors and architecture set off all sorts
of senses and visions words will not do justice to.The 300-plus cottages were built just after
the Civil War on thirty-four acres of land as a Methodist summer camp.The cottages were built around a central
church tabernacle.Today many of the
cottages are available to rent through the MVCMA.Wesleyan Grove has inspired some imitations
with gingerbread-style cottages in places like Ocean Park, Maine and Ocean
Grove, New Jersey.I was enthralled with
this location and found myself taking photos of literally every single cottage.I highly recommend taking some time to walk
the grounds and daydream a little.
trip to Martha’s Vineyard was a little colder with less daylight but every bit
as fun and exciting as the first.The
western side of the island is a little more remote and quiet but has some
spectacular sites like Gay Head Light and the Aquinnah Cliffs.
A few of the gingerbread cottages.
One needs to spend some time wandering around
Menemsha and later on Wesleyan Grove in Oak Bluffs, take your time and soak in
the atmosphere you won’t be disappointed.I am already planning a third trip back to the island and can’t wait to
see what that has in store for me.Have
fun and happy traveling!
Head Light/Aquinnah Cliffs:From the
Vineyard Haven ferry take State Rd. for 5.5 miles, slight right onto N. Rd.,
follow it 5.7 miles. Turn left onto Menemsha Xrd, follow 1 mile, turn right
onto State Rd., follow it 6 miles, and continue onto Aquinnah Circle to
John Belushi’s Grave:From the ferry take State Rd., continue onto
S. Rd, and follow it 2.6 miles to destination on right. The grave is located
near entrance, can’t miss it.
Wesleyan Grove:From ferry head south on Beach Rd., follow
1.3 miles, slight right onto Eastville Rd., slight left onto Temahigan Ave.,
continue onto New York Ave., follow 1 mile, turn left onto Siloam Ave, follow
it into MVCMA.
My first book, In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide, is now available at SchifferBooks.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Amazon.com, in stores everywhere! Follow me on Twitter! These
videos are companions to my first book In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod
Travel Guide. Each spot is in the book and these videos act as
advertisements for the location and Cape Cod in general. See the places, get the book, and then come and visit.
The 4th video presented by In My Footsteps features another hidden gem. Although hundreds of thousands pass over the Bourne Recreation Area each year on the Bourne Bridge few know about it or stop there. It is a unique mix of humming highway traffic with boats and birds. There are picnic tables to relax and the Canal Bike Path passes right along.
My first book, In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide, is now available at SchifferBooks.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Amazon.com, in stores everywhere! Follow me on Twitter!