Above: Gay Head Light near Aquinnah Cliffs, Massachusetts - STOCKED AND LOADED / ADOBE STOCK

Martha’s Vineyard Private Tour

Gay Head Light near Aquinnah Cliffs, Massachusetts - StockedandLoaded / Adobe Stock

Since Martha’s Vineyard is a large island, first-time visitors should consider arranging a guided tour of its highlights (especially since renting a car or bringing your own from the mainland are both expensive). Even though I’d been before, I greatly enjoyed our half-day of explorations with Mike of the Edgartown Tour Company

He picked us up at our hotel and led us on a three-hour overview covering many of the island’s high points. After zigzagging through Edgartown, where we paused at a giant pagoda tree planted in 1837 and a historic cemetery, we drove through Chilmark. Mike related how a recessive gene had caused a large fraction of the inhabitants to be deaf, and developers of American Sign Language studied their communication techniques.

We had our most scenically dramatic stop, the Aquinnah Cliffs overlook, almost entirely to ourselves, thanks to our shoulder-season visit (it can become quite crowded in summer). The towering bluffs, striped with cream, gray and rust, looked formidable, but our guide pointed out how erosion had taken a visible toll, even within the last decade. The nearby Gay Head Light, a picturesque brick lighthouse, had to be moved to prevent it from plunging into the sea. The cliffs are sacred to the Wampanoag Tribe, which retains land around the area.

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Above: Gay Head Light near Aquinnah Cliffs, Massachusetts - STOCKED AND LOADED / ADOBE STOCK

Read More from Our Trip:

Scenes From New England New England Restaurant Discoveries Cape Cod Biplane Tour Three Scenic Cape Cod Hikes Great Cape Cod Escapes A Hit and a Miss on Martha’s Vineyard A Gilded Age Stay at The Vanderbilt