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Martha’s Vineyard

Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs
Ocean Park, Oak Bluffs. Photo by Vineyard Lights Photography.

Properties for sale on Martha's Vineyard

Information about Martha's Vineyard

Martha’s Vineyard (Wampanoag: Noepe (land amid the streams)) is often simply called “The Vineyard.”

Facts: Martha’s Vineyard including Chappaquiddick is an Island off the coast of Cape Cod.
Coordinates: 41°24′N 70°37′W
Nicknames: The Vineyard, The Rock.
Their are six Island towns: Aquinnah, Edgartown, Chilmark (includes Menemsha), Oak Bluffs, Tisbury (Vineyard Haven is in Tisbury), and West Tisbury.
County: Dukes County
Name: Bartholomew Gosnold led the first European expedition to Cape Cod, and it is believed that he named the Island after his daughter, Martha.
Last known location of the Heath Hen: Once a common game bird, the last known Heath Hen perished on Martha’s Vineyard in 1932.

Land area of about 96 square miles (250 km2)

Martha’s Vineyard is only accessible by Air or Sea.

First settled in 1642 by English Settlers Thomas Mayhew in Great Harbor, Edgartown. In the 19th century, Martha’s Vineyard along with Nantucket came into prominence by the whaling industry. The Old Colony railroad came to Woods Hole in the late 1870s and with it came tourists and wealthy citizens who began the trend for summer residences, like Hart Haven in Oak Bluffs, and Ocean Heights near Sengekontacket in Edgartown.

There is still a substantial population of Wampanoag, and a visit to the Aquinnah Wampanoag Indian Museum offers a lot of history.

The “Chappaquiddick Incident” which resulted in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne after Senator Ted Kennedy drove a car off the Dyke Bridge brought with it a lot of notoriety for the Island.

Steven Spielberg filmed Jaws on Martha’s Vineyard in 1974, and the film has become a staple must-see for many Island visitors and those who call the Island their home.

The 1977 Martha's Vineyard secession flag.
The 1977 Martha's Vineyard secession flag.

In 1977 Martha’s Vineyard attempted to secede from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts after it lost its seat in the Massachusetts General Court. Eventually the Island withdrew their efforts. However the separatist flag, featuring a white seagull on an orange circle with a sky-blue background became an iconic Island symbol and is seen today on many items.

The Presidential draw of Martha's Vineyard

Many US Presidents have visited and resided on Martha’s Vineyard, beginning with Ulysses S. Grant visiting  in the 1870s. President Clinton and Hilary Clinton began their visits in the 1990s. In 2009 Barack Obama visited and stayed in Chilmark which was to be the start of his annual visits to Martha’s Vineyard. In 2019 Barack and Michele Obama purchased a property on Edgartown Great Pond.

Eldridge Map of Martha's Vineyard 1913
Eldridge Map of Martha's Vineyard 1913

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