“There's only one Martha's Vineyard."
That's what we hear all the time. At least from the tourists, anyway.
Any local, on the other hand, will tell you there are actually two Martha's Vineyards: "Up Island," and "Down Island."
"Down Island" generally refers to a legendary collection of villages: Edgartown, flush with the stately manors of 19th-century whaling captains, intermingled with bistros, boutiques, wine shops, and art galleries; Oak Bluffs, widely recognized for its historic camp settlement of charming, gingerbread-clad Victorian homes; and Vineyard Haven – also popularly known as “Tisbury"– which serves as the Vineyard's main port of entry, and unofficial capital of one-off curio shops.
"Up Island," on the other hand, generally refers to the western portion of Martha's Vineyard, encompassing three historic towns: Aquinnah, featuring the Gay Head Lighthouse, perched atop vibrantly-colored cliffs of clay; Chilmark, a quiet and uncrowded area dotted with fishing villages; and West Tisbury, renown for its bucolic beauty and rolling pastures.
Conveniently, both of these islands are located right here, on Martha’s Vineyard. Let the exploring begin!