The Vineyard has always been a very special place for me since I starting coming to this beautiful place, over 10 years ago. After a week in the Vineyard, I left there feeling inspired and motivated. Martha's Vineyard, and in particular Oak Bluffs, has always served as safe space for African Americans to get away from it all. But this trip was a little more magical and a little more special. It felt more like a family reunion where you meet family that you’ve never met before, but you knew you were connected to on some level. Oak Bluffs, MA is a historic African-American resort community that should be experienced by all, both young and old.
When planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard, allow for a day of traveling. While there is an airport on the island, peak season flights can be a little pricey. We started our Vineyard journey by flying into Boston via Delta Airlines and taking the Peter Pan Bus to Woods Hole, which is roughly a two and a half hour trip. After arriving at the Steamship Authority, we purchased our round trip ferry tickets and waited to board. The ferry ride to Martha’s Vineyard is my absolute favorite part of the journey. The view is amazing, and the ferry ride is so relaxing. It takes approximately about 40 to 45 minutes.
WHEN TO GO
Memorial Day—Labor Day is considered “High Season,” and the absolute best time to visit the island. The Atlantic Ocean ensures temperatures around the low 70s and rarely above 90 degrees. If you’d rather avoid the summer crowds, though, visit Martha’s Vineyard in the fall when temperatures stay pleasantly moderate, and the ocean is still warm enough for swimming or surfing.
WHERE TO STAY
Oak Bluffs offers a variety of quaint B&B's, or you may want to rent one of the many beautiful homes on the island. The key to securing your perfect place is to book early, as many of the B&B's sell out as early as six months in advance of the summer season. One place to start your search is Martha's Vineyard Vacation Rentals & Real Estate or Martha's Vineyard Online. AirBNB is another great option for finding the perfect place to call home while on the island. Our choice this year was The Madison Inn, located in the heart of Oak Bluffs and a three minute walk from the ferry.
WHERE TO EAT
Your food choices while on the island are endless. If you’re a seafood lover, then you'‘ll be in your happy place. From lobster rolls to classic New England clam chowder and everything in between, your taste buds will be singing your praises. My favorite lobster roll comes from Lobsterville Bar and Grille. You can enjoy an amazing dinner with a gorgeous sunset on the side. If breakfast is your thing, then Linda Jean's is the answer. The seafood egg casserole is a favorite among regular customers.
WHAT TO DO
During the peak season the activity level is at an all time high. The shopping on Circuit Avenue is a wonderful place to bring back a special reminder of your time in the Vineyard, or you can hop on the #13 bus and visit Edgartown for a more upscale vibe. Among the many cultural activities on the island I always enjoy the Martha’s Vineyard African American Film Festival. This year’s opening night was truly wonderful, as I enjoyed the documentary The Black Godfather: The Clarence Avant Story!!! The screening was followed by a wonderful discussion with the filmmaker Reginald Hudlin and Nicole Avant, daughter of Clarence Avant, and was moderated by Professor Henry Louis Gates!!! The discussion tied together the many connections that Mr. Avant was able to forge in order to move people of color forward.
My Vineyard routine of early morning walks at sunrise, combined with Inkwell Yoga, were the things that gave me the energy and healing my soul needed from the chaos of the outside world. When I’m on the Vineyard, it feels as if I’m in another world, totally isolated from everything. This kind of freedom allows me to be present in the moment. More importantly, it’s something I could share with my Mom. Yogi Christopher is a master Yoga teacher! He has a way of deepening your practice through his teaching. I’m come away with a more profound connection to my mind, body and soul. My commitment to my practice is more sacred now than ever!!!
Yes this is a safe space where black folk can just be! I've met and connected with some wonderful people from all walks of life. Conversations are so easy to come by while on the Vineyard and many were uplifting and insightful. It’s surprising that even in the early morning dawn, people are willing to talk to you. The Vineyard; It's a feeling I can't explain—but the lsland gets into your soul and doesn't quite let go. It becomes a part of you and you become a part of it!!! It just feels good, like home!!!