A Guide to Martha’s Vineyard Wintery Outdoors (MA)

Article by Sam Dostaler

We all know that New England winters can be difficult. There are cold temperatures, snow, ice, and wind. It can make getting outside difficult at times. However, as the Covid-19 Pandemic continues to rage through our country and the rest of the world, people will be looking for ways to get outside and explore. For all of us, it will be a challenge to get through this winter.

Harvest Moon rising by the Edgartown Lighthouse

That challenge will in many ways be even greater for those living on Martha’s Vineyard. Of course, we all know about Martha’s Vineyard during the island’s glorious summer months. When the sun is shining, boats zip to and from the island, beaches are full, and the streets are bustling with vacationers. But what about during the winter, when the hustle and bustle of the summer has gone by and it is just the locals remaining? How do they enjoy their island while everyone else has gone home?

Well, the short answer is to get outside and explore! “What surprises everyone who visits Martha’s Vineyard for the first time is the under-developed natural beauty. Sure we’ve got world class dining and lodging, great events and attractions and one of a kind shopping. But what brings people back time and again is Mother Nature’s bounty,” says Nancy Gardella the Executive Director of Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce & Tourism.

Martha’s Vineyard is full of trails, hikes, and beaches that are perfect for exploring anytime and especially during these Covid times. Take the Bittersweet Hill trail to find views of Edgartown Harbor, check out Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary which affords hikers views of the Vineyard Sound, if the forest is more your scene then Brightwood Park could be what is calling you, or you can explore the fields and meadows of Nat’s Farm. These trails only begin to scratch the surface of what is waiting to be explored. The TrailsMV App can help you plot your trip, and help you find a cluster of trails that can maximize your day. 

Exploring West Tisbury

Despite the cold temperatures beaches can be a great way to get out and enjoy the outdoors throughout the winter as well. There is always something special about the beach during the winter months. The crowds are gone and as you stand on the sand just out of the reach of the surf you can really feel the raw power of the ocean. Martha’s Vineyard Little Beach is worth a trip, along with any number of others throughout the island. Find your spot to be alone, forget about the world for a bit and, just appreciate the power of the Atlantic Ocean. 

“The more time I spend on Martha’s Vineyard, the deeper my connection to its land and surrounding waters becomes,” explains Private chef, host of the Food Minded Fellow Podcast, and writer Gavin Smith. “The shorelines call to me with an undeniable gravitational pull. A humbling, and empowering place that offers countless experiences for the outdoors person.”

As with anything we do during these Covid times it is important to keep social distancing in mind and we encourage anyone who sets out for a day of exploring to keep these rules in mind.

Lucy Vincent Beach

Martha’s Vineyard might be thought of as one of New England’s summer playgrounds but in the winter the options are nearly as endless and in many ways more unique and special. So get out and explore, and see what you can find!

All photographs in this post were taken by John MontesJohn is a hobby photographer living on Martha’s Vineyard. His passion is in landscape photography, and he enjoys attending workshops with some of the best landscape photographers around the world.

For more of John’s photos follow him on Instagram or visit his website.

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