Advice on cruising to Martha's Vineyard

Discussion in 'Northeast' started by cwiert, Jun 30, 2017.

  1. cwiert

    cwiert Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    490
    May 7, 2008
    Westbrook, CT
    1998 400 Sedan Bridge
    CAT 3116 - 350HP
    We have vacation next week and would like to go to Martha's Vineyard. It will be the first time I go there via my own boat. Our plan is to travel to Block on Sunday, and leave for MV on Tuesday. We'd prefer to anchor out. Any suggestions on good anchorages? We have 2 kids, 8 & 10 yrs old. My plan was to go to Vineyard Haven harbor and look for a spot to anchor out. Edgartown Harbor looks interesting too. If we do the later, can we dinghy to beaches on Cape Poge? Ideally, we're looking for a place that we can dinghy to town (we'll bring our bikes), and have access to a beach. I'm also not opposed to moving from one anchorage to another during the week.

    Any suggestions or advice would be appreciated as I'm a complete newbie when it comes to MV.
     
  2. Jeremygavin

    Jeremygavin Member

    679
    Mar 6, 2012
    Cape Cod, MA
    2005 Sea Ray 340 Sundancer, 2016 Sea Ray 19 SPX OB
    496 Mercruisers with Bravo IIIs, Mercury 150 Fourstroke
    VH has some good anchorages. To the NE of the harbor there is an anchorage just SW of the Bridge into Lagoon Pond. Any south wind will be fine. Any north wind and you are not very well protected there. If you go into Lagoon Pond it is a very well protected anchorage. The dingy ride to town from the anchorage just outside the harbor is maybe 5min and add another 5min to get into town from Lagoon Pond. There are not many great beaches (that I know of) in this area but there are a few that are ok. There are many transient moorings that are NW of the harbor entrance as well.
    Edgartown anchorage is outside the entrance to the Harbor NE of Chappquidick Island. Again, any south windo you are ok but will be tossed around bit on a north wind. The beaches are nice here and are a short dingy ride from the anchorage. Town is a 5min dingy ride. Edgartown has a large mooring field inside the harbor and moorings are $40 per night. If in a north wind I would recommend getting a mooring because you would have the protecting of the island. Dingy ride to cape Poge area is short from the anchorage and probably 5-10min from inside the harbor.
     
  3. swaterhouse

    swaterhouse Member GOLD Sponsor

    293
    Jan 7, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2007 Sundancer 44
    Cummins QSC 8.3
    Since you have bikes, the best anchoring option for vineyard haven (VH) is to anchor in Tashmoo pond. It will be a 3-4 minute bike ride into VH town from the Town Landing in Tashmoo. There is a cool little beach right at the entrance to tashmoo, you can beach your dinghy on the inside (go 300-400 yards from the channel - technically not "anchoring" near channel) and use the inside beach or walk across parking lot to outside. Its small but its a beach! Tashmoo is just west of the main harbor, There is a shoal about 1/2 mile off that part of the island but a couple of opening you can pop through. The channel into the pond has a shoal just before the breakwater we cross over in everything but dead low - just to be safe. Anchoring ins tashmoo is best further up in harbor - across from teh twon dock is best but be very careful to stay out of main channel, there are some commercial boats that are in there and the harbormaster will make you move.

    The other VH anchor spot is Lagoon pond on the east side of the main harbor. We dont go there for three reasons. 1) the bridge opens hourly - you cant clear it when closed, 2) the dinghy rides are a bit long to town, 3) the insects seem much worse there than tashmoo.

    Edgartown is our favorite place on vineyard and you should definitely go. Easy bike ride from there to South Beach on the Atlantic side of island. As mentioned only anchoring is outside of harbor, and your fine in any southerly wind but. I personally wouldnt recommend anchoring there. The town rents moorings and does an excellent job at it. You must reserve through Dockwa (either app or online).


    The bus system on the island is very good, and all buses have bike racks.

    Favorite resturants (all kid friendly)

    Black Dog in Vineyard Haven (for all three meals - we often run over for breakfast!)
    Nancy's (upstairs) in Oak Bluffs
    Seafood Shanty in Edgartown
    Atlantic in Edgartown (more upscale and fewer kids but VERY good)


    For beaches there are really two that come to mind:

    State Beach is on the sound side between VH and Oak Bluffs - this is where the bridge scene in Jaws was filmed
    South Beach is on the Atlantic side - easy bike ride from Edgartown but as kids (early teens) we used to ride there from Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven
     
  4. cwiert

    cwiert Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    490
    May 7, 2008
    Westbrook, CT
    1998 400 Sedan Bridge
    CAT 3116 - 350HP
    Thank you so much. Great info. Are there town dinghy docks in both locations? It sounds like Edgartown may be a better fit for what we're looking to do. For the Etown town moorings, do I need to call and reserve, or can I just show up and grab one?
     
  5. swaterhouse

    swaterhouse Member GOLD Sponsor

    293
    Jan 7, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2007 Sundancer 44
    Cummins QSC 8.3
    In vineyard Haven the dinghy dock is to the right (west) as you pass the breakwater.

    In Edgartown the dinghy dock is at the end of Main Street on the South side of the Edgartown Yacht Club
     
  6. cwiert

    cwiert Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    490
    May 7, 2008
    Westbrook, CT
    1998 400 Sedan Bridge
    CAT 3116 - 350HP
    Thank you very much. All great info. Hopefully I can reserve a mooring the day of on Dockwa. We just don't know which day we'll be heading out there...either Tues or Wed. Weather, seas, fog, etc. will all play a factor. I'm excited to go somewhere new, though.
     
  7. cwiert

    cwiert Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    490
    May 7, 2008
    Westbrook, CT
    1998 400 Sedan Bridge
    CAT 3116 - 350HP
    In Tashmoo pond, where can I dinghy to get to town? Is there another town dock there or a place to leave our bikes?
     
  8. swaterhouse

    swaterhouse Member GOLD Sponsor

    293
    Jan 7, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2007 Sundancer 44
    Cummins QSC 8.3
    Yes about halfway down harbor on east (left) side is the town dock, you can dinghy in there, we usually try to anchor on the other side of the channel from there.
     
  9. swaterhouse

    swaterhouse Member GOLD Sponsor

    293
    Jan 7, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2007 Sundancer 44
    Cummins QSC 8.3
    Anchorage and Dinghy Dock location for Edgartown (black arrow, red circle)
    Edgartown.jpg

    Dinghy dock locations for Tashmoo and VH (black arrows)

    Tasmoo-VH.jpg
     
  10. cwiert

    cwiert Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    490
    May 7, 2008
    Westbrook, CT
    1998 400 Sedan Bridge
    CAT 3116 - 350HP
    Thanks. I feel like I'm not going into this blind anymore. So that's good.

    So far my plan:
    Tues - Leave Block and anchor out in Tashmoo. Bike to town, explore small beach at inlet.
    Wed - ???? TBD (maybe stay another day/night in Tashmoo - Maybe go anchor out in VH harbor
    Thurs - we have a mooring reserved in Edgartown (the only day one was still available).
    Fri - anchor out somewhere else on MV, or go back to block.
     
  11. Jeremygavin

    Jeremygavin Member

    679
    Mar 6, 2012
    Cape Cod, MA
    2005 Sea Ray 340 Sundancer, 2016 Sea Ray 19 SPX OB
    496 Mercruisers with Bravo IIIs, Mercury 150 Fourstroke
    On Friday you should try to get a slip/mooring at CuttyHunk. It is the last island on the Elizabeth island chain. It is a cool little harbor with some nice beaches and a quaint Little town. It is a cool place to see plus it will put you another 30-45min south towards block or CT for your ride home.


    Menemsha is another harbor on MV worth checking out on that Friday. It is on the southwest corner of the vineyard. They have one of the best sunsets you can see in the area.
     
  12. swaterhouse

    swaterhouse Member GOLD Sponsor

    293
    Jan 7, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2007 Sundancer 44
    Cummins QSC 8.3
    Jeremy its funny you wrote about Cuttyhunk, I was PM'ing with John as well as posting and said the same thing!

    Cuttyhunk is always our first day trip of the season to have a bag lunch on the mooring and enjoy the peace early in the season, and we get there at least one night to enjoy the Raw Bar boat that comes through the mooring field at cocktail time and fresh lobster from the pier!
     
    pog mo thon likes this.
  13. saopm

    saopm Member

    700
    Oct 6, 2010
    North Fork - Long Island, NY
    2007 340 Sundancer
    Mercury 8.1s Inboards
    Lot of good info here. I may be out that way in August. Thanks for posting.
     
  14. Boston-boater

    Boston-boater Member

    131
    Oct 29, 2013
    Marion/Massachusetts
    2000 310 DA
    350 Horizons v drive
    Have to give a double thumbs up on both menemsha and cuttyhunk. Both locations are quaint and peaceful places to spend some time.
     
  15. cwiert

    cwiert Active Member SILVER Sponsor

    490
    May 7, 2008
    Westbrook, CT
    1998 400 Sedan Bridge
    CAT 3116 - 350HP
    Good news bad news. The bad news is that we never made it to MV. The good news is that it's because Block Island has been so incredible so far. The weather has been perfect. The best I can remember here. We met new friends with young kids (girls) for our girls to play with. So we decided to stay put at Block. But all this great info is not lost. We have another week off in August and plan to go to MV for the entire week and give the island the attention it deserves... not just 3-4 days.
     
  16. Irie308

    Irie308 Member SILVER Sponsor

    685
    May 28, 2013
    CT
    320 Sundancer 2005, Raymarine C120 and C80
    Highfield 9.6 RIB & Tohatsu 8hp
    Previous boat: 215 expre
    350 Mercruisers V-drives
    Considering this trip ourselves from the CT coast. We would look to do a mix of anchoring, mooring and Marinas.
     
  17. be_prepared

    be_prepared Member GOLD Sponsor

    196
    Oct 12, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2002 Sea Ray Sundancer 340DA
    Twin Mercruiser Horizon 8.1 inboards
    Lots of good suggestions already. Vineyard Haven and Edgartown on MV are great spots, along with Menemsha. For a day with a lot of options for shopping and eating, you might tuck into Oak Bluffs. (Maybe I should say "squeeze into", it's a tight harbor). You have a choice of town moorings, where they raft up to 4 boats, or a stern to slip along the bulkhead that rings about half the harbor. This is not your quaint get away like Cuttyhunk or Mememsha. However sometimes with kids, you want a little more activity, especially if it's not a great beach day. There are streets full of shops and restaurants. A little village full of gingerbread houses. And of course, as someone else mentioned, the "Jaws" beach. We usually go to OB a couple times each summer. There are some fun beach bars there when you get post-children :) Good local brew at the Offshore Ale Co. Try the Islander Double IPA if you like hops.

    One week each year is "Illumination", we have a slip reserved for that this August. There are a lot of activities, fireworks, music, those Gingerbread homes all get decorated with lights. The harbor is alive.

    OB is on Dockwa, the marina monitors Ch 71, and the launch service monitors Ch 77. The signature picture below, (at least when I posted this) was at a slip in OB last summer. Again, it's a busy place, but can be a lot of fun.

    Cheers - Ron
     
  18. Irie308

    Irie308 Member SILVER Sponsor

    685
    May 28, 2013
    CT
    320 Sundancer 2005, Raymarine C120 and C80
    Highfield 9.6 RIB & Tohatsu 8hp
    Previous boat: 215 expre
    350 Mercruisers V-drives
    Was doing a search for a thread and stumbled back on this one so i figured I would provide an update as we made the trip from CT to MV.

    We allocated 2 weeks for this trip and I have to say it wasn't enough. This was one of our best trips to date. Our window of time was 7/22 through 8/5. We've always wanted to visit MV however the 8 plus hour trip from our home port seemed daunting. My plan was to break up the trip into 2-3 hour max legs. We departed from the Housatonic River on Sat 7/22 with plans of spending 2 days in Mystic with friends. Due to bad weather we added an extra day to our stay so we lost a day from our next stop which was Newport RI. We arrived in Newport on Tuesday instead of Monday after about a 1.5 hour run with some chop and some swells however “most” of the crew had no complaints. I made no marina reservations as I intended to pick up a mooring at Old Port Marine and they are first come first serve. I figured they would have openings as we were arriving during the week and early enough in the day. We've been to Newport in the past so we were ok with just spending a day. Regardless we made the most of it and packed in quite a bit of activities such as the Cliff Walk, Scooter rental and even toured another Mansion (our 4th to date). Our crew are ok with chop but not swells so Wednesday had the perfect conditions to make the jump from Newport to MV. We departed Newport around 8am on Wednesday and the conditions were perfect. I set my heading for Buzzard bay as I wanted to be as protected as possible but in hindsight Vineyard Sound would have offered the same protection. Either way the seas were less than a foot so it was an easy ride sipping my coffee and taking in the moment. I made my cut through Woods Hole and though uneventful it was a "put down the coffee and focus" moment. Once through we headed straight for Edgartown as we were staying on a town mooring and it was the first of 2 reservations we made on the trip. Going off memory it was about a 30 min ride from Woods Hole to Edgartown. It’s a beautiful harbor and we were moored a short dingy ride from the town. Since it was our first time we had to get our heads around what we wanted to do as getting around the island is so easy via public transportation or Uber. Our plan was to spend 3 days in Edgartown Harbor and 3 days in Oaks Bluff however in keeping with this summer’s weather pattern a noreaster came through that weekend. We stayed an extra day in Edgartown as it offered much better protection than Oaks Bluff. The wind died down on Sunday so we departed Edgartown for Oaks Bluff. There was still a bit of wave action but the ride was no more than 10-15 minutes. Arriving in Oaks Bluff we knew we had stolen a day away from our next stop which was to be Cutty Hunk as we wanted to arrive in Block Island on Wednesday. Oaks Bluff was the second and last reservation we made for the this trip and we had a bit of back and forth if we should take a mooring or a slip. This was due to that fact that our choices were either to take a mooring in OB and be rafted in a pretty tight harbor and not really be able to run our genny when needed or to take a slip on the rather public bulkhead. We definitely wanted to be in OB so we decided due to ease of access to everything OB had to offer the bulkhead was the better choice. We soon found that our apprehension was correct. You can back into the most crowed dock at a marina and still have your privacy amongst fellow boaters but a slip on a public walkway is a whole different story. All in all we made due by leaving the aft canvas partially up which surprisingly worked out quite well. OB is so kid friendly we all had a great time. Sadly Tuesday arrived and we had to depart for Cutty Hunk. Interestingly enough whenever we mentioned to people we met in MV that we were headed to CH, the response was always “Cutty Hunk will be a welcomed change after your time in MV”. Once again the weather gods smiled on us and we had a great run to CH via Vineyard Sound which was about a 45 min ride. We pulled in called the Harbor Master and had the choice of picking up a slip of which there were many available. However we opted again to stay on a mooring. We wished we could have spent another day in CH and explore as we originally planned however we wanted to be in Block on Wednesday which would position us for our 3.5 hour trip home on Friday. I checked in with the weather gods on Wednesday and they gave me the all clear (no fog and no swells)for our 1.5 hour run to Block. The plan was to meet up with the rest of the Northeast Flotilla which was shortened due weather the weekend prior. Arriving in Block we thought we would try our hand at grabbing a mooring as it was 11am middle of the week in early August…NOT! The boats circling the harbor in search of a mooring with the first mate on the bow reminded me of the old whaling ships. We did a one time around the harbor and just as we were deciding we would go find the Flotilla, as we didn’t hear any chatter of them being in Block as yet, a mooring freed up and we jumped right on it. Normally we would have rather the raft but we were so close to all 3 Marinas and it felt as if we had won the lotto, it was very hard to give it up. So all in all the trip came to an end in Block as Friday came much quicker than expected and the forecast for Saturday 8/5 would have ruined our streak of great travel days, we had to make the difficult decision to depart. 3.5 Hours later we were back on the CT shores and our Fantastic 2 week journey was at its end.

    I left out our activities during our trip to keep the post short (so much for that) and I just wanted to highlight each leg of the trip and how we broke it up and made it less daunting and very enjoyable. Much of our planning was with the feedback and experience of a few members on here and for their help we are forever thankful
     
    be_prepared, pog mo thon and Jaybeaux like this.
  19. Jeremygavin

    Jeremygavin Member

    679
    Mar 6, 2012
    Cape Cod, MA
    2005 Sea Ray 340 Sundancer, 2016 Sea Ray 19 SPX OB
    496 Mercruisers with Bravo IIIs, Mercury 150 Fourstroke
    Dean,
    Great write up. I am glad you enjoyed MV and Cuttyhunk. They are both great cruising spots. Sorry we missed you at Block, I would have stopped by that night in OB for a drink if I had known.
     
  20. be_prepared

    be_prepared Member GOLD Sponsor

    196
    Oct 12, 2015
    Mattapoisett, MA
    2002 Sea Ray Sundancer 340DA
    Twin Mercruiser Horizon 8.1 inboards
    Nice summary of the trip. You had a plan, but kept flexible enough to deal with what mother nature offered.

    I'm glad you dinghy'd over to the Flotilla on Block Island so we had a chance to meet you guys. I can understand that you didn't want to give up the mooring closer to the action on the other side of the harbor near the marinas, much shorter dinghy ride. It was a nice long weekend on the Block, and Pam and I enjoyed getting a chance to meet some of the folks from CSR.

    Cheers - Ron
     

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