Menemsha, Martha's Vineyard

Summer 2022
John Andrews
Wed 31 Aug 2016 23:56
41:21.2N  70:46.0W


A six hour passage took us to the northwestern end of Martha’s Vineyard to the tiny harbour of Menemsha. There are two moorings in the harbour and three boats can hang off each mooring. This led to a very sociable two nights with different boats mooring alongside us. As chance would have it, Victoria, Phil and Christine’s daughter was on a short vacation on the island and we had a very agreeable evening catching up with her and meeting her friends.

The harbour is still a working fishing harbour and there are numerous sea-food shacks selling the freshest fish and seafood. It is a very small, unpretentious settlement and was apparently used to film some of the scenes from Jaws.

On Wednesday, once we had seen off our neighbouring boats, we took the ‘bicycle’ ferry over the narrow channel to the inner lagoon, and walked to the Gays Head Lighthouse. 

This is a magnificent brick-built lighthouse that sits on top of the multi-coloured clay cliffs. 

These are unfortunately unstable and a few years ago the light house was physically moved on rollers to a new site a few hundred yards away from the cliff edge.

The lighthouse is constructed on land reserved for the Wampanoag tribe whose oral history says they have lived on the island since it was attached to the mainland, over 4,500 years ago. We passed several signs on our walk up to the lighthouse marking out their tribal territory and members of the tribe run the gift shops and restaurants at the foot of the lighthouse.