The Obamas spend time in Martha's Vineyard every summer for a reason. Here's what you need to know about the island hotspot.
Martha's Vineyard, affectionately referred to as "The Vineyard" by Northeasterners, is a magical place that is the real life equivalent to pressing the reset button on your spirit. I recently visited The Vineyard with a group of family and friends, some of whom had mixed feelings about the destination because they heard that there wasn't much to do on-site. They left the island believers, with a totally changed outlook and already planning their next trip back. Here are five reasons we're sold on the popular travel destinations the Obamas frequent every summer.
1. It's Magic
Martha's Vineyard is the most at-peace destination I've been to so far in the United States. The vibe is comparable to the Caribbean in that you're surrounded by waterfronts and beaches, there's greenery everywhere, there's peace and quiet at all times and the people are warm and welcoming. Living in a major city, Martha's Vineyard is a great escape from sirens, pushing through mobs of people to get to work, rush hour traffic, or rushing, period. Time moves slowly, everything looks and feels cozy and you walk around with the weight of your everyday life lifted off of your shoulders. The island provides a tranquil energy that's hard to put into words, but it's worth the escape for sure. It will easily become your "Happy Place" and you'll quickly understand why it's the great annual escape for so many couples, families and busy young adults.
2. Summer is EVERYTHING
Because Martha's Vineyard is in the Northeast, you will get blistering winters, so visiting in the spring and fall is cool if you're an all-season type of traveler, but know that Martha's Vineyard definitely comes alive in the summer. Seasonal venues open and are full of life, outdoor bars like Donovan's Reef are serving specialty frozen cocktails, an abundance of ice cream shops are serving unbelievable flavors and beyond that, summer is the perfect season for walking around the historic Oak Bluffs neighborhood viewing colorful homes with perfectly manicured lawns, the waterfront, beaches and more. There's no surprise The Obamas have made this their summer vacation destination for the last 10+ years.
3. Getting There
There are several ways to get to Martha's Vineyard. Because it's an island, driving directly isn't an option!
Option A - You can fly directly to Martha's Vineyard from some major cities like New York City where the flights are typically under $250 round trip except on peak weekends. The flight is under an hour and Martha's Vineyard airport is the cutest little quaint airport you've ever seen, with rustic decor and rocking chairs to relax while you wait.
Option B - Take the Fast Ferry from Rhode Island. This passenger-only, 45 minute boat ride is scenic and quick, however, some people (including myself) have experienced motion sickness via this route. If you aren't prone to motion sickness, ride those waves and get there on a dime!
Option C – Take a ferry from cities like Boston, New York City and more. Unlike the fast ferry, these other ferry options move a little bit slower, and some even allow you to drive your car onto the boat so that you have a set of wheels to explore The Vineyard with when you arrive.
4. Food Is Amazing
The food and restaurant scene alone is worth the trip to Martha's Vineyard. There are all types of cuisines available, but if you are a seafood lover, you will be in heaven. Find fresh fish caught out of the Northeast Atlantic, shrimp and crab cakes and lobster rolls at every turn. It's divine. There's also a great Southern and American brunch selection at restaurants such as Art Cliff Diner and Biscuits.
5. Renting Homes
There are a few cool hotels that you can stay in while visiting Martha's Vineyard such as Summercamp Hotel and Pequot Hotel, which are both more like bed and breakfasts, but the best lodging option when visiting the island is to rent a house. Airbnb.com and Homeaway.com provide amazing house rentals in Martha's Vineyard offering options for everything from a short weekend to weekly, monthly or summer long rentals. Plan in advance and get an amazing house that's walking distance to everything you need in Oak Bluffs.