Sponsored by the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival
Don’t let the passing of Labor Day deter you: Fall is one of the best times of the year to visit perpetually charming Edgartown, on Martha’s Vineyard. The island’s pace becomes more relaxed, and even as its as signature hydrangeas begin to fade, the deep autumn hues of mums and pumpkins add cheer and curb appeal to the white Greek Revival homes and businesses that help make Edgartown one of the most elegant communities in New England. Whether you’re looking for a great day-trip or planning a longer getaway, here are some terrific reasons to visit Edgartown this fall.
5 Reasons to Explore Edgartown This Fall
Experience the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival
An annual celebration of the island’s rich food traditions and ingredients, the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival (set this year for October 23–27 2019) puts a spotlight on local chefs and the farmers, fishermen, oyster producers, and artisans they work with. The 2019 festival, which Yankee sponsors,will includefour days and three nights of unique-to-the-island experiences and dinners with some of the region’s most notable and award-winning chefs, such as Daniel Boulud (Bar Boulud), Jeremy Sewall (Island Creek Oyster Bar, Row 34), Alex Pineda (Scampo), and Colin Lynch (Bar Mezzana). In an event inspired by her Yankee feature “The Great Lobster Roll Adventure,” senior food editor and co-host of Weekends with Yankee Amy Traverso will host a tasting at Harbor View Hotel of three types of lobster rolls with the Bettini Restaurant’s executive chef, Patrice Martineau. The festivities lead into the Grand Tasting, held under the tent at the Winnetu hotel. Taste and sip as you enjoy access to top chefs from Martha’s Vineyard, Boston, and beyond.
Stay at the Historic Harbor View Hotel
The landmark Harbor View Hotel, which recently underwent a major renovation, sits directly across the street from the Edgartown Lighthouse. For generations, the hotel (which appears on NewEngland.com’s list of “Favorite Martha’s Vineyard Hotels”) has provided the backdrop to many summer milestones and memories for guests and day-trippers alike. In October it’s home to some of Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival premiere events, but the “fresh off the island” themes of the festival can also be enjoyed year-round at the hotel’s two restaurants, Roxana and Bettini that offer a fresh take on Vineyard style and chef-inspired menus that showcase the season’s freshest offerings from local farms, fishing boats, foragers and markets.Tip: Save time to enjoy the spectacular ocean view, including the Edgartown Lighthouse and Chappaquiddick Island, from one of the rocking chairs that line the Harbor View’s porch.
Pop Into Rosewater Market & Take-Away
Tucked into the heart of Edgartown, on South Summer Street, Rosewater Market & Take-Away is the quintessential island general store and a great stop for a morning muffin and coffee or your provisions for the perfect picnic. A year-round business created by island residents, the market has all the charm of a classic general store and features assorted products from local and New England purveyors.
Tip: Experience Martha’s Vineyard as locals do — and get a window into the Edgartown community — by enjoying Rosewater’s excellent baked goods and coffee while people-watching from a table on the front patio.
Dine Out in Edgartown
Whether you are looking for an upscale dining experience or a casual one, Edgartown is brimming with options. Atria,in downtown Edgartown, offers an elegant menu that celebrates the best of New England farms. Atlantic Fish & Chop House is another favorite stop, both for its cuisine and its panoramic views of scenic Edgartown Harbor. Located among the bustling shops of Edgartown’s Main Street, The Port Hunteroffers a more low-key, relaxed dining experience, with a menu that boasts everything from specialty and craft cocktails to one of the best oyster selections on the island.
Tip: Beyond being a dining destination, The Port Hunter is known for its late-night lineup of live musicians.
Browse at Morning Glory Farm
Nothing says Martha’s Vineyard in the fall quite like a stop at Morning Glory Farm, the source of some of the island’s best and freshest ingredients. The farm, started in 1975, grows vegetables and small fruits on about 65 acres, and its annual Pumpkin Festival (set for October 14 in 2017) is a favorite Martha’s Vineyard fall event. Visit the large on-site farm stand for its locally famous zucchini bread and homemade pies through the end of December, and again starting in May, when the farm reopens for the season.
Tip: Be sure to leave time to explore the grounds around the farm store, lined with pumpkins and seasonal arrangements. It’s a living postcard of New England.
How to Get to Edgartown
The Steamship Authority (the only ferry that accommodates autos) provides year-round passenger and auto ferry service from the Cape Cod town of Woods Hole virtually all day long. Visit steamshipauthority.com for schedules, fares, directions, and parking information.
Martha’s Vineyard is home to two airports: one for private planes, the other serviced by Cape Air year-round from Boston and additional seasonal locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York. If you’re coming from New York, Washington, D.C., or the West Coast for the Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival in October, you’ll need to find your way to Boston first, then hop a Cape Air flight.
This post was first published in 2017 and has been updated.