Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard, one of New England’s premier vacation destinations. Our island offers innumerable summertime activities and the Madison Inn is the ideal location from which to enjoy them all. Our in-town location is just steps from the Oak Bluffs Harbor, all public transportation, beaches, bike rentals, hiking trails, kayak rentals, and superb shopping and dining. Not sure what to see first? Take an island tour!
We want to help make your stay amazing, and below is a list of activities we recommend. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, just ask!
The Oak Bluffs Town Beach is a just around the corner from the Madison Inn. Located across from Ocean Park, this calm, shallow, sandy beach is ideal for lounging for an hour, or all day. Guests of the Madison Inn enjoy complimentary beach chairs, towels, and umbrellas, available at the front desk. A mile out of town (toward Edgartown) is State Beach, stretching for 5 miles between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. State Beach is also calm and gentle, and is also famous for being the location where “Jaws” was filmed. It’s also the home of “The Big Bridge”. Jumping off of The Big Bridge and plunging into the waters below is an island tradition and a delight for tourists and islanders alike. See www.mvol.com/beaches for further information about public beaches on Martha’s Vineyard.
Bicycle rentals are available from Bill Anderson’s Bike Rentals (www.andersonsbikerentals.com). Mr Anderson has been renting bikes for 42 years and has everything you need to make your biking safe and fun. Anderson’s is just two blocks from the Madison Inn, and we have a locked storage room to store your bike if you keep it overnight. Martha’s Vineyard has miles and miles of scenic bike paths to explore, and Anderson’s will provide you with a map. We always recommend the ride to Edgartown, an easy ten-mile round-trip that takes you along Nantucket Sound, past oceanfront homes and resorts, and into picturesque downtown Edgartown. For the more adventurous, add the loop out to the Katama sand plains. Breathtaking scenery abounds!
Martha’s Vineyard, known for it’s sandy beaches and historic and charming seaside villages, also has hundreds of acres of conservation land open to the public, including woodlands, sand plains, beaches, lighthouses, farm land, pasture, ponds, and wetlands . If you are a walker or a hiker, Martha’s Vineyard will delight you with its countless opportunities for exploring our beautiful island. Many of our favorite walks are up-island, in West Tisbury and Chilmark, and are easy to get to by car, but require some planning to get to if you’re taking the bus.These are the three organizations that list the majority of the Vineyard’s conservation properties: www.thetrustees.org, www.sheriffsmeadow.org, www.mvlandbank.com. Our top 3 favorite walks are Waskosim’s Rock Reservation, Fulling Mill Brook Preserve, and Cedar Tree Neck Sanctuary.
There are two golf courses open to the public on Martha’s Vineyard: Farm Neck and Mink Meadows. Farm Neck is located in Oak Bluffs, about one mile from the center of town. Farm Neck features an 18-hole course with sweeping views of Vineyard Sound and Sengekontacket Pond, as well as a fabulous cafe open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner (in-season). Mink Meadows is located in Vineyard Haven and is a 9-hole course created by Wayne Stiles in 1936. Also designed to take advantage of superb water views, it looks toward the Elizabeth Islands and Woods Hole. Farm Neck is the more expensive and the more challenging of the two courses, but both offer an excellent Vineyard golf experience
We know; who knew we had a fabulous frisbee golf course here on the island, free and open to the public year-round. Depending on the time of day (after work is especially busy), you can get some pretty intense disk throwers. We mean the kind of people that have a different frisbee for each part of the course, and for whom shooting par is a rarity. That being said, getting out and trying your hand at frisbee golf is great exercise and good fun. The site is located on an ancient riverbed that covers 15 acres. There are 18 “holes” (linked chain baskets actually) that weave through densely wooded terrain and out onto long open fairways. The Lazy Frog, on Circuit Avenue, is the best place to get disks and good advice about the course.
There are many wonderful, interesting, and unique stores and restaurants tucked away in our six beautiful towns; a truly comprehensive list would be very long.
Lobster rolls at sunset? A quiet inn with a secret garden tucked away up-island? The best mojitos and margaritas? We’re locals and we’ve sampled them all! Come find us at the front desk and we’ll happily recommend some of our favorite spots.
An additional resource to check out is www.mvol.com. Their website has a great directory of all the shops and restaurants on the island.
Kayak rentals and tours are available through Island Spirit Kayak www.islandspiritkayak.com. Located about a mile from the Madison Inn on State Beach, Island Spirit offers access to one of Martha’s Vineyards many beautiful inland ponds, Sengekontacket Pond, as well as to Nantucket Sound. If you are a novice, they will provide instruction, or you can join one of their many guided tours. Kayaking is a great way to get out on the water and experience the Vineyard in a whole new way. Kayak rentals are also available from The Trustees of Reservations, and a private company called Winds Up.
One of our strongest recommendations is to get out on the water and view the Vineyard from the sea, as mariners and explorers have done for hundreds of years. Plan an outing through Mad Max Catamaran www.madmaxmarina.com, or onboard one of the Black Dog Tall ships www.theblackdogtallships.com. Both companies provide day and evening excursions during the summer season.
Paddleboarding is another great way to spend the day on the water. Island Spirit, Martha’s Vineyard Ocean Sports, and Winds Up are the 3 companies that provide board rentals in the summer season. You can choose from paddling on Sengekontacket Pond, exploring Lagoon Pond, or navigating Oak Bluffs Harbor. If you’ve always wanted to try windsurfing, Winds Up gives lessons on a daily basis during the summer season.