Marthas Vineyard : Massachusetts


What It Is Like to Retire in Marthas Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard is a large and affluent island about 7 miles off the coast of Cape Cod in Massachusetts.  The year round population is about 16,000 but during the summer months it swells over 100,000. Several U.S. Presidents have spent their summer vacations here, notably Bill Clinton and Barack Obama.  According to this quote from Wikipedia, Martha's Vineyard is made up of 7 towns:

  • Tisbury, which includes the main village of Vineyard Haven, and the West Chop peninsula. It is the island's primary port of entry for people and cargo, supplemented by the seasonal port in Oak Bluffs.
  • Edgartown, which includes Chappaquiddick island and Katama. Edgartown is noted for its rich whaling tradition, and is the island's largest town by population and area. It is one of the island's "wet" towns.
  • Oak Bluffs is most well known for its gingerbread cottages, open harbor, and its vibrant town along busy Circuit Avenue. Oak Bluffs enjoys a reputation as one of the more active night-life towns on the island for both residents and tourists, and is also a "wet" town. It was known as "Cottage City" from its separation from Edgartown in 1880 until its reincorporation as Oak Bluffs in 1907. Oak Bluffs includes several communities that have been popular destinations for affluent African Americans since the early 20th century.[39] It also includes the East Chop peninsula, Lagoon Heights and Harthaven.
  • West Tisbury is the island's agricultural center, and hosts the beloved well known Martha's Vinyard Agricultural Fair in late August each year.
  • Chilmark, including the fishing village of Menemsha. Chilmark is also rural and features the island's hilliest terrain.
  • Aquinnah, Aquinnah is home to the Wampanoag Indian tribe and the famous Clay cliffs.

Where to Retire in Marthas Vineyard and Home Prices

There are many great places to live on Martha's Vineyard, if you can afford it. In Vineyard Haven the median home sold for about $681,000 in early 2020. In Edgartown the Home Value Index was $1,001,914. Some homes near the water go for much more.


What Is Special about Marthas Vineyard

Martha's Vineyard is one of the most charming, beautiful places on earth.  It has great beaches and restaurants.  A wonderful place to relax, and once you are here you will not want to leave.


What Is Not Special about Marthas Vineyard

It is hard to get to and get off the island, particularly if you want to take your car on the ferry. Everything here is much more expensive than on the mainland. Traffic can be aggravating in July and August and restaurants hard to get into. The winters are quite quiet, while August is a madhouse.


Who Will Like Retirement in Marthas Vineyard

The median age is close to the Mass. median.  People who want to enjoy the summer, spring, and fall in more of a relaxed setting will love it here.  Winter is not for everyone  - while not especially cold because it is surrounded by ocean, it can get lonely and not much is open. Better for retirement as a 2nd home.


Local Economy Is Driven by

Tourism and construction are the big industries, along with caring for the many seasonal homes.

Climate and Physical Environment

Since MV is an island the temperature is much more moderate than just a few miles across the way to the mainland. Winters are a little warmer and summers cooler. In August the temperature typically ranges from 62 to 78, while in January from 25 to 38. You can expect rain about 7 days a month.

Restaurants & Cultural Scene

MV has long been populated with famous writers and artists. There are movie theaters and good libraries in the bigger towns. There are film festivals including the African American Film Festival in August. There is a good suggestion of restaurants because there are so many tourists. The month of October is dedicated to the Arts with many festivals and exhibitions. Some cultural institutions include: Aquinnah Cultural Center, African American Heritage Trail, Featherstone Center for the Arts, Local Wild Food Challenge, Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association, Martha's Vineyard Film Society & M. V. International Film Festival, Martha’s Vineyard Food & Wine Festival, and Martha’s Vineyard Museum.


There is some tourist related crime but not very much.

Medical Facilities

Martha's Vineyard Hospital in Oak Bluffs provides medical care for the entire island. There are also walk-in clinics available.


Cars are discouraged in MV because of the traffic they cause. You can ride a bike or scooter safely in much of the island. Ferries from Woods Hole, New Bedford, and Providence are of different types (high speed and regular that carry cars). The airport can be a good way to get to Boston or New York.

Valuable Links

Wikipedia page for Martha's Vineyard

What people are saying about Marthas Vineyard

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