One of the biggest misconceptions about Martha’s Vineyard is that it takes a bundle to enjoy the Island. Not so, we say! Don’t let a light pocket keep you from coming over to the Vineyard for a visit. Besides the easily accessible sandy beaches lapped by crystalline clear water, July and August offer a serious selection of free events every day of the week. We’ve collected a few of these weekly options just to get you started, but our calendar of events suggests even more choices, available only on a given day or week. Read on to see what’s free on Martha’s Vineyard.
On Sundays, check out the Artisans Festivals up at the West Tisbury Grange Hall from 10 am – 2pm. This will also give you the opportunity to visit the town of West Tisbury, the heart of the Vineyard farming community. Built in 1859 and now owned by the MV Preservation Trust, the old Hall holds many memories for generations of Islanders. Nearby, Alley’s General Store (‘If we don’t have it you don’t need it’) is worth a browse. Its porch is well known (some would say infamous) as the Island’s enduring gossip ground zero.
Monday head even further up Island to take in the Farm Tour at Grey Barn and Farm in Chilmark. Meet at the farmstand at 10 am for an hour-long tour of one of the Island’s active farms and dairies. Along the way, note the still-intact stone walls that enclosed sheep and farmland in days gone by. If you are traveling on Middle Road in the direction of Beetlebung Corner, Fulling Mill Preserve is on the left 0.5 miles after the road’s intersection with the Tabor House Road. One of the Island’s earliest industries (1694) the fulling mill was used to ‘full’ – clean and thicken – the locally spun woolen cloth.
On Tuesday there is music in the air at the Harbor View Hotel, where mvyradio’s Porch Concert Series is held from 6 pm -7 pm. Come early or stay after and explore the beach directly across from this historic hotel property where the Edgartown Lighthouse stands sentinel at the mouth of the harbor.
Wednesday takes us back up Island to the Chilmark Flea Market in the pasture at 142 North Road. Open from 9 am- 2 pm, this, the granddaddy of Island flea markets, is a wonderful adventure through Island history, hand-me-downs, crafts and more. Having moved from the churchyard in Chilmark to its new expansive space, the ‘Flea’ now has the added benefit of being in the middle of a summertime Island field with its intoxicating grassy aroma, and drowsing buzzings and chirpings emanating from the surrounding underbrush.
On Thursday, it’s back to Edgartown, this time to Eisenhauer Gallery’s Music in the Square featuring a different Island musical talent each week from 6 pm to 8 pm. Take this opportunity to view the Gallery and then take a stroll and enjoy the view from the nearby Memorial Wharf.
There’s more free music on Friday. This time its Live Music in the Beer Garden at Bad Martha’s Brewery on upper Main Street from 3 pm to 6 pm. Or, if you prefer, head to Oak Bluffs for the Sunset Concert Series at the Tabernacle from 6 pm to 7:30 pm. to hear some of the Island’s most popular musicians. Before or after the concert, wander the winding paths lined by historic gingerbread cottages. Constructed by families in the 1800s to replace the tents that provided shelter for those attending the summer Campmeetings, these have, in many cases, been passed down through generations and remain beloved vacation spots for their current occupants.
The day starts early on Saturday when the Friends of Sengekontacket invite you to take part in its free one-hour program, Saturdays on Sengekontacket. Explore a different aspect of Sengekontacket Pond each week from 9:30 am – 10:30 am. When it’s over, there’s still time to enjoy the pond itself. Influenced by tides, the pond is ideal for wading, bird watching and, in windy weather, watching windsurfers skim its surface. Then there’s still time to catch the weekly Farmer’s Market in West Tisbury, where local farmers offer farm fresh produce and home made pantry items