Ten Fun Facts


Summer is here! Time for suntans and boat drinks, lazy days and starlit nights. Yep, it’s life off the leash season for sure! To get the season rolling, we thought we’d share 10 fun facts about our island home – Martha’s Vineyard. 

Let’s start with some history:

1. Did you know that Martha’s Vineyard was named after British explorer, Bartholomew Gosnold’s daughter, Martha (and perhaps a lot of grapevines)? He crossed the Atlantic in 1602 and landed on Cape Cod, before discovering the tiny island 4 miles to its south. Thank goodness he did!  

2. The Flying Horses Carousel in Oak Bluffs is the oldest operating platform carousel in the world. It was built in 1876. Grab the brass ring and your ride is free! 

3. For those “Jaws” fans (and let’s face it, who isn’t a fan?!), a stop at Menemsha Harbor is a must! See where the Orca was docked before her fateful trip. And while you are there, hang out for a while so you don’t miss the sunset. It is by far the best on the island! 

4. If you’re interested in America’s maritime history, stop by the Black Dog Wharf to see the schooner Alabama (if you take the ferry into Vineyard Haven, you will steam right by her!). Built in 1926 for the Mobile, Alabama Bar Pilots, she served until her retirement in 1966. She was completely rebuilt by our founder, Captain Robert Douglas, and began sailing again in 1996. Enjoy the splendor of this beauty on a day or sunset sail. Martha's Vineyard Sunset Cruise in MA | The Black Dog Tall Ships 

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For those visiting the island with their four-legged friends: 

5. Make sure to visit our Black Dog General Stores, which are all pet-friendly. Stop by our Circuit Avenue store in Oak Bluffs, our Dockside Outlet on OB harbor, our Edgartown General Store on Water Street or our Vineyard Haven General Store, BD Gear and Whitefoot Kids Store, all on the harbor on our Vineyard Haven Campus. All well-behaved pups get a special treat! 

6. Stop by Martha’s Vineyard’s first year-round restaurant – The Black Dog Tavern, on picturesque Vineyard Haven harbor. Pups are welcome at our outdoor bar area. If you are in the mood for a more casual meal (or some dessert!), visit our Black Dog Bakery Café on State Road in Vineyard Haven. Our outdoor patio is not only a tranquil oasis, but also pet-friendly!  

7. If your pup likes adventure, hop on the Chappy ferry in Edgartown to the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, a tranquil seven-mile barrier beach complete with a salt pond and grove of hundred-year-old red cedars. Dogs are allowed throughout the refuge as long as they remain on-leash– it doesn’t get any better than this!

8. For our friends who love to explore nature, Martha’s Vineyard offers miles of hiking trails along beautiful oceanfront vistas, open fields, and inland woods. For an off-leash hike with your pup, try Tradewinds Field Preserve in Vineyard Haven. For a full list of hiking on the island, check out MV Chamber of Commerce’s hiking map.  Hiking on Martha's Vineyard (mvy.com).  

9. Is your pup a beach bum? Unfortunately, pups are not allowed on most beaches during the summer season, but you can bring your leashed pup to Lighthouse Beach and nearby Fuller Beach in Edgartown before 9am and after 5pm for a sunrise or sunset stroll.  

Last but certainly not least: 

10. If you want to speak the language of the locals, “Up-Island” refers to the western areas of Aquinnah, Chilmark, Menemsha, and West Tisbury. “Down-Island” refers to Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown.

We hope you put these island essentials to work and look forward to seeing you on the beaches, trails, or at The Black Dog this summer!


Map of Martha's Vineyad. Source: Labov (1963)