They say “anybody who’s anybody” vacations on Martha’s Vineyard during the month of August every single year. I guess that explains why you’ll find former President Obama and family, the BET film festival, and HBCU-hosted parties—among other things—on the island throughout the month. The island may be small and close-knit, but there’s more than enough to keep you occupied for the full duration of your trip, whether it’s for a weekend or the entire month.
One of the first things you have to do once you arrive at the vineyard is jump off what is now affectionately known as “Jaws Bridge,” thanks to its appearance in the 1975 Spielberg film. It is, without a doubt, a rite of passage for kids … and honestly adults too. Located on Beach Road in between Oak Bluffs and Edgartown, the 15-foot bridge is hard to miss because there are always dozens of people sitting on the ledge awaiting the right moment to take that leap. Despite signs that say “no jumping” or “keep off bridge,” tourists jump and flip from sunup to sundown. Make sure to set aside a little time to
experience this tradition.
You can’t visit Martha’s Vineyard and not spend time at the Inkwell—notably one of the main reasons African Americans want to visit. As I mentioned last week, “the Inkwell” was a disparaging nickname given to the beach by white vacationers because of the number of Blacks who would be there. These days, although the beach is a little more racially diverse, it still attracts hundreds of vacationers on the island. One thing to note is that a day at the beach in Martha’s Vineyard is a little like camping. There aren’t any companies renting beach chairs or umbrellas, so beachgoers must bring their own. And interestingly enough, there aren’t any stores near the beach, so any food or drink you want to enjoy while laying out needs to be packed and brought over. (But please remember glassware should never be at a beach. My boyfriend stepped on a piece of broken glass when we were at the Inkwell.) Although the Inkwell is the most famous beach on the island, it definitely isn’t the only one. Lots of people we ran into while we were there told us they were spending their days on South Beach, a state beach almost directly
south of the Inkwell.
If the day isn’t sunny, or you aren’t the type of person to spend hours at a time lying on a beach, take time to explore both Oak Bluffs and Edgartown. They are vastly different. The town of Oak Bluffs has a ton of activity throughout the entire day. You can walk around the harbor, ride “America’s oldest carousel,” play games in a two-story arcade, dine at modest waterfront restaurants or shop at locally owned shops on Circuit Avenue. Make sure you swing by C’est la Vie while on Circuit. It’s a local gift store that has been owned by a Black man for more than three decades. It’s the best place to buy your Martha’s Vineyard or Inkwell gear—even Obama agrees. The owner also offers a variety of sorority/fraternity-specific gear.