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Martha’s Vineyard is the summer playground of the rich and famous . . . and everyone else. The population of the “Vineyard,” as the locals call it, is nearly 100,000 between Memorial Day and Labor Day, up substantially from the approximately 15,000 that are on the island during the rest of the year.
The summer jump in population brings with it crowded ferries, heavy traffic, booked hotels, packed restaurants and higher-than-the-rest-of-the-year “summer prices.” Of course, there’s a reason for all that: a New England island in the summer is filled with sunshine, spectacular sunsets, seafood and sand (of course).
But if you’re not into the beach scene, or you’re especially not into crowds, visit the island in spring, fall or even winter. Each season brings its own charms, although the “shoulder season” just before and just after summer tends to be the most enjoyable. In May, September and October, the weather is still pleasant, the prices are a bit friendlier and you’ll feel as though you (almost) have the island to yourself.
Being New England, the weather is rainy and cool in the spring, hot in the summer, brisk in the fall and cold in the winter. Being an island, the temperature and conditions are sometimes quite different than surrounding areas; in the winter, for instance, the ocean breezes can keep the island a bit warmer than the rest of Massachusetts and it’s not unfamiliar to see snow in the mainland and rain on the Vineyard.