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Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

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Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

My girlfriend and I are traveling to Martha’s Vineyard June 12-16, 2018. She lived there for a summer years ago but I have never been there. I have a few questions.

1. Is the traffic leaving the Cape especially heavy on a Saturday in early June?

2.Should we have a car? As in, is the convenience worth the expense and challenge of getting across on the ferry. Is renting a bike enough to enjoy MV?

3.Is it a long/trafficky drive from the Edgartown to Vineyard Haven/Oak Bluffs ports during the morning on a summer Saturday? The ferry leaving MV’s Edgartown port are sold out already, at the time we want to leave on Saturday so we are considering driving from our rental to Vineyard Haven/Oak Bluffs.

4. Does anyone know how long in advance we should arrive before the ferry (WoodsHole to MV and back) departs and what happens if we miss our ferry? Are we allowed to board the next one, room permitting?

5. And finally, it is an option to board the ferry in New Bedford MA, or in Rhode Island, and avoid all Cape Cod traffic. Is this advisable in order to avoid traffic this early in the season? Or is the traffic still light June 12- June 16?

14 replies to this topic
Boston, MA
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1. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

Hi, to answer in order - your questions are a bit confusing as some seem to assume a car on the island and others don't

1. traffic leaving the Cape on that Saturday in June should not be a problem. School in Massachusetts doesn't end until the next week - or even later - and that is when the Saturday to Saturday cottage switch-over starts in earnest.

2. You will be fine without a car on the Vineyard as there are lots of options for getting around, including bikes.

3. It should not be a long trafficky drive from Edgartown to either Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven on that Saturday morning (see answer 1 above). There aren't traffic jams on the Vineyard that early in June. There will be some traffic around the ferry docks but they are pretty good about keeping things moving.

4. You should get to the parking lot for the ferry about 45 minutes or so before the boat you want to take is scheduled to leave. You will be directed by signs along Rt. 28 in Falmouth to the parking area and from there, you take a shuttle to the dock. It is about a 10-15 minute ride. Then you buy your tickets at the terminal at the dock. They take credit cards & cash. If you are not bringing a car, you can get on any ferry out of Woods Hole without a reservation. Same with leaving the island.

5. No (see #1 above)

If you decide to take the car over, you should make a reservation asap. All of my responses are based on the Steamship Authority ferry.

Edited: 18 April 2018, 13:53
New Orleans...
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2. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

Traffic to the Cape will not be an issue in June. After the winter we have had public schools will go right up to the end of June.

Bikes are Ok between the major towns down island but you cannot safely bike out to Chilmark or Aquinnah. Also, the island is bigger than you may think. There are public buses or you can use taxis, bring your car, or rent a car there.

If you are bringing a car over, you may not be able to get on the next ferry trip automatically if you miss your reservation n. In June, it is probably not an issue. If you are coming on a car ferry you need to be in the ferry line AT LEAST 30 minutes before the time of the ferry. If not, allow plenty of time to get into a Steamship Authority parking lot which will bring you to the ferry by bus.

If you are just going over without a car, you don't need a reservation at all.

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3. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

This is great information. Clearly you are a regular on MV.

And yes my questions were confusing because some were regarding bringing the car and others were about not taking it (My personal preference for many reasons).

Thank you so much Kendrick.

And thank you Cambridgtravler. I had to assume the bike option would limit us some. Will probably rent a car for a few days to go to points far, and then stay local with bikes the rest of the time.

Edited: 19 April 2018, 01:02
Chicago, IL
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4. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

Joan, you don't say from which direction you are coming. If you are approaching the Cape from the south then I think it is a marvelous idea to use the New Bedford ferry and skip driving through the Cape as long as the schedule is suitable for you. It's another option for you.

New Orleans...
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5. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

As far as having a car, I think having one on Martha's Vineyard for a couple of days would really add to your experience. There are views and areas that you wont see any other way, particularly up island. Different people experience MV different ways, I have spent much less time in the towns than I have up island and to me it is the most special part of MV.

Boston...
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6. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

Think about renting a car just for 24 hours on the island. It is very expensive over there, although that's understandable. But if you plan, you can see a lot of stuff in the rural areas within that time.

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7. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

Re questions 1 & 3 - I have similar questions but for a few weeks later.. Does anyone have any thoughts on what traffic might be like from Boston to Woods Hole on the morning of 6/30? And then from Edgartown to Oak Bluffs on the morning of 7/7, both of my ferry reservations are around lunchtime. Thanks.

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8. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

Boston to Woods Hole on Sat June 30 will be heavy traffic no matter what time of day you go. Many locals will take that whole week of because of the 4th of July and will drive down that day. Leave plenty of time, especially if you are taking your car over..There is nothing you can do but relax, turn the radio up, and enjoy the fact that you are on your way to the Vineyard.

There are sometimes ridiculous traffic jams among the towns down island. Again, just leave time.

San Francisco...
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9. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

That's what I feared! Thanks... On 6/30, my ferry from Woods Hole is 2:50pm and I am taking my car so I am in serious trouble if I miss it. Do you think I'd be ok leaving Boston at 10am? And if I'm lucky enough to be early, just hang out in Falmouth for a while?

Then on 7/7 my ferry is 12:50 so I should aim to leave Edgartown at 11:30?

New Orleans...
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10. Re: Lots of questions from a first-time visitor

Yes, I would leave NO later than 10 and head down to Woods Hole. It is a cute village and you might be able to walk around and have lunch before you get your car in line for the ferry, which you need to do NO later than 2:10.

On the way back, you need to be staged at the OB ferry at 12:20. I think you'll be fine if you leave half an hour to get there.

Have fun, this little piece seems stressful but overall you're going to have a great time.

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