Planes, ferries, and automobiles
Q. I’m creating save-the-date cards for my fall 2012 wedding, and I’m looking for information to include for my guests on how to get to the Vineyard. Any advice?
– Getting Theyah from Heyah
A. I can’t commend you enough for assisting your guests in advance planning with informational save-the-date cards. It seems as if every year there are new ways to travel between the Vineyard and points beyond, both by air and sea. As of 2011, airlines servicing the Vineyard include Cape Air, Delta, JetBlue, and US Airways, flying from points including Boston, Providence, New York, and Washington, DC. Check out the Martha’s Vineyard Airport website (www.mvyairport.com).
In addition to the good old Steamship Authority (www.steamshipauthority.com), which is the only ferry for vehicles, there are several passenger ferries that offer transport to Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown, including the New England Fast Ferry (www.nefastferry.com) from New Bedford, Falmouth Ferry (www.falmouthedgartownferry.com), and Island Queen (www.islandqueen.com) out of Falmouth, Hy-Line Cruises (www.hylinecruises.com) out of Hyannis, the SeaStreak (www.seastreak.com) from New York, and the Vineyard Fast Ferry (www.vineyardfastferry.com) out of Rhode Island.
Peter Pan Bus Lines (www.peterpanbus.com) will bring your guests to the Woods Hole ferry dock from Boston, Providence, and New York City.
Q. We’re getting married at the Edgartown Lighthouse with a reception in Oak Bluffs. With limited parking, how do we get our guests from ceremony to reception?
– Lighthouse Bride
A. There are many rental options available to get your folks from wedding to reception – some practical, some stylish, and some a little bit of both. Island Transport (www.islandbustours.com) provides full-size buses for large groups, and for fewer passengers, it offers classic old-fashioned red trolleys.
If you’re looking for a van to come and go as needed at the end of the night, contact one of the many Vineyard taxi services to reserve one for the evening.
And don’t forget to plan for your own transport. As a wedding attendant, I have traveled between ceremony and feast in a yacht, a limo, and an antique car, to name a few. If you want to go super old-school, try a horse and buggy (Sonny Side Bridal Buggy, 508-566-9651). Or if you prefer a little swankier style, try Vineyard Limousine (www.vineyardlimousine.com).
Q. My friends are wondering if they should bring a car to the Vineyard, or whether there are useful alternatives. What’s the latest?
– Getting Around
A. There are several ways to get from one place to another once you arrive on Martha’s Vineyard. There is the obvious choice of bringing over a car, but it comes with several caveats, including the expense. It’s also crucial to reserve ferry space for your car as early as possible, especially if you’re planning a wedding in-season; summer car reservations are available starting in January. With a car, there is the added stress of limited parking in downtown areas. And let’s not forget many of your guests may be in a, shall we say, celebratory mood, and you don’t want to ruin your special day with a DUI.
There are several car rental options on-Island, mostly located conveniently at the airport and near ferry terminals. Again, keep in mind parking issues and alcohol consumption.
If you have guests who plan to do some daytime exploring during their visit, bike rentals are a fun way to see the Island. (Mopeds are available as well, but I cannot in good conscience recommend them, lest you also want to take a ride in an ambulance. The Island’s narrow, winding roads were not designed for mopeds, and motorized vehicles are not allowed on the bike paths.)
Last but not least, the Vineyard Transit Authority (www.vineyardtransit.com) operates regular and reliable buses year-round between all Island towns, and passengers can flag down the buses in many places between the regular posted stops. A one-day bus pass is $7 and a three-day pass costs $15; some thoughtful couples have included bus passes and Island maps in their welcome packages for bridal party members and/or guests. The VTA buses also have racks to accommodate bikes, so if you’re a bit tuckered out after your long ride to the Gay Head Cliffs, you can bus it back down-Island.
Q. We want to incorporate some boating in our weekend wedding celebration. What do you suggest?
– We Need a (Bigger) Boat
A. It would be too bad to bring friends and family all the way to Martha’s Vineyard without taking them out for some fun on the water, and fortunately there are plenty of options to suit all skill and adventure levels. Take your crew out fishing or go on a sunset sail; there are charters for both. For more physical activity, try kayaking or paddle boarding on Sengekontacket Pond (www.islandsspirit.com). The Trustees of Reservations has guided natural-history and kayak tours of its Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge on Chappaquiddick and other Island properties (www.thetrustees.org).
For some high-flying sightseeing over the water and a bird’s-eye view of the Island, try parasailing (www.mvoceansports.com). One venue at which I have yet to attend a wedding celebration is out on the ocean itself. Why not just do the whole thing on a boat? Some boat lines, such as SeaStreak (www.seastreak.com) offer their ships for private party charters, and the Island’s harbors are full of boats that can accommodate smaller groups. Talk about a day to remember!
[Originally published in the 2012 issue of Martha's Vineyard Magazine's Island Weddings.]