When I was thinking about writing this post, I stumbled a bit. I wanted to cover new territory, come at the island from a different angle, if you know what I mean. I didn’t want to talk about restaurants specifically, or museums, or other establishments that I love so much. There are already several posts along those lines on this website. I’ll write more of them in the future, but why not look for something else? I’ve also written a few posts that are JAWS related. There will be more of those too—I guarantee it. Of course, I’ve written about my mystery novels and posted excerpts. That’s always fun for me. I remember really enjoying writing the post about the beaches because it was about the island itself. Menemsha Hills probably falls under that same category. The category of the island’s natural beauty. That’s when I decided that a post about Martha’s Vineyard sunsets would be just the thing.
I’ve commented a lot in several of these pieces about my love of a good sunrise and I have to admit, given the choice, I would pick a sunrise over a sunset every time. I love the idea of new beginnings—the thrill of starting a new day. But there is no way around it—sunsets can be spectacular. I remember a friend coming to the island for the first time, and as she was in awe of the sunsets here. She was from Newfoundland, which is on Canada’s east coast and she had spent a great deal of vacation time in the Caribbean. Never, had she seen sunsets that compared to the Martha’s Vineyard sunsets. I whole-heartedly agree with her. They are special. Each one is singular. It doesn’t matter where you are on the island, the sunset is a treat.
Edgartown is an incredible theatre for just about anything, but if you are in the mood for watching a truly wonderful sunset, there are a few seats in the house of which you should be aware. Keep in mind that the sun will be setting on the opposite side of the island, so while the sky will be pretty looking toward the Edgartown Lighthouse, looking away from the lighthouse is where all of the action is. Sitting on the beach on Chappaquiddick, right by the ferry, is a great spot. If you are on Chappy, looking back over Edgartown as the sun sets, you will not be disappointed. Nor will you be disappointed if you pull your car over to the side of Beach road and watch the sun go down over Sengekontacket Pond.
Sitting on the upper deck at The Seafood Shanty is an ideal spot. Many of the patrons, myself included, will stop eating their meal, and catch a photo of a really spectacular sunset, although t’s really hard to have a bad one. If the weather is nice enough to have a meal outside, it’s going to be a beautiful night, so have your cameras at the ready.
Of course, the best seats to watch a sunset in Edgartown—in my opinion, the best seats on the whole island—are the seats on Tigress of Catboat Charters. Book a sunset tour, let Captain Kurt take you through Edgartown Harbor, and out onto the cusp of the outer harbour and Vineyard Sound. Sit back, and enjoy the show. You will not be disappointed. That’s the stuff from which lifetime memories are made.
As you would expect, there isn’t a bad spot on Chappaquiddick to watch the sunset. Chappaquiddick is one of my favourite places in the world. There is a magic about it, and watching the sun go down on that very special island only enhances the mystery.Whether you are at the northern most point, Cape Poge—who doesn’t love a sunset with a lighthouse?—or at the southern tip—sunset and a seven mile beach?—watching the sun go down on Chappy will ‘fix what ails ya’.
This piece is difficult to write without repeating myself, but the fact of the matter is—there is no bad place on Martha’s Vineyard to see a sunset, if that’s what you are of a mind to do. In Oak Bluffs, the deck of Nancy’s Restaurant overlooking the harbour, is definitely the best place to watch it all happen. This is not a secret, so if that is your intention, go a little bit early to secure a spot! I know, I know, it’s such a hardship to go early, drink dirty bananas, and/or Bad Martha’s, and watch the boats go by on the harbour, but do your best. Suffer through. The end result will be worth it.
Now, we’re on the western side of the island and as I mentioned before, this is where the action is. The sun rises in the east and sets in the west. Aquinnah has the added benefit of the ninety foot cliffs. In the theatre of Martha’s Vineyard, Aquinnah is the balcony. With the ocean rolling in beneath you and the seagulls flying across the sky, these sunsets are broad and expansive—epic. If the beach is more your scene, walk Moshup Beach, build a fire, roast some scallops or some lobster. Does someone have a guitar? This is why people come to Martha’s Vineyard. Take full advantage.
You will need to go early. Islanders, tourists, and summer DINK’s, all cram as many friends and family as they can into their cars and head to Menemsha Beach for the sunset. The line-ups at Larsen’s and Menemsha Fish Market will be long, but again, worth it and somehow all part of the experience. It’s not the same as waiting in line for a Starbucks on Wall Street. Is it the fact that we’re all in bathing suits and t-shirts? Some of us are in flight-flops—those of us who are wearing shoes at all. Is that why we don’t mind the line up?
Everyone is laughing and talking about the sailing they did that day, or the swimming on their beach of choice. Is it the fact that they’ve been eating lobster since they got to the island and they just don’t care? I think it’s all of the above. Menemsha sunsets are a thing. They are certainly beautiful. Blankets are spread on the beach and people laugh and talk, and share bottles of wine with their neighbours. They share about their day’s goings on. They’re all strangers who know each other intimately. If you are there on Menemsha Beach for the sunset, then you get it. You understand. It connects us all. It’s probably why you’re reading this post. It’s Martha’s Vineyard.