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Where the President Plays: A Martha's Vineyard Guide for the Rest of Us

A Quick Guide to the Massachusetts Island of Martha's Vineyard


Obama Souvenirs on Martha's Vineyard

Souvenirs featuring President Barack Obama's name are for sale at Soft As A Grape in Edgartown, Massachusetts, on the island of Martha's Vineyard in 2009. Obama and his family vacationed on Martha's Vineyard in August of 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Win McNamee/Getty Images
Updated June 27, 2014
Like the Clintons before them, the Obama family has repeatedly selected Martha's Vineyard as their summer vacation destination. President Obama, his wife Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia vacationed on Martha's Vineyard at the secluded Blue Heron Farm in August of 2009, 2010 and 2011, and in 2013, they rented a 5,000-square-foot private home in Chilmark for their vacation.

See Photos from the Obamas' 2013 Stay and First Vacation on Martha's Vineyard

Planning your Martha's Vineyard escape should not be nearly as complicated: I can't imagine it is an easy trick coordinating accommodations for the president and his Secret Service entourage. A variety of Internet resources can make your Martha's Vineyard vacation planning easy.

Getting There

Martha's Vineyard is located seven miles off the coast of Cape Cod and is accessible via ferry. Find your island ferry transportation with my guide to Ferries serving Martha's Vineyard, Cape Cod and Nantucket.

The Steamship Authority's ferry from Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard makes several trips daily and operates year-round. The Ferry's Web site provides schedule and fare information, as well as directions to the departure point.

The Steamship Authority provides the only car transport to Martha's Vineyard, and in the summer, a vehicle reservation is a must. Reservations are a good idea during non-peak travel times, too, if you want to be absolutely certain that your car or other vehicle can make the trip with you.

If you're planning a visit of three days or less, my recommendation would be to leave your car behind. You'll find a number of other transportation options once you arrive on Martha's Vineyard including public shuttle buses, taxis and rental cars, mopeds and bicycles.

Need a rental car on Martha's Vineyard? Compare rental car prices with Expedia.

Martha's Vineyard can also be reached by air. Cape Air offers flights to the island from Boston, New Bedford and Hyannis, Massachusetts; White Plains, New York; and Providence, Rhode Island.

If you wish to reach the island via your own boat, contact the harbormaster in Edgartown, 508-627-4746; Menemsha, 508-645-2846; Oak Bluffs, 508-693-4355; or Vineyard Haven, 508-696-4249.

Where to Stay

You'll find a plethora of accommodations options on Martha's Vineyard, ranging from private homes available for rent to quaint bed & breakfast inns to classic hotels. Here's a collection of helpful resources for finding lodgings on Martha's Vineyard.

Click Up a Martha's Vineyard Vacation - The Winnetu Oceanside Resort makes it easy to escape to Martha's Vineyard. Here's my review of this all-suite resort.

Bed & Breakfasts on Martha's Vineyard - Find a bed & breakfast inn on the island of Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts with my B&B guide.

Martha's Vineyard Vacation Rentals - You'll find listings for several Martha's Vineyard rental homes and cottages, plus real estate agents that specialize in Martha's Vineyard rentals, among my links to Massachusetts Vacation Rental Resources.

Martha's Vineyard Camping - Although options are limited, camping is a possibility for those seeking an affordable overnight on Martha's Vineyard.

Vacation Rentals by Owner - This rental listing site has dozens of current properties for rent on Martha's Vineyard, ranging from a six-bedroom waterview home with a heated pool to a quaint two-bedroom cottage on a quiet lane in Edgartown.

Martha's Vineyard Resort - This island resort offers so much for sports lovers! A private sundeck overlooks two championship clay tennis courts. Golf, fishing, sailing and hiking are all nearby, as are Martha's Vineyard's quaint shops, historic landmarks, art galleries, beaches and restaurants.

Call the Martha's Vineyard Chamber of Commerce at 508-693-0085 for more lodging suggestions.

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