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Best Historic Locations in Martha's Vineyard

By: Cityseeker
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Vincent House Museum

Experience three centuries of island life in this unique museum. The house was built in 1672 and is considered to be the oldest dwelling on Martha's Vineyard. With its wide floorboards built low to the ground and central chimney, it is a perfect example of classic full-Cape architecture. It was moved to its present location and restored in 1977. Several walls have been left open to demonstrate early colonial building techniques. Five rooms are furnished in the evolving styles of home decor; from the basic necessities of the first settlers to the more opulent Federal look from the 19th century.

Edgartown, MA, United States
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Old Whaling Church

The Old Whaling Church, named as such because it was built by whaling captains in 1843, is the perfect location for a vineyard wedding. With spectacular views and Greek revival architecture, the Old Whaling Church is a sight to be seen. This old Edgartown gem can accommodate up to 500 guests in the main church and 150 guests in the lower level Frederick Baylies Room.

Edgartown, MA, United States
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Tabernacle

In the 1800s, religious camps were popular on the island. As popularity increased, this open-air wrought iron structure was built, which is believed to be the largest of its kind in the US. With seating for 3,000 people and exquisite woodworking and stained glass, it is truly a magnificent sight. In 1979, its centennial year, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places. The Tabernacle is used today for concerts, Sunday church services, community sing-alongs and special ceremonies.

Oak Bluffs, MA, United States
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Union Chapel

The historic Union Chapel, with its unique octagonal cupola, was built in 1870 by the architect Samuel Freeman Pratt. The quaint and lovely building is located in the center of Oak Bluffs. The building is particularly known for having wonderful acoustics, which has made it one of the most popular spots on the island for weddings, performing arts, concerts and festivals.

Oak Bluffs, MA, United States
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Edgartown Light

One of the many lighthouses on Martha's Vineyard, the Edgartown grounds, managed by the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society, are open to the public. The view from the grounds is breathtaking. The lighthouse, built in 1875 and refurbished in 1985, is an example of Cape Cod style, with three rooms on the first floor and two on the second. It is 45 feet high, made of cast iron and continues to operate as a navigational aid. The walkway leading to the lighthouse is called the "bridge of sighs" because it is said that long ago, when men would leave on sailing trips, their girlfriends and wives would stand on the walkway and look out over the horizon to where their loves had gone.

Edgartown, MA, United States
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East Chop Light

The lighthouse, on the bluffs near the historic town of Oak Bluffs, has been standing since the 1800s. The present tower, standing at 40 feet tall, was constructed in 1875, but the original dwellings and outbuildings have since been demolished. The gleaming white tower was painted a deep, chocolate brown in the past. The flashing green light serves as a marker for the U.S. Coast Guard. The grounds are open to the public and the interior is occasionally open for tours. It is presently operated by the Martha's Vineyard Historical Society.

Oak Bluffs, MA, United States
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West Chop Lighthouse

The original lighthouse was constructed at this location in 1817, but a new tower and dwelling were built in the late 1800s. The light is located in historic Tisbury, at the west entrance of the Vineyard Haven Harbor. Unfortunately, the grounds are privately owned and are not open to the public. However, the tower and light may be seen from the road. The lantern's red panel, when flashing red, serves as a warning that a boat is headed for danger.

Tisbury, MA, United States
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Menemsha Hills Nature Reserve

Menemsha Hills Nature Reserve features 211 acres of woodland, rolling hills and sand cliffs, with 150-foot high headlands overlook the sea. There are over 3 miles of foot trails that lead past ancient stone walls through blueberry woodlands to the beach. On any given day harbor seals and flocks of scoters (sea ducks) are said to come ashore, adding to the scenic mile-long trail that runs to Prospect Hill, with a spectacular view of Gay Head.

Chilmark, MA, United States
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Nobska Point Light Station

The Nobska Light is a charming lighthouse in Cape Cod. The history of this landmark is written on a board that helps visitors learn more about its history. The lighthouse was originally constructed in 1826, though the one that is currently standing was erected in 1876. The brick-lined interior and the stunning spiral stairway adds to the beauty of this light. Gorgeous views of the surrounding islands from the top make the steep climb worth it.

Falmouth, MA, United States
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Gay Head Lighthouse

High atop the beautiful cliffs of Gay Head rests a magnificent lighthouse. It has been operational since 1799 and stands at a height of 51 feet (15 meters). In the year 2015 due to erosion problems, it was necessary to move the lighthouse 129 feet (39 meters) back from where it was originally built. From the top of the lighthouse you can still enjoy beautiful views of the sea, the Aquinnah cliffs and nearby areas. The lighthouse is open seasonally and is open to public only during designated hours, hence it is advisable to call before visiting.

Aquinnah, MA, United States
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