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This state park in Vineyard Haven is truly a natural wonder. The park consists of more than 5,000 acres (2,023 hectares) and is located in the center of the island. In the early 20th century, the park was established as a reserve dedicated towards the protection of Heath hens, a now extinct, specie of the Greater prairie chicken family. Today, the park is used for recreational purposes such as hiking, cross country skiing, cycling, horseback riding and more. There are picnic areas, rest rooms and showers available. A large environmental restoration project is underway in an attempt to revive the native grassland ecosystem.
The Meetinghouse is a community center for the arts. The goal is to bring the community together to support and encourage literary, visual and performing arts. The center offers free afternoon programs for young children as well as evening and weekend workshops for adults and teenagers. In addition, The Featherstone features concerts, gallery shows, art and history exhibits, lectures and performances.
Six miles of hiking trails meander through this 350-acre nature preserve. The well-marked trails lead visitors through open fields, woods, marshlands and beaches. Tree swallows, wood ducks, barn owls and osprey as well as other wildlife can be seen while walking around this wild and beautiful landscape. Special programs are held throughout the year, including Sea Ducks at Squibnocket in March and a large plant sale in May.
A rustic, bright red barn is home to this popular gallery, which houses work by a number of internationally recognized artists, including the famous photographers Margaret Bourke-White, Carl Mydans, and Alfred Eisenstaedt. The gallery is known for its weekly Sunday afternoon receptions with featured artists in the courtyard sculpture garden. In addition to paintings and sculptures, the gallery offers antiques as well. Artwork may be ordered from the gallery's website but a visit to its ever-changing collection is recommended.
Once a windswept prairie formed after the last Ice Age, the Long Point Wildlife Refuge now exists as a spectacular landscape replete with beaches, coastal grasslands and shrub forests. Straddling West Tisbury's coastline, it is one of the region's most reputed nature reserves since the year 1979. Easy trails, spanning 3.37 kilometers (2.1 miles) scythe through the woodland, looping along the beachfront, offering visitors a glimpse into the reserve's unique ecosystem. Although popular with birdwatchers, one can also kayak along the beach or engage in some stand-up paddleboarding.
Polly Hill started growing trees and plants from seed on the family farm more than 40 years ago, and they all grew to become the island's premier natural showcase. Hill has developed numerous plants now grown around the world; including the famous North Tilsbury Azalea. At the same time she expanded the range of plants on Martha's Vineyard. The requested donation for adults is quite a reasonable amount and children 12 and under may enter for free. Lectures are held throughout the season and tour arrangements may be made in advance.
The Martha's Vineyard Museum and Historical Society is devoted to the history and culture of this small Massachusetts island. Explore the island's fascinating past and learn about the people who lived here. The historical society first came together in 1922. Today, the museum and society are housed in historical buildings that are wonderful to walk through. Visitors to this museum can trace back their ancestry through the Historical Society's extensive genealogical services. There are special exhibits, classes, seminars, workshops, and movies hosted here throughout the year.
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.
When you're on Martha's Vineyard and craving a pint, stop by the Offshore Ale Company for a locally-brewed beer and a bite to eat. The menu features all sorts of pub favorites like seafood, burgers and pizza, including a never-ending supply of peanuts. There's always live music and special events, so check out their schedule for the latest goings-on. Don't forget to toss those peanut shells directly on the floor - it's encouraged!
Since 1884 islanders have enjoyed the beauty of this magnificent carousel. Built by Charles W.F. Dare company, it is the nation's oldest platform carousel still in operation. Acquired by the Preservation Trust in 1986, the carousel is a National Historic Landmark. Children and adults alike may enjoy a ride on this brilliant structure. Rides are reasonably priced and if you catch the brass ring, you ride for free! Video games and refreshments are also available here.
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.