Martha’s Vineyard has many charms to offer those who come here to visit throughout the year. Although many come for the beach, nice weather and amazing seafood, Martha’s Vineyard has a rich and detailed history behind its beauty. One of the most telling of historical monuments here on the island is its lighthouses. All of the lighthouses on the island have their own unique story and character. Here are five of the lighthouses that you must see during your Martha’s Vineyard vacation!
West Chop Lighthouse: Located in Vineyard Haven
Originally built wooden in 1817, and rebuilt in 1838 of bricks. It is the only lighthouse on the island that does not offer access to the public. This lighthouse does host and houses some of the Coast Guard on the island. The area where the lighthouse sits used to be a sheep Pasture and is situated just minutes away from the downtown area of Vineyard Haven. Downtown Vineyard Haven was one of the major whaling ports on the island, is now where travelers and tourists near and far travel aboard the Steamship Authority to Martha’s Vineyard.
East Chop Lighthouse: Located on Telegraph Hill in Oak Bluffs
Originally built in 1828. This particular lighthouse used to receive signals from the island of Nantucket and transmit them to the rest of the island, and Cape coastal towns like Woods Hole. The Coast Guard took over the lighthouse in the Early 1930’s and the keeper’s house was removed in 1933 and never re-built. In the summer season, you will find many people and/or events take place near the lighthouse enjoying the sunset.
Edgartown Lighthouse: Located in Edgartown
Originally built in 1828 it was a ¼ mile from shore, and the only way to reach the light was by boat. Over years the lighthouse has had some structural damage from storms and the current lighthouse (built in 1938) sits on mainland surrounded by a beautiful beach. This beach sees a lot of weddings year round, as well as family picnics. The lighthouse offers tours throughout the summer season. With a 360 degree view at the top glance Chappaquiddick, the harbor, and surrounding Captain’s houses on Water St.
Cape Pogue Lighthouse: Located on the island of Chappaquiddick (part of Edgartown)
The original structure was built in 1801, and this building has sure taken a beating over the years. Being situated on the cliffs close to the edge of the island, it has been destroyed and rebuilt at least 5 times. The current lighthouse was built in 1922 and has been moved more recently to avoid having to rebuild again. The lighthouse is part of the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge, run by the Trustees, and in season offers tours. It is a bit of a walk to get to, but a wonderful reward when you get there.
Gay Head Lighthouse: Located in Aquinnah
Originally built of wood in 1799, and had to be moved in 1844 from erosion of the cliffs. In 1856 the structure was rebuilt after a terrible storm and did so with bricks. Gay Head light is located on top of the clay cliffs, which over time and with major storms has taken a beating. This lighthouse has moved several more times since it’s rebuilding, most recently just a few years ago. In season they do offer tours of the lighthouse, and at the top, you really can’t beat the view. You can see along the coast to “up island” and take in the breathtaking view of the islands beauty. From below the area offers a viewing station to enjoy the view of the cliffs up close.
Visiting the Lighthouses of Martha’s Vineyard is a must for vacationers. We look forward to welcoming you this summer!