Martha’s Vineyard Lingo: To Help You Get Around the Island

Some handy terms and quick explanations you should know so that you can find your way around the island and sound like an islander…

  1. You are going for a vacation ‘on’ the Vineyard, not ‘in’ or ‘at’ the Vineyard.
  2. ‘Chappy’ is short for Chappaquiddick, not what happens to your lips when you’ve been out in the sun for too long. Chappaquiddick is a small island that lies off the eastern tip of Martha’s Vineyard and is part of Edgartown. You can get to Chappy via a small ferry that holds a couple of cars and a bunch of people and bikes. It’s a great day trip from the Vineyard. Don’t forget to pack a lunch!
  3. 5 Corners is an adventuresome intersection in downtown Vineyard Haven. It is called 5 Corners because there are 5 streets that form the intersection. Move with caution as only 3 of the approaching roads have stop signs and the other 2 have the right of way. Drive slowly, be nice, enjoy this quirky attraction, and you’ll be just fine.
  4. ‘Squibby’ is short for one of the island’s beach treasures, Squibnocket, located in Chilmark as you head towards Aquinnah.
  5. The ‘Flying Horses’ make up the country’s oldest horse carousel. They are beautiful and an island highlight right in downtown Oak Bluffs.
  6. ‘Gay Head’ is now called ‘Aquinnah’ and it is the town at the farthest end from the ferries. It is the home of the Wampanoag Native American tribe and the stunning Aquinnah cliffs.
  7. ‘Quahog’s’ are clams….so Martha’s Vineyard’s quahog chowdah is clam chowdah – only better.

5 thoughts on “Martha’s Vineyard Lingo: To Help You Get Around the Island”

  1. Here’s the history of the arrival of the white man on our island and it’s naming…

    Legend surrounds the much later arrival of the first white men. Some believe Norsemen were here about 1000 A.D. In 1524 Verrazzano sailed past and named the Island Louisa. The natives called it Noepe. Other explorers gave different names, but the name that stuck was given in 1602 by Bartholomew Gosnold, who named it for the wild grapes and for one of his little daughters.

  2. I always liked the “story” my Mom told me–that Gosnold had three daughters (which he didn’t), and that he named the Elizabeth Islands for the oldest, the Vineyard for Martha, and then, there was one left, so Nan-took-it….

    (Tee!)

    And, don’t forget the Down-island, Up-island thing!

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