What’s So Great About the Town of Tisbury, MA?

town of Tisdale, Mass., Sandpiper Rentals
Photo Credit: Tichnor Bros. Inc./ Boat landing at Vineyard Haven,/Flickr Mass.

While the roots of the town of Tisbury, Massachusetts run deep, the name of this small coastal town located on Martha’s Vineyard is somewhat obscured. The town of Tisbury, which was incorporated as such within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1671, has come to be known by locals and visitors alike as Vineyard Haven.

The name Vineyard Haven refers to the main village or town center of Tisbury.

There is evidence throughout the community of how widely accepted the two names are. The official post office name for the Town of Tisbury is Vineyard Haven. While residents of Martha’s Vineyard recognize Tisbury as the town’s legal name, Vineyard Haven is by far the more common usage.

Welcome to Martha’s Vineyard

Tisbury (aka Vineyard Haven) is well known as the main port of entrance to Martha’s Vineyard. In fact, Tisbury is the only operational port during most of the year.

The opening scene in “Jaws” showed the steamship Naushon departing from the Vineyard Haven Steamship Authority facility location on “Amity Island.”

In 1975, when “Jaws” was filmed, Naushon was one of the largest ferries in use, running only in the summer months for its high passenger capacity. It has not been in service since 1987 when it was replaced by more modern vessels.


The town of Tisbury was once known as a prominent whaling station. Many of the town’s historic buildings were destroyed by fire in 1833 but there are several historic homes that still overlook the harbor on William Street.


The multitude of recreational activities in and around the town of Tisbury makes it a popular destination for those looking for summer fun.

The Martha’s Vineyard Seafaring Center, a museum that showcases historical maritime artifacts, such as whale teeth and a lifejacket from the Titanic is a big attraction for visitors.

If you are looking for outdoor activities, The Manuel F. Correllus State Forest features an extensive trail system that draws mountain bikers and hikers in the summer and cross-country skiing enthusiasts during winter months.

If you are looking to learn more about this island retreat, there are a variety of tours – either professionally guided or self-guided – that are offered via boat, air and rail.

The West Chop Lighthouse is a must-see destination. Built in 1891, it is still accompanied by the keeper’s house, a fog signal building, an oil house and a garage.

Don’t forget to take a break from the many activities available in Tisbury to enjoy some of the local cuisine, shopping and, of course, the beach.

And when you are making plans to visit the town of Tisbury, be sure to book your accommodations with Sandpiper Rentals. Our Martha’s Vineyard vacation rentals are ideal for relaxing and unwinding in between all of the great activities you can participate during your time on the island. Our rental properties are located all over Martha’s Vineyard, so you can choose to stay on your favorite part of the island. Whether you want to be right in town or more isolated, we have the perfect rental for you. Our homes are all unique, yet they all offer comfortable accommodations and luxurious amenities.

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