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Sunday, April 03, 2005

Destinations Uncovered:Memorable Martha’s Vineyard

DESTINATIONS UNCOVERED:
Memorable Martha’s VineyardRoyal Caribbean's Destinations Uncovered http://www.cruisedirectonline.com/marthas_vineyard.html
brings you salty sea dogs, budding artists, and earthy naturalists. As different as they seem, they’re all inspired by the island of Martha’s Vineyard. With scenic bike trails, emblematic lighthouses and so many stories of restoration and reawakening, finding out what draws so many here will only have you coming back for more.

Thousands of people visit this small island off the coast of Massachusetts every year. Some come for the invigorating, salty sea air. Some come for the picturesque landscapes or the majestic lighthouses. And more than a few come for the fresh Atlantic seafood. Whatever draws you to Martha's Vineyard, you'll find plenty to discover. In this edition of Destinations Uncovered, we've singled out some activities you're sure to enjoy, whether you're a history buff, a nature lover or just an explorer looking for adventure.

THE NATURE OF THINGS
From lazy farmlands dotted with fluffy white sheep to the colorful Clay Cliffs of Aquinnah, Martha's Vineyard offers a variety of picturesque landscapes, botanical gardens and protected parks and forests. Don't Miss: Peaked Hill and Prospect Hill, the island's highest points, offer amazing views of the Vineyard. Which hill is taller has been a point of contention for years: the owner of Prospect Hill added a 5-foot pile of stones to make his hill three feet taller than Peaked Hill. Should that count? You'll have to decide for yourself.


HISTORY IN THE MAKING
Wampanoag Indians, English settlers, wealthy whalers, even Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. The Vineyard's history is colored by a wealth of interesting characters. While much of the island has kept up with the times, there are many areas where customs and appearances seem unaffected by the outside world. Don't Miss: The Vineyard is home to five historic lighthouses, standing sentinel on its rocky shores since the 1800s. The largest, the Gay Head lighthouse, flashes a pattern of red and white. On a clear night, it's said you can see this light from over 20 miles away.


THE EXCITEMENT IS BUILDING
If architecture is your game, Martha's Vineyard has many fine examples of structural excellence. You'll find the grand mansions of the wealthy whaling captains, the elaborately decorated "gingerbread houses" of Oak Bluffs, and the Dr. Daniel Fisher House, a well-maintained 1840s Federal-style home.Don't Miss: The Vincent House Museum in Edgartown boasts three rooms preserved to appear as they would have in the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries.


MOVE THOSE LEGS
With all these exciting things to do, you're going to need to get around. While there are plenty of transportation options, some prefer the power of their own two feet. So for all you fitness fans, there's no shortage of well-kept biking and hiking trails.Don't Miss: Rent a bike and hop on the "down-Island" route. It's a fairly flat, visually stunning trail through Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and back again, if you're up for it.



ART IMITATING LIFE
When you lay eyes on Martha's Vineyard, you too will be inspired by its unique character, scenic wonder, and pleasant year-round residents. To see how the Vineyard motivates a variety of artists to paint, dance, weld and more, visit the many boutiques, galleries and theaters of the island's major towns.Don't Miss: While art abounds all over the island, in Vineyard Haven there's everything from swanky boutiques to renowned galleries.

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