Arts & Crafts
A little art gallery cluster called "The Arts District" in Oak Bluffs, just beyond the "gingerbread" cottage colony, is worth a visit. On Dukes County Avenue, there are three interesting shops: Alison Shaw Gallery (tel. 508/696-7429; www.alisonshaw.com), featuring the exquisite photographs of this artist; Pik Nik Art & Apparel (tel. 508/693-1366; www.piknikmv.com), a funky array of crafts, gifts, and clothing; and Dragonfly Gallery (tel. 508/693-8877; www.mvdragonfly.com), showing a range of mediums.
No visit to Edgartown would be complete without a peek at the wares of scrimshander Thomas J. DeMont, Jr., at Edgartown Scrimshaw Gallery, at 43 Main St. (tel. 508/627-9439). In addition to DeMont's work, the shop carries the work of a number of the country's top scrimshaw artists. All the scrimshaw in the gallery is hand-carved using ancient mammoth ivory or antique fossil ivory.
Chilmark Pottery, off State Road (about 4 miles southwest of Vineyard Haven), West Tisbury (tel. 508/693-6476), features tableware fashioned to suit its setting. Geoffrey Borr takes his palette from the sea and sky and produces serviceable stoneware with clean lines and a long life span. Summer pottery classes are available.
The Field Gallery, 1050 State Rd. (in the center of town), West Tisbury (tel. 508/693-5595; www.fieldgallery.com), set in a rural pasture, is where Marc Chagall meets Henry Moore and where Tom Maley's playful figures have enchanted locals and passersby for decades. You'll also find paintings by Albert Alcalay and drawings and cartoons by Jules Feiffer. The Sunday evening openings are high points of the summer social season. Closed mid-October to mid-May.
Don't miss the Granary Gallery at the Red Barn, 636 Old County Rd. (off Edgartown-West Tisbury Rd., about one-quarter mile north of the intersection), West Tisbury (tel. 800/472-6279; www.granarygallery.com), which displays astounding prints by the late longtime summerer Alfred Eisenstaedt, dazzling color photos by local luminary Alison Shaw, and a changing roster of fine artists -- some just emerging, some long since "discovered." A fine selection of country and provincial antiques is also sold here. Open April to December, and by appointment only January through March.
Another unique local artisans' venue is Martha's Vineyard Glass Works, 683 State Rd., West Tisbury (tel. 508/693-6026; www.mvglassworks.com). World-renowned master glass blowers sometimes lend a hand at this handsome rural studio/shop just for the fun of it. The three resident artists -- Andrew Magdanz, Susan Shapiro, and Mark Weiner -- are no slouches themselves, having shown nationwide to considerable acclaim. Their output is decidedly avant-garde and may not suit all tastes, but it's an eye-opening array and all the more fascinating once you've witnessed a work in progress.
Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, 44 Main St., Vineyard Haven (tel. 508/693-2291; www.bunchofgrapes.com) has risen from the ashes after a fire destroyed the second floor a couple years ago. Edgartown Books, 44 Main St., Edgartown (tel. 508/627-8463; www.edgartownbooks.net), has a lively presentation of timely titles highlighting local endeavors; inquire about readings and signings. Closed January to March.
The Great Put On, Dock Street (in the center of town), Edgartown (tel. 508/627-5495), dates back to 1969 but always keeps up with the latest styles, including lines by Vivienne Tam, Moschino, and BCBG. Petunia Shoes, at 37 Main St., Edgartown (tel. 508/627-5677), is the place to go for the latest women's shoe styles. Saffron, at 65 Main St., Edgartown (tel. 508/627-7088), offers a hip selection of island ware. Katydid is another high-fashion option, at 38 Main St., in Edgartown (tel. 508/627-1232).
The owners of Bramhall & Dunn, 23 Main St., Vineyard Haven (tel. 508/693-6437), have a great eye for the kind of chunky, eclectic extras that lend character to country homes. Expect to find the requisite rag rugs, rustic pottery, English country antiques, bed linens, and a large selection of sweaters.
My favorite place for gifts in Oak Bluffs is Craftworks, 149 Circuit Ave. (tel. 508/693-7463), which is filled to the rafters with whimsical, colorful contemporary American crafts, some by local artisans.
Carly Simon owns a shop called Midnight Farm, 18 Water-Cromwell Lane, Vineyard Haven (tel. 508/693-1997; www.midnightfarm.net), named after her popular children's book. This home store offers a world of high-end, carefully selected, and imaginative gift items starting with soaps and candles and including children's clothes and toys, rugs, furniture, books, clothes, and glassware.
Third World Trading Co., 52 Circuit Ave., Oak Bluffs (tel. 508/693-5550), features well-priced clothing, accessories, and home accents gathered from around the globe.
Stop by C. B. Stark Jewelers, 53A Main St., Vineyard Haven (tel. 508/693-2284; www.cbstark.com), where proprietor Cheryl Stark started fashioning island-motif charms back in 1966.
Feel like whipping up your own lobster feast? For the freshest and biggest crustaceans on the island, head to the Net Result, 79 Beach Rd., Vineyard Haven (tel. 508/693-6071; www.mvseafood.com). Run by the Larsen family, here you'll find everything from shrimp, scallops, and swordfish to bluefish and tuna, as well as prepared foods, including sushi. If you're up-island, stop by Larsen's Fish Market, right on the docks at Menemsha Harbor.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.