Depending on how you count it, Martha’s Vineyard is about 70 to 95 miles from Boston. For the locals, anywhere on Cape Cod, including Falmouth, Chatham, and Provincetown are popular vacation spots. Unlike the mainland destinations, however, Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard are a bit more secluded as these islands can only be reached by ferry or small plane. Although I have lived in Boston for the past few years now, I have very rarely ventured to the Cape (one exception was my sandcastle adventure in Falmouth [more here]). Perhaps, this is why I am so intrigued by Martha’s Vineyard.
Last spring, I was training to participate in a half marathon that was to be held on Martha’s Vineyard. However, due to the pandemic, the event was cancelled. Now, over a half year later, I will make my first trip to Martha’s Vineyard without any purpose other than pleasure.
We left Boston around midday and drove to the ferry port in Woods Hole. Luckily, the roads were as clear as the sky and the trip to the ferry was so smooth that we arrived a bit earlier than the advised 30-minute-in advance check-in time. Due to the pandemic, there was no chance that we would be able to pass the time in a café and enjoy the harbor views, so we simply remained in the car even after our 90-minute drive.
To board the ferry, you can pay for a single passenger ticket or for a passenger ticket plus a vehicle (car, motorcycle, etc.). The price for vehicles differs depending on the time of the year and vehicle type. For a roundtrip passenger ticket (sans vehicle), you won’t pay more than $20 for your fare. Because we booked out tickets in advance, we simply gave our name at the gate and the man controlling the gate slid our ticket under the windshield wiper. When it was time to board the ferry, we were directed to drive up to the stern of the ship and the ticket agent removed our ticket from the windshield wiper — a contactless exchange. From there, we drove right into the ferry following the precise instructions from the men in neon jackets. The cars were packed into the lower level of the vessel like sardines — there is no social distancing for cars.
The cars were so crammed together that I could not open my door any more than five inches on the passenger side. In the event of an emergency a larger person, or someone who requires a lot of space to exit a car (like someone with a walking boot for foot fractures), would not be able to manage a quick exit (or frighteningly, any at all). As far as social distancing goes, a trip to the ferry snack stand — where people from far and wide gather and remove their masks for food and drinks — did not seem like the safest course of action. For this reason, we chose to remain in the car for the entirety of the 45-minute journey. Although this meant that I would miss the views of the water on my very first ferry trip, the choice to remain in the car was, of course, the safest option.
Sitting in the car in the lower level of the ferry is where I am writing this post to you right now. While typing on a ferry en route to a picturesque New England destination sounds romantic, I confess that I was very unflatteringly doing my best not to vomit while writing to you. At the beginning of our journey, the waters were a bit choppy. While this may be tolerable when you are in a bona fide seat on a ferry, when you are in a car, you will rock a few inches forward and backward literally ad nauseum until the waters pacify. This was a wholly unpleasant experience and I was questioning my decision to stay safe and remain in the car. However, very, very fortunately, the choppiness passed, and I could return my focus to this blog post rather than to the contents of my stomach.
All in all, the trip there was easy enough. I guess there is a reason that so many do not mind the travel from Boston to the island of Martha’s Vineyard. We are pulling out of the ferry now and I very much look forward to seeing all that this fabled island has to offer.
More to come next time, dear Reader!