|Full steam ahead...|
Enjoy the Ride
By definition, an island is a land mass completely surrounded by water. Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket are both island and destination locations.
Arriving at your vacation spot will entail a certain level of planning. At the moment, there are only two ways to get to the Islands: plane or boat. Martha's Vineyard is seven miles out to sea and Nantucket is thirty miles from the mainland and, as of yet, there is not a bridge or tunnel connecting the Islands to each other or Cape Cod.
Ferry services sail from many ports along Cape Cod - including Providence, Rhode Island - and come in two categories: passenger and car-carrying services and passenger-only.
Air transportation has never been easier. Year-round service is provided by several agencies with exemplary safety records and, in the summer months, even more carriers add Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket to their schedules.
Private planes are also welcomed by both Island airports. A word of advice: each airport has their own set of rules and regulations, as well as all FAA policies to uphold. When filing a flight plan, make sure to follow through and verify that your type of plane can be supported by the facilities at these very busy locations.
No matter how you choose to travel to the Islands, take the time to enjoy the ride. The sights, sounds and views seen from the window of an airplane or the smell of the ocean inhaled from the deck of a ferry boat are worthy of having their own special place among your Island memories.
To Bring My Car or Not to Bring My Car...
This is a very real question which many travelers grapple with as they finalize thier vaction plans.
There is only one agency that provides vehicle transportation to the Islands - that company is called The Steamship Authority.
Between the May and October, it is mandatory to have a reservation - i.e. a specific date and time of sailing that has been pre-paid and secured by the owner of the vehicle coming across on the ferry - to bring your car to either Island. During the other months of the year, there are a seperate set of guidelines, all established to help visitors, for vehicle transport.
Space availability is the number one factor when the question of obtaining a ferry reservation is broached. The second consideration when trying to decide to bring a vehicle to the Island is the cost versus the amount of time you will actually be spending on Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard.
For a lot of travellers, the prospect of renting a bicycle, moped, scooter, acquiring a rental car or taking advantage of the amazing public transportation system each Island hosts makes bringing a vehicle onto the ferry moot. Many visitors look forward to exploring the nooks and crannies of Martha's Vineyard from the seat of something other than a personal vehicle and make these excusions part of their Island experience.
Please note that many ferry services offer secured parking lots where patrons can park their personal vehicles while they visit the Islands. The Steamship Authority, for example, goes one step further in not only maintaining off-site parking lots, but also operates free transportation from these parking lots to the ferry terminal - all coinciding with the departures and arrivals of the ferry boats. In the case of the 'fast ferry' from Quonset Point, Rhode Island, there is a similar service provided that ensures that those sailing will get to their ferries on time. Other ferries have parking lots that are close enough that those making the crossing can walk to the departure point.
Another method of reaching the ferry docks or airports is the bus. Bonanza Buslines has a full schedule of runs to Woods Hole, MA and Hyannis, MA.
Often times, it is worth the call a limousine service to have a profesessional driver and luxury car pick you up and take you to your debarkation location. Imagine starting your vacation without having to worry about traffic, unknown stretches of highway and paying the cost of renting a vehicle for a whole day when you only need it for the time it would take you to go from the airport/bus terminal to the ferry docks as you relax in the backseat of a elegant car.
Who, What and When...
All ferry services and airlines have websites and phone numbers by which travellers can contact these agencies and survey the posted schedules.
The following is a list of the ferries that sail to Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket.
For Martha's Vineyard:
The Steamship Authority
Offers routes to and from Woods Hole, Hyannis, Nantucket and New Bedford daily year-round. Steamship Authority boats dock in the town of Vineyard Haven in the winter, and both Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs in the summer. This is the only line that accommodates cars and trucks.
The Island Queen
Offers seasonal daily walk-on passenger-only service to and from Falmouth to the town of Oak Bluffs.
Offering year-round high-speed ferry service from Hyannis to Oak Bluffs in 50 minutes. Traditional service to and from Hyannis and Nantucket to the town of Oak Bluffs seasonally. Passenger only.
New Bedford to Martha’s Vineyard Express Ferry
Offers year round daily passenger-only express ferry service from historic New Bedford to Martha’s Vineyard. One hour trip to Oak Bluffs in summer / Vineyard Haven in winter. Reservations recommended.
Rhode Island - Martha’s Vineyard Fast Ferry
High-Speed ferry service from Quonset Point, Rhode Island to Oak Bluffs. 400 passenger vessel offers first-class amenities, online reservations and dockside parking for $10/day. Provides shuttle service to/from the Providence Airport (15 min.) and Amtrak (20 min). Reservations recommended. May-Oct.
Ferries to Nantucket:
Steamship Authority South Street Dock, Hyannis, MA
*Fast Ferry reservations:
Hy-Line Cruises Ocean Street Dock, Hyannis, MA
Hyannis office: 508-778-2600
Nantucket office: 508-228-3949
High Speed: 800-492-8082 or 508-778-0404
Traditional: 800-492-8082 or 508-778-2602
Freedom Cruise Line
Route 28, Saquatucket Harbor, Harwich Port, MA
SPECIAL NOTE ABOUT BONANZA BUSLINES:
Bonanza Buslines has been absorbed by Peter Pan Buslines; for all fare and schedule information please go to the following website:
Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, By Air:
US Airways Reservations
PanAm Express/Boston-Maine Airways
Airline Charter Services:
Coastal Air Charter LLC
47 LP Henderson Rd
Beverly, MA 01915
Toll Free: 888-359-2785
Desert & Island Air Charter
Toll Free: 800-835-9135
Eagle Air Inc
Toll Free: 1-888-993-2453
From Boston and NYC:
Million Air Charter
Toll Free: 1-800-882-2333
Ocean Wings Air Charter
MV Airport, MA
Toll Free: 800-253-5039
Tradewind Aviation LLC
From Anywhere to MVY