Memensha Harbor. Photo/Tom Richardson

Menemsha Harbor. Photo/Tom Richardson

Few harbors are more picturesque than Menemsha, the quiet little fishing port on the northwest shore of Martha’s Vineyard. And for many boaters, fall is the best time to visit, as the tourist traffic is light and you can almost always find a place to tie up while you explore the shoreside shops and restaurants.

Old fishing plugs adorn the window of a harbor shack. Photo/Tom Richardson

Old fishing plugs adorn the window of a harbor shack. Photo/Tom Richardson

A thriving commercial fishing village from the late 1600s through the 1970s, Menemsha now hosts but a handful of commercial boats—mainly lobster boats and a few draggers. It also serves as the home to Coast Guard Station Menemsha, which suffered a major fire in 2010 that destroyed the historic boathouse and adjacent pier. The latter has since been replaced and the former is being rebuilt.

The harbor basin is confined, yet can accommodate surprisingly large commercial vessels. The town reserves 16 slips and 2 guest moorings for transient vessels up to 40’, available on a first-come, first-served basis. Smaller boats may be able to tie up along the bulkhead adjacent to the fuel docks while they explore the village, but check in with the harbormaster first.

This statue honors Menemsha's harpoon swordfishermen. Photo/Tom Richardson

This statue honors Menemsha’s harpoon swordfishermen. Photo/Tom Richardson

Ashore, nothing takes the chill off a fall day on the water than some warm chowder, steamers, clam cakes or a lobster roll at Larsen’s Fish Market (open until October 20, 2013), or some grilled fare, fries and ice cream at The Bite or the Menemsha Galley (open until mid-October, 2013). A short stroll brings you to several interesting shops and boutiques, including Menemsha Blues, Pandora’s Box and Copperworks. If you need provisions, the Menemsha Market, at the head of the harbor, carries basic groceries in-season.

Menemsha Blues sells clothing and gifts. Photo/Tom Richardson

Menemsha Blues sells clothing and gifts. Photo/Tom Richardson

Protected Menemsha Pond, accessible via shallow Menemsha Creek, is a wonderful spot to explore in a kayak or dinghy. Do not try to access the pond in any vessel drawing more than 3’, however, as the creek is extremely shallow.

To learn more about boating and visiting Menemsha, CLICK HERE


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