Daytrip Destination: Menemsha Harbor, MA

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, or simply soak up the ambience of this authentic harbor.

Larsen’s Fish Market sells fresh seafood and offers lobster rolls, chowder, oysters and more.

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. Both have since been rebuilt.

The Menemsha fuel dock.

The harbor basin is confined, yet can accommodate surprisingly large vessels. The town reserves 16 slips and 2 guest moorings for transient vessels up to 40 feet, 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.

The bronze statue of a swordfisherman honors the once-robust swordfish fishery that existed in Menemsha.

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), or some grilled fare, fries and ice cream at The Bite or the Menemsha Galley. 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.

 

 

 

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