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The apple pie of America.
The apple pie of America.
The gingerbread houses.
Gorgeous Martha's Vineyard.

Martha's Vineyard

Thursday, February 14, 2002
The New England states of America are particularly beautiful, with a gentility all their own and a delightful blend of the past and the present.

The New England states of America are particularly beautiful, with a gentility all their own. Around five percent of the US population lives there, with Massachusetts being the largest and most populous state. The changes of season are wonderful, and its Indian summers are superb. The rugged coastline attracted whalers in the 18th and 19th centuries, with the islands off the coast perfect as havens for whaling fleets and maritime vessels. The Age of Steam meant they became popular holiday destinations for city dwellers escaping the summer heat.

In the early 17th century, Bartholomew Gosnold charted the coast and, when he found wild grapes on one of the islands, he named it Martha's Vineyard, in honour of his daughter. Now, there is a working vineyard: the grapes are used for making jelly that's sold all over the country.

Martha's Vineyard, just 11km off the coast of Cape Cod, is made up of little villages, and has changed very little in more than a century, mainly thanks to some stringent rules that have been implemented. Neon signs and billboards are banned, houses must be white clapboard or natural cedar shingle, and picket fences must be no higher than 1.25m and painted white.

It's a very "apple pie" place, oozing orderliness and neatness, and has long been a haven for the creative — actors, musicians and artists — and holidaying presidents. Cycling is popular on the island. There is a network of 74km of bike trails — and plenty of rental shops.

Each of the island's towns has its own style and history. Vineyard Haven is the commercial centre, but has the charm of a harbour filled with wooden boats, and streets lined with sea captains' homes.

Oak Bluffs is the summer fun centre, with brightly coloured Victorian gingerbread houses lining its streets, and what is claimed to be the country's oldest carousel, sporting horses which were hand-carved in New York in 1876.

Edgartown was the island's first colonial settlement, and is the architectural showpiece, with 18th and 19th century whaling captains' houses, all perfectly maintained, with clipped lawns and blooming gardens.

When you are looking for accommodation on Martha's Vineyard, forget high-rise or chain hotels. Quaint inns and bed and breakfasts are what you will be choosing from. There is one camping ground with spacious wooded sites, fireplaces and hook-ups for vehicles or tents, modern restrooms, hot showers, recreation hall, playground, shop and laundromat. There are also cabins for rent. Ferries from the mainland carry vehicles and trailers of all sizes.

The Shiverick Inn was built in 1840 for the town physician. It's on a prominent corner and offers a delightful blend of past and present, including 18th and 19th century American, English and French antiques, rich wall-coverings, oriental rugs, open fireplaces and other beautifully coloured rugs.


Off the east coast of the United States.


Qantas flies five times a week to New York with connections to Boston. Return economy airfares start at $1699 from the east coast, $1899 from Adelaide and $2084 from Perth.
The Shiverick Inn has rooms starting at around $200 a double a night.
Please note prices are valid at time of transmission and to the best of our knowledge are inclusive of GST.

More information

The Shiverick Inn
5 Pease's Point Way,
Martha's Vineyard MA 02539
Ph: 0011 1 508 627 3797
Qantas: Ph: 13 13 13
For a safe and healthy journey, talk to the travel doctor: 1300 658 844 or visit
Vaccinations: tetanus and measles if under 30 years and no previous booster.

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