Thinking of visiting Martha’s Vineyard in November, but unsure if the off-season will live up to your expectations?
From brisk walks on beautiful beaches to warming up with steaming clam chowder by a roaring fire, Martha’s Vineyard in the off-season has a lot to offer. It’s also one of the least crowded and least expensive times to visit.
My first experience of a peaceful Martha’s Vineyard fall was in 2000 when I lived in Edgartown. Since then, I have returned regularly to enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and beauty of the island in the quiet, cooler months of fall and winter.
Whether you’re seeking a serene escape, stunning fall landscapes, or a taste of local culture without the crowds, I’ll help you plan the perfect getaway with this list of things to do in Martha’s Vineyard in November.
Best events and things to do on Martha’s Vineyard in November
So, what is there to do in Martha’s Vineyard in November? A whole lot, as it turns out!
1. Island Alpaca Company
This alpaca farm offers tours, meet-and-greets, and a variety of alpaca products, including yarn, clothing, and gifts. November is a great time to visit because the alpacas are in their full winter coats and are especially fluffy.
I would also recommend you follow them on instagram for a constant stream of cute animal videos. It totally brightens my day every time they post.
2. Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks
This glassblowing studio offers demonstrations and a gift shop selling handmade glass items. It was so interesting to watch the glassblowers at work here. They were really friendly and happy to answer all my questions about their work.
I loved how they described what was happening as they were working so you could follow along with the whole fascinating process.
In the early fall they start making gorgeous glass pumpkins in all sizes and colors so November is a perfect time to visit and pick up some of these to add to your home decor collection.
3. Gay Head Cliffs for sunset
These colorful cliffs are one of the most beautiful (and popular!) attractions on Martha’s Vineyard. November is a great time to visit because the crowds have thinned out and you will have a spectacular view of the sunset.
It can be extremely busy here in the summer months so it’s a real pleasure to have the viewing area almost all to yourself at this time of year. From my experience, it gets cold very quickly once the sun goes down so bring a sweatshirt.
4. Edgartown Books
This independent bookstore is a great place to browse for books and even meet local authors if there is a signing going on. I love their section of local Martha’s Vineyard books. Go here early in your trip so you can pick up a Martha’s Vineyard Mystery to read by the fire
5. Martha’s Vineyard Museum
This museum tells the story of the island through exhibits on its history, culture, and natural environment. November is a good time to visit because the museum is less crowded and you can really enjoy your time at each exhibit.
My favorite sections here are the video of the Gay Head Light House being lifted up and moved away from the cliff edge and the Jaws movie exhibit
6. Dickensian Christmas Village at the Carnegie
Be sure to visit this miniature townscape based on the world of A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens. It’s made up of hundreds of individual pieces including a working train, farmland and a harbor complete with lighthouse.
November is a good time to visit because the village is only on display for a few weeks. This is one of the most unique things to do in Edgartown during the holiday season and this Vineyard Trust property is a great place to find out more about the island’s rich history.
7. Fall Festival at Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary
This annual family-friendly event takes place the day after Thanksgiving. Previous events have included hayrides, crafts like bird feeder and wreath making, music, squash bowling, food for sale and s’mores by the fire.
This is also a great opportunity to explore the four miles of trails around the sanctuary which is just a short drive from Edgartown village. I particularly like to take a walk along the beach at the end of the Shad Trail for a nice view over Majors Cove.
8. Cooking Classes at The Farm Institute and Slough Farm
These farms offer a variety of cooking classes throughout the year, including classes on seasonal cooking, baking, and preserving food. November is a good time to take a class because they often teach seasonal baking and Thanksgiving dishes in advance of the holiday.
9. Take part in a Turkey Trot
There is usually a charity 5k road race through Oak Bluffs on Thanksgiving morning if you want to really earn that big dinner! Road races are run throughout the year on the island and a lot of them take place in the fall months.
This is a great time to visit Martha’s Vineyard if you love doing outdoor activities without the intense heat from the sun.
10. Practice your Photography
There’s something about the light at this time of year that makes for really beautiful photos, especially at sunrise and sunset (Menemsha beach is a great spot for sunset pics). Photography is absolutely not one of my best skills but I’m always trying to practice and improve.
I often see a beautiful colonial home or nice view I’d like to snap but rows of parked cars can get in the way of that perfect pic. One of my favorite things about a getaway on Martha’s Vineyard at this time of year is being able to take pictures with no cars in them!
11. Take a Martha’s Vineyard Tour
Taking a guided tour is a great way to see the island without having to drive yourself. This way you can concentrate on enjoying the sights without having to worry about navigating.
You might get the impression that no tours are running at this time of year but I highly recommend calling the local tour companies directly. Many are operated by year-round islanders and even if they have no public tours scheduled, they may be able to arrange a private tour for you.
12. Observe Veteran’s Day
Martha’s Vineyard joins with the rest of the country to honor those who have served. There is usually a ceremony, flag-raising and parade in Oak Bluffs to recognize the service of all military veterans.
Traditionally the Steamship Authority provides free ferry tickets to active service members and veterans and many island businesses and hotels also offer discounted products and services on this day.
The Trustees of Reservations often have guided tours and walks around their properties this weekend too.
13. Go surfing
This might seem like a crazy suggestion but, I have seen it happen! Sometimes the conditions are just right to catch some waves. If you need surf gear you’ll find it at The Boneyard Surf Shop in Edgartown. They have a huge selection of boards, wetsuits and beach wear.
Lamberts Cove beach is a good spot for surfing and the bonus of visiting there in November is that it is fully open to the public. During the summer months, this beach is only accessible to local residents.
14. Biking and Hiking
Whether you want to explore on foot or on wheels, there is something for everyone on the trails throughout the island. There are plenty of bicycle rental places on the island but most of them are closed by November.
I do know that Wheel Happy is open until December but you can also get in touch with them by phone even after they close for the season. Most hiking trails on the island are open year round.
Two great reasons why you should hike on the Vineyard in November: temperatures are better for long walks and there are fewer ticks!
Check out the MV trails app for some great maps for hikers and visit the Sheriff’s Meadow and Trustees of Reservations websites to find out what guided walks are available.
15. Light Up Oak Bluffs
If you are planning a trip to Martha’s Vineyard in November, Thanksgiving weekend is a great time to do it! There is so much going on and the main event is Light Up Oak Bluffs.
This 2-day event marks the beginning of the holiday season on the island. Events include photos with Santa, hot chocolate and cookies, a fun run, sack races and other games.
You can take horse drawn carriage rides, watch festive movies, listen to carollers and shop for gifts from local vendors and artisans at the holiday market.
The grand finale is the arrival of Santa, Ocean Park Lighting and the tree lighting in the square. Add this to your list of Oak Bluffs things to do!
16. Holiday Gift Shows
This is the season to shop on Martha’s Vineyard! Summer visitors will often head to farmers markets or to downtown Edgartown for shopping, but at this time of year, holiday pop-up markets are where it’s at.
Featherstone Center for the Arts holiday gift show begins mid-Nov and is open daily. You can buy handmade gifts like food, clothing, jewellery and homewares from local designers and makers.
World Market holiday pop-up shop and Island Made Holidays are two others that take place in November and December. The best place for information on opening hours, dates and locations for these is on the Chamber of Commerce Instagram.
You can also support local businesses in the off-season on Small Business Saturday which takes place right after Thanksgiving. Stores in downtown Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven are open and have lots of items on sale.
17. Fall for the Arts
September through November is a seasonal celebration of the arts scene on Martha’s Vineyard. There are more than a dozen public galleries open at this time, showcasing work from local islanders and talented International artists.
Some artists open their studios to visitors during this season and may offer classes or hands-on activities. If you have an interest in arts and culture you’re in for a wonderful time in November on Martha’s Vineyard.
My top tips for visiting Martha’s Vineyard in November
Visit on a weekend for the best chance of finding open shops and restaurants.
In November, some businesses reduce their hours or close entirely on midweek days. To ensure that you have the most options, plan to visit the island from Friday to Sunday.
Thanksgiving weekend is the busiest weekend of the month, and a popular time to visit because there is a packed schedule of events to choose from.
Plan ahead to find out which restaurants, stores, and attractions are open or closed.
I have done much of the research for you and made this comprehensive list of venues and businesses that are open in November, but things can change. To avoid disappointment, be sure to check the websites or social media pages of the places you want to visit before you go.
Plan some indoor activities
In addition to outdoor activities like hiking and biking, there’s plenty of indoor fun to be had, like visiting the museum, art galleries, bowling or going shopping. Choose a few from this list of Martha’s Vineyard indoor activities in case of a rainy day.
Bring or rent a car to get around the island.
Martha’s Vineyard has an excellent public transportation system but it becomes more limited in the off-season so I recommend that you bring your car. Driving on the island is easier in November, thanks to lighter traffic and more parking availability.
To bring your car on the ferry you will need to make a reservation in advance. Reservations are slightly cheaper than in peak summer months and it’s easier to get the time slots you want.
Be aware of your cancellation policies for transportation and hotels in case of bad weather.
November weather on Martha’s Vineyard can be unpredictable, with storms and high winds occasionally causing ferry cancellations.
It’s a good idea to be familiar with the cancellation policies of your transportation and accommodations providers so that you’re prepared in case of any unexpected changes.
How to get to Martha’s Vineyard in November
By November, flights and ferry services have shifted to an off season schedule. There are still plenty of options if you can be flexible with your arrangements.
Ferry to Martha’s Vineyard in November
If you usually travel to the Vineyard in peak season, you’ll know you can get a ferry from multiple locations on Cape Cod, Rhode Island and New York.
However, once it gets to late fall and into the winter months, if you want to bring a car to the island, your only option is to take the Steamship Authority ferry from Woods Hole to Vineyard Haven. This route operates year round and is the option I use most often when travelling to the island.
Ferry tickets for foot passengers do not need to be booked in advance but you will need a reservation if you want to bring a car.
This year, foot passengers also have the option to travel to Martha’s Vineyard from New Bedford on the SeaStreak ferry. Formerly a seasonal service, the company just announced that they will now be offering a daily year-round service from New Bedford to Martha’s Vineyard.
In November, there will be two sailings per day (arriving into Vineyard Haven) with a third sailing added on the days around Thanksgiving.
Fly to Martha’s Vineyard in November
Cape Air offers year-round flights to Martha’s Vineyard (MVY) from Boston Logan International Airport (BOS) and New York JFK Airport (JFK) and is the only commercial airline that flies to the island in November.
However, the plane is very small (9 passengers max) so if you are a nervous flyer or uncomfortable in small spaces, you should take the ferry instead.
Private air charters can also use the airport which is open year-round. Tradewind Aviation flies from Westchester Airport (HPN) to the Vineyard up until the end of November.
Where to stay on Martha’s Vineyard in November
Many hotels on the island now remain open during the fall season. Most of them are in the town of Edgartown but Oak Bluffs and Vineyard Haven are also good choices for a Vineyard getaway at this time of year.
You’ll find some of the lowest rates of the year available this month (with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend) so it’s a perfect time to enjoy a trip to Martha’s Vineyard.
Top tip: Sign up to the email newsletters for your favorite hotels to be the first to hear about any Martha’s Vineyard vacation deals.
These are a few of the island hotels that are open in November:
- Ashley Inn
- Charlotte Inn
- The Edgar Hotel
- The Franklin Hotel
- Harborview Hotel
- The Island Inn
- The Morgan Hotel
- The Mansion House
- Vineyard Harbor Motel
In the up-island towns of Chilmark, Aquinnah or West Tisbury, most lodging options close in the off-season. You could search for a Martha’s Vineyard off season vacation rental on VRBO instead and find a cozy cottage for your stay.
Restaurants open on Martha’s Vineyard in November
At this time of year, lots of the top restaurants and bars on the island are still open. Restaurants that are open for Thanksgiving dinner usually announce their plans and menus in the first week of November and need to be booked in advance.
In these colder months, I think a hearty, warm breakfast sets you up for the day ahead .
I like to go to the Black Dog Tavern on chilly days because it’s warm and welcoming inside and they have a big breakfast menu to choose from. Last time I went, I got The Loretta, my husband had an omelette and the kids tucked into pancakes with berries.
Here are some dining options that are open in the month of November.
- Dock Street Coffee Shop
- Edgartown Diner
- The Wharf
- Bad Martha’s
- Edgartown Pizza
- Espresso Love
- Town Bar and Grill
- Barn Bowl and Bistro
- Bombay Indian Cuisine
- Bangkok Cuisine
- Farm Neck Cafe
- Lookout Tavern
- Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company
- Offshore Ale Co.
- Mo’s Lunch
- Sharky’s Cantina
- The Sweet Life Cafe
- Tigerhawk Sandwich Co.
- Black Dog Bakery
- Black Dog Tavern
- Waterside Market
- Bobby B’s
- Mocha Motts
- Wolf’s Den
- Golden Bull
- Mikado Asian Bistro
- Net Result
- Copper Anchor
Things to note:
- Restaurants may not be open every single day and some close for the season on dates in November.
- Opening hours will vary greatly. Many restaurants are only open for dinner.
- Some are open for take-out only
- Check individual websites and social media or go to the excellent resource, What’s Open on Martha’s Vineyard, to find the most up to date information.
Martha’s Vineyard in November: Weather
Martha’s Vineyard weather in November can be unpredictable, with a mix of sunny days, rain showers, and even the occasional snow flurry. Average high temperatures range from 49°F to 57°F, and average low temperatures range from 35°F to 43°F.
The best days are when the sky is blue, and although there is a chill in the air, you can still feel the warmth of the sun when it shines right on you. I hope you get days like this on your trip.
My expert tip about island weather is to prepare for wind! People often overlook this part of the weather forecast when packing. I know I certainly did the first time I travelled to Martha’s Vineyard in winter and I did not pack the right clothes.
The actual temperature on your weather app might sound warm but the wind chill factor from being on an island can really make you cold if you’re not dressed appropriately.
What to wear in Martha’s Vineyard in November
Layers: I usually pack a lot of lightweight layers like sweaters or cardigans, and a jacket. Because it can be really windy near the coast or if you go up high to the Aquinnah cliffs you will need windproof fabrics.
I like to take inspiration from the sailing community and bring something like this lightweight, windproof, waterproof jacket.
Umbrella: It’s likely to rain at some point during your trip, so it’s a good idea to bring rain gear with you. And don’t make the same mistake I have by packing good clothes for rain, but forgetting waterproof footwear!
Comfortable shoes: You’ll probably be doing a lot of walking on your trip, so make sure to pack comfortable shoes. Boots or sneakers are a good choice, especially if you’re planning on doing any hiking.
Casual but well-made clothes: Martha’s Vineyard has a casual vibe, so you don’t need to pack anything too fancy. “Relaxed elegance” is my favorite way to describe the dress code on the island.
Accessories: Don’t forget to pack a hat, scarf, and gloves to keep you warm on chilly days. You’ll need sunglasses too!
Wrap up: What to do in Martha’s Vineyard in November
If you visit Martha’s Vineyard in November you’ll find it to be a welcoming and magical place, full of fall charm, cozy lodgings, and seasonal delicacies in local eateries.
Wrap up warm to enjoy the Vineyard’s natural beauty, strolls along deserted beaches, hiking and biking trails
Visit early in the month if you’re seeking a place to enjoy an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Come for Thanksgiving when there is no shortage of activities to do and events to attend
Whether seeking solitude or looking to immerse yourself in the island’s rich history and culture, November on Martha’s Vineyard is a truly unforgettable autumn getaway.
Get more help planning your trip in our private Martha’s Vineyard Travel Tips Facebook group
Frequently asked questions about Martha’s Vineyard in November
Is November a good time to visit Martha’s Vineyard?
Yes, November is a good time to visit Martha’s Vineyard. The weather is mild, the crowds are smaller, accommodation is less expensive than peak summer and there are still plenty of things to do and see.
How do you get to Martha’s Vineyard in November?
The best way to get to Martha’s Vineyard in November is by ferry. The Steamship Authority offers year-round service from Woods Hole, Massachusetts. You can also fly with Cape Air from Boston or New York JFK airport.
Is Martha’s Vineyard nice in November?
Yes, Martha’s Vineyard is nice in November. The island has a relaxed atmosphere and the weather is generally mild. However, it is important to pack for all types of weather, as it can be cold and windy at times.
Is Martha’s Vineyard open in November?
Yes, Martha’s Vineyard is open in November. However, some businesses may have reduced hours or be closed altogether. It is best to check the websites or social media pages of the places you want to visit before you go.