They say if you want to know something about a place, ask a native. When it comes to Martha’s Vineyard, the Massachusetts island located just south of Cape Cod, author Christopher Setterlund has saved you the trouble of asking. The 12th generation Cape Codder has anticipated what a visitor to Martha’s Vineyard might want to know and laid it all out in his new book “In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard.”
Importantly, since Martha’s Vineyard is an island, Setterlund first tells the reader how to get there, either by Cape Air or the more common method, by ferry, which is about a 45-minute journey from Cape Cod. That time could be well spent doing a little last minute planning with “In My Footsteps” where Setterlund offers concise, mostly one-page descriptions of attractions, about 70 in total.
Setterlund breaks down the island by town or area, covering Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Haven, West Tisbury, Chilmark, Aquinnah, Edgartown and Chappaquiddick Island. And in a really neat feature, Setterlund presents the attractions in a suggested order, offering a logical route to take in all the fun. Since most folks arrive by ferry, Setterlund begins his tour in Oak Bluffs at Ocean Park, which is located a mere tenth of a mile from the Steamship Authority ferry dock. Each page has information for the attraction focused on; for Ocean Park you’ll learn among other things that the neighborhood is filled with Victorian homes. Then the section on each subsequent attraction begins with telling you how to get there from the previous attraction, including the distance and driving time and even with GPS coordinates.
Setterlund’s insider information is dealt out liberally, providing tips on everything from the best time to score a tasty pastry at Back Door Donuts (7:30 pm) to where to find the grave of comedian John Belushi of “Saturday Night Live” and “The Blues Brothers” fame. Martha’s Vineyard has pristine shorelines and lush forest, a wildlife refuge and a Japanese gardens; “In My Footsteps” will make sure you don’t miss any of these while you hit the fudge shop or check out the quirky 17-foot tall “Swordfish Harpooner Sculpture” at Menemsha Beach, which Setterlund also reveals is the prime spot to catch a colorful sunset.
With Setterlund’s thorough directions in hand it’s unlikely you’d drive right by any of the attractions without noticing, but just to make sure he’s included a color photo for each place too. And for those who don’t bring their vehicle over on the ferry, there’s info here as to bicycle rental and the local shuttle system that operates year-round.
“In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard” is widely available now from Schiffer Publishing with a suggested retail price of $16.99. Purchase it here.