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Let’s be honest, Martha’s Vineyard is not the first place in the Commonwealth that comes to mind when one thinks of skiing. That said, it’s also true that maybe it should be. Since the beginning of winter, last December, until right about now, there have been at least five snowfalls — some more generous than others. But even those that left behind only a light sprinkling were delightfully fluffy and significant enough for cross-country skiing.
Red Coat Hill, Tisbury, Martha’s Vineyard by Celine Segel
What the Island lacks in significant snowfall, it more than makes up for in beautiful and varied landscapes.
For starters, there is Red Coat Hill, just a short drive out of Vineyard Haven, which is popular with sledders of all ages. The Hill evens out into broad meadows that slope toward the Tisbury Water Works, where a small pond abuts the historic Tashmoo Springs building. As befits the site of the town’s annual Memorial Day picnic, there are a few tables and benches on which to rest and enjoy some hot chocolate, if you’ve had the foresight to carry some along. Just over the horizon is lovely Lake Tashmoo, opening into Vineyard Sound. Or strap on your skis to explore the winter quiet surrounding the West Tisbury Agricultural Hall and also the Edgartown’s outer harbor for a different view altogether.
Edgartown Lighthouse, Martha’s Vineyard
Additionally, Martha’s Vineyard is home to several conservation groups that welcome winter visitors to their various properties. Though, narrow trails and other anomalies can make some properties unsuitable for the skiers, others, including West Chop Woods and Quansoo Farm (to name just two of Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation properties) offer conditions that are just about ideal for the cross-country skier.
Adam Moore, executive director of the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation suggests that would-be skiers visit the organization’s website and select from among the properties listed, clicking through to the map and descriptive information on each property before making a selection. Skiers should also be aware that property parking areas will not be plowed.
Snow on the horizon at Long Point Wildlife Refuge, Martha’s Vineyard by Celine Segel
Both The Trustees of Reservations and Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank properties are open for the winter sport, as well. Each of their websites offers a map of properties with a click-through to a detailed description. Staff at The Trustees of Reservations suggests that of their properties, Long Point Wildlife Refuge and Menemsha Hills Reservation may be best suited for winter recreation.
Carol Ward is content editor at MVOL providing current information about the Island at www.mvol.com & www.mvolmobile.com. An Island resident for 30 years, Carol was formerly publications editor for MV Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please note that many businesses along Martha’s Vineyard are seasonal; so before planning your trip, please be sure to double-check which businesses are open in advance.