Talking about the ways to leave the Vineyard
Travelers departing the Vineyard have many options during the summer months. Eight ferry companies and three airline services provide service to various locations where other connections await. In many cases, convenience and speed equals greater cost, but for some people the time saved is worth the extra expense.
Fewer options are available out of season, when only three ferries operate between the mainland and the Vineyard. Once on the mainland, travelers have a number of options including buses, taxis and limousines, depending on where they arrive.
For air travelers, Cape Air provides regular year-round scheduled service and US Airways provides seasonal scheduled service. During the summer months, they offer non-stop flights to Boston, Providence, New York City, Washington D.C., Hyannis, New Bedford, and Nantucket.
Direct Flight, an Island-based charter company, provides custom service for people who need to get there from here. Airplane charter companies based off-Island also offer services to and from the Vineyard for those willing to pay for the comfort and convenience.
Ferries provide less expensive alternatives for travelers, although prices vary depending on speed of the boat and distance of the trip. There is seasonal ferry service from Vineyard Haven, Oak Bluffs, and Edgartown to five mainland ports: Falmouth/Woods Hole, Hyannis, New Bedford, Montauk, N.Y., and Quonset, R.I.
In almost all cases travelers can make local connections. For example, Falmouth Taxi offers service to Logan airport or T.F. Green airports for $170 and limousines to either airport for $240.
Most ferry companies offer reduced fares for children, seniors, and during the spring and fall. Reduced fares may also be available for those actively serving in the U.S. military and for families.
What passengers like
Steamship Authority (SSA) passenger Patricia Parkman of Illinois told the times in the SSA terminal that the ferry over was a "nice ride." Although it was her first trip from the Vineyard, she liked the comforts the size of the SSA ferries provided: the snack bar, the options of seating, and the possibility of catching an earlier boat than reserved. And, she noted, it is very cheap ($14 adult round-trip).
Bob Storme of Blackstone said he had been traveling to the Vineyard with his family for years. The SSA is convenient because tickets are sold at the campground they stay at in Bourne, he said. The frequency at which the boats run between the Vineyard and Woods Hole is also convenient, Mr. Storme said.
Although he had tried a fast ferry, Mr. Storme said the extra expense was not worth the money. In fact, Mr. Storme said he enjoyed the longer SSA ride partially for its leisurely length.
Interviews with passengers waiting to board a New England Fast Ferry out of Vineyard Haven provided a different perspective.
Richard Porter of Providence, after a week in Vineyard Haven, said the fast ferry was "the best way to get here" for him because New Bedford is close to Providence and because the N.E. Fast Ferry runs to Vineyard Haven.
Although Mr. Porter has flown to the Vineyard, airport security procedures have made it faster and more convenient to take the fast ferry, he said.
Michael Oliveira of Fall River said he was taking the fast ferry because it was fast, convenient, professional, comfortable, and rarely deviated from schedule. He said he could even get work done during the trip because there are tables aboard the boat.
Working three days a week-all day trips-in Vineyard Haven for the past two months, Mr. Oliveira buys 10 tickets at a time at a discounted rate. In total, the trip was faster than his previous commute into Boston, he said.
Island Home. Photo by Susan Safford
How to get there from here
The Steamship Authority (www.steamshipauthority.com or call 508-693-0367) provides year-round ferry service between Martha's Vineyard and Woods Hole for passengers and vehicles. The crossing takes approximately 45 minutes (less with the new ferry).
The SSA adult fare is $7 one-way and $14 round-trip. Automobiles rates vary depending on length of vehicle. The undiscounted cost for a vehicle 17 feet or less is $65 one-way and $130 round-trip (April 1 to October 31).
The discounted Island resident rate depends on the size of the vehicle and costs $83 round-trip for a mid-sized sedan.
A Bonanza/Peter Pan bus terminal is located just outside the ferry terminal, where passengers can board buses to Boston, Providence, and New York City. (A bus ticket to Logan airport costs $27 one-way and $47 round-trip.)
Falmouth Taxi offers a taxi service to Logan or T.F. Green airports for $170 and limousines to either airport for $240. Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority busses (The Breeze) are also available to Hyannis.
New England Fast Ferry (www.nefastferry.com or call 866-683-3779) provides year-round service from New Bedford to Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs in the summer. The trip takes approximately one hour.
The adult fare is $29 one-way and $58 round-trip.
Peter Pan and Dattco busses provide service from New Bedford to major Northeastern cities. Rental car service is available in the ferry terminal.
Town Car Travel provides connections to T.F. Green Airport outside of Providence and the Providence Amtrak Station for $35 per passenger. They also provide connections to Logan starting at $129 per vehicle. Town Car Travel also charges a minimum gratuity fee of 20 percent.
Martha's Vineyard Fast Ferry (www.vineyardfastferry.com or call 401-295-4040) provides seasonal service between Oak Bluffs to Quonset Point, R.I. (May 24-Oct. 8). The trip takes approximately 90 minutes. Vineyard Fast Ferry provides a shuttle service to nearby T.F. Green airport for $15 one-way and $18 one-way to the Kingston Amtrak Station.
Adult fare is $49.25 one-way and $75 round-trip.
Hy-Line Cruises (www.hy-linecruises.com or call 800-492-8082) operates a seasonal fast ferry from Oak Bluffs to Hyannis (June 16-Nov. 30). Adult fare for the approximately 55 minutes is $31.50 one-way and $59 round-trip.
Hy-Line also provides conventional ferry service once daily (5 pm) between Oak Bluffs to Hyannis, from June 23-Oct. 21. Adult fare for the approximately 95-minute trip is $18.50 one-way and $37 round-trip.
A Bonanza/Peter Pan bus terminal is about a 10-minute walk from the Hy-Line terminal in Hyannis.
The Island Queen (www.islandqueen.com or call 508-548-4800) provides service between Oak Bluffs and Falmouth Harbor (May 2-Oct. 8). The crossing takes approximately 35 minutes. Taxi service is available to nearby bus terminals and shops. Adult fare is $8 one-way or $15 round-trip.
Patriot Boats (www.patriotpartyboats.com or call 508-548-2626) provides 24-hour, year-round water taxi service and scheduled trips between Oak Bluffs and Falmouth Harbor. The company has earned a reputation for running in any weather. They also offer a free shopping shuttle to Falmouth shopping areas in Falmouth and to their parking lot.
The adult fare for the shuttle service is $8 one-way at scheduled times. The water taxi service is $175 for up to 6 passengers. For more than 6 passengers, the water taxi is $200.
Falmouth Ferry Service (www.falmouthferry.com or call 508-548-9400) provides seasonal service between Memorial Wharf in Edgartown and Falmouth Marine (May 25-Oct. 8). The trip is approximately 45 minutes. Adult fare is $15 one-way or $30 round-trip.
Viking Ferry (www.vikingfleet.com or call 631-668-5700) provides a seasonal high-speed ferry service between Montauk, N.Y., and Oak Bluffs Harbor (July and August). The ride is approximately 4 hours. The adult fare is $75 one-way or $120 round-trip.
Long Island Railway and the Hampton Jitney (bus) provide connections in Montauk.
Cape Air (www.flycapeair.com or call 800-352-0714) provides non-stop flights to Boston, Providence, Nantucket, and Hyannis. The flight to Boston takes approximately 40 minutes. Fares vary based on a when a ticket is booked in relation to the date of the flight. As of August 21, a one-way ticket from Martha's Vineyard to Logan airport for a flight on September 22 was $157.70 (plus taxes and fees) one-way and $294.89 round-trip.
The flight to T.F. Green takes approximately 25 minutes. As of August 21, the fare was $92.25 (plus taxes and fees) one-way and $179.00 round-trip for a flight on September 22.
US Airways (www.usairways.com or call 800-428-4322) provides seasonal, non-stop flights to New York City and Washington, D.C. The flight to NYC takes approximately 80 minutes. Fares vary based on a when a ticket is date booked in relation to the date of the flight. As of August 21, a fare to LaGuardia was $251 (plus taxes and fees) one-way and $502 round-trip for a September 22 flight.
Flight time to Washington D.C. is approximately 90 minutes.
As of July 16, the fare to Reagan airport was $386 (plus taxes and fees) one-way and $616 round-trip for a September 15 flight.
Direct Flight (e-mail email@example.com or call 508-693-6688), the only charter plane service based out of Martha's Vineyard, provides year-round flights throughout the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. Flights start at $400.