Give the gift of experiences

‘Stuff’ is nice, but experiences last a lifetime


The past few years, we have kept to ourselves, ordered a few too many things off Amazon, and spent some more-than-desired quality time with ourselves in our homes. For most of us, the pandemic has taken up residence in the back of our minds these days, and this holiday season is going to be a great one to give, share, and have more experiences. Happiness, memories, exploration, bonding, togetherness — and likely a couple of Instagram posts.

For the family, give the fun of exploring Island history at the M.V. Museum. The household membership for a year is quite the bang for the buck — $75, and $40 if you’d like to give an individual membership. It includes free unlimited admission to the museum, Cooke House Gardens, and Edgartown and East Chop Lighthouses. Members can go to the museum’s exhibits, events, and programs, and for the kids it includes the summer Discovery Days. Additional free guest passes are an added bonus. Pretty marvelous if you ask me. The museum is a great place to visit any time of year — as a group or solo, rain or shine. New exhibitions are continuously being curated in addition to the permanent collection, so it won’t ever get old. Check it out and buy online at

For the outdoorsy type, a copy of the pocket-size guide “Walking Trails of Martha’s Vineyard” by William Flender is the best. You can look for it at Bunch of Grapes bookstore, Cronig’s Market, Edgartown Books, Alley’s General Store, or Morning Glory Farm. They’ll have this guide for years. Give a gas card alongside it to put a little gas in their tank for the driving to all those great up-Island hiking spots.

Any time spent with horses is always a gift. Horseback riding lessons set at a fun, beautiful, welcoming barn in West Tisbury are perfect for any animal lover. It’s a great activity for any age or experience level. White Stone Equestrian has friendly, helpful, and professional staff who offer everything from beginner/pony rides to an inclusive lesson package. You can book by email or give them a call. More info at

Surprise someone with classes at Featherstone Center for the Arts. With plenty of year-round classes and workshop choices, Featherstone allows your recipient to experiment in a new medium or advance a favorite craft. Classes and workshops offer a chance to learn from talented instructors and connect with other artists. Ceramics, drawing, fiber arts, jewelry making, painting, mixed media, and glass works are a few of the class offerings. Featherstone also offers Art Nights, which have more of a social and laid-back approach, geared toward someone looking for a fun night out — plus they can BYOB to those, which is always nice. To buy a gift card, visit, or stop by the beautiful campus.

Ever thought about henna for relaxation? Let them sit back and enjoy the magic of getting a henna tattoo right in their home. The body art is designed and applied by Giocchina Kuester, an Oak Bluffs resident, with her onsite mobile henna business called Island Henna MV. She is professional and has a warm, welcoming aura. The natural henna paste/dye (which smells divine) is applied to the skin in an intricate pattern, and lasts around two weeks — that’s longer than a mani/pedi! Your henna recipients will enjoy their creative body art, and you’ll definitely make them feel spoiled. Sessions vary in price depending on the intricacy, size, and location. To purchase a gift card and check out package options and pricing, visit

Who doesn’t love Martha’s Vineyard? For the person who doesn’t live here, give them a vacation to come visit. Help with their travel costs by giving them a Steamship Authority gift card. The card can be used to purchase ferry tickets, make online reservations, and if you add in a little extra, they can use it to buy a snack or drink on the boat, or help pay to park their car. You can buy them at the ferry terminal or online at Depending on how hospitable you are, you could even offer to let them stay with you.

You can get creative with how you package these special gifts — adorn a giftcard with a little bow, give the gift in a bag with a handmade card, or ideally give it to them with a hug. Things are great, but this year, wrap up memories they’ll cherish for years. Give stories instead of stuff.

Other M.V. experiential holiday gift ideas: 

  • A membership to the YMCA or Mansion House.
    Spa treatment or a massage.
  • Book them a private chef: The Food Minded Fellow is highly recommended.
  • A visit to Island Alpaca.
  • A straight-edge beard cut at Benitos in Oak Bluffs.
    A yoga class punch card to the Yoga Barn.
  • Private cheese tasting at the Grey Barn (it’s seasonal).
  • Lunch at Waterside Market, Mo’s, or the Little House, your treat!
    Bowling at the Barn, Bowl and Bistro.
  • Take the kids to open-skate at the Ice Arena.
    Tickets to a movie at the M.V. Film Center with a gift card to Salvatore’s, or to Entertainment Cinemas, with a gift card to Alchemy.
  • Acupuncture at Vineyard Complementary Medicine.
  • Weed edibles — now that’s an experience!