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Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

Crawley, United...
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Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

Hi everyone,

My husband and our twin 14 year old girls are visiting the states for an 18 night holiday this August starting in Boston and finishing in New York, and we're staying for four nights in the Sea Crest Hotel in Falmouth from 7-10th August inclusive before we head to NYC.

We were planning to catch the Island Queen over to Marthas Vineyard at some point and were thinking of possibly hiring bikes to cycle on the island. Is it better value to hire the bikes in Falmouth and take them across with us, or is the price broadly the same for hiring bikes on the island?

And will bikes give us access to the best sights on the island, or should we forget bikes and go for an island tour instead?

Any advice graetly appreciated!

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1. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

Is cycling something you do on a regular basis at home? What are your interests? do the children prefer to be on the beach for instance? Could be very warm in August. I, personally, wouldn't bother with an island tour, I think it would be very boring for the 14 year olds to sit on a bus for several hours. A few hours in Oak Bluffs and then the local bus to Edgartown might suit you all. I assume that you will have a car to get around on the Cape. Plenty to do and see if you only have a few days.

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2. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

If you are just going for the day then Oak Bluffs and Edgartown are enough as Senior65 says. You won't need bikes to get between these two towns since you can walk around in each and use the island shuttle in between. If you want to go out to Gay Head then hire a taxi. It would be too long and time consuming to bike if you are there on a one day visit. We did the island tour once and Gay Head was the highlight because the rest was commentary on who lived behind these trees and what celebrity lived behind those trees. Quite boring.

However, in Falmouth you are going to have a much more pleasant biking opportunity and that is riding along the Shining Sea bike path from Falmouth to Woods Hole. Have fun.

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Crawley, United...
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3. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

Great thanks Senior65 and CapeCodCharlie - I'm definitely going to take your advice and go for the island shuttle from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown and forget about bikes on the island. Gay Head sounds like somewhere we should head to - any idea roughly how much a taxi return would be (and do they wait for you, or do they drop you and you pick up a taxi back at Gay Head when you're ready?)

We're not athletic bikers if you know what I mean, but the Shining Sea Bike Path sounds great - I'll do some more research on that. We're mainly cycling as my husband has one replacement knee with the other one in dire need of replacement, so walking any distance for him is a painful business. Cycling is no problem though so seems a great compromise whilst catching some great scenery.

We will have a hire car throughout our stay so it'd be great to have some recommendations on 'must do/must see' places to go on our other 3 days, alongside our day on Marthas Vineyard. I'm really keen to get across to the National Seashore - any suggestions as to the best place to head for?

Finally, as two obvious experts, can you validate (or not) my thinking about whale watching? I've had a good look at both Boston and Provincetown options. We have three days in Boston and four in Cape Cod, but I was thinking it would be better to do a whale watch from Boston, as it's going to be fairly long drive in busy conditions to get to Provincetown from Falmouth and it would make it a pretty long day all in all if we did that option instead. Price-wise there doesn't seem to be much in it for the boat trip, so we could do either. Any advice greatly appreciated!

Thanks again!

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4. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

It sounds like you might be traveling for at least part of two of your four days on the Cape leaving you really with only two full days perhaps. You are going to spend one on MV and there is plenty to do just on the Upper Cape in Falmouth/Woods Hole (please read some of my fairly recent past posts for suggestions) and possibly Sandwich, the oldest town on the Cape. Therefore, you are right, that driving all the way to Ptown just for a whale watch is time consuming. IF you decide to do the whale watch on the Cape then do the one from Barnstable Harbor. www.whales.net

The big waves and long long beaches along the Atlantic really should not be missed. Do walk away from the crowds to well enjoy these beaches. Perhaps you can schedule something in the morning and then arrive at Nauset Beach in East Orleans for a late lunch. You can certainly visit any of those beaches. The reason that I mention this one in particular is that it has a really big lot ($15 to park) and you don't have to be there at 9AM in order to get in. Then, there's a real bath house. That means that you will be able to change into (or out of) your bathing suit if you are coming from (or going to) something else. And best of all (besides the beach itself) is the great beach 'shack' food right there on the sand at Liam's. Great variety too. Orleans is closer to Falmouth than the other Outer Cape towns saving you some time enroute too.

I have a post about biking the flat, smooth recently renovated Shining Sea bike path into Woods Hole and back. Be sure to get locks with the bike rentals. It is not so easy to park in Woods Hole so arriving by bike is brilliant. In addition to the items that I mentioned for a family with kids there are scientific options as well. See one in the Top Questions section under the post/question about what to do for free on the Cape. And you can easily research Woods Hole for other things that might interest you.

My biggest suggestion to you is to change your plans and spend MORE time on the Cape. But really you might be able to do MV one day with a quick hop over on the Island Queen, spend a half day on the Outer Cape and the rest of your time in Falmouth/Woods Hole. I wonder if the weekly and free History Walk in Falmouth will occur while you are there.

Also, closer to your arrival, look online at Cape Week, the weekly entertainment section of the newspaper and you'll see what is being offered while you are there. If you have any questions while you are there be sure to call the excellent Falmouth Visitor's Center. They are right downtown on Main St., just on an alleyway called Academy Lane.

Dining: harborfront Clam Shack - outdoor, special dinner- The Glass Onion, drinks with a great view - Casino FX, Irish entertainment - Liam McGuires

Bikes: www.cornercycle.com or Holiday cycles on Grand Ave. Shining Sea is 10 miles one way. See Nobska Light open times on Thursday and Sat.

Old Silver Beach is considered a Falmouth destination too so I hope you have some time to enjoy it and a nice sunset right there too.

Enjoy your holiday. I know you will.

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5. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

Oh, and the question about the MV taxi will need some research or input from someone, perhaps a local on MV will know. There is a great destination expert there, Knows, but you may be able to find this out by noodling around on their websites too. So try posting this on the MV forum for sure. And, I don't know if you want to consider this, but you could see if there's an hourly rate on the mopeds. We enjoyed renting the mopeds several years ago on MV and, while we didn't go out to Gay Head, that might be a fun yet more expensive way to get there. IMHO it is safer for each person to have their own moped than to double up. I would definately try to get there if you can but you'll still have fun in Oak Bluffs (go over to the Campground area behind Main St.) and lovely Edgartown.

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Crawley, United...
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6. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

Sounds fab - can't wait. Thanks for all your insight. Sadly, four days is what we have as we're trying to pack in quite a lot during our vacation (Boston 3 nights, Kennebunkport 2 nights, Jackson 2 nights, Stowe 2 nights, Falmouth 4 nights, NYC 5 nights), so you're right that we have two travel days - one arriving from Stowe and one leaving for NYC. A bit of a New England whistle-stop tour!

Hopefully we'll get away fairly early from Stowe and aim to arrive early afternoon so we can have the first afternoon and evening checking out Falmouth - an evening drink on Old Silver Beach sounds like heaven. We're staying in the Sea Crest Hotel so I'll have a look and see how far from there we are.

I guess I just need to work out if we can squeeze in cycling to Woods Hole - maybe on the half day we might head to Orleans?

Thanks re the suggestion of mopeds - surely my 14 year olds wouldn't be able to ride solo?

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7. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

If you can get a couple of hours to bike whether between OB and Edgartown or along the shining sea path, definitely do it. Benefits- more relaxing, able to see sights, smell fresh air. downside- takes more time so you will need to compromise on seeing something else. You do need a car/taxi/bus/tour to get to GH. I would not do that by moped. While I have opined many times without any first hand knowledge on the issues of the day, I did do this one time and absolutely regretted it. It was a long ride with my wife- to- be riding on the same bike. very slow and bumpy.

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8. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

Neslaw, I know that the price of two mopeds vs one and wtih perhaps one timid rider means that a lot of folks rent one, ride two but imho that is less satisfactory in every way and less safe as well. Try it again but rent two. You can afford it!

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9. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

this was 25 years ago (maybe moped engines have more hp now) and my wife refused to ride her own. believe me, this was not my first choice. :)

10. Re: Bike Hire for trip to Marthas Vineyard

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