Just as each town on the Vineyard has its own character, so, too, do many of its restaurants—some more distinctive than others. A mainstay for diners who enjoy French cuisine is Le Grenier French Restaurant (www.legrenierrestaurant.com, 508-693-4906) in Vineyard Haven, where chef-owner Jean Dupon creates game, beef, and seafood dishes served by candlelight. The Venaison Grand Veneur is prepared with red currant game sauce.
For above-par American and British pub fare, try The Newes from America Pub at The Kelley House (www.kelley-house.com, 508-627-7900) in Edgartown. Enjoy Bangers and Mash and sample the Rack of Beers featuring limited-release New England draft beers.
For some people-watching with your fried calamari, go to Fishbones Grille and Waterfront Cafe (www.fishbonesgrille.com, 508-696-8227) at the dockside marina on Oak Bluffs Harbor. Sip a Tammarino (a mango concoction) and enjoy a view of the boat traffic.
During the 19th century, one in four people in the Chilmark village of Squibnocket was born deaf, due to biological and social conditions still studied today. At the time, off-island travel was rare and intermarriage common. Researchers believe those conditions and an inbred recessive gene created the high incidence of deafness. And from that phenomenon came the Martha’s Vineyard Sign Language, which many islanders learned, so those who were deaf knew none of the social barriers deaf people know today. The island language was unique to Martha’s Vineyard, researchers say. For example, you flicked your thumb to denote cranberry, and two fingers hooked together meant swordfish, two words of significance to Vineyard livelihoods. Want to learn more? Read Nora Ellen Groce’s 1985 book, Everyone Here Spoke Sign Language.