Chappaquiddick—an island that’s tough to spell but hard to forget

Photographs by roth52_shutterstock.com

If you want to get away from it all this fall—if only for a day or a few hours—the Martha’s Vineyard island of Chappaquiddick may be just the place for you.

Visitors traveling to “Chappy” generally bring their cars or bikes aboard the On Time II ferry for a quick (527 feet) journey across Edgartown Harbor. It’s a small, quiet place but there are some incredible scenic areas to view.

One of the island’s can’t-miss attractions is the three-acre MyToi garden, a serene, Japanese stroll garden located just a few minutes from the beach. Chris Kennedy, the Trustees of Reservations’ superintendent for Martha’s Vineyard, describes MyToi as an island hideaway. “You enter the gardens through a traditional Japanese entrance gateway, and it’s a whole new world,” he says. “It represents for many people an oasis away from the summer storm of activity and recreation.” The garden is open year-round and admission is free.

Another attraction is the Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge, with an expansive natural reserve of salt marshes, grassy meadows, and red cedar woods. “You think of how busy the Cape and Islands are,” Kennedy says. “Cape Poge is a balancing act, a compromise. It may be more geared toward wildlife preservation than human access; part of our job is to ensure that these species continue to exist.”

In late summer and fall—and pretty much at any time of year—Kennedy says the quiet beauty of the island is breathtaking. “It’s a very different way of life,” he says. “Only 177 of us live here year round. It’s nice to have places like Chappaquiddick, where you step out of the mainstream and into an alcove.”

For more information about the On Time II ferry, visit chappyferry.com, or call 508-627- 9427. To schedule a Chappaquiddick tour, call 508-627-3599.

The Seafood Shanty: Great food, great view

After enjoying one’s fill of fresh air and fun on Chappaquiddick, head back to Edgartown for a great meal at The Seafood Shanty on Dock Street. The restaurant has great food and one of the best waterfront views on the entire island. Succulent seafood dishes include lobster cakes and the Chappy Cod! theseafoodshanty.com. 508-627-8622 — Rachel Walman