6 ½ miles southwest of Vineyard Haven, 12 miles northeast of Aquinnah.
Founded in the 1670’s by settlers from Edgartown, among them the son of Myles Standish and the son-in-law of the Mayflower Alden’s, West Tisbury was known for its first 200 Westernized years simply as Tisbury. Most important among the settlement’s advantages over "Down Island" outposts was a strong flowing stream that ran into a pond, creating a perfect mill site which was a rarity on the Vineyard. Farming, especially sheep farming, became West Tisbury’s mainstay. West Tisbury still retains its rural appeal and its rich agricultural traditions. There are several active horse and produce farms. The town center looks very much the small New England village, complete with a white, steeple church.
- Lambert’s Cove Beach (Lambert’s Cove Rd) one of the island’s prettiest, has fine sand and clear water. The Vineyard Sound-side beach has calm waters good for children and views of the Elizabeth Islands. In season it is restricted to residents and those staying in West Tisbury. Restrooms are available.
- Long Point, a Trustees of the Reservation preserve, has a beautiful beach on the Atlantic, as well as freshwater and saltwater ponds for swimming, including the brackish Tisbury Great Pond. Rest rooms are available.
- Uncle Seth’s Pond (Lambert’s Cove Rd) is a warm freshwater pond on Lambert’s Cove Road, with a small beach right off the road. Seth’s is very popular with families. Parking is very limited.
Hiking & Walking Trails include:
- Cedar Tree Neck Wildlife Sanctuary (Indian Hill Rd. Off of State Rd. for 2 mi, and then turn right 1 mi onto Obed Daggett Rd.), and occasionally steep, rocky, dirt road to the parking lot, free. Daily 8:30am-5:30pm 300 acres with trails through woods, beach, ponds, brook, dunes, hilltop view. Bathing and picnicking prohibited. Owned by Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation. 508-693-5207
- Mayhew Chapel and Indian Burial Ground (off Indian Hill Rd., off State Rd) are suffused with history. The tiny chapel built in 1829 to replace and earlier one, and a memorial plaque are dedicated to the pastor Thomas Mayhew, Jr. leader of the original colonists who landed at Edgartown in 1642. Mayhew was noted fro his fair dealings with the local Wampanoags. Within a few years, he had converted a number of them to Christianity. Called Praying Indians, they established a community here called Christiantown.
- An overgrown wildflower garden grows near the chapel. Beyond the boulder with the plaque are the rough-hew stones marking Native American grave mounds-the dead are not named, for fear of calling down evil spirits. Behind the chapel is the beginning of the Christiantown Woods loop trail, which leads to lookout tower. You’ll find a map at the head of the trail
- Sepiessa Point Reservation (Off Tiah’s Cove Rd.) A 164 – acre area of the Land Bank Commission. A long walk along Tiah’s Cove leads to the beach, at the southerly point, alongside Tisbury Great Pond. Across the pond you can see the ocean. The very narrow beach is perfect for those with canoes or kayaks. You can put your boats in at the trailhead and paddle across the pond to the barrier beach for picnicking and swimming. There’s parking only for a few cars at the trailhead.
- Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. At the center of the island, is a 5,000 acre pine and scrub-oak forest crisscrossed with hiking trails and circled by a pave but rough bike trail. The West Tisbury side of the state forest joins with an equally large Edgartown parcel to virtually surround the airport.
The weekly West Tisbury Farmers’ Market-Massachusetts largest- is held Wednesday and Saturdays in the summers at the 1859 Old Agricultural Hall (South Rd.), near the town hall. The colorful stands overflow with fresh produce, most of it organic.
Built in 1996, the New Agricultural Hall (35 Panhandle Rd.) about a mile from the Old Agricultural Hall, is the setting for various shows, lectures, dances, weddings, and potluck dinners. A annual country fair including a woodsman contest, dog show, oyster/clam shucking contest, games, and of course, livestock and produce judging is held here in mid to late August.
A rich and expansive collection of flora and serene walking trails are the attractions of the Polly Hill Arboretum. The late Polly Hill was a horticulturist and tended some 2,000 species of plants and developed nearly a 100 species herself on her old sheep farm in West Tisbury. On site are azaleas, tree peonies, dogwoods, hollies, lilacs, magnolias, and more. Hill raised them from seeds without the use of a greenhouse, and her patience is the inspiration to the arboretum. Now run as a nonprofit center, the arboretum also runs guided tours, a lecture series, and a visitor center and gift shop. (809 State Rd. 508-693-9426, Late May-Mid Oct.)
The Field Gallery (State Rd, 508-693-5595, across from West Tisbury Church)
The late Tom Maley’s white sculptures, such as the colonial horse and rider or a whimsical piper are displayed on a wide lawn. Inside there are changing summer exhibitions of island artist’s work, which is for sale.
Alley’s General Store - Step back in time with a visit to Alley’s General Store (State Rd.), the heart of the town since 1858. Alley’s sells a truly general varies of goods: everything from hammers, house wares, kid’s toys, gifts, cards, candy, milk, ice cream, coffee, muffins, fresh produce, even a post office inside.
The Martha’s Vineyard Glassworks gives you a chance to watch glass being blown, by glassmakers who have pieces displayed and also for sale.