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Posted by Carol Ward, guest blogger of

This Valentine’s Day, instead of going the predicable chocolate and flowers route, unfurl your sails, box up some sand, seashells and a couple of ferry tickets; wrap with a big red bow, and head over to Martha’s Vineyard for the weekend!
The Steamship Authority ferry (Woods Hole to Martha’s Vineyard) is running, as always, and the moonlit beaches, amenity-laden accommodations and world-class dining that make the Island one of Massachusetts’ most magical destinations are all here waiting just where you left them last Labor Day.

Vineyard Haven harbor, winter

Bringing your car? Book those reservations ASAP. The winter season notwithstanding, 3-day weekends draw people to the Island like a magnet; you don’t want to begin by cooling your heels in stand-by. That said, you’ll find the trip less costly than in the summer.
On Island, the great deals continue! Among your options are Valentine’s Day weekend packages offered by three of the Island’s top properties: the Harbor View Hotel and Vineyard Square Hotel, both in Edgartown, and the Mansion House Inn in Vineyard Haven.  All are in, or easily accessible to, downtown shops, movie theaters and restaurants. Both the Harbor View and Mansion House have on-premise restaurants, and the Mansion House has an adjacent spa/fitness center.

East Chop, just before sunset

Once you’ve settled in, explore! Sea- and sky-scapes are arrestingly beautiful in winter, so don’t neglect to bundle up and take a beach stroll. Appetite sharpened, stop in at the Ocean View Restaurant and Tavern, Newes Pub or Offshore Ale Co., three of the Island’s most popular year-round pubs. You’ll find a warm welcome, a blazing fireplace, and in the case of Offshore, house-brewed beers on tap. On Sunday nights, you can stop in at Atria’s cozy brick-walled cellar for 2-for-1 burgers.

Stoking up the fires at Ocean View Restaurant, Oak Bluffs

Martha’s Vineyard’s ubiquitous tee-shirt shops of course will be closed, but many of its best retailers remain open — and oh, the sales! Drop by The Green Room in Vineyard Haven for great deals on resort wear; upstairs, browse the sale racks that often contain all sorts of surprises. See what sparkles at a local jewelers: CB Stark, Claudia and Sioux Eagle Designs, all of which are located in Vineyard Haven, or dabble in the high-end cosmetics at Rouge Luxe Apothecary located in Oak Bluffs.
Hold hands at the movies in Vineyard Haven or in Edgartown, with your pick of first run features at the Capawock Theatre or Edgartown Cinemas or international, independent and classics at the new MV Film Center in Vineyard Haven.
By the weekend’s end, instead of an empty box of chocolates, you’ll have some sweet Martha’s Vineyard memories to savor.
Carol Ward is content editor at MVOL providing current information about the Island at & An Island resident for 30 years, Carol was formerly publications editor for MV Chamber of Commerce. She can be reached at [email protected].