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Posted by Aela Mass, guest blogger of

Because really, the “off-season” on Martha’s Vineyard is actually on.
Sure, the Island has a reputation as a summer destination. And that’s for good reason — fabulous beaches, amazing gardens, spectacular water sports, first-class waterfront dining, farm-fresh foods, and a plethora of outdoor activities, to name just a few.
People are often surprised, however, by just how much Martha’s Vineyard also has to offer during the quieter months.
Here are five good excuses to plan a visit before the hustle and bustle of summer arrives.
1. Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival
Martha's Vineyard Film Festival

Photo by The MVFF

The Martha’s Vineyard Film Festival is like no other film festival in the world. And that’s because Martha’s Vineyard is like no other place in the world. This year, the festival runs from March 19-22 at the Chilmark Community Center. Moviegoers can take in an intriguing lineup of movies, plus get the opportunity to speak with directors, editors, and members of the community. There’s also eclectic food, live music, and guided meditation. You can even rent your own couch for the show, too!
2. Winter Hiking
Martha's Vineyard Winter Hiking

Photo by Aela Mass

With dozens of trails that wind through the woods, along oceanfronts, and over bluffs, hiking on-Island is not your average excursion, in a very good way. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing on Martha’s Vineyard as well. And depending on when the snow falls, you might even get the chance to build a rare beach snowman, as several hiking trails lead to the water.
3. Shearing Day at Island Alpaca
Shearing Day Martha's Vineyard

Photo by Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce

If ever there were a cuter animal than the alpaca, we’ve yet to come across it. And each April, Island Alpaca hosts their family-fun shearing day that always draws a great crowd. On the big day, there are prizes, refreshments, and – of course – the shearing of nearly 300 pounds of alpaca fleece! It’s a great time to meet the alpacas up close and to tour the farm.
4. EAT
It’s no secret that Martha’s Vineyard has some of the greatest food on the planet. And we all know there’s nothing better to do during winter, especially a very snowy one, than EAT. Fortunately, in the off-season, the Island’s restaurants do a fabulous job of keeping things fun for residents and visitors.
Little House Cafe Martha's Vineyard

Photo by Aela Mass

Thursday nights at Little House Café is Taco Night, and we guarantee you’ll be hard-pressed to find better tacos anywhere. Sunday nights at Atria are Burger Night, and with choices like Dante’s Inferno and The PETA, there’s a burger type for every foodie. These are just a couple of the great food-themed nights; be sure to check out what all the year-round restaurants have to offer!
5. Spring for the Arts
Spring for the Arts Martha's Vineyard

Photo: Spring for the Arts

What can be said about the art scene on Martha’s Vineyard? In one word: WOW. After years of the fabulous Fall for the Arts celebration, this March kicks off Spring for the Arts! With more than a dozen public galleries showcasing an eclectic mix of work by amazingly talented Vineyarders, plus numerous theaters and venues hosting cultural events, experiencing Spring for the Arts on Martha’s Vineyard is sure to be a treat. You can find more info about it here.
Aela Mass is the Director of Member Services at the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, and runs The Vineyard Blog. She also blogs at Babble Media. For the latest on what’s happening around the Island, follow @visitmv.  
Photo at the top by N. Friedler