In early June, we left Cuttyhunk and continued on to Martha’s Vineyard, anchoring in Lagoon Pond on the inside of Vineyard Haven. We had never been to the Vineyard before, but had heard about how bumpy it could be in the Vineyard Haven anchorage outside the breakwater. So, we decided to give Lagoon Pond a try. We came in and out of the bridge with some current flowing, anchored up between some moorings along Cedar Neck, and stayed for nearly a week.
Lagoon Pond ended up being a bit of a mixed bag…
- Protection: The anchorage was well protected. We had wind from all directions during our time there, including gusts up to 35 knots funneling from the SSW. It never felt uncomfortable on the boat. We also rarely had wake, but we were in the pond early in the season. Folks who have stayed in Lagoon Pond during the summer report more issues with wake.
- Shore Access: We would dinghy around the point of Cedar Neck and north to the public ramp. On weekdays we tied our dinghy up to the dock as out of the way as possible, but on weekends we dragged the dink up onto the beach. Outboard, gas can, life jackets, and the like were never touched, and we never had a problem with the dinghy. I am not sure if we were just lucky – both in terms of theft and violating municipal code – or whether we truly were fine leaving our dinghy there.
- Getting Around: The public bus – Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority – can get you just about anywhere on the island, and we took it everywhere. Fares are $1.25 per town, which can quickly add up. But they offer 1, 3, and 7 day passes that make it more reasonable. The #13 bus goes right by the public ramp, but will not always stop to pick you up or drop you off. You can try to flag down a bus, but you might get waved off by the driver. Talking to drivers, it seemed like it depended on how they interpreted the rules about having an adequate, safe space for passengers to get on and off. Walking into Vineyard Haven – nearly a mile each way – became a drag fairly quickly, though we kept doing it.
- Welcome: We never really felt totally comfortable or welcome in Lagoon Pond. The town has a regulation that folks can only stay in the pond for three consecutive days. At that point, you need to go under the bridge and come back in. While we understand that rule is laxly enforced and we had no issues, the regulation kept us on edge (partly because we broke it!). Perhaps we were a bit paranoid, but we felt that at least a few of the residents along the shore had made note of our presence and were checking to make sure we did not try to become a permanent fixture, which is completely understandable, but does not make one feel any more comfortable.
- Pump-out: The Vineyard Haven Harbormaster has a pump-out boat that will come to Lagoon Pond. However, when I called they said that they were short-staffed and could not make it out there. There is a free pump-out at the end of the Harbormaster dock in the inner harbor, which we eventually made use of, but the dock was regularly crowded with other boats, making it a bit of a hassle to come alongside.
- Scenic Qualities: While much of the Vineyard is beautiful, we found Lagoon Pond to be nothing special.
Other useful information and contacts:
- Showers – Free showers are at the Harbormaster’s office in Vineyard Haven. It is a trek from Lagoon Pond, but free hot showers are always a treat.
- Laundromat – The closest laundromat, Washashore, is in Oak Bluffs. It was an expedition for us carrying two weeks worth of laundry during a few miles of walking and then a trip on the #13 bus.
- Library – The Vineyard Haven Library was very nice and accommodating and had fairly long hours and good internet. We found the same at the Oak Bluffs Library, but it was a bus ride away.
- Provisioning – The Stop & Shop is a little over half a mile away from the boat ramp. It has a good selection but is a bit pricey, as you might expect. There was also a small Caribbean market in Vineyard Haven that sold scotch bonnet hot sauce and other island treats.
- Marine and Hardware Stores – There is a West Marine and an Ace Hardware fairly close to the boat ramp. You cannot miss them as you walk into town.
- Harbor Brochure – The Harbormaster has a five year-old brochure that provides a lot of helpful information for Vineyard Haven Harbor and Lagoon Pond. You can find it here.