Visit Chappaquiddick Island
Chappaquiddick Island, (called Chappy by the locals) is a small island off the eastern end of the larger island of Martha's Vineyard and is part of the town of Edgartown, Massachusetts. The two islands are connected, along their southern coast, by a narrow barrier beach not accessible by paved roads. The eastern edge of the Island is a barrier beach formed thousands of years ago by offshore currents that deposited tons of sand. Today, this beach extends for seven miles from Wasque Point past the Cape Poge lighthouse to the Gut. The southeastern point of this beach, called Wasque Point is a very popular fishing point to catch bluefish, striped bass, etc. View Photos.
A privately owned barge like ferry called the On Time shuttles three cars at a time between Chappaquiddick and downtown Edgartown, on Martha's Vineyard. The ferry can also shuttle walk-on passengers as well as bicyclists. In the summer two ferries run, while the off-season only has need for one.
Longtime Chappy residents speak of "going to the mainland" when they travel to Edgartown, and of "going to America" when (for example) they travel to Boston or Cape Cod. As of the 2000 census the island had only 172 year-round residents and 475 houses, as well as numerous wildlife preserves and beaches. It has just one combination general store/automobile mechanic's garage, which is only open in the summer.
Be sure to stop and enjoy some quiet time at Mytoi Gardens, a beautiful and peaceful Japanese garden.
As you tour the Island, look for tidal waters, which support extensive salt mashes, especially around Poucha Pond. The Cedars is a grove of century-old, low-growing eastern red cedars sculpted by salt spray and wind. The Cape Poge Elbow is home to a gull rookery and nests of threatened and endangered piping plovers, least terns and oyster-catchers. West of the dunes lies Cape Poge Bay, where calm, clear waters serve as a nursery for finfish and shellfish. Powerful currents push through the Gut, flushing Cape Poge Bay with oxygen-rich water and attracting striped bass, bonito, bluefish and albacore.
Seasonal tours allow visitors to explore Cape Poge’s lighthouse, diverse upland and marine habitats and world-renowned fishing spots. Annual over-sand permits are available for qualified vehicles, providing access to 14 miles of dune roads.
The Trustees of the Reservations offers a selection of guided and self-guided tours that help adults and children alike explore the natural wonders of Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge as well as the historic Cape Poge Lighthouse. Cape Pogue Light is at the northeast tip of Chappaquiddick. The Light was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.
Expert naturalists lead guided tours, and all proceeds support the ongoing conservation work at Cape Poge Wildlife Refuge. Tour types include: natural history, lighthouse, wildlife kayak or canoe, fishing discovery and a Poucha Pond self-guided discovery tour.
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