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Tisbury - Vineyard Haven

Vineyard Haven is the Island's year-round town. Known as "Nobnocket" to the Natives and "Holmes Hole" to the Plymouth colonists, Vineyard Haven actually describes the harbor community in the town of Tisbury, but is the name now used by almost everyone. Sitting on the incline of a hill which overlooks the harbor, Vineyard Haven is a vibrant village which offers services, businesses and restaurants during all four seasons, and is the only year-round port of entry. The shopping district accommodates a wide range of tastes and needs. The Black Dog restaurant, shop and bakery are well-known Island businesses.

Vineyard Haven is self-sufficient and independent, qualities which can be traced back to Colonial America when residents were early supporters of The American Independence Movement. Even now, Vineyard Haven has a grass-roots feeling reflected by its unusual businesses and the down-to-earth attitude of its inhabitants.

The historical buildings on Main Street were destroyed in a devastating 1883 fire, but as you drive through Main Street toward West Chop, you will travel eclectic neighborhood streets with Federal, Colonial, and Greek Revival houses, that are lovely in spring because of the flowers that spill out of nooks and flower boxes, as well as the flowering lilacs and magnolias.

Large private homes line West Chop, and look across to Cape Cod. The Harbor is guarded by East Chop (which is part of Oak Bluffs), and West Chop (part of Vineyard Haven). "Chop" is an English colloquial expression meaning jaw or cheek, but it is also a nautical term that means rough water.

From the ferry dock to the drawbridge, there is a great display of boats, set up almost like a museum. Boat makers have shops right on the water - notably, Benjamin Gannon, who is known as one of the best wooden boat builders on the east coast.

Year-round population: 3120
Summer population: 20699 Size: 6.8 square miles