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Moshup Beach at Martha's Vineyard (Massachusetts)

Summer 2002

For those of you that haven't been to Moshup's Beach at Gay Head on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts, you are missing out on one of the best beaches in the Northeast. Not only is the beach itself a piece of paradise, but there are a good group of regulars that will help to make you feel welcome.

It is not the easiest of places to get to, but certainly worth the extra effort to do so. For those of you unfamiliar with Martha's Vineyard, there are ferries that will run from Wood's Hole in Falmouth, as well as from New Bedford or Hyannis.

Unless you have made prior reservations (which are usually done months in advance), don't plan on bringing your car over. You can, however, bring a motorcycle over without advance reservations. Bikes, too are allowed without prior reservation, but the distance to the beach from where the ferries arrives is about 18 miles. Unless you are a serious cyclist, I would recommend you use the island's mass transit system, which works real well. You can get an all day pass for their bus system for only $5.00. Tickets are sold in the parking lot where the buses load, as well as on the bus if you have exact change. The trip from Vineyard Haven to Gay Head will take about an hour and will require a bus change at West Tisbury.

If you time it right, you can usually get off the ferry, right onto a bus at Vineyard Haven, then meet the bus that runs from West Tisbury to Gay Head with a minimum of waiting time. Once at Gay Head (now called Aquinnah since 1998, when the name of the town was changed), you exit the bus and walk down to the parking lot, where you will find a path from the parking lot down to the beach. It is about a 20 minute walk, but the path is kept up and it is an easy walk. Once you are on the beach, you will want to walk to the right. There are porta potties at this point if you need them. The first part of the beach is the town beach, which is for the textile crowd. As you go further down, about another 10 minute walk will land you in the clothing optional area. You want want to check the tide charts before going, as the difference between low tide and high tide can be the difference between a dry towel and a wet one. The Martha's Vineyard Gazette( has updated tide charts for Gay Head. The high and low tide times seem to be about 1 1/2 hours later each day.

The beach and water conditions can vary considerably. Some days the beach is fairly rocky, particularly if you head further down the beach past the first point. On other days, we have found the walk almost rock free. The same can be said for the water conditions. We have seen the ocean almost glasslike with very little wave activity, while on others the waves have provided great fun for body surfing. The water is generally not cold and it takes just a moment or two to get in. Getting in does require getting through a small section of rocks on the bottom. Not a big thing, but you should be aware of them.

As I said before, the people on the beach are generally friendly, as is the norm for most nudists we have met. We actually play a game on the bus on the way over to see if we can figure out who is going to the nude section of the beach. These are generally the friendly ones and we end up having a good conversation with them. We have met people from all over and have formed some good friendships as a result. It is nice to see the same crowd during the summer. The friendships carry through the year thanks to the invention of email.

For those of you who enjoy a nice long walk on the beach, this is the place. You can continue on down the beach for a good mile or mile and a half. As you get further on down the beach, it really becomes quiet. This is one of the few places on Cape Cod where crowds are non existent, despite the frenzy of the rest of the island. We are typically one of the first to arrive on the beach (usually around 10 AM), and have literally had the beach to ourselves when we got there. Even on a hot weekend, though, the beach never gets crowded.

You will encounter textile walkers while strolling down the beach, but we have never had any problems with them. They are obviously aware of the situation and there are very few gawkers in the crowd. You will occasionally see one or two boats parked offshore that are there to "fish". They don't seem to stay very long, as I think they get bored.

I would strongly suggest making a trip to Moshup Beach a priority if you haven't been. Once you have been, I can guarantee you will become a repeat customer. The rewards certainly outweigh the effort to get there.

"No tan lines....and proud of it"

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