A 12th-Generation Cape Codder Takes On Martha’s Vineyard


Christopher Setterlund’s 9th-great grandfather, Deacon John Doane, came over on the second Mayflower voyage and helped settle the town of Eastham. Chris is a 12th generation Cape Codder and the author of the just-published “In My Footsteps: A Traveler’s Guide To Martha’s Vineyard.”

Setterlund wrote, edited, and self-published ebooks for several years before starting a travel blog called “In My Footsteps” in 2010. After wandering all over New England writing the blogs he put together a travel guide featuring Cape Cod. In 2011 the book was accepted by Schiffer Publishing and “In My Footsteps: A Cape Cod Travel Guide” was released in the fall of 2013.

In his new book, Setterlund gives visitors a guide to some of the best places to visit on Martha’s Vineyard, from famous landmarks like the Flying Horses Carousel to secret spots only the locals know about like Back Door Donuts.

Here are some excerpts from the book, which you can find at most local bookstores including Barnes & Noble in the Cape Cod Mall and on Amazon.com:


OAK BLUFFS: The Dr. Harrison Tucker Cottage

Just steps from the ferry and among the outskirts of the famous “gingerbread cottages” of the Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association (MVCMA) sits this Victorian gem. It is one of the largest houses of the group as it is actually two smaller structures that were joined together through an addition in the 1870s. Dr. Harrison Tucker’s home played host to many large gatherings in its heyday with dignitaries like President Ulysses S. Grant staying there. Tucker was one of the premier residents of Oak Bluffs in its early days. He made his money through patent medicine manufacturing and helped turn Oak Bluffs from a summer resort called Cottage City into a bustling year-round community.


GF_MV CampAssoc_030316

OAK BLUFFS: Martha’s Vineyard Camp Meeting Association

A few steps from the coastline sits a fairytale world. It is a 34-acre plot of land dotted with sublimely colored gingerbread-style cottages. There are just over 300 cottages, most built right after the Civil War. Some of these are available for rent. Originally the grounds were for religious “camp meetings” with people living in tents for the week or so that the meetings lasted. MVCMA rapidly became one of the largest such camp meeting sites in the country, going from nine society tents in 1835 up to a maximum of 570 in 1868.


VINEYARD HAVEN: West Chop Lighthouse

Nestled in a quiet rural area of Tisbury is this tremendous lighthouse. It sits on Coast Guard property and is best viewed from behind the picket fence. The current structure, the second at the location, was built in 1891. This lighthouse, as with many, has been moved back from eroding cliffs. West Chop was moved in 1848 and 1891. West Chop used to have its own ZIP code and seasonal post office but they were discontinued due to USPS cutbacks.


Alleys General Store

WEST TISBURY: Alley’s General Store

A throwback to general stores of old, Alley’s is a hugely popular place. In the heart of West Tisbury, it has quite possibly all one could need, from groceries to toys to hardware and everything in between. Built in 1858, this store is small and tightly packed with products lining nearly every square inch. This only adds to its charm and appeal. There is also a farm stand behind the main general store.


John Belushi's gravestone

CHILMARK: John Belushi’s Grave

One of the original Not Ready for Primetime Players, beloved comic actor John Belushi was born in Chicago but resided on the Vineyard. His final resting place sits on a rural stretch of road in Chilmark. Belushi rose to fame in the mid-1970s and starred on “Saturday Night Live” and in such films as “Animal House” and “The Blues Brothers” before his untimely death in 1982. His grave became a popular gathering place for fans but was also constantly vandalized. His wife Judy then had the gravestone moved to the entrance of the cemetery so that people could see the stone but would not desecrate the site.


Lucy Vincent Beach

CHILMARK: Lucy Vincent Beach

One of the most spectacular beaches on the island is also one of the hardest to get to. This spot is open only to residents of Chilmark and requires a pass during the summer. There is no sign for the dirt road for the beach. The beach was named for Chilmark librarian Lucinda Vincent who served for most of the first half of the 20th century. Once on the sands, the beach is a feast for the eyes. Scattered along the shore are rocks left behind by receding glaciers that create a unique picturesque view. Heading east along the shore you’ll find the crown jewel of Lucy Vincent Beach—the clay cliffs. These look like they came straight out of a tropical paradise, yet fit right in on the Vineyard. They provide a magnificent backdrop for many photographs. For those who feel a little wild, there is also a section of this beach that allows nude sunbathing.


MENEMSHA: Swordfish Sculpture

MENEMSHA: Swordfish Sculpture

To the right of the (Menemsha Beach) parking lot among the beach grass stands a seventeen-foot-tall sculpture of a man harpooning a swordfish. It is an intriguing piece of art created by Jay Lagemann. It was put in its place in the sand in 1994. It is part of the magic of Menemsha.


AQUINNAH: Gay Head Lighthouse

AQUINNAH: Gay Head Lighthouse

The land and lighthouse became known as Gay Head in the mid-17th century thanks to the cliffs of gaily colored sand and clay. The first wooden lighthouse was built at the cliffs in 1799; the current lighthouse was built in 1856. The lighthouse has been tremendously important in helping steer ships away from the dangerous underwater rocks near the cliffs known as Devil’s Bridge.


EDGARTOWN: Katama Beach (South Beach)

EDGARTOWN: Katama Beach (South Beach)

The three-mile barrier beach along the south coast used to extend all the way to Chappaquiddick before a storm caused a breach in the shore in 2007. Katama is a village of Edgartown; Katama means “crab fishing place” in Wampanoag. This is a tremendously popular beach both for families and young adults who enjoy the heavy surf. The beach begins in the west at Edgartown Great Pond and continues to the east along Katama Bay to the breach in the shore.




A Japanese-style garden might be one of the last things one would expect to see on the Vineyard, however, this is one of the most spectacular sites on the island. Designed by Edgartown resident Hugh Jones during the late 1950s, Mytoi became protected land as part of The Trustees of Reservations collection in 1976. The trails around the garden are only a half mile, making it an easy walk and all the more enjoyable. Ironically the word “Mytoi” has no Japanese translation; Mr. Jones simply changed the spelling of “my toy,” as that is how he often referred to his garden.

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