There are many destinations in the world that take our breaths away- the Grand Canyon, Machu Picchu, Niagara Falls, and the Taj Mahal just to name a few. Of all the places I have seen in New England-and I have lived in Massachusetts all twenty years of my life- the most breathtaking place I have come across has been the Gay Head Cliffs, aka the Aquinnah Cliffs, on Martha’s Vineyard.
The brightly colored cliffs of Aquinnah were formed by glaciers approximately 100 million years ago. They rise 150 feet above the ocean and perched at the edge of them lies the Aquinnah Lighthouse. The cliffs face west, which means there are always sunsets majestically highlighting the view. Also adding allure to the Gay Head Cliffs is the half-mile beach called Moshup Beach that lies at the base.
The Cliffs are a National Historic Landmark and they are owned by the Wampanoag Native Americans. Because of this, it is illegal to bathe in the mud pools, climb on the cliffs, or remove any of the clay. The reason I say bathe is because Moshup Beach is clothing optional.
Sadly, the Aquinnah Lighthouse, which has been on the island since 1799, is at risk. As of right now, it sits 47 feet from an eroding cliff and experts say it needs to be moved within the next two years. There is a committee you can donate to to restore the Lighthouse and on October 5th they will be hosting the second annual Gay Head 10K, which you can still register for. The committee’s goal is to make the 10K an annual tradition and once the Lighthouse is safe they plan to use the funds to the support the maintenance costs.
The Gay Head Lighthouse is opened seasonally from May to September. It costs $5 for adults. Museum members and children under 12 are free.
Though all of Martha’s Vineyard is breathtaking, Gay Head Cliff is really something special. Right now I am learning about Romanticism in my college's British Literature course. Romanticism was an artistic movement that lasted from 1800 to 1850. The key figures of this movement loathed the Industrial Revolution because it brought to much technological innovations to the already boisterous city-life. As a result, they retreated to quiet country areas to live simplistically. If the Romanticism time period were around today, I could imagine artists and poets escaping to Aquinnah. Because of its pristine serenity and small 300-population, the Gay Head Cliffs in Aquinnah will make you disconnect from the your Wifi and connect more intimately with what's around you.
9 Aquinnah Circle
Aquinnah, Massachusetts 02535
Gay Head 10K Registration:http://gayheadlight.org/ev
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