Tisbury is a tip-top place to live! The Wampanoag lived in Tisbury for thousands of years before English explorers arrived in 1602. The town was incorporated into the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 1671 and became a popular port for ships. In the 1800s and 1900s, Tisbury also gained a reputation for being a summer destination for celebrities, politicians, and businesspeople. It is best known today for being a summer tourist destination and filming location for the movie Jaws.
The name Tisbury comes from Tisbury in England. Vineyard Haven was the name of a port and village in Tisbury, but as the years passed, residents began referring to the whole town of Tisbury MA as Vineyard Haven. Both names are used interchangeably nowadays.
Tisbury MA is a nice place to live with incredible outdoor attractions, quaint neighborhoods, and safe streets. But before you start moving to Tisbury MA, you must learn more about living in Vineyard Haven Massachusetts. Here’s what you should know about this wonderful town.
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Where Is Tisbury MA?
Tisbury is in Dukes County on Martha’s Vineyard. The town borders Oak Bluffs, Edgartown, and West Tisbury. The community borders the Atlantic Ocean, Vineyard Sound, and Lagoon Pond, and it contains Lake Tashmoo and Vineyard Haven Harbor. The Vineyard Haven neighborhood is a well-developed residential community with compact commercial areas, but other parts of Tisbury are less developed.
It is 3.1 miles from Vineyard Haven to Oak Bluffs, 7.9 miles from Edgartown to Vineyard Haven, and 3.3 miles from Vineyard Haven to Cape Cod. The Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority runs buses in Tisbury and between Tisbury Martha’s Vineyard and other towns on Martha’s Vineyard. Routes change from season to season; you can see the current route maps here. The Vineyard Haven port is the main port for Martha’s Vineyard and the only one that operates through most of the year.
The Steamship Authority runs ferries between the Vineyard Haven port and the Vineyard Haven post office and Falmouth MA, and most people moving to Vineyard Haven Massachusetts use the Vineyard Haven ferry rather than fly in. Steamship Authority schedules vary from season to season; you can view the current schedules here.
Tisbury Population and Demographics
The population of Tisbury MA in 2020 was 4,815. The population rose by 21.9% between 2010 and 2020. Most of the population increase happened between 2019 and 2020; the population rose by 17.5% during that one year alone! The town also has a population density of 252.1 people per square mile. Notable people from Vineyard Haven include Art Buchwald, Katharine Cornell, and Jim Ferraro.
Tisbury MA demographics include:
- 54.7% male, 45.3% female
- Median age: 52.9
- Racial and ethnic composition: 79.8% White (79.8% non-Hispanic White), 9.4% Hispanic or Latino, 5.6% Black or African American, 3.4% two or more races, 1.8% other
- Median household income: $55,938 (roughly three-fifths the Massachusetts average)
- Educational attainment: 96% of residents older than 25 have graduated high school, 39.3% have a bachelor’s degree
- Foreign-born population: 18.8%
Cape Cod has a reputation for being popular amongst older people, and Vineyard Haven is no different. 24% of the Tisbury population is 65 years old and older, which is 1.5 times the state average.
Tisbury is a safe place to live. Here are the FBI crime statistics from 2020:
- Total crime rate: 1,290 offenses per 100,000 people (5.3% lower than Massachusetts’s average, 45.0% lower than the national average)
- Violent crime rate: 389 crimes per 100,000 people (26.0% higher than Massachusetts, 0.3% higher than the country)
- Property crime rate: 901 offenses per 100,000 residents (14.5% lower than Massachusetts, 54.0% lower than America)
If you’re thinking about Oak Bluffs vs Vineyard Haven, you should look at crime statistics. Tisbury’s overall crime rate is 8.6% lower than Oak Bluffs. The Tisbury Police Department employs 13 officers.
Cost of Living in Tisbury
Tisbury MA is close to Boston, so you can use the Boston cost of living index to estimate the cost of living in Tisbury MA. The cost of living index in Boston is 153.2; things in Boston cost 53.2% more than the national average. According to the Economic Policy Institute, a family of four would need to earn $117,524 a year to cover the cost of living in Dukes County. While Tisbury can be an expensive place to live, you can cover the cost of living with a high-paying job.
Vineyard Haven real estate can be pricey. According to Redfin, the median sale price of Vineyard Haven homes for sale is $1,075,000. A few Tisbury apartments are available for rent, but it’s hard to estimate their average cost, as many are income-restricted and not on the market for long. Some people compare the cost of living in Vineyard Haven vs Oak Bluffs; the median price of Oak Bluffs homes for sale is $850,000, but many homes cost over $2 million. You should look at several options for homes in both communities to find the most affordable option.
Typical Tisbury* Living Expenses
- 1 loaf of fresh white bread: $2.50
- 1 pound of local cheese: $4.20
- 1 pound of apples: $1.60
- 1 head of lettuce: $1.90
- 1 gallon of gasoline: $3.69
- Average Tisbury* utilities per month: $228.77
- 1 pair of jeans: $43.17
*Expenses for Martha’s Vineyard
Tisbury Neighborhoods | Where to Live in Tisbury
Tisbury has a few neighborhoods and residential communities you should look at while you’re shopping for Tisbury real estate and thinking about living in Vineyard Haven or Oak Bluffs. Here are the best places to live in Tisbury.
West Chop Massachusetts | Quiet Streets and Luxurious Homes Close to the Water
West Chop Massachusetts is on the northern tip of Tisbury. It is a residential area with no major businesses or tourist attractions, making it the quietest area of Vineyard Haven MA. West Chop is small, so there are fewer homes for sale Tisbury MA here than in other parts of Tisbury. Available properties tend to be spacious, containing at least four bedrooms and covering 2,500 square feet. Waterfront properties are also available, but they cost roughly $10 million.
Makonikey | Rural Tisbury Neighborhood With Massive Homes for Sale
Makonikey Martha’s Vineyard is on the border between Tisbury MA, and West Tisbury, which is a town and not a neighborhood of Tisbury. Lower Makonikey is inside Tisbury, and the area is largely undeveloped, providing a rural and tranquil aesthetic. You can find a few homes for sale here, and they are expansive properties covering more than 4,000 square feet. Houses for sale in Tisbury MA, close to the water are very expensive, costing at least $5 million, while homes away from the water cost around $4 million. You can also buy plots of land for less than $1 million and build your own property.
Weather in Tisbury
Vineyard Haven Martha’s Vineyard has a humid continental climate with warm and humid summers and freezing and snowy winters, similar to towns on Cape Cod. July is the hottest month of the year, with an average temperature of 71 degrees and an average high of 78. January is the coldest month of the year, with an average temperature of 32 degrees and an average low of 25.
Weather in Vineyard Haven Massachusetts is windy all year round; the average wind speed never drops below 11 miles per hour. The weather in Vineyard Haven is also consistently cloudy, with each month having at least 38% mostly cloudy or overcast days. The community receives an average of 37.7 inches of rain and 11.9 inches of snow. Vineyard Haven can experience severe snowstorms that drop ten or more inches of snow at a time; follow the local news in the winter to see when these storms will occur.
The best month to visit Tisbury MA is August. The average temperature is 70 degrees, and 60% of days are clear, mostly cloudy, or partly cloudy. Many seasonal attractions close in September, so you’ll have time to see all the landmarks and fun things to do in Vineyard Haven Martha’s Vineyard. You can go to the beach in a short-sleeved shirt and swim shorts, but you may want to wear a windbreaker or jacket while walking around town because of the wind.
Things to Do in Vineyard Haven
Vineyard Haven is a terrific place for family-friendly points of interest and outdoor attractions. Vineyard Haven shopping is also great, as you can find numerous locally-run Vineyard Haven shops throughout the community. Cronigs Market is the top grocery store in Vineyard Haven, while John’s Fish Market sells fresh fish, and Rainy Day sells gifts and locally-made products.
Martha’s Vineyard Museum contains over 100,000 unique artifacts related to the history, culture, and people of Martha’s Vineyard. You and your children can visit exhibitions in winter and throughout the year, seeing unique works of art and learning more about Vineyard Haven.
151 Lagoon Pond Road, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568, 508-627-4441
Mink Meadows Golf Club has a nine-hole outdoor golf course with well-manicured grounds and beautiful views of the area outside Tisbury. Members can participate in tournaments, receive golf lessons from professionals, and purchase items from an on-site pro shop.
320 Golf Club Road, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568, 508-693-0600
Martha’s Vineyard Family Campground is the only campground on Martha’s Vineyard. Kids can enjoy the on-site playground and community fire pit, while adults can enjoy live music performances and walks through the nearby woods.
569 Edgartown Road, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568, 508-693-3772
Additional Things to Do in Vineyard Haven
The Recreation and Parks Department maintains Tisbury’s parks, plans special events, and provides lifeguards for Vineyard Haven beaches. You can use this event calendar to see what to do in Vineyard Haven.
Restaurants in Vineyard Haven
Cape Cod and the islands are best known for clam chowder. But you can sample a variety of cuisines and enjoy numerous experiences in restaurants Vineyard Haven, including comfortable cafes and family-friendly eateries.
Waterside Market is a quaint and comfortable cafe that serves breakfast and lunch all day. You and your family can enjoy sandwiches, french toast, and pancakes, as well as fresh coffee and tea.
82 Main Street, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568, 508-693-8899
Little House Cafe is a kid-friendly cafe that serves unique breakfast and lunch dishes with international influences. You can try out Indonesian salads, Italian pasta, and French sandwiches at low prices.
339 State Road, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568, 508-687-9794
The Black Dog serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner in a cozy space overlooking Vineyard Haven Harbor. You and your friends can enjoy dozens of cocktails, wines, and beers while listening to live music. Many people ask, “Is Vineyard Haven a dry town?”; it is not, and you can buy any beer you want here.
20 Beach Street, Vineyard Haven, MA, 02568, 508-693-9223
Jobs in Vineyard Haven
More than 1,000 people have year-round jobs in Vineyard Haven Martha’s Vineyard. Other residents work part-time or seasonal jobs during the summer, and other people live in the community to work during the summer and then leave in the fall. Administrative services, construction, and professional services are the three largest job sectors for year-round employment in Vineyard Haven Massachusetts.
According to Payscale, the average base salary for Tisbury jobs is $55,000 a year and the average hourly rate is $22.20. Major employers in Tisbury include Martha’s Vineyard Hospital, UPS, and Stop and Shop. You can use Indeed to find jobs in Tisbury, and you can apply for Town of Tisbury jobs on the town government’s website. Read the job description carefully so you know whether you are applying for a full-time or summer job.
Vineyard Haven Schools
Martha’s Vineyard Public Schools is the public school district for Tisbury Martha’s Vineyard. Tisbury School is a pre-K-8 school based in Vineyard Haven. Tisbury supports students learning English as a second language and students with learning differences, providing them with an individualized education in a friendly small-group environment.
Tisbury students then attend Martha’s Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS) in Oak Bluffs. MVRHS has a graduation rate of 94% and top athletics programs, making it a great school for athletes.
Tisbury does not have any private schools or colleges. Cape Cod Community College (CCCC) hosts some classes at MVRHS, and Tisbury residents can take online and remote classes from CCCC. You can receive associate’s degrees and certificates in dozens of programs, and you can use CCCC classes to earn credits toward bachelor’s degrees.
Vineyard Haven Public Library has extensive collections of children’s and young adult books as well as videos and genealogical resources. The Library Vineyard Haven is open throughout the year.
Vineyard Haven Statistics and Information
- County: Dukes
- Vineyard Haven area: 19.1 square miles
- Vineyard Haven zip code: 02568
- Vineyard Haven area code: 508 and 774
- Vineyard Haven elevation: 89 feet
- Vineyard Haven time zone: Eastern Standard Time (UTC-5:00)
- Closest airport to Vineyard Haven: Martha’s Vineyard Airport (MVY), 6 miles from Vineyard Haven
Vineyard Haven Map
You can use this map of Vineyard Haven to find beautiful attractions, tasty restaurants, and great houses for sale in Tisbury today!
Tip your hat to Tisbury! Families will love the safe streets and kid-friendly attractions, while adults will love the quiet residential areas and beautiful homes.
But before you start living in Vineyard Haven Massachusetts, you must figure out moving to Tisbury MA. Vanguard Moving Services has a team of ten full-time, experienced, and professional Vineyard Haven movers. Get a free moving estimate by calling 508-790-9188.