Monomoy Island



Monomoy Island


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Isolated and alone, Monomoy Island is a place of serenity and tranquility. This spit of land in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean is home to over 1,000 seabirds, including the world’s largest population of eiders. It’s also a popular spot for whale watching, kayaking, and hiking. If you’re looking for a place to escape the hustle and bustle of everyday life, Monomoy Island is the perfect place for you!

Monomoy Island


Monomoy first appeared on maps in the late 16th century, and was originally known as Monomoy Point. In the early days, it was used by Native American fishermen and traders for trading goods with other tribes.

In 1825, cotton trader William McIntyre named Monomoy Island after an obscure deity from ancient Greece called Monomeus. At the time, it was just a small island off of Whatcheer Point in Buzzards Bay. However, over time Monomoy grew larger due to erosion and became permanently isolated from the mainland.

Today, visitors can visit the Pemaquid Point and Salem Island Historic Districts, Monomoy National Wildlife Refuge and Preble family cemetery.

This beautiful secluded island is known for its many endangered species including the piping plover that nests on top of cliffs, red-necked phalaropes that survive in their western settlement, great white herons whose wait placements offer a funny viewing platform from which to watch life at sea underneath those green lilies.


Monomoy Island has a typical temperate climate with hot, humid summers and mild winters.

The average annual temperature is 44 degrees Fahrenheit. The island experiences two major types of weather: maritime and summer thunderstorm. Maritime weather includes light winds and high waves while summer thunderstorm brings heavy rain and strong winds that can cause flooding on the island. Monomoy Island has two types of soil: the salt-rich maritime silt found atop the bluffs and harvested periodically, or tidal flats that tend to be drier than other locations in Buzzards Bay.

Monomoy is also home to around 500 species of plants which include softwood trees such as beach plum and leatherleaf fern, shrubs like white multi-headed black nightshade, poison hemlock that can kill a person if ingested by cattle located on Pemaquid Point Road at West Lane Hunting Campground and perennial where yellow jasmine grows alongside poison hemlock flowers.

Monomoy means great or big bay, which describes the size of Monomoy Island and its bird life such as bald eagles, brown pelicans and herring gulls. Panthers also regularly visit because they like to eat turtle eggs from nearby Bluff Point Lighthouse which can be visited by all visitors without a special permit that allows animal feeding past certain times in order for these marine mammals to continue eating safely for themselves.


Monomoy is home to the Eastern Division of the Turtleback ferry company, which provides transportation between Monomoy and Martha’s Vineyard. The island also has a post office, grocery store and gas station that are open only during summer months when visitors can purchase fresh produce or gasoline. Visitors who want to stay on the island may rent vacation homes from owners who live on the island year-round.

The culture of Monomoy Island revolves around subsistence farming including raising cows for milk, chickens for eggs, pigs for meat and crops like tomatoes and corn that are used in local restaurants or for local use by those who live on the island.

Highly regarded shell hunting communities that share a common heritage in bayside fishing villages are located high up on Monomoy Island where inhabitants have been harvesting oysters and scallops for centuries but more recently lobster remains an important part of their economic strategy too.


Monomoy Island is a part of the town of Chilmark in the county of Amherst, Massachusetts. Monomoy voters have chosen to be represented by a Town Meeting Model government since residents chose to dissolve their previous Select Board form of municipal governance in 1984.

The mayor is elected at-large and serves for two years or until his successor is elected. The current mayor, Annmarie Gaboriault, was first elected in 2016 and re-elected in 2020. The town is served by a board of selectmen who are elected at-large. The current board members include Chairman Joseph Gabelmann and Vice-Chairman John Callinan.

Government services

There are no libraries, post offices or town halls on Monomoy. Islanders rely on the Chilmark post office for mail and all government services. Emergency services are provided by the Amherst Fire Department which has a tower located in Monomoy Harbor. Emergency services can be requested by calling 617-966-4444.

High school students who wish to take AP exams must register well in advance of their testing dates with the University of Massachusetts Amherst Testing Center located on South Pleasant Street in Amherst, MA. Civilian certification is required for rideshares and sightseeing trips along designated routes but may also be brought by any licensed operator or charter boat from a list maintained at Chilmark Town Hall emergency; This regulation does not apply to cars rented through Island Harvest for use during the growing season (June–October).



Monomoy is well known for its wildflower displays in the early summer. The island has several Bed andBreakfast establishments, many with views of Monomoy Harbor or Mount Marcy. There are also three restaurants: Cape Codder by the harbor, The Whale Watch Inn on West Neck Road near Pleasant Bay and Fisherman’s Grotto Pizza located at 2881 State Highway 6A in Chilmark Village.

There are no paved roads on Monomoy Island; visitors must walk or ride bicycles to get around.



Island Harvest rents cars on the island during the growing season. They have a service station and lounge at 384 Monomoy Avenue in Chilmark Village. There is also a shuttle that runs from 10am to 5pm daily between Monomoy Island, Chilmark Harbor and the Amherst Transportation Center (ATC).


Monomoy Island is an uninhabited, privately owned island located in the Bay of Islands region of New Zealand. It is believed to have been named by Captain James Cook after the Moa, a large flightless bird that was widespread in New Zealand at that time. The island is also known for its diverse birdlife, including the critically endangered black robin, the least tern and the sooty shearwater. Monomoy is currently managed as a nature reserve by the Nature Conservancy.


How Many People Are There On Monomoy Island?

There are currently around 1,000 residents on Monomoy Island, which includes both native and migratory birds.

What Is The Economy Like On Monomoy Island?

Monomoy is a nature reserve, so the economy revolves around tourism and related businesses.

How Is Electricity Supplied To Monomoy Island?

Monomoy is supplied by diesel generators.

How Do I Get To Monomoy Island?

The quickest way to get to Monomoy is by air. It is also possible to arrive by boat, but the journey can be long and challenging due, in part, to strong currents around the island.

What Are The Official Languages On Monomoy Island?

English and Maori are both official languages on Monomoy Island.

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