Cape Cod & The Islands

The Brickyard


20 acres

Away from the high-season crowds, discover the water-powered brickworks that helped build downtown Boston.


Plan Your Visit
  • Overview
  • Ideas for Your Visit
  • Admission & Hours
  • Directions & Contact Info
  • Property Map
  • Regulations & Advisories


While the Martha’s Vineyard of today might seem an unlikely location for down-and-dirty industry, the north shore’s rocky landscape was a perfect fit for 19th-century brick-making. In the 1860s, under the ownership of Boston banker Nathaniel Harris, the business hit its stride. Workers mined clay from the soil, used island-harvested trees and the waters of Roaring Brook to power the operation, and shipped as many as 800,000 bricks a year aboard schooners docked in Vineyard Sound. Before railroads rendered the brickworks obsolete, construction projects from Boston to Newport to New York used bricks made in Chilmark.

Today, visitors can explore the historic remnants of the brickworks, including its iconic 45-foot chimney and 10-foot-high cut-stone walls. But be advised: the trail follows uneven terrain on the way down, followed by a strenuous uphill hike on the way back.

Ideas for Your Visit

Access to The Brickyard is via a 1.6 mile trail from the Menemsha Hills entrance. Wear proper hiking footwear, bring water, and allow a minimum of three hours for the trip down and back to the parking area. Please only embark if you’re physically fit for the round-trip journey.

Admission & Hours

FREE to all. Open sunrise to sunset.

We welcome school and youth groups for experiential educational programs. Please visit our Education Page for details and to initiate a visit request.

Directions & Contact Info

North Road
Chilmark, MA 02535
Martha’s Vineyard
Telephone: 508.693.3678

From State Rd. in West Tisbury, turn right onto North Rd. west toward Chilmark and follow for 4.7 mi. Entrance and parking (20 cars) are just past Tabor House Rd. on right.

Property Map

There is a trail map posted at the entrance and throughout the property with wayfinding signs.

We recommend that you take a photo of the map on your phone so you can refer to it during your visit, or download a trail map before you head out.

Regulations & Advisories

  • Hunting is not permitted at this reservation. Learn more about hunting on Trustees properties.
  • Mountain biking and ATVs are not allowed at The Brickyard.
  • Please stay on marked trails.
  • PHOTOGRAPHY: We ask that photographers or their clients become Contributing Level Members before conducting portrait sessions at this property.  Click here for more information, and to request permission for any portrait sessions. The Trustees of Reservations reserves the right, and may give permission to its designated photographers and videographers, or to outside media, to photograph or video visitors and program participants at all its facilities and properties.
Before Setting Out
More to Explore

Trustees on Martha's Vineyard

With eight Trustees properties to discover on the island, there is something for everyone. Experience unique coastal landscapes, and begin creating treasured memories today.

Explore the Sites

What Remains to Be Seen

Martha's Vineyard Magazine recently featured The Brickyard and provided an in-depth view into the history of this former industrial site.
Read Article
Upcoming Events

Brickyard History

On the craggy northwestern coast of Martha’s Vineyard, a roughly 45-foot chimney rises above the shoreline like an oversized maroon candle on a rubbly birthday cake. For mariners, that chimney in the sleepy town of Chilmark has long been a marker for plotting courses across Vineyard Sound. For decades, it was the most visible aspect of 18 overgrown, seldom-visited acres. Back in the 19th century, however, the chimney was a crucial feature of The Brickyard, one of the earliest commercial brick-making operations and a bona fide industry on Martha’s Vineyard. Workers drew upon the site’s native soil, timbers, and water power to manufacture the bricks that helped build, among other things, downtown Boston.

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