Polly Hill Arboretum, West Tisbury

Garden · Hidden Gem · Nature / Park
The Polly Hill Arboretum includes 8 ha (20 acres) under cultivation, with an additional 16 ha (40 acres) of native woodland, located on Martha's Vineyard at 809 State Road, West Tisbury, Massachusetts, United States. It has been developed since 1958 by the horticulturist Polly Hill, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2015.

In 1687, Henry Luce, one of the first English settlers on Martha's Vineyard purchased 400 acres (1.6 km²) of land in the island's center from the natives. In 1926, 16 ha (40 acres) of this land, then a sheep farm, were acquired by Hill's family. After her father's death, Hill decided to create an arboretum in 1958, growing the trees from seed. Through purchase of adjacent land, the property was increased to a total of 24 ha (60 acres). The Arboretum's administrative offices are housed in a building dating from the 1670s. Other historic structures on the property include the Far Barn (circa 1750) with its attached Slaughterhouse, the Cow Barn (a private residence), and the adjacent "Gym".

The Arboretum now contains North Tisbury azaleas, witch-hazels, winter hazels, camellias, magnolias, stuartias, conifers, and deciduous and evergreen hollies, and incorporates a dogwood avenue and a pleached hornbeam arbor. Polly Hill plant introductions include varieties of Cornus kousa, Ilex, Stewartia, and about forty Rhododendrons.
To visit Polly Hill Arboretum and other attractions in West Tisbury, use our West Tisbury driving holiday planning site.
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Polly Hill Arboretum reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
38 reviews
Google
4.8
TripAdvisor
  • We visited on a chilly late summer day and had a wonderful time walking through the garden areas to see the wide variety of plants cultivated here. This wonderful, storied arboretum has fascinating...  more »
  • Polly Hill has created a fascinating window into local, as well as many historic tree species from hundreds of million years ago, some of which she cultivated from seed. This bold approach has...  more »
Google
  • Ask me 2 years ago if I would pay money to go see a bunch of plants and I would probably die laughing. After visiting this arboretum, I can’t wait to research more. One reason to visit this place is the diversity of nature. In the US we are accustomed to seeing certain plants. So viewing the “monkey puzzle” tree” blew my mind. I can’t believe this type of tree, with thousands of sharp barbs exists. You may have seen a white oak, but have you ever seen a black oak? You could lose yourself following the interesting patterns in the bark. Overall I left appreciating nature so much more after leaving this place. The paths are easy to follow. There are a couple of more reasons to visit here. There is an open barn you can tour. It is interesting to see the old architecture. They have some antiques inside that you can touch. There is a huge outdoor fireplace that is an architectural marvel of its own accord. I wish they explained more about why it was built. Polly must have had some wild outdoor harvest festivals. This is going to be the oddest part of my review. I would pay just to use the restrooms here. They had 30 foot ceiling with and open design. The rooms wreaked of cedar. I found myself walking around the restroom taking pictures and then I thought well this is creepy and finally left. But I would have spent more time there. Polly started this arboretum when she was 50. That shows it is never too late to start something!! Dictated to phone; sorry for grammar.
  • The best part of my MV visit. Beautiful. Relaxing. Bravo!

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