Everyone from U.S. presidents to A-list celebrities knows of the allure of Martha’s Vineyard, the small island just off Cape Cod that’s home to gorgeous beaches and secluded hideaways. While the sand and surf around the sophisticated area code never get old, this season presents lots of new ways to enjoy it all. Longtime favorites like Forbes Travel Guide Four-Star The Charlotte Inn and the Winnetu Oceanside Resort welcome repeat visitors with their winning service and amenities while wooing new ones with a wealth of fresh offerings.
Where to Stay
The Charlotte Inn is perfectly positioned for travelers who want a quiet, elegant getaway yet still want to be in the midst of the action. The former 1864 merchant’s house in Edgartown boasts artwork and antiques, but rooms are also outfitted with modern amenities like down comforters and flat-screen TVs. Outside, linden trees and gardens conceal the inn from the bustling street steps away. The Terrace, the Inn’s fine-dining restaurant, features executive chef Justin Melnick’s take on American fare with a French-Italian spin. While most people consider the eatery a perk reserved for inn guests, it’s actually open to the public. Over the summer, the restaurant holds a series of dinners featuring top New England guest sommeliers. New this season: Saturday afternoon wine tastings and weekend lunch service.
Winnetu Oceanside Resort, mere steps away from South Beach, offers a novel package for those wishing to visit both Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket. The Two-Island Vacation Adventure, available through October 18, comes with a stay at the Winnetu and its luxurious sister property, The Nantucket Hotel & Resort. Transportation and transfers are included. If you bring a car to the Vineyard, you can leave it at the Winnetu while you explore Nantucket.
Where to Play
No one can (or should) stay under the sun all day. Those looking for other activities that don’t require loads of SPF-30 have a lot to look forward to this season. The LOFT, an upscale adults-only game room/bar/restaurant in Oak Bluffs, has six pool tables, four shuffleboard tables, three dartboards, one foosball table, a couple of Ping-Pong tables, an air-hockey table and a giant game of Connect Four. When the Boston Red Sox have a game, you can make your way to the bar and big-screen TVs, too. The just-opened Barn Bowl & Bistro, also in Oak Bluff, is the only bowling center on Martha’s Vineyard. It features 10 regulation bowling lanes, a full restaurant and an 18-seat bar. Folks looking for indoor fun will also be happy to know that renovations were recently completed at the historic Capawock (in Vineyard Haven) and Strand (in Oak Bluffs) movie theatres, a boon for film lovers and a great rainy-day alternative.
Other happenings to circle on the event calendar include the 18th annual Vineyard Artisans Summer Fair, which kicked off on Memorial Day weekend and runs on Thursdays and Sundays through the summer. The event marks an excellent way to purchase ceramics, paintings, jewelry and other unique art pieces by locals. The always-entertaining Martha’s Vineyard Livestock Show and Fair, now in its 154th year, will be held August 20 through 23. The Obamas have been spotted at the old-fashioned agriculture festival more than once.