The opening of Harbor View Hotel in 1891 was a major turning point for Martha’s Vineyard. This island, 5 miles off the Massachusetts coast, was definitively transforming from whaling port to idyllic vacation destination.
Today, the Vineyard’s 122-year old Victorian “Grand Dame” is a coveted member of Historic Hotels of America featuring 3 distinct yet closely clustered lodging options. You have classic hotel rooms, many with private porches; the Governor Mayhew Building featuring balconies with either pool or garden views; and 8 Captain’s Cottages named after notable Edgartown sea captains containing spacious suites outfitted with living rooms, kitchenettes, and gas fireplaces along with a rare opportunity to own a piece of this historic landmark. All this adds up to 114 well-appointed accommodations to fit every whim and budget.
When staying here, all guests have access to the main building’s wide veranda outfitted with copious rocking chairs overlooking the lighthouse and Edgartown harbor along with a seasonally heated outdoor pool. It’s also entirely possible to leave the hassle of your car behind. With the beach at your doorstep, the hotel’s sailing dock down a footpath through the dunes, and brick lined sidewalks with antique lighting flanked by turn-of-the-century homes and stately elms, everything is a scenic 5 minute walk including Edgartown’s historic village center.
Casual sophistication defines both Water Street and Henry’s, Harbor View’s premier onsite dining venues. Guests in cocktail dresses mingle comfortably with flannel shirts and jeans in an ambince refreshingly lacking pretension.
Chef Nathan Gould’s tapas-inspired menu and full-service raw bar showcases Martha’s Vineyard’s seasonal bounty like fresh-picked oysters from nearby Katama Bay, and wild mushrooms, seaweed, sassafras and rose hips foraged from across the island. These delicacies are complemented by Gould’s onsite garden supplying his kitchen with fresh herbs and seasonal vegetables from more than 600 feet square feet of raised beds.
Water Street is Harbor View’s definitive restaurant with a graceful Victorian dining room framed by panoramic Edgartown Lighthouse and water views, elegant white columns, gleaming dark hardwood floors, and a skylight that floods the space in natural light by day and stargazing opportunities on clear nights. The menu is complemented by an eclectic assortment of wines scoring a minimum of 90. If you’re here on Sunday, don’t miss their famous Sunday brunch marked by a wide offering of fresh baked goods from pastry chef Nikolas Mastalerz.
Another popular gathering spot not only for guests, Henry’s Hotel Bar, has long been considered a best-kept secret by Vineyard residents featuring a broad selection of New England’s finest craft beers along with small plate offerings like pumpkin gnocchi served with housemade lamb bacon & whiskey butter and wood smoked grilled oysters with fennel butter.
Meetings and Weddings
Named one of 2013’s “Top U.S. Hotels” by Travel + Leisure’s World’s Best Awards, Cape Cod Life readers also voted Harbor View Hotel “Best Resort/Hotel” and “Best Place for a Wedding”. It’s easy to see why with its remarkable capacity despite compact grounds to host a conference or wedding. Right next to the pool on a spacious lawn, a white gingerbread-style gazebo can be surrounded by seating up to 100 while accommodating up to 350 guests under a canopy.
Inside, Harbor View ’s Edgartown Room can host up to 110 guests. Water Street can also be booked for gatherings up to 100 seated or 200 standing guests making it the island’s largest indoor venue. The hotel also boasts 3 flexible meeting rooms totaling 4,700 square feet complemented by seasonal outdoor spaces incorporating natural beauty into the historic charm.
You can certainly fly here from Boston, NYC, or smaller hubs but for regional travelers, the ferry is a no brainer with year-round departures from Woods Hole, MA and seasonal departures from NYC, Hyannis, Falmouth, New Bedford, MA, & Quonset, RI.
Photos courtesy of Harbor View Hotel. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored visit.