Travel & UnderSail


The Attwater, Liberty Street, Newport, RI 

 
If you are a fan of off-season travel, the offerings are remarkable. It’s an obvious no-brainer as all the “hot-spots” cool down, as the hordes of tourist have remarkable choices.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   This particular year is super inviting  as  to be in a constant on-stop motion with new hotels rising out of the ground while  interesting “re-animations and “re-imaginings” of vintage buildings are re-animating dusty, boring old places into lively, hip destinations. They are fun to visit anytime, but these special places flaunt their “it-ness” with extra verve in the Fall, when the crowds are long gone, reservations are easily secured and prices are much more reasonable.

The Islands off the coast of Massachusetts are boasting several properties with a definite ouvre of luxury, and don’t forget to explore the new hostelries in Newport itself for your guest overflow.

Take Nantucket, a place loved by many Newporters, who don’t mind the less-than two hour drive to Hyannis to hop the one-hour, fast ferry, or board the short flight from New Bedford to the "Grey Lady", as the island is known.  Here, the bevy of fine hotels, guest accommodations houses and B&Bs is enormous, and includes virtually every variety of to suit most budgets.

This season, the buzziest buzz is all about the new Graydon House which debuted on historic Broad Street, not far from the ferry landing and the heart of bustling Nantucket town.

Local Nantucketers recall origins of the building as the home of their beloved “island doctor,”  Dr. Wylie L. Collins, who came to the island in 1928 to practice medicine after his predecessor died. The legendary physician and surgeon, who made house calls for $3.00,  lived in the yellow clapboard house for as long as anyone could remember.  “In fact,” says  resident Ginny Chambers, whose respected husband Marsh,  was tapped to become manager of The Sconset Casino ( tennis, not gambling) on Nantucket in 1965, Ginny Chambers  remembers  Dr. Collins’ little son selling sea shells from the garage on the property.

Today, the rambling building, hung with bounteous window baskets, and 
surrounded by a colorful seasonal garden  blends in with the
neighborhood’s vintage, seafaring, salty-air feel, yet reflects a freshness that is both beguiling and inviting. 

That’s not surprising since the extensive re-do was masterminded by the prestigious firm of Roman and Williams Buildings and Interiors, recent recipient of the Smithsonian Cooper Hewitt National Design Award.  As a result the 17-room boutique hotel reflects

Nantucket’s storied past of the whale oil industry, as well as its dishy present life as a tony destination.

If the outside is irresistible, inside,  doesn’t disappoint. Public rooms boast a mix of vintage furniture mixed with contemporary touches and the guest rooms are no less than super comfy and uncommonly tasteful, layered with a kind of weathered insouciance of old things nonchalantly inserted into the
scene that ultimately delivers bespeaks a certain it-ness, that is frankly magnetizing.An added bonus in season, when the town’s center is crowded to overflowing, and the rutted cobblestone thoroughfares appear impassable,  the hotel’s location rejects the need for a car.  So, when the streets are at a virtual standstill, you wave to those mired
in traffic, and go on your merry way.


                           76 Main Street, Nantucket, MA 

A few blocks away, 76 Main Street, another relative newcomer also caught our attention. Set withi  an iconic vintage sea-captain’s house, it is the only hotel on cobblestone Main Street.  Lined with stunning 18th and 19th century whaling ship captains’ houses, the residential neighborhood is a stroller’s delight. Part of the Lark Hotel Group, the pristine property celebrates the area’s maritime legacy, with its vernacular of crisply defined fabrics and wallpapers, orchestrated by the brand’s intrepid interior designer Rachel Reider.  

Within the scope of accommodations in the main house and guest house, many rooms include seating areas, private patios and well-appointed bathrooms.  The Vineyard Vines Suite celebrates the colors and vivacious patterns of the preppy brand.  Guests love hanging out in the late afternoon in the secluded outdoor courtyard with upholstered sofas and chairs, fire pits and BYOB cocktail mixers.  Delicious breakfasts are served in the marine blue and white horizontally striped dining room outfitted with pale blue banquette seating.       

 


                               21 Broad St, Nantucket, MA

If you can’t get in there, 21 Broad is a sanctuary of throw-away chic.  Housed in the former restaurant of the same name, the hostelry features inviting, mostly white  bedrooms, enlivened with pops of vibrant colors such as citrus, teal and orange. Guests enjoy the steam room and love to gather around the fire pit on the back deck.

                                          The Christopher 
                    Oak Bluff's Hotel, Martha's Vineyard

Love Martha’s Vineyard without the crowds?   Book a room in one of
Lark’s three new hostelries.  In EdgartownThe Christopher offers a non pareil location overlooking the busy harbor, steps from a slew of fine and fun restaurants and shops. Inside, the pristine white Victorian structure, designer Reider ‘s insouciantly chic style graces every room with bright, happy colors.  Five-minutes away, The Sydney offers eight pristine accommodations above the award-winning l’etoile restaurant in the stunning white 1892 “gingerbready” house built by sea captain Charles W. Fisher.  A blowsy garden frames the lawn and outdoor chairs, where guests love relaxing with their favorite reads. Inside a gorgeous, curving staircase leads to the guest rooms.

 


The Sydney, Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard

 

 

     SummerCamp, Oak Bluff's Hotel, Martha's Vineyard

Across the island,  in Oak Bluffs, The Summercamp underscores the area’s history as an old-fashioned Methodist church summer camp grounds. It is also the site of America’s oldest carousel.  When you’re not admiring the gingerbread cottages of the still extant summer camp cottages, there are tons of casual eateries and a cool microbrewery where you are encouraged to throw peanut shells on the floor.

 

The Attwater, Liberty Street, Newport, RI 


The Lark Hotel Group also celebrates Rhode Island in a big way. xoffers 17 rooms in the main building and next door Urban Beach House. Here various shades of blue and turquoise co-exist happily with bright oranges, apple greens and black, while much of the furniture (for sale as “Newport Unconventional” brand), features shiny lacquer finishes in a nod to the town’s sailing traditions.

 

Gilded, Newport, RI 


Not far, on Brinley Street, Gilded features an off-beat atmosphere of more bright hues including fushia, purple and turquoise, in 17 bedrooms in two connected 19th century buildings, that mimic the glitter of Newport’s Gilded Age.  At the entrance, a thoroughly faux gilded lion greets visitors while surprising geranium pink wallpaper sets the tone in the drawing room. Curated savory and sweet breakfasts are served on what else but, gilded tables and chairs in the connector between the two buildings.       . 

Guests should be aware that the Lark brand’s penchant for “re-imagining” wonderful vintage properties always translates into a non-fussy, light-hearted touch, but does not necessarily mean that there is elevator service to the upper floors, where many of the guest rooms are located.  If you need extra assistance with navigating stairs or baggage handling, always inquire before you book. Otherwise, enjoy your carefree, no-hassle, off-season holiday in this array of new hotels in  some of the most popular East Coast locations.

 

                     -- Marion Laffey Fox

 

 

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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