Oak Bluffs, Martha's Vineyard, MA
Retro at the Beach, $$ (From $149)
Nestled into the seaside harbor of Oak Bluffs, Summercamp pulls at your heart strings — its nostalgia for pure, summertime fun. The oceanfront hotel (the largest on Martha's Vineyard) retains the original Victorian bones from its former incarnation as a Methodist Church camp in a photogenic community of miniature gingerbread cottages. To reinvent the fun and play of childhood, design director Rachel Reider tapped into a 1950s retro aesthetic of vacation ideals with vintage tennis rackets, rocking chairs on a wraparound porch, lawn games, a rec hall for rainy days, and a Camp Canteen that sells summer staples of yore. Reider says, "We wanted to capture the glory days of childhood summers by creating someplace that's casual and family-friendly but also appeals to an adult sense of fun." Her vision effortlessly translates to 95 punchy and retro-designed rooms with all of the modern amenities our rough-and-tumble summer camps were lacking. And as the vaccine rollouts promise we'll be reunited with friends and family soon, we can't think of a better place to act like a kid again, and make up for the dog days we've missed.
At a Glance
The Vibe: Endless summer fun.
Standout Detail: The hotel is a no-brainer for families; several suites accommodate large groups, bunkbeds abound, movie nights are a regular thing, and a life-size Connect-4 in the lobby keeps the kiddos occupied.
This Place Is Perfect For: Nostalgic travelers who want to recreate the glory days of childhood summers (rambling days and late curfews included).
Rooms: 95 bright and spacious rooms are organized into sixteen types, ranging from large suites with harbor-front balconies and living areas to cozy bunkbed rooms with reading nooks. The decor is whimsical and playful with swinging beds suspended from sailing ropes, bucket chairs, retro bold colors, and zig-zagged pattern rugs. The in-room iPads are loaded with suggestions for what to do around the island. You'll find vintage-inspired Tivoli bluetooth radios, USB ports, waffle kimono robes, and Apple TVs, too.
On Site: A wraparound porch with rocking chairs and views of the harbor, and a game room with a ping pong table, carpet Twister, board games, and old-school Battleship.
Food + Drink: In the lobby, Camp Canteen sells classic snacks (think Cracker Jacks and penny candy) and DIY cocktail kits to enjoy on the porch.
What to Do Nearby
Oaks Bluffs — “OB” to locals — is a quaint and lovely harbor town surrounded by beautiful beaches, the nation’s oldest carousel, a historic town with a picnic-perfect green and gazebo, and the infamous Off Shore Ale brewery where you can throw peanut shells on the floor as you throw back a pint or two. There's also miles of biking and hiking trails all over the island. Take a victory lap around the island and peddle the 14-mile round-trip ride along the water to Edgartown. For hiking, the beautiful scenery of the Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank, Sheriff’s Meadow, or Mass Audubon’s Felix Neck Wildlife Sanctuary are all popular routes.
Keep Exploring the Islands of the East