Escape

A year-round cottage with an artist's studio in Martha's Vineyard, for $838,000

This two-bedroom, two-bath Edgartown cottage was built in 1940. 

Sandpiper Realty

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2019
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Summer technically ended this week, but it certainly seems like we're still in the dog days of August. This makes it as good a time as any to consider Martha's Vineyard, a Massachusetts island located just south of Cape Cod. The island has long been a summer colony, thanks to its gorgeous beaches and pleasant July and August weather, and has served as a seasonal hangout for the likes of Barack Obama, Jennifer Lawrence, Larry David, and Spike Lee, to name a few.

But Martha's Vineyard isn't just a spot for a beach hang. The island is massive—four times the size of Manhattan, in fact, and is comprised of six distinct towns: Oak Bluffs, Edgartown and Vineyard Haven, which are "down island," and Chilmark, West Tisbury and Aquinnah, in "up island." There's also Chappaquiddick Island (yes, that one). Down island is much more populated than up island, though the latter is where you'll find the most romantic vistas and beaches, including the Aquinnah cliffs. Down island, you can frequent famous eateries and pubs like Offshore Ale Company, where I once stupidly ordered a hard seltzer instead of one of their craft brews; famed doughnut and coffee spot Back Door Donuts, and seafood restaurants and shacks like Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Co.

In the summer, there's a direct (but pricey) ferry route from Manhattan to the island; ferries from Cape Cod run year-round. The island is much quieter in the fall and winter, which is in many ways a welcome respite from the more tourist-heavy on-season, and you can still walk the beaches and check out the famed Edgartown, Gay Head and East Chop lighthouses. The Oak Bluff Campgrounds, a collection of summer cottages that look like gingerbread houses (one was once home to Shel Silverstein), are also worth checking out, as is the nearly 150-year-old Flying Horses Carousel, also in Oak Bluffs.

Generally, though, Martha's Vineyard is a great place to chill out, dine on oysters, bike ride, and sight-see. There are lots of lovely summer cottages here, in addition to some stately white houses and bungalows in Edgartown, a former whaling town. Consider, for instance, the two-bedroom, two-bath, year-round beach house at 4 Haystack Lane in Edgartown, now on the market for $838,000. The house was built in 1940 and has a front porch with water views.

The living room has lofted ceilings and exposed beams.

It shares an open concept space with the dining room and kitchen, creating an airy atmosphere.

The kitchen was recently renovated, and has stainless steel appliances and white cabinets.

The gallery railing is a nice touch.

The master bedroom looks like it's got a lot of closet space.

The listing calls the second bedroom the "guest bedroom," but you could use it as a children's room as well.

The deck has water and garden views, in addition to a lot of space for outdoor lounging and dining.

The plantings around the house are really lovely.

There's a bonus artist's studio as well.

It looks like it gets a lot of light.

Outside, there's an outdoor shower and changing area.

The stone pathway is very romantic, as are the plantings.

To get to the house, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, you can take the Seastreak ferry from Midtown to Oak Bluffs for $240 round trip, $200 if its a holiday, then take a 15-minute cab to Edgartown. In the off-season, you can catch a 45-minute, $8 Steamship Authority ferry at Woods Hole and take it to either Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven, then a cab. You can take your car on the Steamship ferry, but it's an extra $150 or so.