Steps away from the Chappaquiddick ferry ensconced in the compact and pedestrian friendly village center of Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Kelley House stands as a testament to island life way before tourists dominated the scene with beach umbrellas and sunscreen.
Near the corner of North Water and Kelley Streets, the main 54-room historic inn was built in 1742 and now features an art gallery in the lobby with rotating exhibits featuring local artists. Onsite Newes From America Pub is on the ground floor with rough hewn beams overhead and a gigantic brick fireplace exuding a genuine colonial character.
Truly like stepping back in time with a crackling fireplace and low ceilings, you can sense the pub rowdiness of sailors and longshoremen of yesteryear as well as escapades of cast and crew hanging out here during the 1975 filming of Jaws. Classic comfort dishes include three-cheese lobster mac & cheese and bangers and mash, accompanied by a wide selection of house brews as well as Vineyard and New England beers on tap. They even make their very own micro brewed root beer.
A member of the prestigious Historic Hotels of America, Kelley House prides itself on an attentive guest experience most tastefully exemplified by complimentary house baked chocolate chip cookies every evening and an assortment of warm muffins and fresh brewed coffee for all guests in the morning. The privilege of reserved parking is particularly handy during summer months when the island's population more than triples and Edgartown becomes the epicenter of activity.
But the latest news here is that Kelley House also owns three historic homes next door offering 11 additional more spacious and recently upgraded lodging options to their portfolio perfect for families and longer stays:
- Chappy House: Six one-bedroom suites with efficiency kitchens and private porches
- Court House: Three suites ranging from one to three bedrooms, period furnishings, and private kitchenettes. A traditional wrap-around porch invites lingering in the fresh Vineyard air.
- Mizzen Top: Three two-bedroom suites that whimsically blend modern décor with vintage Vineyard. Wood floors throughout except the bedrooms and kitchenettes outfitted with stainless steel appliances make for the ultimate retreat.
In addition to being family oriented, Kelley House is also dog friendly with beach walking just down the street perfect for romping in the surf next to the Edgartown Lighthouse. During summer, Kelley House's outdoor pool and accompanying Wave Pool Bar is the place to hang out just a block away from the ocean.
Exploring the island can be taken to a whole new level on one of their custom three-speed cruiser bicycles. After all, there are other towns on Martha's Vineyard worth exploring that are thankfully interconnected by a flat well paved network of bike paths leading to scenic beaches and country lanes. This where having In My Footsteps: A Traveler's Guide to Martha's Vineyard comes in handy to get the lay of the land from an author who is a 12th-generation Cape Codder.
Photos: Kelley House & Steve Mirsky. Coverage made possible by participating in a sponsored visit.