Sunday, July 15

New England nesting views part 3: the charm and old fashioned American style of the Charlotte Inn and the town of Edgartown on Martha's Vineyard

At the heart of the enchanting island 
of Martha's Vineyard is the village of 
Edgartown, Massachusetts 
There is much talk of  identifying"American" style in shelter magazines recently. To me, the town of Edgartown and the Charlotte Inn are both perfect examples of high-end American style at its finest, harkening back to days when we lived in a simplistic manner yet with an attention to detail while emphasizing handmade, beautiful furnishings, fabrics and accessories.

The island is filled with history, beautiful architecture and gorgeous beaches.  Each town has its very own unique personality from the bohemian "up island" beaches and farm stands in Chilmark, to the bustling town of Oak Bluffs with gingerbread Victorian homes, to the nautically inspired village of Edgartown. The town of Edgartown is worlds away from the wild bramble of the up island rustic beauty, and is quintessentially preppy and Yankee in feeling.  The town has many examples of home restoration and architectural preservation as can be seen by the antique clapboard homes lining the side streets perfectly coiffed and surrounding the busy tourist town on the water.  The homes are my ideal, crammed with style and bustling gardens spilling over with roses and hydrangea.  Many are Federal and Georgian architecture and painted white with regal black shutters and screened in porches.  Most village homes are relatively small, but elegant with a fastidious attention to detail.   

During our recent visit back to the Vineyard, we were fortunate to stay at the Charlotte Inn on South Summer Street.  Gery and Paula Conover have owned the inn for forty years, and together they have restored and decorated this three level home in a labor of love.   A little bit of the magic wore off on us and we returned home to New York inspired by it all. Since the Vineyard has been a part of our lives for decades and we were visiting the island to celebrate our 20th year anniversary (we were married at Edgartown's  Old Whaling Church in 1992), we had heard many testimonials about the Charlotte Inn over the years.  
The Charlotte Inn is a member of the exclusive Relais & Chateaux, an international association of privately owned boutique hotels and restaurants, offering guests charming, luxury facilities around the world.  The Inn was voted one of the top 15 hotels of the world, and Number Three in the States and Canada by readers of 
Travel & Leisure  
a special, delicious breakfast is served in the courtyard each morning
and expect to be greeted by the Conovers.
tea and finger sandwiches served daily
on the porch below at 4 pm.  
we were welcomed and upgraded 
generously to the very luxuriously appointed Room 12 at 
the Charlotte Inn 
in Edgartown
Room 12 is quite special with three large windows, a fireplace a bathroom of black and white tile and fine European fixtures, a plump down sofa outfitted in tea stained fabrics (think I recognized a Lee Jofa and Ralph Lauren fabric patterns in the room).  Flanking the fireplace are two staffordshire ceramic dogs from the 1800s, and hanging overhead is an elaborate original oil painting depicting costumed family by English painter Sheridan Knowles (1863-1933).  Knowles was a member of the Royal Society of British artists.  Topping off the experience is the beautifully made mahogany carved canopy bed.   
The Inn has employed many local craftsmen and artisans over the years to  preserve much of the work to the Inn.  The book outlines stories of travel  in search of outfitting the home with antiques and special items. 

 It is like no other hotel or Inn I have stayed before, and we were made to feel like personal guests of the Conovers and their two golden retrievers. There is the perfect amount of peace and tranquility mixed with a good amount of pampering, including the afternoon tea served on the porch overlooking the pond.  We were able to walk into town and shop and have dinner, but all I wanted to do was lounge around sitting on top of my very plump canopied antique wooden bed and immersed in reading the many amazing books available throughout the inn.  They have piles of every kind of design, garden and history books one could have ever dream of, and many long out of print.  I found Edith Wharton books, gardening books, books about dogs, botanical prints, and many many more.  I have never actually stayed in a hotel where each and every single item in the room is an antique from the water glass decanter to the brandy and snifter set bedside.  I had to pinch myself because I thought maybe after a long day of sunbathing at Lucy Vincent Beach I was experiencing a mirage.  But, thankfully I was not and we enjoyed two very luxurious yet simplistic days of bliss in Edgartown. 
"The house was constructed by Samuel Osborn Jr., one of the last of the successful whaling ship owners of the 1800s.  Osborn, a local man whose family built the Osborn Wharf, now the site of the Edgartown yacht Club, joined the whaling business at a time when most of the industry had already gone to New Bedford."
Behind the Times On Purpose - The Charlotte Inn on Martha's Vineyard
we walked the property in awe of the pristine qualities of the meandering gardens, welcoming in a warm, convivial manner
"Beautiful mature plantings of rhododendrons, English boxwood, privet, ivy,pachysandra, clematis and arborvitaes, all intermixed with dark green iron fencing, meandering brick pathways, and white garden arches.  The sculpted hedges, enhanced with dozens of pots of seasonal flowers, hide small secluded areas furnished with comfortable patio chairs and sofas."
Behind the Times on Purpose
The Charlotte Inn of Martha's Vineyard
I recommend the Charlotte Inn to any history, architecture or garden lover.  The splurge is worth it and a walk back in time to our country's history.  Don't forget to grab a scoop of Mad Martha's ice cream when visiting the island.  
Happy Nesting
xo Tamara