Summer Escapes: Drift Away

Martha’s Vineyard

Here’s a concept: the stress-free family vacation. No, it’s not an oxymoron, particularly at the Winnetu Oceanside Resort on Martha’s Vineyard.

Ditch your car and prebook the VIP Island Queen ferry package, which includes guaranteed parking in Falmouth and a 35-minute boat ride to Oak Bluffs, where a Winnetu staffer will whisk you to the resort. The 53-suite hotel sits directly on South Beach, removed from the bustle of downtown Edgartown but still close to restaurants and shops, thanks to water taxis and shuttles. A bonus: The Vineyard’s bus system, which covers the island, stops at the end of the driveway. Not that you ever need to leave, what with the heated pools, tennis courts, clambakes on the lawn, and daily distractions like a putting green and kayaking. Kids are occupied morning and afternoon by organized dune and lighthouse tours and games like capture the flag.

If you choose not to sample the fine restaurants in town — or brave the lines at Chesca’s — the suites in the main hotel are equipped with kitchenettes, and the rental homes have full kitchens. (A shuttle runs to the nearby Stop & Shop so you can stock up on provisions.)

Not everyone who comes to Winnetu plans to spend the night, especially since the resort’s aptly named Lure Grill is reason enough to visit, with its beautiful ocean views, poolside lunches, and new chef, Aaron Wratten (of New York’s Daniel and Aureole). Plus, sitters will engage the kiddies in the family dining room’s play area while couples enjoy a romantic meal in a quieter space. >> Winnetu Oceanside Resort (atarts at $380 per night), 31 Dunes Rd., Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard, 508-310-1733, — N.K.

Ferry Along   Take an early afternoon Chappy Ferry from Edgartown to Chappaquiddick Island and explore the Cape Pogue Wildlife Refuge and Cape Pogue Lighthouse.
Movie Night   Drop off the kids at 5:30 on a Tuesday, Thursday, or Saturday evening for their own dinner and a movie, then escape to Lure Grill’s outdoor deck to catch the sunset.
Happy Hour   Don’t feel like making a beer run? Before heading to the beach, order a bottle of 2001 Chandon Étoile Brut and a box of Chilmark chocolates to be delivered to your room.

  • Tourist

    Awful, run-down, overpriced, understaffed.

  • Duncan

    Folk such as me, my family, and my friends, who are blessed to have raised their children in ‘sconset never go near the Summerhouse, which, while located near our charming village, is totally not of the village. A better idea is to drive your leased Escalade to the Hamptons and hope you get to slobber during a celeb-sighting (and you’ll be doing ‘sconset a favor). If you must visit us, please do so on a bike and have dinner at the Sconset Cafe.