The Martha’s Vineyard village of Oak Bluffs is a convivial and fascinating combination of past and present. In the summer, the harbor fills up with recreational boats, visitors disembarking the ferry flock to shops and restaurants, while young and old stand in line to ride the historic Flying Horses carousel, hoping to snag a brass ring. Concealed from the hustle and bustle is a close-knit neighborhood of whimsical “gingerbread” cottages, where in the 19th century Methodists gathered each summer for multi-day religious “camp meetings” held under large tents and in the open air.
With a nod to Oak Bluffs’ rich past, Summercamp opened in the former Wesley Hotel in May 2016. In a building once used as a camp revival destination for the Methodist Church, Summercamp is steps away from the scene of the village’s popular Grand Illumination, an annual event that takes place this year on Aug. 17. The magical tradition, a delight for all ages, features a singalong in the historic Tabernacle followed by the Grand Illumination when hundreds of lanterns hung on gingerbread cottage porches are lit.
Summercamp, a property of mischief-meets-modern inspired Lark Hotels, features 95 rooms conceptualized by award-winning designer and Lark Hotels partner Rachel Reider. The hotel’s nostalgic, camp-cabin touches include an AstroTurf-floored Rec Room, Camp Canteen shop for snacks and sundries, and rocking chairs on the hotel’s wrap-around porch. Two other, smaller Martha’s Vineyard Lark Hotels, The Sydney and The Christopher, both in Edgartown, reopened in May. “We’re proud of the true sense of place that we’ve created at each of our boutique hotels,” says Lark Hotels CEO Rob Blood. “It’s been a pleasure to get to know the local landscape and culture on the Vineyard, and we hope that’s evident in [our hotels’] service, amenities and playful accents.” —Janice Randall Rohlf
Summercamp Hotel, 70 Lake Ave., Oak Bluffs, 508-693- 6611