Tashmoo Boarding House suits many Island visitors
For the new owners and new management of the Tashmoo Boarding House the objective is that the hostelry at 325 Main Street in Vineyard Haven be a cozy, informal, and affordable rooming house for a unique collection of guests who want to spend weeks on Martha's Vineyard in the summer.
The Boarding House, built in 1900 as a single family home, was converted to a boarding house and opened first in 1923. It was purchased from the original owner's descendants in February by Elizabeth and Roger Hunt. Ms. Hunt, an American who summered on the Island for many years, convinced her new husband, an Englishman, to make the investment and preserve the nature of the Tashmoo Boarding House. The first of this season's guests arrived in mid-June, according to Ms. Hunt.
Diane, a Boston-area nurse, describes herself as typical of the guests, for whom the Tashmoo Boarding House will be a perfect fit. She has been staying at the Tashmoo Boarding House for part of each summer on the Island for 20 years. She hopes her work schedule will allow her to return in the autumn. "The majority of the people come back every summer, so we just pick up where we left off, like old friends."
At the Boarding House there are seven rooms, a mix of single and double occupancy. The Boarding House accommodates 12 guests, who share three bathrooms. There are neither prepared meals nor television. Instead, guests have free use of the kitchen, washer/dryer, an extensive library and Wifi. Licensed as a "lodging house," there is a live-in manager as well.
"The Tashmoo Boarding House harkens back to another time when people wanted to spend time in a gorgeous location recharging their batteries," Ms. Hunt said. "We are not expensive and not glamorous - there is no hot tub - but we have a beautiful beach, a gorgeous Island, and we are affordable."
In August, a double room is $900 for one week for two people; anyone early-booking a four-week stay gets a fifth week for free. During the non-peak season, rooms begin at $300 a week per person. Sheets and towels are provided, and rooms are cleaned three times a week. Guests must bring their own beach towels.
"The beach is a half block away, so you don't need a car. You can walk into town for a movie, and the back yard is the coolest place on the Island on a hot summer day," according to Diane. "It is like being in your own summer home, to me."
According to Ms. Hunt, some former guests will return this year. In the past, many of the guests have been people working on the Island during the summer who need an affordable long-term arrangement.
Diane describes her fellow guests as a "crazy mix of characters" including painters, psychologists, social workers, nurses, seasonal retail workers and tennis pros sharing an independent streak. "At Tashmoo you don't have to be up for breakfast at 8 am," she said. "It is more than a bed to rest your head, and it is always fascinating to meet guests who have come from all over the world."
The Tashmoo Boarding House is open between May and September; but plans call for renovations employing "green" technology, to allow year-round use. Also in the plans for next season are a vegetable garden and a cycle shed to accommodate interested guests.
"We are not for the B&B crowd. We are an affordable alternative that will keep the Vineyard relevant for a lot of folks," Ms. Hunt said.