Gifts for mind, body, spirit


Winter on the Vineyard — a great time to reflect, renew, and reinvent oneself. If there’s someone on your Christmas gift list who might enjoy a boost towards self-improvement or self-awareness, the Vineyard offers a lot of options for unique gifts that don’t come in a box. A gift certificate for a spa treatment, fitness, learning experiences, or a psychic reading might be just the present one needs. The following are just a few suggestions to inspire holiday shopping.


A massage or skin treatment is the kind of indulgence just about anyone can appreciate. There are a number of spas on the Island, and each offers something unique. The Spa at the Mansion House features six different types of massage, reflexology, many different facials, and all types of body treatments and wraps, some using Moshup Mud, clay from the Gay Head Cliffs. Most spa treatments at the Mansion House include use of the health clubs amenities. A swim, sauna, steam, or whirlpool after a rejuvenating treatment at the spa make for a perfect all-about-me experience.

The Mod Spa, which opened in Edgartown this past May, specializes in a combination of Eastern and Western massage. Co-owner Sebastian Pattavina explains that while Eastern can tend to be more aggressive, Western emphasizes a more gentle, relaxing approach. Mr. Pattavina also offers ashiatsu, a barefoot massage of your body that he performs with the aid of a handholding bar apparatus, which he says helps him “glide and surf over the entire body.” Mr. Pattavina emphasizes that the spa focuses on the entire experience, down to the details such as using organic high-thread count sheets, and using only their own products made with quality essences and other ingredients.

A health club membership may be just the right gift for someone on your list. For the uninitiated, the Vineyard Tennis Center offers a five-week sampler. For $99, beginners can try out a range of special classes geared towards beginners. The roster includes cycling, yoga, Zumba, Pilates, and strength conditioning. The sample classes are held on five consecutive Mondays from 5:30 to 6:30 pm. Owner Connie McHugh encourages newcomers to try a weekly beginners spinning class called Kick Off Cycling. Non-members can take the class, which is held every Wednesday at 6:30 pm, for $15. Gift certificates and punch passes are available at the club.

The Mansion House Health Club has recently added some new events to their schedule so a membership (available for two weeks to one year) will now include access to a few fun evening gatherings — Float-in Movies projected on the ceiling above the pool on Wednesday nights, a wine and healthy snacks get-together on Thursdays, and a Tuesday evening workshop on giving and getting massages. Of course, a gift certificate to the Mansion House can be used for the spa, restaurant or inn, as well as the health club, making it a very versatile present.


Are you tired of a friend’s lament that there’s nothing to do on the Vineyard in the winter? Now is the perfect time to explore that long-latent passion, or gain a new skill. Luckily, Vineyarders have a couple of options for taking classes on self-improvement or for plain fun.

The winter session for ACE MV (Adult and Community Education of Martha’s Vineyard) will start on January 11, with sessions running for five or six weeks. As always, the options range from fun to practical. According to director Lynn Ditchfield, the 2011 lineup includes a number of cooking classes, a couple of dance classes and, for the first time, an astronomy class. Kate Feiffer will also be offering a class on writing for children. There truly is something for everyone, and the courses are almost all the same price: $135. Gift certificates can be purchased online at

Featherstone Center for the Arts, in Oak Bluffs, offers classes and workshops covering a variety of arts and crafts. One interesting option is called Resurrect your Jewelry in which you can transform broken or mismatched pieces into new one-of-a-kind items. New this season is Ceramics A-Z, taught by master ceramicist Washington Ledesma. This class will guide students through all the necessary steps from molding the clay to firing and finishing a piece. There is even a course for learning to use an Apple computer. Many classes, including all of the above, are offered on a one-time basis for $30. Others are multiple week courses. Gift certificates can be purchased on location.

Perhaps the gift of the future is the perfect solution for hard-to-buy-for friends. Arlan Wise offers one-hour astrological chart readings for $150. Her specialty is understanding the most positive aspects of the client’s unconscious. She helps to pull them to the surface and explain them in ways that are easy to understand.

Karen Coffey at Pyewackets reads tarot cards for clients with prices varying depending on the length of the reading. She notes that she can offer insight, affirmation, and advice on choices. “Many people don’t recognize the choices they are capable of making,” she says. “I can point out ways in which they are blocked and open up alternatives that may not have been apparent.”