Christmas lights still adorned North Water Street in Edgartown as New Year’s Eve revelers, dressed for the occasion, strolled along in the chilly night air to the Harbor View Hotel, the site for one of Martha’s Vineyard’s most elegant celebrations.
Many guests lined up to take group photos at the David Welch photo booth, posing with silver mustaches and other 2016 props. Others took the photo opportunity into their own hands, posing with selfie sticks and cellphones.
Jim and Anne Fitzgerald had traveled from Natick for their first Harbor View celebration. The couple said they visit the Vineyard quite a bit. As Anne discussed her New Year’s resolution — “less online, more real life” — Jim kept dancing.
“I’m the only one working at this!” he joked.
Sue Dargan, also from Natick, was enjoying the celebration with her husband and kids. Last year, a death in the family shook their New Year’s Eve. “So we decided to come to our favorite place this year,” Ms. Dargan said. “I can’t think of a better place to be.”
Dan and Donna Linsalata from Boston were also new to the party. Dan stood out in a full-plaid red and green suit. “He got this as a Christmas present from his sister,” Donna said. “He’s really good at themed parties.”
“I think this suit might be flammable,” he joked. “It’s great.”
“It’s a one-wear suit,” she said.
They were taking a break, sitting on a couch outside the hors d’oeuvres room, but they were having a good time.
“Two bands, plenty at the bar, plenty of food,” Donna said. “It’s really great.”
Asked if she had any New Year’s resolutions, she didn’t hesitate. “Less plaid,” she said, laughing.
“Is that mine or yours?” Dan said.
Sitting near the lobby, Linda Nilson and Benjamin Warren posed for a picture together. From Cape Cod, they said they come to the Island a lot, but it was also their first time at the party. They had spent Christmas Eve at the hotel, but went back home in between visits.
“We have dogs,” Mr. Warren said.
“Four-legged children,” Ms. Nilson corrected.
Asked about their New Year’s resolutions, they looked at each other for a moment.
“Live life as a good human being,” he said.
Ms. Nilson hesitated to think about her resolution.
“She wants to be with me all year,” Mr. Warren said, chuckling. “Don’t you?”
“Yes, yes, yes, yes,” Ms. Nilson said. “I do.”
Matt Santos and Ericka Samoorian had traveled to the Island from Cranston, R.I. It was the couple’s first visit. Prior to arriving at the Harbor View, Mr. Santos and Ms. Samoorian enjoyed dinner at the Grill on Main restaurant. During dessert, Ms. Samoorian said, she was about to enjoy her first bite when Mr. Santos became sentimental.
“I just wanted to try the tiramisu, and he wouldn’t stop talking,” she said. Suddenly, Mr. Santos got down on one knee and proposed marriage.
Harbor View celebrants did not have to walk far to eat or dance off the calories. The Mike Benjamin Band was in one room, the Joanne Cassidy Band was in another. Servers and tables featured raw oysters, mini lobster tacos, shrimp cocktail, small pizza slices, steak and cheese lettuce wraps, fried olives, macaroons, fudge brownies, red velvet cupcakes, and much more.
Islander Angie Lyon accentuated her gold and white New Year’s outfit with a glittery seaweed headpiece she had received at Alchemy restaurant, which handed out 200 of the creative headbands for free.
Visitors Michael Pessiki and Samantha Cavallo were celebrating with their in-laws, and showing off the location of their May 2016 wedding. The couple got engaged last New Year’s Eve, and marked the occasion with a photo in the Harbor View photo booth operated by David Welch.
The couple picked Edgartown because 38 years prior, Mr. Pessiki’s parents eloped to the Kelley House. To tie the celebration full circle, the couple is planning a welcome gathering at the Newes Pub in the Kelley House the evening prior to their wedding.
The cocktail recommendation of the night came from Harbor View bartender and manager Greg Fournier: homemade pomegranate grenadine topped with prosecco. The most ordered drink of the night was vodka soda. Asked to reveal his nightcap when he finally made it home, Mr. Fournier said a Rittenhouse Rye 100-proof bonded Manhattan with Peychaud’s Bitters.
Just prior to midnight, guests spilled out onto the porch overlooking Edgartown Harbor and the Edgartown Lighthouse, decorated with a Christmas wreath and lights, to view a dazzling fireworks display paid for by the Harbor View Hotel. As fireworks erupted over the water, guests cheered, embraced their loved ones, and some briefly broke into song. After the last spark settled into the dark water, guests filed back into the hotel, ready to take on 2016.