Martha's Vineyard inn a Victorian-style getaway

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VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. -- To Susan Goldstein, co-owner with her husband, Sherman, of the Mansion House on Martha's Vineyard, a honeymoon on this island begins when the couple steps aboard the ferry from Cape Cod.

"There's an immediate sense of leaving the rest of the world behind when you're coming over here on the ferry, and that's really what a honeymoon is all about," she said.

The Goldsteins have owned and operated the 32-room Victorian inn since 1985, and the property has been renovated completely in the last two years. They are eager to work with travel agents, she said, and they pay a 10% commission on room rates.

"We get a lot of honeymooners here, and we can customize a stay any way the couple wants. We also host many weddings. We can accommodate 60 to 70 guests for seated events, more if it's a buffet," she said.

For honeymooners, the property offers king- and queen-size rooms along with one-, two- and three-bedroom suites. Many have balconies, soaking tubs, fireplaces, water views and plasma TVs.

A full health club and spa provides a wide range of treatments, steam and sauna rooms and a chlorine-free, mineral-spring indoor pool.

It also has a restaurant on site, called Zephrus, where full complimentary breakfasts are served to all guests. Zephrus also is open for lunch and dinner.

Goldstein said the inn is perfect for couples who want to celebrate their honeymoon in a "real place."

"This is an authentic port town. We're not Disneyland or a wedding production place. We don't do ice sculptures," she said. "What we offer is luxury against an island backdrop and with a Victorian-era ambience."

The inn is located on Main Street and within walking distance of virtually everything there is to see and do in town. The island has a model public bus system that provides service to all of its six towns, making exploring easy, even during the crowded summer season.

Goldstein said honeymoon packages can be customized to include spa treatments and meals plus activities like harbor cruises, island tours, bicycle rentals and tickets to live theater.

A sample summer package, the three-night Vineyard Sound Honeymoon plan, covers king room accommodations with a soaking tub, fireplace and balcony; two spa treatments; one Bubbling Sea Foam Cocoon treatment; a Swedish massage; all breakfasts and one dinner; taxes and tips; and a take-home basket of wine, fruit and cheese.

It's priced from $1,266 per couple. The room rate alone is $807 for the three nights, and that's what the agency commission would be based on.

Goldstein said autumn is the inn's busiest season for weddings and honeymoons.

Agents, she said, should try to book as far out as possible so clients can get the type of room they want.

"For harborview rooms during the high season," she said, "agents should book as early as possible."

The inn's Web site is at www.mvmansionhouse.com. For reservations, call (800) 332-4112.

To contact reporter Donna Tunney, send e-mail to [email protected].

How to get to Mansion House

VINEYARD HAVEN, Mass. -- Vacationers bound for Martha's Vineyard can choose to arrive by air or by ferry.

Just one ferry operating from Cape Cod carries vehicles. That's the Steamship Authority in Woods Hole, about a 30-minute drive from either of the two bridges that connect the cape to the mainland.

If your clients plan to take their car to the island, reservations are required June through Labor Day for the 45-minute ferry ride to Oak Bluffs, about three miles from the Mansion House. For information, visit www.steamshipauthority.com or call (508) 477-8600.

Hy-Line Cruises operates a ferry from Hyannis to Oak Bluffs. Schedules and rates are online at www.hy-linecruises.com. For more information, call (508) 778-2600.

If clients prefer to arrive by air, the Pan Am Clipper Connection, operated by Boston-Maine Airways, serves Martha's Vineyard from Portsmouth, N.H.; White Plains, N.Y.; Atlantic City, N.J., and Baltimore. For information, call (800) 359-7262.

Cape Air provides year-round flights from Boston, Hyannis and New Bedford, Mass., and from Providence, R.I. The number is (508) 228-6234. Its Web site is located at www.flycapeair.com. -- D.T.

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