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An Insider’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard

An Insider’s Guide to Martha’s Vineyard

Getting to know the Island

It’sEdgartown Light no secret – we treasure the island of Martha’s Vineyard. People often ask us to describe what it is that makes the island so special. Is it the natural beauty, the culture, the unique, local businesses? The answer is yes, all of this and more.While each season is lovely, summer is an especially magical time on the island. With warm weather on the horizon, we want to give you an inside look at the places we recommend our friends and clients explore when they first come to the Vineyard. These are some of our favorite spots to eat, learn, unwind, and soak in all that makes the island unique and endearing. We provided links for more information and see below a map listing all of the locations.

After arriving by airplane or ferry, the first stop is Edgartown – a village steeped in history and classic architecture. There are many stellar lodging options and we especially like the Hob Knob Hotel, the newly redesigned Harbor View Hotel and The Sydney, a boutique inn we recently finished. If guests prefer renting a house, a great real estate resource is Point B Realty on Winter Street in Edgartown.

If yours is an early arrival, we suggest stopping at Rosewater Market for a cup of coffee and pastry. From there, walk to The Carnegie, a restored Vineyard Trust property which we recently just helped transform into a visitor’s center with a Living Legends exhibit showcasing The Trust’s 20 working island properties. Next, head to Edgartown Lighthouse, a magnificent and historic working lighthouse that marks the entrance to Edgartown Harbor. If you’re an art lover, walk to the nearby Eisenhauer Gallery and North Water Gallery to see some fabulous local and contemporary artwork.

By now it’s time for lunch. If you prefer to eat on the go, the Quarterdeck on Dock Street is a great option. Or, for something more leisurely, try the Atlantic Fish & Chophouse, which offers terrific food and harbor views. After an energizing lunch, we recommend a walking tour through Edgartown’s historic district, which dates back to 1641. Be sure to check out the Old Whaling Church, one of the “finest examples of Greek Revival architecture in New England.” More walking may call for an ice-cream break – in which case we recommend stopping at Mad Martha’s.

After unwinding back at the hotel, a favorite choice for dinner is Alchemy where the food is delicious and the environment is high-energy fun. Alchemy is a great spot to end your first day in Edgartown, and it’s also walking distance – always a bonus.

There is much to do and see outside of Edgartown, so we highly recommend exploring the unique beauty offered throughout the island. Heading up-island is a must. The term up-island dates back to the Vineyard’s whaling days and refers to the western parts of the island including West Tisbury, Chilmark, Menemsha, and Aquinnah. When you go, be sure to stop at the island’s oldest retail business, Alley’s General Store, the “purveyors in almost everything.” Then make your way up to Aquinnah for breathtaking views of the clay cliffs and historic Gay Head Lighthouse. If you’re a beach-goer, visit Lobsterville Beach while you’re there. (Sidenote: there are many stunning beaches up-island, but most require a town sticker, so plan accordingly.)

Lobsterville Beach

Next, head to Menemsha harbor for a fabulous sunset. If you like seafood, pick up lobster and steamers at Larsen’s for a beach picnic you’ll never forget.

Oak Bluffs is another great area of the island to explore. We love showing people the colorful nineteenth-century gingerbread cottages on the Martha’s Vineyard Campground. With whimsically painted filigree trim, they’ve been called an “immaculate dollhouse village conjured from a childhood fantasy.” If you’re visiting the island on August 14th, head to the annual Illumination Night to see the cottages beautifully lit with Chinese lanterns. Across the way is the beloved Flying Horses Carousel, the country’ oldest working carousel, and always a favorite stop for both young and old.

Illumination Night - Oak Bluffs

Boating is also a big part of summer life on the Vineyard, so we highly recommend getting out on the water. You can stay local and explore the inner and outer harbors or Edgartown with Catboat Charters, or choose a more adventurous day trip over to Nantucket on the Inter-Island Ferry from Oaks Bluffs to Nantucket. Being on the water is always a good choice. After all, “it’s only an island if you look at it from the water.” (Chief Martin Brody, Jaws)

Martha’s Vineyard offers endless culture and beauty – and thankfully remains unspoiled in many important ways. There are no chain stores, traffic lights or parking meters. There are miles of walking trails and pristine beaches. We could, of course, go on with other favorite views and haunts, but we will save those for another time. For now, this is a great insider’s start to exploring the culture, beauty, and diversity of Martha’s Vineyard. We hope you find it as endearing as we do.

Hotel Provençal

Our Proposal for Hotel Provençal in Grosse Pointe, MI


The opportunity to create the “Hotel Provençal” extends beyond just adding a wonderful hotel within the Grosse Pointe community. Hotel Provençal will act as a catalyst for a truly memorable and authentic focal point and public space for everyone to enjoy.  This new addition within the Village will have a sense of place, it will be rich in tradition, and include elements of delight such as the ice skating rink and reflecting pool, an outdoor tree-lined plaza with year round food kiosks, specialty retail shops with push carts filled with flowers and gelato stands, and a rich outdoor cafe all within a park-like setting.  This space to be created is as important as the hotel itself in completing this block of pedestrian scaled activities, year round, day and night, seven days a week.  Local businesses with be able to thrive even further, and the Hotel Provençal will partner with other businesses within the Village for a holistic and synergistic approach to community and commerce. This project will be monumental for Grosse Pointe, and its success will be felt by everyone  in  the community.

As part of our vision for the development site, we took into careful consideration the emphasis the City of Grosse Pointe places on the rich history of the surrounding neighborhoods. We feel that as part of the success of this development, the project cannot be just a hotel. To drive demand for a hotel, there must be a draw to Grosse Pointe in the first place. In order to create something that will be sustainable through all economic cycles, we have diversified the site and create more of a mixed-use development than simply a stand-alone hotel. We have created a plan which allows each piece of the project to work individually, while still creating synergies. Through components of retail, apartment, condominium, and hotel, we will ensure that the entire project is a wild success for our community of Grosse Pointe.

The Site

The project includes two buildings – the Hotel Provençal and the Hotel Provençal Annex – and a new Linear Park. Use this map as a point of reference when exploring the remainder of the project.


Hotel Provençal

The four-story Hotel Provençal will feature 75 rooms, all designed elegantly and uniquely with a variety of layout and space plans and multiple options for banquet spaces ranging from 1,400 sf to 6,000 sf for weddings and other events. On the first floor, there will be an additional 4,000 square feet of new retail including Vineyard Vines, Shinola, Roasting Plant, Intelligentsia, Commonwealth, and Sweet Green.

The Hotel is designed in a U-shape to create an open courtyard as a way to welcome not only hotel guests but all residents of Grosse Pointe. The courtyard will feature outdoor seating surrounding a reflecting pond to provide opportunities to enjoy coffee and free WiFi or socialize with family in friends – opportunities that currently do not exist in Grosse Pointe. The courtyard will host live music, food trucks, push carts, artists, and flower vendors in the summer months. During the winter, the reflecting pond will be used as a public ice skating rink.

01_Hotel Provencal -Site Plan -Phase-I

03_Hotel Provencal -A-Right Side
04_Hotel Provencal -A-Rear
05_Hotel Provencal -A-Left Side


Hotel Provençal Annex

Across the street from the hotel will be a newly constructed four-story parking deck with over 400 new parking spaces to be used by the City for this new development, as well as for existing traffic. In order to conceal the parking deck from the street and make the most use of sidewalk space, there will be two “bookends” with retail and apartments fronting both St. Clair and Notre Dame. These bookends will include 9,000 square feet of newly constructed white-box retail space. Here we have targeted more fast casual restaurants as well as retail for the community. We have already engaged in discussions with the brokers representing Lululemon, Soul Cycle, J Crew, Walgreens, Chipotle, and a few other boutique eateries.

Above the first floor of retail space, will be roughly 30-40 newly constructed apartments with sizes ranging from 700 to 1,100 square feet. There is an extreme shortage in the Grosse Pointe communities for rental options for millennials at a price point of $1300 to $1800. Our development will create an environment that is attractive for a younger generation, who instead of moving away after college, can work in Downtown Detroit but still live in our community.


07_Hotel Provencal -Parking Structure-A-Front
08_Hotel Provencal -Parking Structure-A-North-Side
09_Hotel Provencal -Parking Structure-A-Rear
10_Hotel Provencal -Parking Structure-A-Side


The Linear Parks

Our design embraces the character and charm of the City of Grosse Pointe and enhances the public realm through its urban design amenities and details. We are grateful to have the opportunity to create this unique hotel and “Linear Parks” for the public and surrounding businesses to use year round. Our team would like to thank the City of Grosse Pointe for the opportunity to enhance the quality of life for a place close to our hearts.