By Roger Cox, Editor
The Mattakesett Tennis Club has been around from decades, but it took the opening of the Winnetu Inn in midsummer 2000 to cause it to show up on the radar of tennis vacationers. Prior to that the club had been private, accessible only to owners and renters of the townhouses and homes of Mattakesett Properties. The three elements are now known as the Winnetu Oceanside Resort and consistitute a tennis player's best option on Martha's Vineyard.
The inn, which is a collection of 48 oceanview rooms and suites (most recently refurbished) 3 miles from Edgartown, faces South Beach. Guests can access the beach 250 yards away via a private path through the Winnetu property. Beach access is always an asset but Winnetu has also focused on its appeal to families, with, among other amenities, a free children's program from 9 a.m. to noon six days a week. On Monday through Friday, that program begins with well-attended 45-minute Pee Wee and Junior tennis sessions at the 8-court tennis club (6 Har-Tru, 2 hard) about a mile and a half from the inn (free shuttle provided). As many as 30 kids turn out for that program. Once they finish and go on to other activities, the free adult programming begins, with women's clinics or round robins scheduled daily from Monday to Friday and men's sessions on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.
Quebec-born George Brown, who was an Olympic ski jumper, has run the tennis programs at the club since the early 1980s. "It's very family oriented," he says. "In July and August it's booming. It's free so the parents send their kids here. We provide racquets and the kids really love it." He hires several college kids to help with the instruction. The Har-Tru courts stand on either side of a patch of lawn with tables, chairs, and a trellised gazebo and anchored by a small pro shop, with basic accessories and restringing services. Guests looking for games put their names on a board and, says Brown, "We do a lot of game matching, for adults and kids."
Rather than shuttle or bike to the tennis club—which is on the bike path to Edgartown—guests also have access to two hard courts at the inn itself. Also at the inn is a heated swimming pool, a giant chess set, a vast lawn for other games. There's also a fitness center on the way to the tennis courts with a few massage rooms above it. But it's the calendar of weekly summer activities that truly sets the resort apart. Besides the tennis clinics, there are yoga and fitness classes, guided walks into Edgartown, and a host of family programs including family Olympics, lawn games, clambakes, and barbecues. Small markets in the inn and fitness center sell sundries and breakfast and lunch (plans call to open a grill poolside for lunch as well). Dinner at Lure, a handsome restaurant/bar on the second floor of the inn, features the tasty cuisine of chef Mark Goldberg, a New England native who was formerly at Chef de Cuisine at Mistral, the acclaimed French-Mediterranean bistro in Boston's South End. At Lure, he focuses on "farm-to-table" cuisine by using the freshest local ingredients in his traditional New England cooking.
Bay Pines Pro Shop: 508-627-9506
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Lodging at the inn consists of 48 studios and one-to-four-bedroom suites and one private cottage with ocean, dune, or pool views. All have private decks, livingrooms, kitchenettes or full kitchens, and oak and wicker furnishings. Pogue Cottage, which is private, has its own hot tub and rooftop deck. During the height of summer there is a 3-night minimum (which can be as many as 7 nights depending on day of arrival). There are also 80 3-to5-bedroom homes available. See their website for details about all lodging options, rates, dates, and minimums.
Visit the website for current rates
General Tourist Information. For information about vacationing in Massachusetts, visit the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism website or phone toll-free, 800- 227-MASS (US and Canada).