For More Than 100 Years, Vacationers Have Summered in Katama Along South Beach’s Shore
Before the days of air conditioning, the old Mattakeset Lodge was an ideal place to spend the summer months. Opened in 1873, the Lodge was popular for its clambakes, dances under the stars and, most importantly, its unique south-facing location by the sea that was consistently cooled by the gentle sea breezes during the heat of summer. It was one of the island’s earliest resorts.
For more than 20 years at the end of the 19th century, the Mattakeset Lodge was reached by the Martha’s Vineyard Railroad, a narrow gauge line that ran from the Oak Bluffs steamship wharf to the hotel’s front lawn. The railroad, though ultimately a financial flop, took vacationers on a spectacular ride along the island’s coast on its way to Edgartown and then to Mattakeset.
Early writings about the Lodge mention its well appointed facilities, including its own farm, steam laundry, twice-daily mail, tennis courts, billiards, bowling, bath-houses, and a rooftop promenade with views of Katama Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.
The hotel closed towards the end of the century and pieces of the building were floated down the Bay to Edgartown to be reused.
Read one summer guest’s review of the Mattakeset Lodge at Vineyard Gazette’s Time Machine.
During World War II, Mattakeset’s region of Katama served as a U.S. Naval Air and Sea Base. After the war the site was developed into the Katama Shores Inn, which was removed in 1999 to make way for today’s Winnetu.
In the summer of 2000, the Snider family opened the Winnetu Oceanside Resort, carefully designed to reflect the Vineyard’s late-nineteenth century shingle-style character while providing all the modern conveniences guests expect today.
Through changes in seasons and passing of years, the Vineyard experience remains timeless and enduring. Hop a boat, leave the mainland behind, and enjoy what generations of visitors have come to our shore to seek.
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