Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

With water views and a lively town just steps away, this Martha's Vineyard rental is a true haven.

When contented visitors to Mermaid Boathouse on Martha's Vineyard tire of watching swans float across the calm waters of Crystal Lake, they simply shift their gaze beyond the lake to sailboats on the open Atlantic. In East Chop Village, this rental has an enviable site just a half mile from the beach, Vineyard Haven shops, and the historic Oak Bluffs neighborhood.

Location isn't this home's only attraction, though. Outfitted in all white, the three-bedroom cottage looks like a decorator's dream. Upholstered furniture and stylish antiques give the rooms an inviting air, while vintage maps and local artwork recall the island's heritage. Owners Jill Katz and Scott Miller wanted it to feel like the perfect home away from home. "After all, it's our house, too," Jill says.

Whether strolling along the water's edge to Oak Bluffs' funky shops and great restaurants or visiting the largest marina on the island, guests face no shortage of leisure activities. A quick flip through the welcome book reveals tips on everything from the best kayaking to the yummiest lobster roll in town. If the thought of stepping off the porch seems too taxing, visitors can settle back to enjoy that parade of sailboats and another of the Vineyard's glorious sunsets.

(published April 2008)

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