Frequently Asked Questions
Reservations, Rates and Booking Information
- The fastest way to book a stay is to fill out the Booking Form.
- Rates for the Entire House are based on an occupancy of 16 or less. There is small per person per night surcharge for persons over 16.
- Wings are priced based on 8 people.
- Guests are encouraged to #bookdirect with us. The use of third parties such as Realtors, Travel Agents, Airbnb, VRBO, and HomeAway result in added fees.
- The typical stay is one week. Long weekends in the off season are around 3/4 of the weekly rate. Wedding parties in spring and fall will often take the property from Wednesday until Tuesday the following week.
- The security deposit is taken by placing a hold on a credit card. We also apply damage insurance to each rental.
- Special events and wedding parties are subject to a higher deposit. – more info.
- The estimated cleaning fee is includes all towels and linens. All the beds are made on arrival.
- Animals are permitted on a case by case basis. Here are some good reasons to leave your pet at home. Click Here.
- All reservations made within 90 days of a lease start date are subject to a tenant application and reference checks.
- Check-in is at 3 pm and check-out is at 10 am on a Sunday. Special times can be accommodated only with advance notice.
- Check out our discussion of Affordability. We compare favorably with the local hotels.
- Sharing the cost of the house among friends? Check out my suggestions.
- Off-season Only – Here are our shared room rates.
- All rates, terms, and availability are subject to change without notice. Your terms are confirmed only after a lease and payment have been received.
What are the minimum nights
Is a wing of the house an entire house
“Just wanted to clarify if the renting is really available to the whole house, or if it is only about part of the house.
I am asking because, although I clicked on “Entire House” to filter my search, in your house description there is a “west wing” mention.”
- Entire Home
- Private Room
- Shared Room
The closest choice to the reality is the Entire Home. A person renting a wing of the Captain Morse House will have the exclusive use of an Entire Home that happens to share a common wall with another Entire Home. Sometimes such an arrangement is called a townhouse. Here is the Merriam definition of a house.
The descriptions of the wings of the house are accurate in every detail.
Cancellation Policy and how to protect yourself
You can choose from “cancel for any reason” (CFAR) or standard insurance that only covers you if there is a medical emergency.
Other options for you
- Some credit cards will include insurance as part of their annual fee.
- You can also buy your own separately– click here – Also see Allianz and AIG
- Generali works with several VR rental sites https://www.generalitravelinsurance.com/
- Comparison websites for insurance shopping – https://www.travelinsurance.
com/ and https://www. squaremouth.com
If you need to cancel write us an email saying so. Once your booking is canceled we will work hard to fill any of your reservation’s dates and try to make our guests whole as best we can. If you booked with an OTA like Airbnb you need to contact them to cancel. They will not refund your booking fees. We cannot rent your reserved time until you are canceled.
Consult your lease for your specific cancellation terms. More information on cancellations and insurance is available on our blog.
Q: How many couples do you have double beds for?
A: Eight couples (16 people) can have double bed accommodations. There are two rooms on the first floor; A queen bed with en-suite bath and a front room with a very comfortable pull out queen bed. There are 4 rooms with double beds on the second floor. There are two rooms on the third floor; One with a Queen bed and one with a Full bed. We do not allow beds to be moved together. If you need more double beds we have the ability to add two more Full Size beds to the 3rd floor. We are just waiting for the right tenant to make this change. Ask and we will certainly give this consideration.
Q: Is the house appropriate for kids?
A: Yes. My brother and I grew up in the house from the age of 1 and visited the house with our two boys from that age as well. We were all pretty active and energetic (boys) but we didn’t break things or draw on the walls. If your kids are generally described as wild animals and need constant supervision then this is probably not the house for you. You will find yourself being a guard rather than enjoying your stay. Perhaps bringing a caregiver might be the answer. The right frame of mind is to pretend that you are visiting Grandma and Grandpa. Other things to keep in mind: tall stairs that are not safe for kids. Upper porches that are not to code and need to be kept secure with provided hooks. The house is on a busy corner and an ambitious unsupervised toddler could wander off the property. With all that said two generations of Johnson’s have survived and loved the house.
Q: Are the better rates available on other websites?
A: No – you are dealing directly with the owner and can negotiate terms that are the most favorable. There will also be no additional 3rd party fees or credit card charges. We use Airbnb, VRBO, Home Away and other “middlemen” sites to bring business to us but their algorithms are very difficult to get to quote accurately. $1,500 is our default rate but this low rate applies only to off-season rentals. For example 3 days in April or November. Our lowest rates are $700 per night for a week during the offseason. In the summer there is only the weekly rate available. If you want to stay for three or four days you may want to extend your stay as those extra three or four days are practically free. More information here.
Q: What does the cleaning fee cover?
A: We charge an upfront estimated cleaning fee of roughly $50 per person. Most people pay $800 for cleaning. When you arrive the house is completely ready to go with all of the beds made and towels in the bathrooms. Due to the size of the house there will probably still be a cleaner working in the laundry to finish the sheets and towels. The estimated cleaning fee is to return the house back to the condition it was at the beginning of the lease. Additional cleaning can be arranged directly with our cleaning service. This is typical of vacation rental homes. Any additional cleaning required will be deducted from your security deposit.
Q: How Much Parking is there?
A: You can park 3 to 4 cars at the house. We have a very narrow driveway since cars did not exist when the house was built in 1840. Only experienced drivers should park the car up the driveway. You do not need cars on island and should leave as many on the mainland as you can. We have people who do not bring a car at all. Most everything is within walking distance and the Taxi service is excellent. The local taxi companies mostly use vans (11 to 14 passengers) so you can move all at once, say to a restaurant. The local police are strict on DUI so don’t take the chance. There is also Uber on the island and many are using this popular service. A discussion on parking at the house is in our house manual.
If you must bring extra cars you can park up at the Harbor View hotel where you may need to tip the staff for valet parking.
Q: Can I bring a pet or animal?
Q: Should I bring my own food
Q: Can I drink the water
A: Yes. The Town of Edgartown is supplied with water of the highest quality from five groundwater supplies ranging in a depth of 60 to 120 feet. They all withdraw from the Martha’s Vineyard Sole Source Aquifer. See their latest water reports here: https://www.edgartown-ma.us/departments/water
Q: What is an Honor Bar
Q: What is the weather like?
Q: How are Security Deposits handled?
Nothing can cause more heartburn than security deposits. To make it easier for everyone we no longer use cash and now use a credit card hold. This means that funds are available to us in the rare case that there is damage that it is not covered by the damage insurance. This is similar to what happens when you stay at a hotel or rent a car.
Credit card security deposits are controlled by the bank that gave issued you your credit card. They only last for about a week so you may see them automatically renewed from time to time. The hold will be released once the cleaners have reported to the owner and the owner has reported to us. This has practically eliminated the need to hold cash as a security deposit.
If you think about it having 20 or more guests in your house means 20 people that you cannot control yet are responsible for. You know what you did but do you know what those friends or distant cousins did? Be assured that I have given this subject a lot of thought and strive to be as transparent and fair as I can. More Detailed Information is available here: Security Deposit Info
Q: Can I use an insurance program for my Security Deposit?
We automatically provide security deposit insurance for your stay that insures your security deposit. We still require a security deposit that is paid in advance. Special events and wedding parties are subject to a higher deposit. Detailed Information is available here: Security Deposit Info
Q: How do I host an event at the house
A: Any event at the house that is less than 30 people total requires no notice or permission. Events over this amount can be held but you should let me know so you don’t inadvertently violate the terms of your lease which states the “Premises shall be used for living purposes only and shall not be used for large events, corporate functions, meetings, receptions, parties or any other similar event involving more than 25 people unless approved in writing by the LANDLORD.” We are foremost a vacation rental and then secondarily an event venue. In other words, you can rent the house and have an event. You can’t have an event unless you rent the house.
If you choose to hold an event the cost of the tent, floor, setup, tables, glassware are all your responsibility. You can choose whatever vendor you want.
The fees “allow” the setup. The fees are a way for us to control the use of the house and pay for the depreciation of the property from hosting an event. We have installed some infrastructure for tent anchoring without stakes and safe electrical service plus two kitchens to make the caterer’s job easier.
Complete information on events is here.
Q: How many people can I host at an event at the house
A: 200 would be the absolute max for a two hour cocktail party. 150 is a more comfortable number. Around 100 is comfortable for a seated dinner and has been mentioned as the perfect number. If you go over a hundred by a bit dinner can still work well with a buffet
We can provide pre-wedding planning services for you. Finding out what vendors are available for your date is the key.
Q: Which churches are walking distance to the house
A: There are several churches all within walking distance. By proximity they are:
- St. Andrews – Episcopalian
- St. Elizabeth – Catholic
- Whaling Church – Flexible on denomination. Originally this was Methodist. Captain Morse helped build it
- Federated Church – Unitarian so they are flexible on denomination.