small Guest and House Manual
Welcome to the Captain Morse House
The Captain Morse House is one of the finest examples of the Whaling Captain’s home in existence today. This is an old house built in a bygone time and so requires special care. Even though this manual is quite detailed and mentions a lot of dos and don’ts they are all designed to help you enjoy the Captain Morse House and your Island experience.
Before Arrival – The house is accessed by a keypad lock on the back kitchen door. You will need a) door keypad code b) alarm code (usually the same) and c) security word before you go into the house. This is detailed on a password protected webpage HERE. Please see the welcome letter for a summary of the information “5_Welcome-Letter-Captain-Morse-House.pdf”
You cannot check-in BEFORE your lease starts, usually, 3:00pm – You must be 100% out of the house at your lease end, usually, 10:00am
It takes us the full five hours to turn the house over IF everything goes well. The cleaners will start on the outside as early as 9:00 am
Upon Arrival – Important Notes
- ROLLER BAGS SHOULD BE CAREFULLY CARRIED ON THE STAIRS Be careful when moving, bags, chairs or tables on the newly re-finished floors. If protective scuff pads are missing there are plenty of extras in the hall closet.
- MOST WINDOWS DO NOT STAY UP ON THEIR OWN AND REQUIRE STICKS Place a stick on the right side of the window in the window channel. If windows slam they can cause injury and damage. Close windows ahead of rain.
- THE ATTIC STAIRS ARE STEEP – BE CAREFUL – not suitable for small children.
- THE DINING ROOM TABLES ARE VALUABLE – use placemats to protect them.
- USE THE FOOT SHOWER TO REMOVE SAND – sand is the worst enemy of the house – please take care to remove it.
- NO FOOD OR SODA IS ALLOWED ABOVE THE FIRST FLOOR – This attracts ants and can cause additional cleaning
- In early spring or late fall the hot water heater may be on pilot. If the hot water is cold go the water heater and turn the red knob above the tank temperature from PILOT to ON (do not turn to off!)
This is a stately home with many antiques and fragile items in it. Please treat it with the respect it deserves (think Lincoln’s bedroom at the White House) and remember my grandfather’s advice to “always leave a rented house better than when you found it”. Now you are reading this but many of your guests may not. If they won’t it is your responsibility to educate them, especially children, as to the value of many of the furnishings. For children roughhousing is not something that you should allow. There is an enormous fenced in back yard that is perfect for that. On a rainy day, the front attic is a good spot for active kids.
Please email us if you have any comments to improve the house or this manual.
Captain Morse House
80 North Water Street #34
Edgartown, MA 02539
House Phone 508-627-4895
Deliveries: The US Postal Service will not deliver to the house. Use UPS or FEDEX or it may get lost at the Post Office.
Packages get delivered to the house every week. For the Entire House and East Wing put them in the front hall closet.
For large items and West Wing place them in the back basement next to the water heater.
If you want to go the extra mile you can contact [email protected] and we will unpack and put them out for your use and enjoyment.
Most of our guests are independent and understand that our island partners have other clients and families. Recently a few guests have overdone the phone calls and requests. This added undue stress to our partners during the busy Vineyard season. Because of this we have had to implement a new policy.
Contacts: All communications during your stay are free when you use: [email protected]
Several people monitor this email address so your chance of getting a timely reply is excellent.
If time is of the essence then please call us.
There is no charge for emails emergency calls but overuse of support may result in a charge for telephone calls.
Emergency: Dial 911 then call this list in order. The owner is your first call. I live off-island (3 hours behind the East Coast). IF the owner is not available then call the caretaker.
- Caretaker –Heidi Raihofer Cell: 508-627-4210 (If you don’t get her and time is of the essence then call the owner.)
- Owner: Platt Johnson 401-575-0328 cell
- Contractor – Rob Courcier Cell: 508-274-6312
- Cleaning: Ariana Leoncio (774) 563-1404 [email protected] If you wish to have an additional cleaning during your stay please call the caretaker for the info on our cleaners.
- Trash Collection – ABC Disposal 508-693-5659 [See Trash ]
- Plumbing – Electric – Call the caretaker
FIREPLACES: DO NOT MAKE ANY FIRES – fireplaces will not draw smoke & are unsafe. GRILL: Make sure the grill is turned off at the bottle.
ALARM & CAMERAS: The Abode Alarm includes a camera and motion detector. Noise sensors (privacy-safe), exterior cameras and interior video cameras that point outside are in use for the comfort of our neighbors and for the safety of our guests and their belongings. Guests may not disable any alarm devices or security cameras. Disabling will prevent the smoke and CO2 detectors from working and is a breach of this lease. False alarms from improper use of the alarm may cause a charge against the tenant’s security deposit. The house is equipped with smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. You should not need to use the alarm during your vacation. See below for more on the alarm.
Virus and Flu: We recommend washing your hands in the kitchen sink whenever you return to the house from an outing. We place hand soap at these sinks for your use.
STAIRS: The stairs in this house are old, steep and in some cases, the treads are quite small. Please make sure you, your guests, and children are told to take care on them. May not be suitable for small children. Baby Gates should be used even if your child is being supervised.
WINDOWS: The windows will NOT stay up on their own – use the window sticks and don’t trust the brass stoppers. Broken windows are expensive to repair.
DOORS: For minimum security, during the day we lock all the screen doors and leave only the #1 front kitchen door open.
LOCKED DOORS: Opening an interior door that you find locked will automatically lose you your security deposit. The Elevator is one of these doors.
CRITTERS AND OUTSIDE DANGERS: The beaches, tall grasses and woods are filled with ticks, deer ticks and poison ivy. Inspect yourself and your children carefully for ticks after an outing and wash thoroughly if you come in contact with poison ivy.
FIRE – POLICE – ACCIDENT: 911 is the emergency number – In case of Fire locate the closest fire extinguisher and use it. Do not use water on any grease fires.
CALL CONTACT LIST ABOVE ONCE 911 HAS BEEN CALLED:
TAKE PICTURES OF THE EVENT AND MAKE AN INCIDENT REPORT: Who, What, When, Where, Why, How! (back to top)
Tuesday and Saturday is for trash from 5/1 to 10/15 – Trash is anything that is not recycling.
Saturday is the recycling pickup for Yellow labeled Recycle Toter – Single Stream recycling is used. No plastic bags in Toter.
On Monday and Friday (the day before trash days) make sure all trash in the house is in the bins. They come by very early
DO NOT PUT TOTERS ON THE SIDEWALK. Trash collectors will come up the driveway.
PARK so that the large Totes can be rolled past the cars to North Water Street. The first car near the street MUST be pulled in as close to the fence and as close to the sidewalk as possible. There are small white paint lines on the brick to show you where. Other cars must be parked up the driveway beyond the trash bins.
Completely fill each Tote before placing anything else into the empty totes. You are charged for all TOTERS over 1 trash and 1 recycling.
No Plastic Bags or food should be placed into the recycling Tote (yellow labels).
Departure – when you leave make sure that all trash is out of the house and in the bins.
Put all refuse in the trash cans inside of the trash bin. Skunk are a problem. Nothing should be left outside of the bins.
For extra pickups call ABC Disposal 508-693-5659 or Email [email protected] (back to top)
Flag: We normally leave the flag out all the time. If it gets stormy or windy please take it in until the storm passes as it will keep you up at night and wreck the flag. Make sure you note how the flag is tied up before taking it down so you can tie it up the same way. Flag and house etiquette are on the main site.
YARD: We have installed at great expense a sod lawn (May 2016). Due to the high traffic and the amount of shade in the back yard the lawn can be beaten up and take months to recover. With an average of 15 tenants a year this lawn cannot survive hard use. I ask you to please treat it gently and not allow gatherings or rough play that will cause damage to the lawn. Just use some judgment. The lawn needs to be in the same condition when you leave as how you found it, or better. No water toys such as pools and Slip & Slides or hoses can be used on the lawn. Please also keep the tool shed closed to reduce the chance of theft. Lower and secure the umbrellas each evening or if windy to prevent damage to furniture. Please bring in cushions from the front porch if it rains.
Utilities: If you want to track the Electrical usage the meter is just outside of the Morse Street garden door. The Gas meter is under the black plastic lid on the right side of the lawn.
Grill: We have a 2019 BBQ Gas Grill. Spare bottles are in the tool shed. Please read the detailed notes on operation are here..
The House Captain or person in charge of the rental should carefully inspect the premises upon arrival. Any previous damage to the premises must be reported to [email protected] via email with pictures within 6 hours of the start of your lease.
We strive to keep the home in great shape for every guest’s arrival and double-check it on each turnover however we are only human. If you see anything amiss (for example 3 candlesticks when 4 is normal, a broken window etc.) please bring it to our attention. This is for your protection. If there is damage or missing items we find upon the end of your stay we will assume that it happened during your visit. An email with pictures is the only way to properly notify us. Send to [email protected]
The best thing you can do to prevent damage is to make sure that the other people in the house are familiar with this manual. With a large crowd of people, there is the chance that some will not be as careful as you are. If there is damage please discuss it with the caretaker in advance of our discovering it. We want to be as fair as possible with all of our tenants while still keeping the house at its current level. Please treat the house just like it was your own home and try to leave it “better than you found it.”
You are renting the Captain Morse House exclusively for your under roof guests to use as living space.
THERMOSTAT NOTES – Here is an explanation of how the thermostats run.
If you see LO on the thermostat it means it is locked and cannot be adjusted by the user. If it is locked please let us know if you are not comfortable and we will adjust the automatic settings until you are.
Never set the Fan to ON – only use Auto. Turning the fan to ON will have no effect on the temperature. It simply just moves air around.
There are four BAYWEB internet thermostats in the house. 2 each on 1st, and 1 each on 2nd and 3rd.
They show the current temperature. Pressing the up or down arrows will show the thermostat setting.
If you activate the thermostat (Press COOL or HEAT to start) make sure ALL windows, storm wndows and exterior doors are closed and all other thermostats are either off in the same state, either all COOL or all HEAT.
You may not need the HVAC system at all during your visit. In the previous 170 years of the house they managed without. If you wish to open the windows and doors for the natural island cooling breezes please turn off ALL thermostats.
Please close windows and doors if rain approaches.
Automatic Cooling Settings
When you are away the setting for cooling is around 78 degrees
When you return it will automatically sense your presence and lower the setting to 74 degrees
For sleeping, it is set automatically to 73 degrees
The attic is NOT insulated and will not cool no matter the setting. We turn the system off during the day by setting the thermostat to 90.
For sleeping, it will automatically lower to 74.
If the outside is cooler than the attic then open the windows at the East and West wings of the house. Be sure that the door near the bathroom is open.
Automatic Heat Settings
When you are away the setting for heat is set to 63 degrees
When you return and senses your presence it will automatically rise to 67 degrees
For sleeping, it is set to 64 degrees
Humidity is monitored via the first-floor front and 2nd-floor thermostats
The system will automatically run if indoor humidity is above 55% but will turn off in the room temp falls more than 2 degrees below the current automatic set point to prevent compressor damage.
For comfort, optimal indoor humidity levels should be between 35 and 55 percent.
Let us know if you are not comfortable and we will adjust the automatic settings until you are.
The BayWeb Thermostat manual is here for technically minded tenants
ENERGY TIPS: Smart energy management at the house is done as follows. This is what was done before the home got central AC in 2009. I lived here and it was fine as long as you do the following.
- Lower all shades on the Morse Street (SOUTH) side of the house during the day.
- Turn off all lights when not needed. They produce a lot of heat.
- Raise the windows (especially on the Northside) using the sticks and open the attic windows and the doors at the base of the attic stairs.
- Close windows when rain is coming or if evening fog is thick.
- Do not run the HVAC with the windows, storm windows and exterior doors open – this will result in wasted energy.
- Fill the dishwashers and clothes washing machines completely before using them.
- Hang towels up to allow them to air dry.
ATTIC SPECIAL NOTES: The house is NOT insulated. It is common for the attic to go over 90 degrees on any sunny day whether the AC in the attic is on or not. Doing the following will cool the area to the high 70s without the use of the AC.
- The Roof is off-limits. The scuttle to the roof is not designed to stay open on it’s own and is fragile.
- AC – off during the day. Running the AC in the day is useless since there is no insulation in the ceiling.
- WINDOWS – Open the dual crank windows near the back stairwell.
- DOORS – keep doors at the top of the front stairs open for airflow. Open 2nd-floor attic doors for airflow if the entire house AC is off.
Detailed HVAC information for interested people and contractors is here
The Captain Morse House has contracted with Con Edison Solutions through Cape Light Compact. This program uses 25% Biomass & Solar and 75% low impact Hydro and charges 11.1 cents/kWh however YOU make the most difference in energy use. You will know how many kWh you used during your stay.
For more information see http://www.capelightcompact.org and also http://www.conedsolutions.com
Gas Grill located on the patio
TO LIGHT: Turn on the bottle first then the grill. The igniters should all work well
TO TURN OFF: Turn off the grill first then turn off the bottle. Please return the grill to the condition you found it in.
DO NOT run the rotisserie element (small knob) unless you are using the rotisserie. To rotisserie remove the center grates only. A chicken takes 1 1/2 hours on average.
There are spare gas bottles in the tool shed. We try to have enough gas on hand however if you run out you can re-fill at either Vineyard Propane at 6 N. Line Rd., Edgartown, MA (near airport open only Monday – Friday) or DeBettencourts Garage 83 New York Avenue Oak Bluffs, MA 508-693-0751 (open weekends) – Drive through Oak Bluffs as if going to Vineyard Haven. DeBettencourts is on the right with brick columns in front of the gas pumps.
MANUAL LIGHTING: There is a lighter with a long neck located in the drawer to the left of the stove in Kitchen #1 (front). We keep the grill accessories there as well.
- If you have a low flame or poor power it may be caused by not doing the 1st step correctly. This is how to reset the regulator.
- To correct low flame do these steps EXACTLY IN THIS ORDER.
- Turn off the gas at the propane tank.
- Disconnect the gas line from the tank.
- Open the grill lid.
- Turn all control valves to high.
- Wait for about a minute. Some advise that you rap the regulator with a screwdriver – sometimes it sticks.
- Turn all control valves to off.
- Reconnect the gas line to the tank.
- VERY SLOWLY turn on the gas at the tank.
- Light the grill normally. Your grill should now heat normally.
- If it doesn’t work then repeat the above steps..
WINGS: If you are renting a Wing you have permission to park one car in the driveway. You can leave your car in all day if it is the “INSIDE CAR”. The 1st car in the driveway should always pull up so that there is room for a 2nd car at the end of the day. If the OUTSIDE CAR is going to be used that day then it is smart to park on the street early so that this car is out of the driveway and not in the way. After 9am it is hard to find street parking. Pay attention any parking signs, please.
Pull your car out early in the day and park on the street. Keep your keys in the key basket in the toolshed so that if your car is blocking in a car it can be moved. If you are renting the entire house you can bring up to four cars but two are suggested.
NARROW: The driveway is very narrow so please be very careful to not hit the house.
TECHNIQUE: Your vehicle should be pulled in close to the property line and as close to the sidewalk as is legal to allow the trash men and bicycles to get by. Do not pull up parallel to the elevator bump out as this will prevent easy access to North Water Street. There are challenges in parking a large vehicle further up the driveway. If you are not a confident driver or have a large SUV please have someone else park the car rather than damage it and the house.
The way I pull in is to first let any passengers out of the car and then slowly go straight up while keeping my mirror within a few inches (2-3″) from the side of the house. Using this method allows you to place two to three cars further up in the driveway and one in the driveway close to North Water Street.
This house was built in 1840, 68 years before the invention of the automobile.
- Driveway Van on Right
Right side view of a GMC Savanna – about as big as an SUV
Note that the shutters are vulnerable
Off-Site Parking can be done at the Dark Woods Lot located to the south of the triangle.
You do not need a car on the island (see this link for more information) but if you must have one then this is how to park.
Dark Woods Lot
No inflatable pools or slip and slides or water toys of any kind are to be used on the lawn.
The tool shed needs to be kept closed at all times.
If you wish to use any of the Captain’s bicycles you must sign and return this agreement.
Otherwise, you and your guests do not have permission to use them.
The rules and suggestions for bike use are here.
You are responsible for repairs. For additional bikes or accessories we recommend any of these shops.
- Wheel Happy Too – 8 S. Water St. Edgartown, MA 02539 508-627-5928
- Edgartown Bicycles – higher-end shop – 212 Main St. 508-627-9008 ask for Cody, Zachary or Greg
- Cutler Bike Shop -opposite the yacht club – 1 Main St. 508-627-2763
We have a toy box opposite the tool shed. There is a croquet set and some other lawn games. Please put them away when you are done.
You can use anything in the tool shed but please put it all NEATLY back when done. (back to top)
If you rent the entire house you will see that there are two kitchens. The back Kitchen is typically used for breakfast and for hor’s d’oeuvres around cocktail time. The front Kitchen is typically used for lunch which we prepped on trays and took to the back patio. We also make and served all of our dinners out of it. The refrigerator in the front should have the freezer set to 0 and the fridge set to 37.
The front kitchen has a very nice GE Monogram range. The knobs were not strong enough for a prior guest. Please use gently and remember you need to push them in to go past the indent to the ignite position. If you don’t you can damage the valve.
Microwaves: The microwave uses an LCD screen to control and is very powerful. Some tenants have cooked the interior by starting the microwave with nothing in it or running it for too long. Read the screen carefully. Children should not operate the microwave. The East Wing Kitchen microwave operates a bit like an iPhone. Use the three line icon to access options. Manuals for both of these are located in the cabinets near them.
Dishware and utensils: These are all inventoried and accounted for. Breakage will be charged to the tenant.
We hate dull knives so have supplied excellent sharp knives – DO NOT place in the dishwasher – simply dry and return to rack.
A cast iron skillet or Wooden Bowl should be cleaned immediately after use (don’t let it soak in water and soap in the sink or it could rust). DO NOT USE SOAP OR DISHWASHER, use hot water and a sponge or stiff BRUSH.
If there is any remaining food stuck to your pan, scrub with a paste of kosher salt mixed with water, then rinse clean. You may also try removing food debris by boiling water in the pan.
Season cast iron after every use with olive oil.
Heat pan so you cannot touch it but not too hot
One teaspoon of oil rubbed in with a paper towel.
Use what is left on the outside of the pan
Use Easy Off
Places parts in a garbage bag for an hour
Clean with steel wool
If rusty soak in 50/50 combo of vinegar and water
Wash with joy soap
dry completely on heat
Ants are a problem on a sandy island. Terminix comes to the house several times a season but you will probably still see some ants around. Try to reduce their food by keeping the kitchen extra clean and by not bringing food to the rooms upstairs. Please report the presence of any other pests so we can take care of them. (back to top)
The beds are all made. Extra towels and linens are located outside the 2nd bathroom from the front of the house. We provide you access to extra linens HOWEVER please realize the more laundry you use the more the turnover will cost.
The Middle Bedroom (4) and the back bedroom (6) can be made up either as twins if you specify this in advance, normally they are made as kings.
Missing or damaged towels, robes and linens will be charged to the guest’s security deposit at retail replacement prices plus 25%.
When you depart please start any towels that you can. This really helps with our turnovers. Do not overload the washers or dryers and use the bulky item settings.
You may use the laundry. Please use the older washing machine beach towels and for anything but delicates. Be careful as these are complex machines. Please review the video here – note that ONLY HE detergent is to be used in the LG machines. The manual is available here.
The cleaners work very hard to prepare the home for you. If you liked their work please express your thanks with a tip. (back to top)
If you have ever rented a house before and found it devoid of everything including salt & pepper then you will be pleasantly surprised. We aim to always have some basic kitchen staples on hand so to eliminate duplication please check the kitchen before you go shopping.
There are many farmers’ markets on the island. The local spots we use are at this link.
We have provided an “Air Dream” sleeper sofa in the front family room. This uses air technology. The pump is located at the right head of the bed. Detailed instructions are in the manual book as well as online here. These are some pics of the sofa being inflated. The sheets, pillowcases, etc. are normally stored in the closet in the same room. Make sure that they all come off before folding the sleeper sofa back up.
If you are a late sleeper I would recommend earplugs and maybe even eye shades. Edgartown wakes up early and it will be noisy with so many people is such a large house. We have complimentary earplugs in the front hall closet complimentary items basket.
If there is noise from parties or passersby you have my encouragement to call the Edgartown Police. It’s their job. After Hours call 508-693-1212 / Daytime 508-627-4343 Dial 0 / In an emergency dial 911
We make a concerted effort to ensure that all of our beds are properly made up with quality sheets but sometimes the laundry will mix up our with others. Let us know if this occurs so that we can take care of it.
The home uses a keypad style entry system on the back kitchen door. (not the key locker)
The guest security code for door and alarm is on the welcome letter and is provided before your lease starts.
The security word in case of smoke or if the alarm goes off by accident is on the welcome letter. You will need that if the alarm company calls you.
Pay attention to the screen on the alarm panel. The code “toggles” the alarm state. Entering the code with the alarm off will set the alarm to on and vice-a-versus. We rarely use the alarm but if you do then all doors will have to be locked. Monitoring is by Rapid Response Monitoring (800) 932-3822. There is an emergency key above the door header in the tool shed in case the keypad on the door fails.
TO ARM: Press and hold the Away button for 2 seconds or enter your access code. If you use the alarm then all doors will have to be locked. See the Manual for more info. There is an emergency key in a key locker on the toolshed and also above the toolshed door.
Most people do not use the alarm during their stay however if you set the alarm all doors will have to be locked and all the windows closed. The house phone is 508-627-4895
The Captain Morse House has the latest in technology. Communication services are provided by Comcast 800 COMCAST – Account # 8773105170026798 or Verizon 888-314-1122
Wireless HP Printer is accessible as Photosmart C6100 series on BLUETOOTH with 0000 passkeys or as CMHPRINT over the network. The printer is located in the back living room on the bookshelf. Paper is underneath. If you use the last inkjet cartridge please replace.
We have Internet access via a wireless network. The setup is complex and is NOT guaranteed to work during your stay. It is provided as an amenity with no guarantee of service. This is due to the remote and flaky nature of providing such a hi-tech service on an island. I keep detailed notes in a Google Doc called CMH Projects 2017-2018 and on a page called Internet Setup.
The system consists of the following.
Gateway – Arris Gateway Modem/Router/telephony box that is provided by Xfinity – Comcast. This is located in the back basement on a shelf near the main circuit breaker box.
Router – Linksys Model: WRT1900ACS Dual-Band Wi-Fi Router with Ultra-Fast 1.6 GHz CPU. Located in the Back Living Room next to the printer and TV.
Extender – NETGEAR Nighthawk AC1900 WiFi Range Extender. Located in the Media Room next to the stereo
The network IDs are CMHNETX and CMHNETX5G. The password for both is hector80
The security is provided by WPA2-PSK (AES) – we do not support lower security than this. You can read why here.
To Reset the system, for example after a Power Failure
- Go to the back basement and unplug the power from the Gateway
- Go to the back living room and unplug the Router
- Go to the front media room and unplug the Extender and turn off the power strip so that all internet devices in the media room get disconnected.
- To turn everything back on go back downstairs to the basement and plug the power back into the Gateway
- After 60 seconds plug the power back into the Router
- After 60 seconds plug the power back into the Extender
- After 60 seconds turn the power strip back on
If you experience a power failure please turn off all computers, monitors and attached peripherals then turn off the UPS in the basement. You will notice a beeping from downstairs that will continue until the UPS is turned off. To restore the cable and internet you may need to go into the basement and reset the system.
The manager will charge you $50 to reset the WiFi if you have not attempted these troubleshooting tips. They are easy to do and something that any owner of a house with WiFi has to do from time to time.
We provide Comcast cable service at the home. There is one Xfinity DVR in the backroom to record your favorite shows. The access code for Comcast is 0000. You are responsible for additional Comcast charges and for setting whatever security policies are required for your family. Security policies must be removed prior to vacating the premises.
Modern entertainment systems are complex and we have found that guests will often “play” with settings and make the system unusable. We recommend one person in the party be designated the chief geek and be responsible for understanding the systems. There are system “cheat sheets” in each media room. Here is a link to the Cheat Sheets. Here is a link to the same thing in pdf
There are 4 zones in the house. The Amplifier is in the East Wing. If you are renting the wings we suggest using the distribution block to the left of the amp to turn off the sound for the West Wing zones 3 & 4
The Captain Morse House
(all terms and conditions subject to change without notice)
(Note that this online version of the manual is always the most recent version)