Welcome Tour of the Captain Morse House

Captain Morse House Platt Cmh 150

The Day of arrival at the house

Please do not arrive at the house before your check-in time of 4:00 pm
Try and grab any available parking you can find on North Water St. to load into the East Wing. For the West Wing park on Morse opposite our Garden Gate. Use the garden cart for moving luggage from car to the First (left) kitchen door. The first kitchen door or front driveway doot is the best way to move into the house.


  • NO HIGH HEELS ARE ALLOWED IN THE HOUSE – The 181-year-old pine floors and stairs are soft. High Heels will damage the floor
    Besides that, you are on Martha’s Vineyard. High Heels don’t belong on this island unless you want to look like a tourist.
  • CARRY YOUR ROLLER BAGS UP & DOWN THE STAIRS – Be careful when moving bags, chairs, or tables on the floors.
  • THE STAIRS ARE STEEP AND UNUSUAL – BE CAREFUL – Attic stairs are not suitable for small children or the elderly
  • DINING AND WOODEN SURFACES ARE FRAGILE – use coasters & mats to protect.
  • Do not run the AC when the windows are open. We encourage you to use open windows and doors for ventilation. After all, you are here for the lovely Vineyard Air. There are 5 thermostats; 1st floor 2 in either living room. 2nd floor just one in bedroom #4 / 3rd floor one in either wing
    Pull the shades during the day to keep the house cool. The 3rd-floor attic will be HOT.
    Place a stick on the right side of the window in the window channel. If windows drop down they can cause injury and damage. Close windows ahead of forecast rain.
  • SAND – Please use the outside shower to rinse off all sand from your feet before entering.
  • SHOWER CURTAINS – Place the bottom of the curtain inside the tub and the sides flat against the inside wall. After 30 seconds of showering re-check the side curtain near the showerhead to make sure that the curtain is sealed tight against the tile. Some water on the wall is necessary so that water suction will hold the curtain tight. Ensure that there are no gaps and that shower water cannot go onto the floor. This might seem picky but it has been an issue in the past.

    East Wing House Tour – Enter through the East Kitchen

    This is the main kitchen. It is larger than the West Kitchen. Typically people use the West Kitchen for breakfast and snacks and leave the East Kitchen for dinner and meal preparation. 

    Just outside the East Kitchen is the main dining room. Inside the doors and cupboards are china serving dishes. As you walk East (towards North Water Street) you see on your left the Media or game room that can also become our 12th bedroom. There is a full bath with a walk-in shower. If you walk straight you will see the front hall closet and the entrance foyer. Beyond both of these is the large East living room with plenty of room for the whole family or meeting. The front porch is accessed through the North or South triple hung windows.

    Up the spiral case, you find bedroom #2 with twin beds and bedroom #1 with a Queen bed which both front onto the 2nd-floor porch. Behind these are Bedrooms #4 and #3 and then two shared bathrooms #3 and #4.  Bedroom #4 is the larger of the two and can be set up ensuite with bath #4. Often the main guest will “claim” a bathroom and then the guests in the other bedrooms will share the remaining bathroom. 

    In between bedrooms #3 and #4 are the stairs to the 3rd-floor sail loft. There is a landing and then bedroom #10 which has a queen and two twin beds.


    • To roll up the blinds on most windows – Lower the shades all the way and then start a tight roll. After pulling up the shades a bit you then have to manually adjust the roll to keep it tight. You can’t just pull the strings and expect it to roll perfectly.
    Captain Morse House 0094 Window Shade Rolled Properly Img 0094 1


    • There are some modern blinds (bedroom 11 and bathroom 1) that can be lowered from the top or pulled up from the bottom. You pull the cord to the center to release the catch. Pull cord to outside to engage catch.
    • DINING AND WOODEN SURFACES ARE FRAGILE – use table cloths, coasters & mats to protect.
    • Most windows do not have counter weights. To keep them up sticks are placed at the side of the window in the track, not in the middle.
      Be careful as the windows are heavy. If windows drop down they can cause injury and damage. 
    • Lighting for all four of the lamps next to the couches in the living room is on one switch near the front door. The other switches control the portrait lights.
    • The whole house stereo is best controlled with the Denon App (there are two Amps inside the Denon that need to be both On or Off) – see separate instructions. Manual speaker volumes are provided for both living rooms, the dining room and the back patio.
    Captain Morse House Icon Denon App
    • Elevator (off limits unless needed)
    • Windy – take in the flag – study how the flag is set and cleated so you can repeat – stainless rod attaches with metal thumb screw to bottom of flag to preventing wrapping
    • GE Monogram Stove – To change the knobs “gently” push in and turn. Not rocket science but we did have a guest break one.
    • The microwave is controlled like a iPhone is. There are manuals in the manual section between the kitchens on the top shelf
    • Silverware is inside and outside of the kitchen in the doors near the West counter.
    • Honor Bar – use what you want but leave better quality than you found


    Captain Morse House 5016 Honor Bar Img 5016 1


    • Windy – umbrellas down – coil the rope and place on brass hook when up
    Garden Cart
    Captain Morse House 7665 Umbrella In Up Poistion Coil Rope Img 7665
    • Garden Party Lights – do not run overnight
    • Outdoor Shower – use to rinse sand off of your legs and feet before coming into the house
    • Bikes – line them up going the same way
    Captain Morse House 4994 How To Organize The Bicycles Img 4994

    Trash and Recycling

    Good recycling starts inside the house at the kitchen trash pull out. The first trash bin is for trash and the second, further back in the slider is for recycling.

    Please fill the outside trash totes all the way up before using another trash tote. You are charged for each tote that has trash in it.

    Recycling cannot contain trash. The yellow labels on the recycling totes describe what is allowed. Fill up one recycling tote before using another.

    Park your car to the North side of the driveway and close to the sidewalk. Be sure the cars are parked so that the totes ca be rolled down the driveway. We are not responsible for marks on the cars parked too close to the building.

    Take all of the trash out of the house on Monday and Friday evening. The trash pickup can be extra early.

    Tuesday is for trash from 5/1 to 10/15 – Trash is anything that is not recycling such as plastic wrappers, clamshell boxes and food waste.
    Saturday is the recycling and trash pickup – Single Stream recycling means cardboard, paper, cans and bottles all go in one bin with yellow label.

    Tuesday is for both trash and recycling in early spring and fall. The trash and recycling gets put out Monday for Tuesday pickup.

    How to manage heat at the house

    • There is a budget for electrical use
    • If you run the AC with any windows and doors open you will incur extra charges.
    • Daytime – Always close the shades on Morse Street side. This keeps the house a lot cooler.
    • Nighttime – Consider letting the breezes flow – there are ear plugs in the front hall closet if the street noise bothers you.
    • North, East and West side windows are the ones to open in general. The South Morse Street side are best left down
    • Windows should be closed if it looks muggy or about to rain.
    Captain Morse House 3157 Excessive Ac Use Img 3157 1
    • The attic is VERY hard to cool. Often the temperture outside is less than the temperture inside. If that is the case simply turn off the AC and open the windows.
    • These attic windows let all the heat out.
    • Windows should be closed if it looks muggy or about to rain.
    Captain Morse House 0049 3Rd Floor Attic Windows For Venting Of Heat During The Day Img 20170424 Wa0049
    • The thermostat is powered by the internet.
    • Only use the top two settings – Heat and Cool
    • Do not use HOLD or FAN
    • Temperature will change automatically by time and by occupancy of the house
    Captain Morse House 134813173 Thermostat Only Top Buttons Should Be Lit Heat Or Cool Img 20180701 134813173

    Traditions of the Captain Morse House

     This is how my father ran the house – link

    This home has been in our family for 65 years now and during that time my father, Norman Dudley Johnson, developed a routine that seems to have quite a bit of beauty and symmetry. His routines and the sounds of the blinds and windows going up and down seemed to calmly mark each of our summer days. Whether you want to do any of this is completely up to you but I find it pretty cool and fun to run the house in this manner. It just takes a few moments but seems to set the tone for the day so here is “the Norman Dudley Johnson traditional daily routine” for your edification and amusement.


    The shades roll up in the front bedrooms and the flag (if not already out) goes out. If you are lucky it can run out as the yacht club shoots off the 8:00am gun.
    The big doors for the two front bedrooms can swing open and hook back against the railings.
    Opening up the windows in the attic and switching on the fan will keep the top of the house cool.

    Coming downstairs the front light is turned off.
    Entering the front living room the shades are each rolled up halfway as you move from South to East to North where the driveway light is then switched off.
    The dining room and the back living room shades are then raised halfway. Note on hot days you may want to leave all of the Morse street side shades down to reduce solar gain.
    The back yard and gate lights are turned off and then finally the two outside kitchen lights are turned off.

    A trip down to the boatyard to see the water or to the paper store, perhaps for a cup of coffee, is a great way to see the town waking up and to stretch the legs.
    Likewise an early morning swim before breakfast at the “bend in the road” (right fork past the triangle to the first “bend in the road” at state beach) is a great way to start the day and beat the crowds. The outdoor shower is right where you can keep an eye on the breakfast preparations – my father’s idea.

    If a hot day is expected lower the shades on the Morse Street side of the house. This will keep the house a lot cooler.

    Depending on the weather you can open as many windows as you like – just be careful – they are heavy and need wooden sticks to keep open. Please do not open the windows with the AC on.


    My father would prepare the house for the evening cocktail hour and dinner thereafter around 5pm after coming back from the beach, golf or sailing
    Windows would be closed if it looked muggy or about to rain.
    The front entry light and hall lights are turned on.
    The front living room shades are rolled down and the living room lights are all turned on.
    The portrait and other lights are turned on and the dining room shades are lowered.
    The back yard and gate lights are turned on and then finally the two kitchen lights are turned on.
    The Flag is taken in if it is very windy (keeps you awake) or rain is coming. We usually fly it 24/7 since it is lit by the street lights. The Edgartown Yacht Club will shoot a canon off at sunset so if you really want to be “proper” the flag could go in at that time.

    I hope you find this entertaining but don’t worry if you can’t keep up with it, few people could keep up with Dad.
    The Captain Morse House