Your island fantasy has a pink-sand beach, orange frozen drinks, and a cocoa-colored tan. But your financial reality is deep in the red.
Don’t blanch in despair; a waterlogged escape is but a ferry ride away. In the deep winter months, both Nantucket and the Vineyard offer hidden pleasures that come at a fraction of their high-season prices.
Bed down: Make like a whaling baron inside the brick-mansioned walls of Jared Coffin House. Or set up a Scrabble board (a.k.a. that analog Words with Friends thingy) in front of your private fireplace at Martin House Inn.
Refuel: Grab a bottle of wine at Murray’s (23 Main Street) and turn the corner to Centre Street Bistro for a BYOB lunch of goat cheese tart and tofu stir-fry (Wednesday-Saturday only). The always-mobbed Lola 41 now offers dinner reservations a month out (count down to bacon, arugula, and truffle-crumbed mac ‘n’ cheese).
Head out: Saturday tours at Cisco Brewers (by appointment) culminate in live bluegrass and tastings. Get your grade-school geekdom on at the Whaling Museum (reopens February 4), then marvel at the winter harbor view from its glass cupola.
Chill out: Snuggle up by the fire with a craft beer at The Brotherhood of Thieves (reopens February 9); relative newcomer Dune slings cocktails like Ivy’s Poison (St-Germain, prosecco, muddled strawberries and mint).
Bed down: Luxuriate with sumptuous linens, private fireplaces, and four-poster beds at The Charlotte Inn. The newly year-round Kelley House Hotel seduces with a large common hearth, dog-friendly rooms, and rates starting at $89 per night.
Head out: The island’s celebrated bird-watching becomes easier in winter months (fewer crowds, bigger birds). Take the ferry over the Chappaquiddick to spot snowy owls and bufflehead ducks.
Chill out: Year-rounders gather en masse at Offshore Ale Co. for the on-site brews.
Color us excited.
Photo: Colin Matthew Chan / Getty Images