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THE DEAL: Winnetu Oceanside Resort, Martha’s Vineyard, Mass.

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WHY IT’S A CONTENDER: Martha’s Vineyard, which lies off the coast of Massachusetts, takes on its true colors during fall foliage season. This is the Vineyard sans day trippers and summer visitors. The crowds have left the winding streets of Edgartown, the backroads can be enjoyed on a bicycle, and it’s harvest time at the island’s many farms. The Winnetu is a contemporary take on the classic shingled New England seaside resorts of a century ago. But it raises the stakes, thanks to the resort’s new Island Adventure & Wellness Center. There’s an award-winning kids program. The former chef at Four Seasons Hotel Boston, Ed Gannon, is at the creative helm of Lure, the resort’s restaurant. And fall offers real value when it comes to pricing.

WHO SHOULD GO: Couples looking for quiet time and a chance to explore the island during what is arguably the most beautiful season of the year. Blue skies, deep blue Atlantic Ocean, balmy temperatures and the opportunity to stroll past the sea captain’s homes in Edgartown without encountering the summertime hordes.

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THE ROOMS: The resort includes 53 suites, studios and a private cottage, each equipped with a kitchen and separate living areas. Many of them have unobstructed ocean views, across the great lawn to the dunes and surf. The resort also includes 80 townhouses and single-family homes available for rent on a weekly basis. The Suites includes an equipped kitchenette, private deck or patio, with ocean, dune or pool views, high-speed internet access, cable TV and DVD’s.

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MORE REASONS TO STAY: The biking is some of the best on the East Coast. The roads are quiet, no hill is more than 300 feet high, and the views across the fields, ponds and the ocean give new meaning to the term "stunning." The 18-mile loop to the beach in Oak Bluffs is considered one of the most scenic rides in the US. And if you feel like a real workout, take a 50-mile round-trip ride to the Gay Head cliffs.

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION: A hypnotic ocean-view setting overlooking South Beach in Katama, about three miles south of Edgartown. You’re 250 yards from the sand, with biking and walking trails leading from the hotel. It’s about three hours from New York, an hour or so from Boston.

WHAT’S THE DEAL: The Island Harvest Package includes accommodations in an East Chop One-Bedroom Suite with Ocean Views; daily breakfast; one three-course dinner at Lure (or a $100 voucher for a dine-around at other Vineyard restaurants); cooking classes with Chef Ed Gannon (on Wednesdays at 1pm with a special class added on Saturday, October 28); complimentary bicycle rental; complimentary massage; complimentary yoga and Pilates classes; all taxes and gratuities. This is available Sunday through Thursday, October 1 through 27, 2006 and Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29, 2006. Blackout date: Sunday, October 8, 2006. The cost is $265 per person, per night (based on double occupancy), including taxes. A two-night minimum stay is required.

INSIDER TIP: If the biking leaves you hungry for more activity, the resort’s new 1,200 square foot Island Adventure & Wellness Center is the focal point for yoga and Pilates classes and has a state-of-the-art gym with Paramount circuit training equipment and free weights.

THE DETAILS: Winnetu Oceanside Resort, 31 Dunes Road, Edgartown, MA 02539; 978-443-1733; http://winnetu.com

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