This is the story of three cancellations. I originally booked a vacation home in Edgartown for May 2020. Of course, the Covid dragon slew that prospect. The property owner then agreed to move the reservation to October 2020, but the dragon was still breathing fast and hard. We then moved the reservation to the beginning of May 2021.

While pandemic conditions improved somewhat in May, the state of Massachusetts still had a quarantine in effect for out-of-state visitors and such a condition would not work for our group since nine of the 12 were from out of state.

When I asked the owner to move the reservation to May 2022, she dug in her heels and refused.

When I appealed to the Vineyard broker who handled the rental, she was of little help, simply panning that the “owners were all over the map” in their response to the pandemic. This was our third booking through her agency. So our group lost a lot of money.

We were not the conventional Vineyard vacationers. I lead this trip for a national conservation organization and a group of us from across the country had been coming to the Vineyard for the past five years, volunteering for a week with a local nonprofit.

Our organization cancelled all trips through July 2021. Regardless, it would not have been prudent to bring a group of people onto the Island while the pandemic was still an important factor.

If a spreader event would have occurred on the Vineyard during our scheduled stay, the absentee landlord could not have given a darn since she would have been safely ensconced in Connecticut.

As for the small business real estate agent, lesson learned. The large national reservations systems have multiple property listings with free cancellations.

Unprecedented times call for exceptional customer service. The three large travel companies I deal with for other vacations all offered to roll deposits over indefinitely. For one trip which was paid in full and canceled twice because of the pandemic, I was given a 25 peer cent bonus on top of the full payment to re-schedule the trip.

Martin Joyce

Pittsburgh, Pa.