Travel down State Road on any given day and you might see the past driving by, in the shape of a 1951 Willys Jeepster, a 1956 pink and white Buick Century convertible, or a 1953 Hudson Hornet two-door coupe. The grinning man behind the wheel? Renowned guitarist and Aquinnah resident Arlen Roth.
The three lovingly maintained classic autos are part of Arlen’s large vintage-car stable, which in turn is only a part of a bigger picture – a much bigger picture.
“It wasn’t really on my radar,” television and screen star Amy Brenneman says about the Vineyard. She was sitting in the living room of the Island home she and her husband, writer and director Brad Silberling, have owned for eight years.
Great renovators are not unlike great film directors. Both have to creatively drive a team that spans from the big-money professionals with the glamour jobs to the folks who hammer the nails, keeping track of the techies wiring for sound and the artisans who choose the just-right fabrics. Both oversee the experts in special effects (of one sort or another) who make crazy-sounding ideas become real. Both know details matter. They have strong vision, but draw too from the creatives around them.
Elise LeBovit arrived in Aquinnah in the 1970s as a singer and saxophone player. She came to the Island to record one song – and never left. “Back then everybody scalloped in the winter and went to the beach in the summer,” Elise remembers. With a couple of friends, she bought the abandoned fifteen-acre Belain farm and farmhouse off State Road, where the open hillsides give views of the lighthouse, Philbin Beach, and Noman’s Land on the horizon.