A look at the Island’s super-sized houses: past, present, and future.
Always a subject of great interest on the Island, the real estate market seems to be offering up some unusual properties this year, everything from celebrity spreads to waterfront turf for pets.
“If you change an island, and you make a big difference, it’s easy to see the difference,” says Sharon Strimling Florio, proprietress of Vineyard Alternative Heating in Vineyard Haven. The Island, she says, is “a finite area to work with. It’s something manageable. It’s a visible area for making big changes in our energy use and it’s a measurable area.”
Not everyone who summers on the Vineyard nurtures dreams of owning a house on their favorite island. Don and Ann Brown have spent more than forty years happily renting here.
“I like the idea that I close the door and don’t have to do another thing,” says Don, a Washington, D.C., real estate lawyer and entrepreneur. “I already have two houses, and that’s enough to take care of. We’re only here for two months.”
These days there’s a lot of talk, and some action, about prices at the pump, especially on the Vineyard where the cost of gasoline is consistently above the national average. Auto manufacturers are scaling back production of larger, inefficient sports utility vehicles, and hybrid cars have become more commonplace. But there’s a lot less talk about furnaces.
Late one afternoon on Vineyard Haven’s harbor, eager eyes zoom in on the distant tip of West Chop.
How can you tell if your deck is safe?
Paul Daniele has run a home inspection business on the Vineyard since 1995.
Usually when decks collapse, it’s from overloading of people.
In Oak Bluffs, at the turn of the last century, the houses that line Ocean Park had earned the nickname Millionaire’s Row. Philip Corbin, who made his fortune in locks, built what is now a favorite sightseer’s stop – the Peter Norton house – a few doors down from the home belonging to John and Sharon Kelly. The Ingraham Clock Company family once owned an adjacent house, and the Leavitt house next door to the Kellys belonged to the George Weed family, who made their money in automobile snow chains.