A Tale of Two Properties

What you can get for $10 million on the Vineyard.

If you’re in the market for a summer home on Martha’s Vineyard, and have about $10 million to spend, or if you’re just curious as to what the more moneyed buyers are getting for their buck, feast your eyes on these properties.

If you’re not fond of crowds – at least not staying in your home – there’s an in-town, stately, compact, and historic-looking residence in Edgartown. If your troupe rivals the Kennedys in noise and numbers, there’s a remote, sprawling, quirky, vintage home in Vineyard Haven.

Both are on the water.

Which is what ten mil will buy you. Water, a private beach, a deep-water dock. Not having to get a parking permit, no arguments about your dog on the beach, no resizing the blanket to fit into a mid-July spot on the sand. Just folding your hands behind your head, inhaling sea air, and watching the kids splash in the surf.

The difference between a ten-million-dollar property and one for, say, five million, is location, location, location. While you may be able to acquire a waterfront property with as little as five million elsewhere on the Island, you won’t in Edgartown. And while you could possibly get water for as little as one mil in another town, it’s going to be on a pond, lagoon, or lake. You won’t be sitting pretty on something called a “sound.” But, for ten and change, you could have this:

556 Chappaquonsett Road, Vineyard Haven, $10,500,000

This waterfront compound in Northern Pines off Lambert’s Cove Road, listed by Wallace & Co. Sotheby’s International Realty in Edgartown, features three hundred feet of private beach. On twenty-two acres of land along Vineyard Sound, its three houses with a total of eleven bedrooms and eight bathrooms can accommodate your son’s fraternity and then some. And its casual style, rolling lawns, tennis court, and surrounding woods will even tolerate some roughhousing from the rambunctious Greeks.

The original section of the main house was built in 1880 and was added onto in subsequent years by its various owners. While the exterior is consistently old Cape Cod, the interior design varies depending upon when the addition/renovation was done and by whom. The entrance hall curves with the staircase, and classic details decorate the built-in boot box bench. The original fir floors and woodwork are intact and gracefully restored. The family room is equipped with two walls of sliding glass doors that let in the magnificent view of Vineyard Sound and the scent of the gardens. Slate floors and built-in bookshelves complete the cozy ambience, and a small wet bar hides behind a decidedly circa-1960s door panel.

The first floor rambles on through different add-ons, including the dining room with fireplace, an eat-in kitchen with a Viking range, and bedroom after bedroom – all able to accommodate large beds or several small. The main bedroom is upstairs and is distinguished by its curved ceiling, fireplace, private deck, and magnificent view – even from the en-suite bathroom. This house has a total of six bedrooms and sliders everywhere. There are few windows that don’t offer a vista of the Elizabeth Islands on a clear day.

Then you get to the main guest house. Its first incarnation was as a barn, built sometime in the 1930s. Now it boasts five bedrooms and an open-design great room/kitchen/dining room. Renovated all at once, the interior d├ęcor is consistently Martha’s Vineyard beach house and full of light. The outside shower – a given on the Island – is on the water side.

A smaller guest house, transformed from a child’s playhouse in 1960, sits nearby on – you guessed it – more water, a freshwater pond. Because the house was an existing structure at the time the current rules on wetlands setbacks were adopted, it’s actually closer to the pond than would be allowed with today’s restrictions. With 1960s earth colors and rustic paneling and tile, it would almost have to be described as a bachelor pad. The kitchen is small and utilitarian, and is open to the living and dining rooms. A large bedroom occupies the second floor, along with a full bath and laundry room. There are two – count ’em, two – screened porches on this little hideaway and, of course, the views are breathtaking. It’s the perfect summer home for the newlywed daughter and son-in-law or the cousin you’d like to keep at arm’s length.

But there’s more outside than beaches and seascapes. Guests and family can enjoy the delights of rolling lawns, vintage stone walls, and fragrant perennial gardens. There’s also, tucked far away from the other dwellings, a small artist’s studio that’s perhaps a good spot to stash that not-so-popular frat member.

The compound has had many owners since it was first built. At one time called Wild Acres, it has housed (as owners or guests) descendents of Italian nobility, a noted science writer, a magazine publisher, the famous Red Sox slugger Ted Williams, and currently, David Milch, television writer and producer.

Zoning restrictions in force in the area restrict building any new structures – such as a pool, pool house, etcetera – and limit subdividing the property, but the structures already in place exceed the number that would be allowed today. Besides the houses, the property also contains a clay tennis court and an old smokehouse. The current restrictions also protect the property from ungainly building on neighboring land.

119 North Water Street, Edgartown, $10,900,000

This classic colonial-style dwelling, built in 1995 and listed by Point B Realty in Edgartown, takes up most of the width of a .37-acre lot on Edgartown harbor. Located on a historic street lined with elegant waterfront homes, it’s an easy walk to shopping, galleries, restaurants, and all of the other in-town entertainments of summer. It’s a shotgun of a house with wide-open views of the Edgartown Lighthouse, the outer harbor, and the Chappy beach club across the water. Just down the street from the Harbor View Hotel, this stately residence is one of the upstart new kids on the block that the neighboring vintage sea captain’s homes indulge with a wink of their ancient windows.

Three bedrooms – all spacious – and three en-suite baths accommodate company, but your son’s fraternity would likely feel a little cramped. Not to mention a touch stifled. This house is friendly, but sophisticated.

Enter on the main floor and the eye takes in nooks, built-ins, alcoves, and classic nautical details everywhere. Floor-to-ceiling windows on three sides of the living room and the open multilevel design (dictated by the slope of the land) provide views of the harbor from the dining room and the living room.

The dining room sports a fireplace, wine cooler, and wet bar. The gourmet kitchen, open to the dining room, is fully equipped with stainless appliances and granite countertops. While rather intimate in size, it’s thoughtfully laid out and ideal for light summer meals.

The bedrooms are comfortably roomy. A built-in dresser and TV alcove sit between two windows with views of North Water Street in the first-floor guest bedroom, which includes a private bath with tub and shower.

A graceful staircase leads from the dining room to the second floor. Another bedroom occupies the space over North Water. It’s currently the children’s room and lends itself nicely to the task. Vaulted ceilings allow plenty of room for bunk beds to stack multiple grandchildren. This room also has a full bath with tub and shower.

But the master bedroom! Imagine waking in the mornings to a view of the harbor from your bed. Then drinking your coffee on the adjacent mahogany deck with unobstructed vistas. Watching the Chappy ferry chug from Island to Island-wannabe and back. Listening to your kids playing with their kids on the rolling lawn below. Stretching your arms wide and inhaling all of the aromas of sea, air, and gourmet treats baking in nearby shops and

The room itself feels cozy and well-designed in seafaring style with tidy built-in accommodations for clothing and such. The ceilings are beamed and coffered and the floor-to-ceiling windows let in scads of light.

Outside, a beautifully manicured lawn rolls down to the water, where a 150-foot private deep-water dock can accommodate the large boats of guests and family. Privet hedges ensure privacy and perennial gardens provide visual interest throughout the summer. The outside shower is tucked under the house with a large shower head for efficient de-beaching of the grandkids.

So, while this is not an expansive estate like the one in Lambert’s Cove, it’s elegant and convenient, possessing a prestigious Edgartown address and sweeping water views, and just right for a reasonable-sized family. And if your son does decide to bring the fraternity, there’s always the Harbor View down the road.

More options

Other similarly priced properties boast their own amenities:

139 Meetinghouse Way, Edgartown, $8,100,000. At fifty-four acres, this is the largest buildable tract of land available in Edgartown. Zoned R20, so it can be subdivided. Listed by Nab’s Corner Associates, Chilmark.

1 North Neck Road, Edgartown, $8,500,000. Nearly surrounded by water, this four-bedroom, four-bath Chappaquiddick home (with nearby two-bedroom cottage) sits on five acres along Cape Pogue Bay. The post-and-beam architecture is distinctly nautical with wraparound decks. No room lacks a view and there’s a dock for deep-water mooring. Listed by LandVest, Edgartown.

64 Hatch Road, Vineyard Haven, $9,300,000. The architecture of this five-bedroom, five-bath West Chop beach house is a copy of the original 1905 structure. In fact, some of the materials were salvaged to be included in the new structure. Built in 2002, the three living levels provide modern amenities in a vintage setting. Listed by Lighthouse Properties, Oak Bluffs.

17 Faulkner Drive, Edgartown, $10,850,000. Fronting Katama Bay, this vintage-1953, three-bedroom, three-bath home is a rare find in this geographically limited spot. Besides the incredible views of the bay, the two-acre property also boasts a pond. The price includes a 710-square-foot guest house and a private dock. Listed by Sandpiper Realty, Edgartown.