Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket, Massachusetts, USA
Some second-home communities mirror real life. They serve up a familiar lifestyle. The only difference is the surroundings. But off the Massachusetts coast, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are second-home luxury real estate communities transplanted in time.
Martha’s Vineyard is New England’s largest resort island, located seven miles off the mainland or about a 45-minute ferry ride away. Its year-round population of 20,000 swells to five times the size with seasonal visitors hankering for a toehold in the sand. The Martha's Vineyard luxury home area is composed of six villages: the “up-island” communities of Chilmark, West Tisbury and Aquinnah, which tend to be more rural and private, and the more populous “down-island” enclaves of Oak Bluffs, Tisbury and Edgartown. Despite its popularity, the Vineyard remains authentic. High profilers come here to lay low. It is still a region of farm stands, country roads and Victorian gingerbread cottages. Barron listed the Vineyard among the top second-home locations in America.
By comparison, Nantucket is smaller and quieter, though every bit as Polo posh. In the National Geographic book, “The 10 Best of Everything,” Nantucket tops the list of best islands in the world. Once upon a time, it was the whaling capital of the world. Today, cobblestone streets, lighthouses that date back as early as the 18th century and one of America’s largest concentrations of pre-Civil War houses contribute to the island’s status as a National Historic District. It does not go unnoticed. Owners of period homes know they are stewards of Nantucket history.
Grand summer estates are clad in the ubiquitous cedar shingles--the signature Nantucket facade. Communities here are as much settlements as towns. There’s not a traffic light to be found. Brant Point is a quintessential Nantucket town, a prestigious address with lofty-priced homes. Pocomo, on the south shore, has some of the most expensive homes on the island. Polpis is known for its large acreage and easy access to Nantucket Harbor. In Monomoy, estates enjoy siting that’s hidden from view.
The largest landowner? The Nantucket Conservation Foundation. More than a third of the island is protected land that will never be built upon.