Vineyard Living, Is it Right for You?

by Kerry on February 3, 2009

Some people, like myself, summered here. Some, like my husband, had family ties, and family homes here. Other people had always wanted to visit, and once they came they never wanted to leave. And fewer still were born and bred here.  This island with it’s endless beaches and winding trails, farmer’s markets and community suppers has become home to more people looking for a quality of life and that special Vineyard vibe that is only available on these shores.  So is it right for you?

Challenges facing a full time move to the Vineyard include some of the following; housing and economic sustainability, the transition of quiet winter months to action packed people infused summertime, interaction with people in the dead of winter can be tricky (where are they?) and, last but not least, transportation should you want to travel to places other than another island town. Like a shoe store for instance.

There is  a huge fluctuation in business activity between seasons, and depending on your vocation can mean being flush one month, to peanut butter sandwiches the next. Many year round residents work in multiple fields and wear many hats. We are a creative and flexible  bunch, and we all have great senses of humor! Thankfully computers have evolved in my lifetime and social networking like Facebook and Twitter are available and viable ways to extend your business community. The computer also solves the shoe store problem, which may not be high on the priority list for some, but creeps up there from time to time for me. We do have local shoe stores of course, and I certainly shop them  first and foremost! But it is nice to have options and with a laptop, you can work, shop, chat, and network and not feel like you are missing any major opportunities. Today, we can do just about anything with technology.

The housing market is in transition, and there are all manner of property available. We have housing starting in the mid 300’s for a basic ranch with 3 bedrooms and one bath,  to multi-million dollar water front enclaves. We have beach houses, family homes, Victorian beauties, and we have your dream home. We have the location, the size, the lot, and the setting. We are not lacking in inventory by any stretch of the imagination. There are currently 688 properties available for sale on Martha’s Vineyard,  of which 473 are single family homes. There are 143 land listings with many condo and multi family dwelling units as well. With this plethora of availability we’ve seen a decrease in prices and, it stands to reason, more motivated sellers.

Another consideration for island life is socialization. I moved from the city, but did so in the middle of July so I hardly noticed as I was still surrounded by people most of the time. It was a couple of weeks into September that the full realization of what I had done sank in… When the summer crowd thinned out, the island was in its full glory. And there was a definite change to the pace.  The tempo relaxed, people stopped to chat rather than hustling by, and you could get a reservation to eat out on a Saturday night. What happened? It is that quick that you have to ask the question. There was an adjustment phase for me, and for others it is exactly what they crave. Less bodies, more time for reflection and community.

View from my office

View from my office

Martha’s Vineyard has the nightlife, the retail, the businesses that make every community unique and accessible. It also subscribes to the ideal that we can be independent of a bigger unit and operate on a level that is intimate yet functional and self sustaining. I look out the window of my home office watching the snow fall, and wonder how I lived anywhere but here. We have it all, would you like to join us?

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