Real Estate Confidential: Forever Wild

The property at Herring Creek Farm. – David Welch

Weekly chit-chat about new listings, sales or other insider info on the Martha’s Vineyard real estate market, by Fred Roven, Martha’s Vineyard Buyer Agents

My earliest memory of the Katama sandplain, now known as the 215-acre Herring Creek Farm, is visiting a property owned by the family of Michael Wild for three generations and being offered for sale in 1998. It was at the very beginning of my real estate career. Nothing could have prepared me for the quietude in the most peaceful spot I ever ever experienced. I was greeted by a small hunting shack, acres and acres of native brush, and a view across Edgartown Great Pond and pretty much nothing else. My next visit was a sad day for the Island. A celebration of life was being held for Michael Wild, an Edgartown conservationist and so much more. Guests were welcomed to the property with a handmade sign, “Forever Wild.”  At the end of the ceremony, a gaggle of geese rose out of the pond as Michael’s ashes floated out over the water.  

Distant history found Wampanoags farming the land and more recently the area was the site of an active 250-acre farm named Great Plains Farm, owned by the Wild family, surrounded by Edgartown Great Pond, Crackatuxet Pond and the Atlantic Ocean. After World War II the farm was an active cooperative dairy farm and in the late 60s was purchased by investors and managed for many years as a cattle farm, Herring Creek Farm, also farming corn, oats and hay.  

About 35 acres on Edgartown Great Pond are owned privately, primarily by descendants of the Wild family and the dairy farm owners. The remaining 215 acres were involved in a protracted legal case involving a request for 55 home sites on the then-unspoiled land. I encourage you to read the history of Herring Creek Farm to understand how important was the saving of this fragile sandplain. Recent development and the continued price appreciation on Martha’s Vineyard has taken many farms away from us. It took many heroes along the way to save Herring Creek Farm for posterity.

The current history ends with David Letterman, Robert Bramford and Denise Lahey, along with The Nature Conservancy and The Farm Institute taking title to the land through a series of gift and sale transactions and with the help of the then owners Neil and Monte Wallace through a sizeable donation and a big reduction in the sale price. Sixty-two acres were set aside to be managed as sandplain grassland; eventually there would be 16 home sites on the 215 acre total.

To call the property for sale at 26 Cracktuxet Cove Road a rare opportunity is an understatement. The historic nature of the land and the conservation restrictions marking most of the surrounding property Forever Wild are just the beginning. There are views in every direction — from farm animals to pond views and ocean views. Of course it is your choice whether to walk to Crackatuxet Cove to launch your kayak and paddle to your beach, or take the short stroll (or your golf cart) to your ocean beach.

The property is offered by Tea Lane Associates and priced at $6,975.000.