Sponsored: Real Estate Confidential: Harthaven Waterfront Family Compound


Real Estate Confidential — 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, appears each Friday in The Minute.

The concept for a family retreat began in 1911 and within a few years a fully formed community existed, between Farm Pond and Sengekontacket, from the Oak Bluffs seawall to Little Bridge, named Harthaven. The holdings used to include what is now Farm Neck Golf Club as well as Joseph Sylvia State Beach which was sold for public access. All of the land was owned for a bit by descendants of William H. Hart, the president of Stanley Tool Works of New Britain, CT.  W. H. Hart began purchasing lots in Oak Bluffs in 1871. With the early owners all members of the same family, the community took on the cohesiveness of an extended family. As the years passed, some properties remained with family members; others were sold giving the new owners access to beach, tennis, boat landing and docks. What had been a summer family community, is now a year-round community with residents who were attracted by the deep sense of belonging existing to this day.

The Harthaven Community Association website describes it best: We’ve been a tight knit group of family and friends for more than 90 years. We are held together by a common sharing of values – those of caring for each other and our environment, for enjoying the Vineyard in small ways – fishing, clamming, swimming – our annual clambake in which everyone helps. What was once primarily a summer community has evolved into a year round neighborhood with young families raising children as well as professionals and retirees. Life in the community was almost studiously informal – a place to escape the cares and the formalities of the mainland.

I am struggling with how to explain the concept that a home priced at $6,490,000 is a good investment. Some waterfront homes are casually described as all about the view. This property is that and so much more. The property at 348 Sea View Avenue in Harthaven is a family compound with many possible uses that could provide investment return.  The 3 homes on the property sit on a bluff overlooking 150’ of beachfront and 180° views out across Nantucket Sound that truly go on forever.  

Each of the 3 homes has its own name: The “Main Deck” with its screened porch, large covered deck overlooking the bluff and 5+ bedrooms for family and friends;  the “Captain’s House” with its reverse floor plan to take full advantage of the views, has 2 master suites and 2 additional bedrooms. The name may come from the wood details throughout worthy of the finest sea captain; last is the “Cottage” with its second floor bedroom and deck also with views out across Nantucket Sound and beyond.  

Driving down Beach Road between Edgartown and Oak Bluffs at sunset as the full moon rises to the east, I am forced to stop and take in the beauty and splendor. Imagine sitting on one of your own decks or porches watching the drama unfold.

In addition to providing the ultimate in a family compound for family and friends to spend a summer on the water, the property lends itself to many uses. Each house is a totally separate living environment with kitchens, air conditioning, outdoor showers and private spots to relax.  The options are many and varied. You can rent the property to large family groups or wedding parties. You can rent each home separately. Any guests would be perfectly comfortable with the privacy afforded each group. Even if you stayed in one of the homes, other guests would not be disturbing you nor you them. Perhaps you can find a young couple as year-round tenants for the “Cottage” who could cook and care take the property leaving you to sit at the water’s edge or start out for a paddle across the Sound to Chappy or a trip around the Island.

Imagine for how much just one waterfront home in Harthaven rents and think in terms of three. I took a look at some projected incomes for the property and would be happy to show you how you can come close to making mortgage payments with the cash flow, use it for property upkeep, or take that South Seas World cruise for the winter.  Even with the strong rental potential, you still get use of the property when it suits you and certainly a perfect spot for those cool early spring and late fall visits.

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