For Sale: A Beguiling 17th-Century Farm on Martha’s Vineyard

·2 min read

Red Farm, on the enchanting island of Martha’s Vineyard, combines wild natural beauty with charming, picturesque antique buildings. There are more than 21 acres of land dotted with multiple outbuildings, which makes it perfect for a family compound. The West Tisbury spread also includes a key to Hancock Beach, a beautiful private beach in nearby Chilmark. Asking $6.25 million, the farm is brokered by Elissa Lash at Tea Lane Associates.

Built in 1687, the main residence is one of the first and oldest English-style houses in the area, and it still sits on its original site. The house has been carefully renovated, preserving the antique character of exposed framing, builder’s marks, and a large cooking fireplace with bread oven. Also of note — the interior shutters, wide plank floors, the painted wood (paint on wood is correct for a home of this era), plus the decorative fireplace covers for the off-season. There are seven bedrooms and three and a half bathrooms in 3,745 square feet.

Wanting to expand the original house, the current owner purchased another ancient house in New York from the descendants of folk artist Grandma Moses, and undertook the awesome yet undoubtedly complicated effort to have it transplanted to the Vineyard and connected to the main building. That addition now houses the estate’s primary bedroom suite.

One of the property’s particularly enticing features is the antique barn that now contains two levels of living space and an attached greenhouse with sauna and soaking pool, plus a 17th century French tub for baths. There’s also a charming two-bedroom guest house that was once a forge. And if that isn’t enough to charm six-and-some-million bucks out of someone, there’s also a replica of Thoreau’s tiny cabin from Concord, Mass., where he wrote “Walden,” his Transcendentalist treatise to the value of a spiritual connection with nature.

The property is also known locally as the Robert Luce homestead, after its original owner. Robert Luce was the second generation of a twelve-generation Martha’s Vineyard family. Born in 1667, the son of Henry and Remember Luce, his many brothers and sisters included Remember Merry, Israel, Deacon Experience, Eleazer, and “White Eyed” Henry Luce, whose wife was called Desire Luce. (And some think the Kardashians gave their children strange names!) After building this farm, Robert died by drowning sometime between 1711 and 1714, sailing between from Martha’s Vineyard to Nantucket. Surely he’d be amazed and delighted to know how long his house has lasted — and how much it is now worth.

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