Martha’s Vineyard is New England’s largest resort island and is located approximately seven miles off the Southern coast of Cape Cod. The island most resembles a triangular-shape, is roughly 100 square miles, with a width of 9 miles at the widest part, and 23 miles long at its furthest points.
If one were to walk the circumference of the island, they would walk approximately 124 miles of shoreline. It is remarkable to imagine that this small island, home to 20,000 people in the winter, can expand to over 100,000 people in the summer.
This does not take into account the 25,000 “day trippers” who may ferry to the island on any given day, and especially on the weekends! The residents and visitors to the island are very fortunate to enjoy miles of beaches, the diversity of 6 towns.
The natural beauty of stone walls, meadows, and vistas, or the culture with a “who’s who” list of poets, authors, artists, educators, and thespians. Come to the Vineyard and step back in time, there are no street lights or chain stores. Enjoy what past generations enjoyed, walking, biking, crabbing, boating, fishing, beachcombing, grilling, or just reading a book!
Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation
Henry Beetle Hough and Elizabeth Bowie Hough founded Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and formally chartered it in 1959 to conserve land that no other organization would conserve. Sheriff’s Meadow has grown over the last 50 years with the aid, interest, generous financial support, and generous donations of land from many, many people.
Today, Sheriff’s Meadow owns over 2,000 acres of conservation land and holds conservation restrictions on almost 600 acres. Properties are located in each of the island towns, and the larger properties host ten miles of walking trails The Foundation’s properties represent all the major Martha’s Vineyard habitats: beaches, sand dunes, coastal ponds, wooded moraine, forests, swamps, marshes, agricultural lands, meadows, and more. Please enjoy all the Sheriff’s Meadow sanctuaries and join in their mission to conserve the wildlife habitat, scenic beauty, and rural character of the island of Martha’s Vineyard.
The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank
Island voters created the Land Bank in 1986 in an effort to address the unprecedented change in the most recent decades. Farming declined, centuries-old pastures and fields were left to knot into vines and shrubs. The “freedom to roam” was curtailed as fences were erected across trails, beaches were gated off and hunting was restricted. Now, 3000 acres have been conserved, just 5% of the land area on the island. The Commission’s revenue is generated by a 2% surcharge on most real estate transfers occurring in the six towns. The buyer is responsible for this surcharge.
First-time buyers are exempt from the first $400,000 of the purchase price. Private Trusts on the island such as the Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation and the Nature Conservancy specialize in creating wildlife sanctuaries of their lands; their extraordinary work across the Vineyard frees the land bank to pursue a more diverse mission. Some land bank properties are reserved for wildlife while others are used for agriculture, hunting and/or many other types of conservation use. Please enjoy the Land Bank properties which are open daily, except for the hunting season. Trails are marked throughout and boundary markers indicate where public land ends and private land begins.