In 1980 a woman named Madeline Blakeley called me to ask me to look at a piece of land with her. She was a librarian in her early sixties whose husband had recently died. They had no children and had always lived in rented apartments. Her dream was to own a piece of property.
She had $7,000 in cash. A realtor showed her a lot priced at exactly that, but all her friends advised her against buying it. The property sloped steeply south to a beautiful little valley, a perfectly matched solar exposure and view. But it was right beside the main road from Vineyard Haven to Edgartown, which was very loud and loomed over the property. Except for that proximity and the fact that the whole lot was a hillside, it was a lovely site. There was nothing else on Martha’s Vineyard within her price range.