Martha's Vineyard has been or is home to a number of artists and musicians, including Albert Alcalay, Evan Dando, Tim 'Johnny Vegas' Burton of the Mighty Mighty Bosstones, James Taylor, Carly Simon, Livingston Taylor, Kate Taylor, Alex Taylor, Tom Rush, Geoff Muldaur, Maria Muldaur, Willy Mason, Unbusted and Mike Nichols. Historian and author David McCullough is also an island resident, as are the young-adult books authors: Judy Blume and Norman Bridwell, and crime/political intrigue novelist Richard North Patterson. Late authors Shel Silverstein and William Styron also lived on the Vineyard, as did writer, journalist and teacher John Hersey, poet and novelist Dorothy West and artist Thomas Hart Benton Various writers have been inspired by the island—including the mystery writer Philip R. Craig who set several novels on the island. On related note, Martha's Vineyard Poet Laureate, Lee H. McCormack, has written many poems about the island. The Academy Award winning Patricia Neal owned a home on South Water St in Edgartown, and James Cagney, Lillian Hellman (who is buried in Abel's Hill Cemetery near the site of Belushi's grave), and Katharine Cornell all found the Vineyard an exciting, rewarding place to live.
In addition the famous Life Magazine photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt was a fifty-year summer resident of the Vineyard until his death in 1995. Since 2006 the Australian born author Geraldine Brooks, writer of the Pulitzer Prize winning novel March, has lived there with her husband and two sons.
Other well-known celebrities who live on or have regularly visited the island: Famously renowned Harlem Renaissance artist Lois Mailou Jones, U.S. President Barack Obama, and former president Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; comedian and talk show host David Letterman; Bill Murray; Tony Shalhoub; Quincy Jones; Ted Danson and wife Mary Steenburgen; Larry David; the Farrelly brothers; Meg Ryan; Chelsea Handler. Mike Wallace of 60 Minutes was a summer resident of Martha's Vineyard. Late anchorman Walter Cronkite was a prominent summer resident as well. Other regularly appearing celebrities include film writer/director Spike Lee, attorney Alan Dershowitz, comedians Dan Aykroyd and James Belushi, politico Vernon Jordan, and television news reporters Diane Sawyer, former Ambassador and President of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, William H. Luers and Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Despite popular perceptions of the Vineyard as 'Hollywood East', the island is very low-key and quiet; celebrities go to the Vineyard to enjoy the atmosphere, and not to be seen. Locals tend to be protective of celebrity privacy, though recent coverage of celebrity sightings (most notably in the two local newspapers on the Island) has begun to erode that respect for privacy through more frequent reporting on celebrity sightings and famous visitors.
Vineyard social life often occurs in private, down country roads, and not in the small towns, only two of which even sell alcohol (Oak Bluffs and Edgartown).
Many of the country's most affluent black families have enjoyed a century-old tradition of summering on the island. Concentrated primarily in and around the town of Oak Bluffs, and the East Chop area, these families have historically represented the black elite from Boston; Washington, D.C.; and New York City.
Today, affluent black families from around the country have taken to the Vineyard, and the community is known as a popular summer destination for judges, physicians, business executives, surgeons, attorneys, writers, politicians, and professors.
The Run&Shoot Filmworks Martha's Vineyard African-American Film Festival (mvaaff.com) held every second week in August, highlights the works of independent and established African-American filmmakers from across the globe. This annual event draws attendees from all across the world.
But the real treasures to be found from the hidden beaches to the best Lobster on the Island, you can only uncover from the locals - and we will be happy to share them with you before your stay