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Tour the Martha’s Vineyard Estate of Legendary Washington Post Publisher Katharine Graham

Offered for sale for the first time in 50 years, Mohu, a private, 50-acre peninsula on Lambert’s Cove, overlooks Vineyard Sound and the Elizabeth Islands

The history and provenance of this storied estate on the scenic north shore of Martha’s Vineyard is an American story: Mohu (named after a revered Algonquin chieftain) is the former home of Katharine Graham, the legendary publisher of The Washington Post, “the first lady of Washington and American journalism.” Mrs. Graham inherited the family newspaper from her late husband, newspaperman Philip Leslie Graham, reluctantly taking on the mantle of publisher and transforming “The Post” into one of the great bastions of American journalism. Publishing the Pentagon Papers, supporting her reporters’ groundbreaking coverage of the Watergate scandal, and a 1998 Pulitzer Prize for her memoir, Personal History, were among her greatest legacies.

But surely her most beautiful legacy must be Mohu, her summer retreat. She acquired the property in 1979, in the hopes of conserving the natural beauty, historical significance, and incomparable privacy of the land, and keeping it out of the hands of developers.

Katharine Graham’s Mohu estate occupies a 50-acre peninsula on the coveted Lambert’s Cove on the north shore of Martha’s Vineyard. The property includes 860 feet of private Atlantic Ocean beachfront and 3,000 feet of shoreline on James Pond, with views of Vineyard Sound and the Elizabeth Islands

She eminently succeeded.

Her private, 50-acre peninsula is a coastal haven overlooking Vineyard Sound and the Elizabeth Islands. The jewel in the crown is the 860-foot-long stretch of white sand beachfront on prized Lambert’s Cove. In addition to the coveted private beach, the property offers 3,000 feet of waterfront on James Pond, a pristine tidal pond on the eastern edge of the property. A network of private trails meander through the estate’s woodlands and along James Pond. Adding to the pastoral splendor are mature specimen trees, rolling hills, meadows, streams, stone walls, handmade bridges and stairways, and winding paths.

The landscape is a mix of woodlands, meadows, shoreline, and wetlands, bounded by old stone walls. A network of private walking trails wind through the estate’s woodlands and along James Pond.

One of the finest properties in all of New England, Mohu represents a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own and create “the ultimate family compound,” a generational estate on Martha’s Vineyard, according to listing brokers Thomas E. LeClair and Gerret C. Conover, partners of LandVest Martha’s Vineyard.

The setting is idyllic, a “unique blend of contoured land, big sand dunes, tidal ponds, and streams, all reminiscent of one of the finer nature preserves,” LeClair says. “The assemblage dates back to the 1920s when the land was parceled together. It’s rare to find a place that has so many distinct and different ecosystems—woods, meadows, beach, pond front, and marshland.”

The property’s charming Shingle-style beach cottage is truly unique: The next owner could redesign the space as an oceanside entertainment venue, art studio, writer’s den, or a quiet, four-season escape by the sea.

Mohu has unparalleled privacy. On the estate’s western and southern perimeter is the 186-acre parcel previously owned by William W. Graham, Mrs. Graham’s son. A lawyer and philanthropist, Mr. Graham was also a great advocate of land conservation, and the current owners have pledged that the land will remain undeveloped under their stewardship.

“We have loved this land,” the Graham family told the Vineyard Gazette in a statement. “For several reasons, including geography, we’re not able to take care of it and use it in the way we would wish. After a lot of deliberation, we’ve therefore decided it is time to sell it.”

This 50-acre parcel is residentially zoned and includes two beautifully maintained structures: the stone caretaker’s cottage and the 1930s tennis pavilion where Mrs. Graham and guests played tennis, and she sojourned with politicians, pundits, celebrities, and opinion leaders.

The 50-acre peninsula includes a private 860-foot-long white sand beach on prized Lambert’s Cove, as well as 3,000 feet of waterfront on James Pond, a pristine tidal pond at the eastern edge of the estate.

Nestled in the dunes overlooking Vineyard Sound is a charming Shingle-style beach cottage, which, due to strict zoning laws, cannot be replicated and rebuilt in the same location. Although modest (the oceanfront structure has electricity but no water supply), “it’s a truly special spot with tremendous scope for improvement,” says LeClair. The next owner could add a water supply and restore it to its original use as a scenic cabin at the water’s edge, or reimagine the space as an oceanside entertainment venue, art studio, writer’s den, or a quiet, four-season escape by the sea.

As for the development of the parcel as a whole, LeClair notes, “There would be few limitations due to its overall size; however, any master plan for the property would be subject to zoning rules and the local permitting boards.”

Katharine Graham and her guests often played tennis on the courts (now lawned gardens) beside this elegant, beautifully intact 1930s tennis pavilion.

The property is entered via Lamberts Cove Road, a 15-minute drive from Martha’s Vineyard Airport. Five minutes away is West Tisbury, the quintessential New England coastal town with its picture-postcard white clapboard church, general store, and post office, framed by windswept, white sand beaches; verdant farmland; wetlands; and state forests.

Incorporated in 1892, the town has maintained its strong sense of community. The popular farmers’ market at the old Agricultural Hall takes place from June to October. There’s also fine shops and restaurants. Outdoor enthusiasts and birders will appreciate the Cedar Tree Neck Nature Preserve, with its 300 wooded acres, and Long Point Wildlife Refuge, a 600-acre preserve of sandy plain, marsh, woodlands, ponds, and a barrier beach at Tisbury Great Pond.

The stone caretaker’s cottage has been beautifully maintained over the years. It has a tranquil setting surrounded by gardens and woodland.

The multigenerational family compound entered the popular consciousness more than a half-century ago. A young President John F. Kennedy delighted the world with inside views of his family life at their summer compound on Nantucket Sound in Hyannis, on Cape Cod. Its three white clapboard houses were a generational retreat for congressmen, senators, and presidents.

Time marches on, but the generational estate endures. “Through the years, such compounds have been the most prized acquisitions on Martha’s Vineyard, and Mohu is clearly one of the most outstanding,” adds LeClair. Indeed, this magnificent estate is quite the loveliest place for a new generation and, perhaps, a new American story to begin again.