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Sunday, 7 November 2010

An island for the rich and famous

Martha’s Vineyard is a small island off the coast of Massachusetts.  The Vineyard is only accessible by air or boat, and because of that, it has traditionally been known as a summer getaway for the rich and famous. U.S. President Bill Clinton spent vacation time on the island during and after his presidency, along with his wife, Hillary Clinton, and their daughter, Chelsea. Former U.S. first lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis maintained a home in Aquinnah, a town located on Marthat's Vineyard.
The original inhabitants of the island, the members of the Native American tribe Wampanoag, still remain on the island today. English explorer Bartholomew Gosnold named the region with its current name in 1602. He possibly chose the name to honour his daughter, Martha, who had died in infancy. For some time it was called Martin’s Vineyard, after Gosnold’s ship’s captain, John Martin, but it became more commonly known as Martha’s Vineyard. Martha Gosnold’s gravesite lies between St. Mary’s Church and the Cathedral, in England.

Did you know?

- The original Stephen Spielberg movie Jaws was filmed on Martha’s Vineyard and a few of the island’s residents appeared as extras in the film.
- Martha's Vineyard was actually the site of one of the earliest documented deaf communities in the U.S., and a unique dialect of sign language emerged, specific to the island, that remains in use today.
- On July 16, 1999, a small plane crashed off the coast of Martha's Vineyard. In this accident John F. Kennedy, Jr., his wife Carolyn Bessette and her sister Lauren Bessette lost their lives.

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