Journey to Chogetsu

Part II of The Monticello Connection

Fay’s “other house” was quite a bit different from mine: hers was famous. I’d already read about it, in Architectural Digest. It was called Chogetsu. (Moon Tide.)

Architectural Digest (May 1985) “Hewn by Hand”

In the 1980s, Mr Hara had been commissioned to build a Japanese complex on seven acres of oceanfront property, in Martha’s Vineyard. Hara and Fay’s late husband had gone to Japan collecting art and artisans who created the furniture, pottery and textiles. They’d spent summers designing and constructing the main house, spa, guest house, tea house; gardens with streams, fish ponds, and waterfalls; mysterious walkways with stone steps and Japanese lanterns, paths through grasses and over bridges to the sea… magical!

In October, after our June Monticello retreat, Fay and I (with Karl Pribram) hopped the train from DC and the last Quonset ferry, and went to the island to visit Chogetsu. Fay and her husband had sold it a few years earlier, but she got permission for us to have a private tour, along with some of our friends who still lived on the island and remembered the wonderful ambience.

Fay gave me a collection of photos — some “out-takes” that weren’t used in the Architectural Digest article, and others that were commissioned by her husband for a memorial book, of his favorite views of the mysterious interiors and wild natural surroundings.

Chogetsu Memorial Book (Photos by Tim Coy)

Houses do have their own individual personas. These photos and memories (which I shared with the architects, and contractors) allowed my Japanese house to start emerging from its state of dusty disrepair and take the first steps toward becoming the magical garden retreat that it had always aspired to be!

Katherine’s Photos of Chogetsu