Home of the late poet and writer Dionis Coffin Riggs
(1898-1997), the Cleaveland House has always been a
meeting place for Island intellectuals. Built by Mrs.
Riggs's ancestor James Athearn, a judge during the Revolutionary
War, the house has been in the family for more than
The house was modernized in the mid-1800s by her grandfather,
Capt. James Cleaveland, a retired whaling captain, and
he and his wife Mary Carlin Cleaveland opened the Cleaveland
House to boarders.
In the 1950s, Mrs. Riggs and her husband, artist and
educator Dr. Sidney N. Riggs, installed electricity,
running water, and an indoor bathroom. An upstairs bath
was added in the 1980s.
The Cleaveland House has the charm -- and inconveniences
-- of a two-and-a-half-century-old house. Large, airy
rooms, fireplaces in two of the three guest bedrooms,
antique bedsteads and furniture, shared baths (access
to the downstairs bathroom is through the kitchen),
small closets, and no television. It also has the dynamic
feel of eight generations of living by a noted Vineyard
Mrs. Riggs and her daughter Cynthia, a mystery writer,
opened the house as a bed and breakfast catering to
poets and writers in 1988.
We invite you to share it with us for a few days --
Three rooms are available:
- The East Chamber upstairs with king-size bed and
- The Indian Room upstairs with single bed. $95.
- Aunt's Room downstairs with twin beds and fireplace.
The upstairs rooms are adjoining, and may be engaged
as a suite or as individual rooms. Visit our GUEST
ROOMS page for more information and photos. A continental
breakfast is served, compliments of the house, from
8 to 10 am. We request no smoking in the house or on
WEDNESDAY AFTERNOON POETRY
Join Island poets for the Wednesday afternoon poetry
workshop, usually held on alternate weeks. Bring your
own poems to read, join in the critique session, or
simply listen. The meeting runs from 3 to 5 pm.