Jackie O's Martha's Vineyard home is for sale...

Annie Deighnaugh
July 1, 2019

Comments (39)

  • ritaweeda

    The upkeep on a place like that must be enormous not to mention the land taxes, insurance and expense just because of the location. I read up that Jackie bought that place after Aristotle passed away so I don't know if it was that much a part of Caroline's life, but maybe so. I do wonder what the price tag would be if it had nothing to do with Jackie or the Kennedy name.

  • OutsidePlaying

    What a beautiful property!

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  • janey_alabama

    I am surprised it does not any barns.

  • Janie

    So pretty and so "Jackie" imo. At first I thought it was Hammersmith Farm but that was her childhood home and then she and the President used it as their 'summer White House" with their family. I visited (not as a guest LOL but on a tour) and it was grand yet casual, all at once.

    I didn't even know about Red Gate Farm, it is just lovely. I enjoyed Caroline's words in this article.

  • Sammy

    It’s truly a breathtaking piece of property. And yet there isn’t any pretense about it; it’s quite cozy and informal-looking. Btw: There is a barn, janey. It’s mentioned in the actual listing. :)

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    I read up that Jackie bought that place after Aristotle passed away so I don't know if it was that much a part of Caroline's life, but maybe so.

    It does sound as if it was a big part of Caroline's children's lives, spending time there with their grandmother.

    I do wonder what the price tag would be if it had nothing to do with Jackie or the Kennedy name.

    340 acres on Martha's Vineyard, one mile of private ocean beachfront, with a 6,500 sf house designed by Hugh Newell Jacobsen and gardens landscaped by Bunny Mellon would put it up there. Plus a two-story, 4br guest house, two garages, a caretaker's house, and a boat house. And most of the property is undeveloped, functioning as a de facto nature preserve.

    I think it's fascinating -- disappointing yet entirely in keeping with the family's historic focus on privacy -- that Caroline authorized only one interior photo from the house for the Christie's listing.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    She bought the land for $1.1 million in 1978, and had the house and guest house built by HN Jacobsen in 1981 for $3.1 million.

    Interesting article from UPI after the house was finished with some of the house details,

    16-burner Vulcan stove in the kitchen, and "All the bathrooms have white American Standard appliances and electrically heated towel bars".

    More on the property and sale from The Vineyard Gazette,

    The property is currently assessed at $37 million, so the provenance is worth close to $30m.

    And Caroline wrote to the paper, "Together we wove the traditions of summer across three generations — setting lobster pots in Menemsha Pond, entering the Fair and never winning, growing a vegetable garden, bringing home the best shell from the beach every day, getting stuck at the airport when the fog rolled in.” She also wrote that "she and her husband were grateful to have been able to raise their children in a place that held so much meaning to her mother and her brother".

    This to me is the saddest part, though,

    The prospective sale portends the end of more than 40 years of continuous ownership and conservation of a singular Martha’s Vineyard landscape.

    The Massachusetts Natural Heritage and Endangered Species Program has described the property as one of the most important tracts of land in the commonwealth. It includes more than a mile of Atlantic-facing beachfront and embraces nearly the entire western shorefront of Squibnocket Pond.

    It's too bad they couldn't have made an environmental trust for the land.

  • Andie

    Too bad they didn't share more interior photos.

  • Springroz

    I’m packing right now!

  • Debby

    I would buy it if:

    1. It needs a new roof. Do you think they would reduce the price because of that?
    2. Will they take my cheque?
  • tartanmeup

    What a gorgeous home. Thanks for sharing, Annie. I also loved reading Caroline's words in this piece. (I saved the pic of the sitting room as a reminder that curtain rods don't need to be installed a foot above the window trim to look good.)

    ETA: Becky, the second article does state "In 2013, Ms. Kennedy and her husband Edwin Schlossberg giftedan additional 30 acres north of Moshup Trail to the Vineyard Conservation Society." The last reader comment there suggests "Wouldn't it be wonderful if all of us, seasonal visitors, year round residents, public and private organizations, alll of our townships, could work together to purchase this incredible property? Why not think in terms of a National Park Preserve, Caroline, perhaps named after the Kennedy family? Why not preserve and share this beautiful acreage and shoreline for all of us to enjoy ... and not just a select few?"

  • murraysmom Zone 6a OH

    Wow. How beautiful. I love the stone walls too. It would be great to make it a National Park. Thanks for sharing this.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    tartan, I saw that, but 30 acres vs. 340 seems a drop in the bucket. And the lure for developers who smell the potential would be strong, sigh.

    The family would seem to have enough money on both sides to make some sort of gift or trust, with all the attendant tax benefits. Expecting residents, visitors, and local governments to cough up $65m seems a bit much.

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    Taxpayers pony up much more dough than that for sports stadiums.

  • czarinalex

    It's really beautiful in it's simplicity and lack of ostentatiousness.

  • teeda

    I love the peace and simplicity of it.

  • IdaClaire

    I just like saying Squibnocket.

  • Kathsgrdn

    It may be under water in 10 years too. Due to global warming and rising ocean levels.

  • terilyn

    I also saw yesterday that Twelve Oaks from Gone With the Wind is going up for auction. Gorgeous old home!

  • arcy_gw

    lol my thought too, "Needs a new roof'. Such a beautiful compound and that is what I saw.

  • PRO

    I remember when Mrs Kennedy bought this place. She actually paid less than the asking price as she was willing to put part of the property (60 acres including the beach front) into permanent conservation. That part can never be subdivided.

    This property will not go to developers - it is far too costly for that. For a wealthy person who values privacy, it is incomparable.

    If the property is put in agricultural usage (someone can grown hay on it), tax dollars will be saved.

    Sadly, some of the wreckage of the plane in which her son went down washed up onto her beach. I think everyone thought the family would sell the property then. Such a shame that the children appear to not be interested in keeping it in the family and using it. It's not like they need the money...

  • Zalco/bring back Sophie!

    I always thought it was a huge mercy Onasis died before her son.

    PS Of course any parent wishes to die before his/her child. I was really just commenting on the added horror of the plane washing up on the mother's beach.

  • adellabedella_usa

    Caroline Kennedy is 61... not old.. but old enough to that she may be trying to get her things organized in case something happens to her. Sometimes 'stuff' become a burden. Her kids may not be really all that interested in the property.

  • PRO

    If her children are not, then they never spent enough time on the Vineyard and made summer friends, in order to be touched by its magic. My children still love the place, as do my grandchildren. The eldest two who have spent the most time there, already talk about coming back with their own children someday and hoping they’ll be friends with the children of their friends. I think the magic happens more in the various Vineyard towns, and far less when one goes for privacy.

  • Bestyears

    We could all pitch in and host some GW get-togethers there....

  • Bookwoman

    Remember that the Kennedys have a large compound in Hyannis, so the Schlossbergs will still have a place to go on the Cape. I'm sure there's room for them. :-)

  • PRO

    Caroline sold the Hyannis house to her Uncle Ted, many years ago. They no longer own a place on the Cape.

  • jemdandy

    As one begins to 'age out' and thinks of how much grass there is to mow, one plans to exit to smaller endeavors.

    That's a beautiful place. Let's hope it stays intact.

    If certain financial pundits (naysayers) are correct, home property values will fall next year, so now is the time to sell.

  • teeda

    Caroline Kennedy and her husband had a vacation home in an obscure, isolated little town in western MA where my young brother lived in the late 80s/90s. He saw her often--walking with her children, or in the few very basic local shops. My brother worked for the electric company at the time, so knew just about everyone in town. No one in the village had any interest in the fact that she lived there. Many probably would not even know who Caroline Kennedy was. That must have felt like such freedom to her.

  • arcy_gw

    How awful about the plane washing up!! I can see how Caroline would not want those memories.

  • nickel_kg

    Let's see. Outside: No shutters at the windows. No extra dormers or gables on the roof. Inside: no crown molding, drapes hung too low, no tv over non-existent slab fireplace, no ship-lap, no gray, no oversize clocks or signs instructing us to love, eat, breathe, etc. Didn't they even see HGTV? LOL!

    What a beautiful estate ... if some other super-rich person would buy and preserve it "as is" that would be wonderful.

  • Stan Areted

    I see the plane remnants washing up as comforting, like coming home, a sign.

    Jackie Kennedy Onassis' property is a reflection of what I've read and seen of her throughout my lifetime--beautiful property, luxurious, but not ostentatious.

    These properties may go the way of the "Downton Abbeys" of the world--they are expensive and labor intensive to maintain.

    Real estate cycles we can always depend upon. WSJ printed a recent article on Miami--which was in dire straights some years ago, came back full force and now luxury properties are being discounted. Seems foreign investors have backed off a bit.

    I imagine there are strict zoning laws as to what can happen to this property.

    As to Caroline and children, on a much smaller scale, my observations are that our children and grandchildren generally do not want to own property that takes so much of their time and resources, for the most part--out of sentiment. That goes down to family heirlooms, jewelry, furniture, etc. They usually want a few things but not everything we have inherited. Styles have changed, younger people seem to relish experiences more than possessions. Not a bad thing entirely; I suspect some they may regret later when they long for a historical connection to their ancestors.

    Caroline possesses more heirlooms of all sorts than most of us; there comes a time it becomes a burden, and yes after around fifty-five years of age most of us get a heads up from life to get our business in order and enjoy what life we have on our own terms.

    That property is a nice reminder of our history and glamour, the enigma of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, walking on the beach in ankle pants, a scarf and sunglasses, an enigma to us all, captivating.

    If only we did not know every detail about so many now!

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    The Glam Pad blog has a post today on Bunny Mellon's Cape Cod vacation house, which was sold to billionaire Bill Koch and his wife Bridget about five years ago, before Bunny died, and then redecorated by Kathryn Ireland. There was also a good blog post at Habitually Chic around the time that the House Beautiful feature came out on the redecoration. And both posts end with photos of Bunny and Jackie together : ) ,

    Good to see that the Kochs kept lots of things, including the painted floors and kitchen; also, "There were also some sofas and upholstered pieces that were just too big to fit through the tiny old doorframes, so it was easier to keep and re-cover them" lol.

  • PRO

    Saw that today. Didn't realize it was the Koch's who bought it.

  • sableincal

    A nice book about this property and area is What Remains, by Carole Radziwill. Carole was the DIL of Lee Bouvier, Jackie's sister; she was married to Anthony Radziwill, Lee's only son, who died of fibrosarcoma just a few weeks after John and Carolyn and her sister were killed in the plane crash. Carole and Anthony had been waiting in this house for John and Carolyn, who were their closest friends and were going to pay them a visit. It was Carole who alerted the Coast Guard and Navy and anyone else that the plane had not arrived; there was a certain amount of yelling on the phone as at first no one took her seriously; what she writes has been confirmed by official reports after the fact.

    I came across the book and bought it because it relates Anthony's diagnosis, treatment, and ultimate death from fibrosarcoma, which we were battling at the time with a cat of ours; this disease is lethal, almost immune to treatment; I was looking not for hope, but for guidance in dealing with cancer, even though "only" in an animal. But the book supplies so much more than that!

  • Alisande

    Another good book that talks about Jackie and this property is Come to the Edge: A Memoir, by Christina Haag, John Kennedy, Jr.'s girlfriend of a number of years.

    Caroline's wording (" . . . so close to nature, close to her family and friends, and, most importantly, close to her beloved books") seems to imply that books were more important to her mother than anything else, but I'm sure she didn't mean it that way.

    I was surprised that the Christie's listing didn't contain more photos of the interior, but it does have some nice shots of the Atlantic Ocean shoreline.

    Thanks for sharing, Annie.

  • beckysharp Reinstate SW Unconditionally

    Caroline's wording (" . . . so close to nature, close to her family and friends, and, most importantly, close to her beloved books") seems to imply that books were more important to her mother than anything else, but I'm sure she didn't mean it that way.

    Jackie always took solace in her books, and poetry, from her childhood on, and especially through difficult times. She also treasured her job as an editor where she could more or else be like a "normal" person. So I do think books were especially important to her, and possibly even considered "friends" on a par with the human ones : ) .

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