(Bloomberg) — The famed Kennedy compound might be in Hyannis Port, on the mainland of Cape Cod, but for the last 40 years a more discreet Kennedy estate has existed a short boat ride away on Martha’s Vineyard.
Originally purchased by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in 1979, her family has held on to the 340-acre estate, slowly renovating the buildings and improving the land. Now, Caroline Kennedy is listing the Red Gate Farm compound for $65 million with Christie’s International Real Estate.
The property is located in Aquinnah (formerly Gay Head), a relatively undeveloped area on the island’s southwestern tip. In total, the farm has more than a mile of beachfront.
Onassis purchased the property for a price the reports was $1 million. She built a shingled house with three bedrooms and three staff rooms, and enlisted Bunny Mellon, wife of Paul Mellon and famed horticulturist, to design the grounds. After her daughter Caroline, the former ambassador to Japan, inherited the property, she and her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, hired Deborah Berke to renovate and expand the house; Berke is the current dean of the Yale School of Architecture. Today, Red Gate Farm encompasses 6,456 square feet of living area.
The ground floor has a variety of recreation areas—the listing uses at least four euphemisms for seating area (“drawing room,” “family room,” “den,” “library,” and the more prosaic “living room”)—plus a formal dining room and chef’s kitchen. There are four en-suite bedrooms upstairs, and a smaller bedroom downstairs that Christie’s politely suggests would be “ideal for guests or staff.”
Views from the house are expansive. From most of the windows, residents can look across Squibnocket Pond to the thin strip of sand that separates it from the Atlantic Ocean.
Nearby is a two-story guesthouse that has another four bedrooms, three baths, living room, and kitchen. The grounds include a tennis court, pool, two ponds, a three-bedroom caretaker’s cottage, a barn, two garages, the property’s original hunting cabin, and a boathouse. The listing also notes that there is a “fairy treehouse,” which Onassis commissioned for her grandchildren.
Long considered a discreet, slightly more relaxed alternative to the nearby island of Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard has seen a few recent sales that indicate the market is beginning to gain steam. In January, the estate of William Graham, the son of former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham, sold a 186-acre plot of land in West Tisbury for $32.5 million, a record for the island.
The Kennedy property joins 11 other current Vineyard listings at or above $14 million, according to Zillow, including a $38 million, 280-acre property in West Tisbury, which is about a 20-minute drive away from the estate. (Unless it’s a summer weekend, in which case all bets are off.)
If the Onassis/Kennedy compound were to sell at ask, it would precisely double the island’s record for a single residential real estate transaction. Though if the Kennedy mystique still holds — Onassis’s estate sale at Sotheby’s in 1996 is still the stuff of legend, with rocking chairs selling for $343,500, and a set of JFK’s golf clubs going for $772,500 — that price might well be within reach.
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