The Kennedys’ Hyannis Port, MA, compound may be their best-known vacation spot, but we currently have our eyes fixed on another seaside estate associated with the famed political family. Red Gate Farm, a 340-acre Martha’s Vineyard property purchased 40 years ago by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, is now on the market for $65 million.
Although the former first lady spent much time summering in Cape Cod, she became interested in finding a private space there to call her own. In 1979, she found her sanctuary: a multiacre expanse in nearby Martha’s Vineyard with more than a mile of Atlantic Ocean beachfront. She paid a little over $1 million to secure the land and its sole structure, a small hunting cabin which still exists today.
“Forty years ago, my mother fell in love with Martha’s Vineyard,” said Caroline Kennedy in a statement. “When she found Red Gate Farm, it was a perfect expression of her romantic and adventurous spirit. The dunes and ponds and rolling hills of Aquinnah gave her the chance to create a world where she could be so close to nature, close to her family and friends, and, most importantly, close to her beloved books.”
Why are the Kennedys selling Red Gate Farm?
So why did the family put the place on the market? Kennedy explained that the “grandchildren are grown, so now it is time for us to follow my mother’s example and create our own worlds. We hope that a new family will treasure this place as we have for three generations.”
Onassis dreamed up her one-of-a-kind home with the help of architect Hugh Newell Jacobsen, who designed the 6,500-square-foot, Cape Cod–style main residence. The house has five en suite bedrooms, a chef’s kitchen with professional-grade appliances, and two offices that could also be used as artist studios. There are also three fireplaces and multiple decks with views of the water and dunes.
Elsewhere on the property there’s a two-story guesthouse, two garages, a caretaker’s house, a boathouse, a pool, and a tennis court.
For the landscaping, Onassis hired her friend Bunny Mellon, who had designed the White House Rose Garden when Onassis was first lady.
Will the sale smash a real estate record?
There’s no denying that this historic homestead is a unique property. But will it get its price? If the home sells for anywhere near $65 million, it would shatter the record for the most expensive property on Martha’s Vineyard. The current record-holder, the 186-acre estate of William Graham (son of former Washington Post publisher Katharine Graham), was sold in January 2019 for $32.5 million.
Broker Tania Isacoff Friedland of Warburg Realty in New York says the outlook for a sale is good.
“The [Graham] estate, located on the other—arguably less desirable—side of the island, sold for half the price, was a little less than half the size, and was essentially all raw land,” Friedland says. “While $65 million seems like a big ticket, someone will pay a premium for Red Gate Farm.”
The property is being marketed globally by Christie’s International Real Estate, which is represented locally by Tom LeClair and Gery Conover, agents of LandVest, the exclusive affiliate of Christie’s International Real Estate on Martha’s Vineyard.
Below, a closer look at the iconic estate.