Two lots in Kennedy Aquinnah estate put up for sale

Two lots in Kennedy Aquinnah estate put up for sale

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Red Gate Farm fronts on Squibnocket Pond and the Atlantic. — File photo by Susan Safford

Two of the most exclusive undeveloped building lots on Martha’s Vineyard hit the real estate market with a splash this week.

Caroline Kennedy and her husband, Edwin Schlossberg, owners of the 377-acre Red Gate Farm overlooking the Atlantic Ocean in Aquinnah, have placed a 54-acre lot with an asking price of $25 million and a 40-acre lot with an asking price of $20 million on the market.

The two lots are part of a subdivision estate plan for the property once owned by Ms. Kennedy’s late mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and enjoyed by many members of the extended Kennedy family.

The remote property has long been admired for the privacy it provided the Kennedy family. The one access road is off Moshup Trail and distinguished by a red gate. The main houses are surrounded by acres of rolling hills, dunes, and coastal heathlands. The estate is bordered by Squibnocket Pond to the southeast.

The listing agent is Deborah Hancock, owner of Hancock Real Estate in Chilmark. Ms. Hancock could not be reached for comment.

The listing sheet for the pond-front parcel says it provides “incredible views of Squibnocket Pond, with further views over towering sand dunes to the Atlantic Ocean. This property consists of 39.51 acres, with over 1,000 feet of frontage on the pond and over 1,000 feet of frontage on the stream connecting to Menemsha Pond.”

The ocean front parcel is described as “simply magnificent … Rolling dunes, Squibnocket Pond views, Atlantic Ocean views … over 50 acres of beachfront land abutting 60 acres of protected beachfront.”

Location, location

News that a portion of the Kennedy estate is for sale attracted the kind of free national and international publicity that a real estate broker only dreams about — unless the client is a Kennedy.

The headline in the online edition of the Daily Mail, based in England, posed a question: “Fancy being neighbors with America’s first family? Caroline Kennedy selling off two Martha’s Vineyard plots for a cool $45 million.”

The Daily Mail also reported, “Martha’s Vineyard is an island located south of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It is well known as a popular destination for the rich and famous during the summer months.

“Politicians and celebrities known to regularly visit the island, refered to as ‘Hollywood East,’ include U.S. President Barack Obama; former president Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton; comedian and talk show host David Letterman; Bill Murray; Quincy Jones and Meg Ryan.”

Closer to home, The Boston Herald broke the story Thursday in its gossip column, Inside Track with the headline, “Be Caroline Kennedy’s neighbor … for $45M!”

Inside Track columnist Gayle Fee asked, “Does Caroline Kennedy need a little walkin’ around money if, as expected, she packs up and heads for Tokyo as President Obama’s ambassador to Japan?”

Ms. Fee quoted a description of the property. “‘Simply magnificent is the only way to describe this pristine oceanfront parcel,’ says the listing. ‘Rolling dunes, Squibnocket Pond views, Atlantic Ocean views … a blank slate for your dream home.’ And did we mention the only neighbor is the former first daughter and her fam?”

Careful thought

The groundwork for listing the properties was completed in April 2006 when the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, the Island’s powerful regional permitting body, approved the Kennedy Red Gate Farm estate subdivision plan.

At the time, Red Gate Farm, formerly owned by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, consisted of 31 separate parcels on 366 acres off Moshup Trail, bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Squibnocket Pond. The approved plan created seven large lots, to include the 106-acre family homestead lot, three equal-sized lots for the Kennedy-Schlossberg children, the two lots now listed, which could be sold to pay taxes and/or expenses, and one lot declared forever non-buildable, to preserve the coastal environment.

The MVC reviewed the estate plan as a development of regional impact (DRI) because of the property’s size. Throughout their review, the commissioners struggled with defining their oversight role in regulating development and addressing environmental concerns and habitat protection on the property years into the future, in concert with strict regulations already imposed by Aquinnah’s town boards and state agencies.

The MVC approved the plan, 10-2, with conditions as offered by Ms. Kennedy, and the additional condition of their own regarding wastewater systems and further subdivision and development.

Ms. Kennedy thanked the commissioners for their careful review. “We put a lot of care and effort into this plan, and a lot of thought. I believe it is such a special piece of property, and I know my children feel the same way. Obviously that sentiment is shared across the Island, so that is something that we’re very conscious of,” Ms. Kennedy said. “We do feel that we are stewards of this property and hope to be very happy here for many generations, and this plan really is a critical component in our ability to take care of the land.”

Ms. Kennedy also offered to donate $100,000 to the Aquinnah Affordable Housing Committee and contribute up to $15,000 to the Mass Estuaries Project, a sum equivalent to Aquinnah’s share of the cost.



    1. Michael, using all caps (beyond simplifying what should be in upper case and what shouldn’t) is shouting. So stop shouting at us, Michael. And yes, spell check. Please.

  2. No one should be allowed to have so much land. It’s a question of fairness. There are so many homeless on MV, they should be given some land. Obama would support my position.

      1. Yes. She didn’t build that and sooner or later you have enough. Pass it on to someone who doesn’t have much out of fairness. After all Caroline is going to be the US Ambassador to Japan—a position she is supremely qualified for. In the spirit of uncle Teddy, she should give up some of the land or donate it to the plovers.
        Subject: Re: New comment posted on Two lots in Kennedy Aquinnah estate put up for sale

    1. I recently found out that being sarcastic is reason to have your posts deleted on this site.. And your post is clearly sarcastic..just giving you a friendly bit of insight as to why we get deleted so much..

      1. Actually, semmelt’s post is not sarcasm. It’s more like holding a mirror up to liberal hypocrisy. Perhaps we can have a contest. Which sale underscores such hypocrisy more: Caroline Kennedy’s sale of her inherited shorefront land or Al Gore’s sale of his network to al jazeera? Talk amongst yourselves.

        1. After reading Semmelts post, we could debate the meaning of the word sarcasm.
          I personally have no problem with rich people selling stuff to each other..And this particular sale will net the land bank $900, great.They can buy some more land and protect more plovers, while letting all of us enjoy it.
          Of course, we could site the 2005 supreme court ruling about local governments taking private land for “the betterment of the community” and just seize it and open it for public access. I personally think that would be better for the community than a few giant houses out there..
          And I know that it was the mostly liberal leaning judges that ruled for that one..I disagreed with that ruling..
          I see you falling back on bringing Al Gore into the debate again. I of course could bring Sarah Palin or George Bush into every discussion and get lots of up votes from the liberals.
          I again ask that you keep on topic.
          I have said before that I have no problem with people making money, so long as they pay their fair share of taxes on it. Al sold at a tidy profit, and paid his legal tax burden.That’s capitalism.. Why does that particular sale bother you so much?

          1. The sale itself doesn’t mean anything to me. It’s none of my business. I believe she can and should do with the property whatever she wants. After all, it’s hers. My problem, if we can call it “my problem,” is how liberal dems like little Caroline and her ilk lecture everyone else about how evil and selfish and destructive they are when someone other than their club seeks some kind of financial gain. Her club is always telling us that we should do with less, while they grab more. You can bet the farm that if Sarah Palin (you brought her up) owned the land and had the exact same plan the Five Corners cabal would be out there with signs and slogans and songs, laying themselves down in front of the excavators. Al Gore’s sale bothers me because an American broadcasting company offered him more money than the Islamic terror network, Aljazera. He sold it to Aljazera for less, and in so doing, surely, surely, has contributed to future tragedy.

          2. you should be proud of Al Gore for standing by his principles even though it cost him money.. i wonder if I will get deleted for saying that a certain woman on the fox news payroll suggested we kill millions of innocent Korean civilians “to teach the world a lesson” .. let me clear about this.. I do not mean to be argumentative, condescending, satirical, and (or) disparaging of your point of view in any way.. It is Just a fact.

            I think that kind of rhetoric has surely, surely contributed to a future tragedy. — that is my opinion.

            And of course you have to realize that your characterization of Aljazera as an “Islamic terror network” is an inflammatory, condescending and disparaging statement to the great majority of people who practice Islam.

          3. I really don’t care if Muslims are offended by my characterization of Aljazera as an “Islamic terror network.” That is simply a fact. Let me ask you two questions, Don, how is the appeasement of the Islamic world working out these days? And how has appeasement worked out historically?

          4. the fact that you don’t care is the problem..
            I do not think that drones firing hellfire missiles in a soverign country against their wishes,killing so called combatants and civilians is appeasement.
            Nor do I think soldiers kicking down doors and searching private houses in the middle of the night is appeasement..

            The question really is how is the total disrespect , invasion of Islamic countries and the mass killing of civilians working out ?

          5. I certainly agree with you about Aljazara. Living in a country of free speech means just that. Aljazara has broadcast some pro-extremist stories, but news is news. Our perspectives may be different, but don’t watch it if it bothers you.
            On the other hand, I do take exception to the overall misconceptions you present concerning our response to terrorist attacks upon our nation. We have been attacked by a group of warriors intent upon our destruction. Our fallacy is to assume all muslims feel the same as a small group of extremists. We simply cannot allow any group to operate anywhere with the intent of planning attacks upon our nation. The drone program is a measured response to our enemies operating freely in Pakistan (mostly). It is precise and intended to minimize civilian casualities. Yes, they do happen, but what would one expect when jihadis use them as shields. The onus is more upon Pakistan for allowing them sanctuary to plot against us. Perhaps if one of your family had died in the world trade center you would be a little less lenient.
            What this has to do with the Kennedy land in Aquinnah I have no concept!

          6. What this has to do with the sale of the Kennedy property is that johnathan brought Al Gores recent sale of his tv network into the conversation. He brings Al into quite a few discussions..
            But then he brought up the “appeasement” concept..
            my point in the off point to topic wider discussion is that i don’t think we are ‘appeasing” anyone..
            What I see is that American military intervention in Islamic nations is fueling the radical recruitment effort.
            Johnathan has stated clearly that he does not care if people are offended.

            that feeds the fire.

          7. We can agree on the drones and jackboots. But I suspect, however, that in the privacy of the voting booth, you vote for those very people who launch the drones and command the jackboots. The current drone program and its massive expansion and legal “justification” for doing so is all Obama. Yet I would bet the farm that you voted for him – as well as all or most of the Five Corners crowd.

          8. I hate to sound sarcastic, but do you mean the appeasement group, or the people who are managing the drone program, waging war on a number of fronts, and going after terrorist wherever they may be on the planet ?

            sounds like you are saying they are one and the same

            Either Obama is an appeaser, or he is the commander of the “jackboots” . you seem to vilify him as both ..

          9. Re Al Gore: Would you feel the same way if, for example, he sold his network to Pravda during the Brezhnev years?

    2. I think the editor is just having fun by deleting that last comment of yours..
      But perhaps he found it sarcastic..
      certainly, being correct has nothing to do with it, as erronious information stays on here all the time..

    3. You must be kidding…Obama would support you since he is doing his best to destroy our country. Time to wake up. Homeless folks should probably move to the mainland, might be easier to find work. Wait…Obama has failed at jobs.

      1. your comment is so bizarre it does not warrant comment.. please excuse me for the reply ..

  3. Taylor swift should have waited b4 buying that house in Rhode Island.

  4. I guess we will see if we have learned anything from the Shifter debacle..
    Anyone care to have a pool as to how big the houses are that go there ?

    my guess is 10,000 sq ft. for each lot.. I hope the electric company lines can handle the extra load..

    But I guess they can just upgrade the lines, and pass the cost on to the rest of us..

  5. Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg should designate the ocean-front parcel as a public beach for use by all — not just Aquinnah residents. She could create a dirt parking lot on the land to eliminate the need for beach goers to park on Moshup’s Trail. She would retain ownership and thus be able to sell it in the future if she needs the money.

      1. perhaps she could sell it to the land bank.. then we could all go to the beach there..

    1. Christine… I have to side with the conservatives here and disagree with your use of the word “should” in your first sentence.

      I think “could” would be a better choice of word.

    2. Great idea! She has plenty of money. Donate the land to affordable housing. They could also have some concession and souvenir stands. Pay toilets, charge for parking. The proceeds could be put towards construction costs. The housing should consist of apartment rentals. Not practical to expect everyone to own a single family home, especially in such a high cost area as the Vineyard.
      Problem solved.

      1. Great idea because all the jobs are in Aquinnah. Right. You might just as well put affordable housing on Cuttyhunk. Affordable housing needs to be near where the jobs are.

          1. How can anyone afford a house without a job? Section 8 and welfare alone won’t pay the bills. Commuting costs eat into affordability.

    3. How amazing that so many people feel entitled to tell the owner of a large, beautiful piece of property what she/he should do with it!
      And aren’t you lucky to be in the position to give advice.
      “Oh what fools these mortals be”.

      1. All these folks, so envious of others, have ideas that directly benefit themselves. People are, at core, kinda piggy when it comes to wanting something for nothing. There is nothing that entitles the public to traipse all over every beautiful square inch of the island, conveniently, too, but that doesn’t stop some from audaciously telling a property owner what she should do. More sickening than amazing, in my opinion.

  6. Too bad this fine estate is being broken up and sold off. I hope the mere $45 million is enough money to support the remainder of the land they wish to keep in their family for generations to come. I’m not a fan of the Kennedy clan at all but I wish them no ill will either.

  7. Anyone who buys in tribal land is asking for trouble. The Kennedys’ financial adviser is no dummy, he probably told them to SELL!