Red Gate Farm purchased by Land Bank

The Martha's Vineyard Land Bank has purchased another 32 acres of Red Gate Farm for $10 million. - Courtesy MV Land Bank.

The Martha’s Vineyard Land Bank Commission has purchased 32 acres known as Red Gate Farm in Aquinnah for $10 million from the family of Caroline Kennedy and Edwin Schlossberg, according to a Facebook post Wednesday.

The purchase is the second phase of a two-phase purchase to preserve the large swath of undeveloped land, according to the post.

In December, the Land Bank joined with Sheriff’s Meadow Foundation on a $27 million purchase of 303.9 acres of land from the family. The land was previously owned by Caroline Kennedy’s mother, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis.

That brings the total purchase price of the property to $37 million, which is well below the $65 million asking price when the property was put on the market in 2019. When the property was listed, a press release quoted Caroline Kennedy as saying her mother immediately fell in love with Red Gate Farm 40 years ago, and that it was “a perfect expression of her romantic and adventurous spirit.”

The Land Bank, which refers to the properties as the Squibnocket Pond Reservation, is in the process of drafting a management plan for the property. 

“It really is astonishing,” James Lengyel, executive director of the Land Bank, said of the property. “The land itself is unique. It’s just so lovely.”

The Kennedy-Schlossberg family will retain about 60 acres around the family’s house site, Lengyel said. The rest of the acreage will have public access through a management plan. Lengyel said he’s hopeful that the plan will go through the necessary approvals — Land Bank advisory board, Land Bank commission, and the state — in time for the public to begin exploring the “sensational landscape” next summer.

“2020 was a great year for conservation on the Vineyard,” he said, noting the first purchase made along with Sheriff’s Meadow, as well as the James Pond Preserve. “We have a lot in the hopper.”


    • Apparently you do fault them. When was the last time you took a $28 million loss?
      In this market, the property would likely have sold, at or near the asking price, to some venture capitalist(s), etc., to the loss of the island community. I, for one, look forward to once again seeing those magnificent dunes.

    • John — what’s so greedy about selling land at about 1/2 market value ?
      Is it the Kennedy name that bothers you? Perhaps a little “wealth envy” as the conservatives like to accuse the liberals of ?
      I know that if the family of a recently dismissed ex president had this, it would have been divided up into 3 acre lots, sold for top dollar, and there would be about a hundred trophy houses going in there.
      I for one will enjoy walking along the trails the land bank will put in.
      Thank you Caroline…
      And thank you also, James

  1. This is most sacred and treasured land on the Vineyard. I just hope the land bank preserves it properly. I trust they will. It is absolutely amazing no rich celebrity bought this when it was on the market.

  2. This is the sort of news that warrants celebration. This magnificent property is literally the jewel in the crown of Martha´s Vineyard and will be spared development forever.
    Sadly it is just a matter of time before some individual (usually the same one) harps about the loss of tax revenue only to be followed by several other members of the peanut gallery who will
    gripe that the owners should have simply donated the land.
    Some things never change!

  3. What’s stunning is that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis purchased the ~350 Gay Head acres in 1979 for $1,100,000. The Kennedy family protected and preserved that gorgeous property for the past 42 years for the rest of us. And now they continue to do so by making sure the proper Island organizations own and continue their responsible stewardship into the future. The Kennedy family values are clear and noble and Martha’s Vineyard has been preserved by them. Let Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg be the example for everyone else here who cherishes the beauty and sanctuary of Martha’s Vineyard. Let’s all follow her honorable example. The Island needs everyone to protect it. Thank you to our longtime, beloved Vineyard neighbors, the late Mrs. Jaqueline Kennedy Onassis, our late Vineyard son, John Kennedy, and, especially, Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg. Your mother and brother would be extremely proud of you — and we are all very grateful.

  4. I am thankful to the Kennedy/Schlossberg family for parting with this precious piece of land and agreeing to sell it to the Land Bank. We are all the beneficiaries of their respect for our need to preserve unique Island properties – and this parcel is unique. Thank you to all involved.

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