Today the Vineyard Gazette‘s Sam Bungey reports that the Obamas have settled on a rental for their Martha’s Vineyard vacation: the 28.5-acre Blue Heron Farm, located in the quiet town of Chilmark.
While the mechanics of renting the property were still ongoing at press time, the Gazette has learned that a rental agreement for the farm will comprise three leases, one to be held by the Obamas, another by the Secret Service and a third by a White House entourage.
Earlier speculation had put the first family in the town of Oak Bluffs, which is home to a prominent African-American community that includes Henry Louis Gates Jr., Spike Lee, and Vernon Jordan.
Blue Heron Farm previously belonged to the late New York real estate developer M. Anthony Fisher and his wife Anne, who hosted a dinner party on the property for the Clintons summer of 1998. The Fishers died in a plane crash April 2003, and the property is now owned by William and Mollie Van Devender (who, incidentally, made contributions to both Fred Thompson’s and John McCain’s presidential campaigns).
According to the Gazette, amenities include a swimming pool, flower and vegetable gardens, access to the Great Pond, a golf practice tee, an apple orchard, and a small basketball court. The structures on the property include a white Victorian farm house, a Vermont shed, a reconstructed Pennsylvania hay barn dating back to the 1800s.
Although rental rates are not publicly available, similar properties in the area go for about $35,000-$50,000 per week, the Gazette reports. Apparently the search for a suitable vacation home was extensive.
The choice of Blue Heron Farm concludes a thorough investigation of Island rental properties which began in the spring. Senior White House aides and members of the Secret Service have examined and rejected more than 20 properties.
Bungey also writes on the Daily Beast that the first family is paying their own way, and that the property’s owners, William and Molle Van Devenders, have contributed money to Fred Thompson and John McCain’s campaigns.