House of the Day: Obama's Storied Summer Retreat
President Obama may soon lose his favorite summer getaway. The Blue Heron Farm, named by former owner and philanthropist M. Anthony Fisher after the bird that's native to the area, has hosted the first family for the last three summers. But a fourth visit may not be in the cards: the Martha's Vineyard estate, located in Chilmark, Mass., has dropped onto the market to the trumpet-blast tune of $23.7 million.
Now don't blink:
Commanding 29 acres of waterfront, the property boasts two full-size homes and a world-class equestrian facility that includes an eight-stall horse barn, Olympic dressage arena and six grass paddocks. Other amenities include a water-view pool with hot tub, par-3 golf hole, tennis court, half basketball court (no doubt where the prez has swished his fair share of three-pointers), lawn bowling and horseshoes.
Though the residence -- with its lush landscape, generous waterfront and rich array of amenities -- embodies pastoral luxury, the estate also also carries a tragic past.
Marthasvineyard.patch.com reported that the estate was the property of philanthropist M. Anthony "Tony" Fisher, a Manhattan real estate developer who, among other civic contributions, created the Fisher House Foundation (a foundation that creates facilities where relatives can visit family members wounded in the military) and served as chief executive officer of the Intrepid Museum Foundation.
Fisher transformed the land into the jaw-dropper it is today by continually adding touches to the property. But tragedy struck in 2003 when Fisher and his wife perished in an airplane crash in Leominster, Mass.
In 2005, William and Mollie Van Devender bought Blue Heron Farm for $20.35 million. That the couple has rented out their property to the president for the past three summers is a bit ironic since the Devenders are staunch Republicans. According to Marthasvineyard.patch.com, William Devender donated $2,300 to Obama's 2008 opponent, John McCain, and $25,000 more to the Republican National Committee.
Perhaps Devender has been welcoming the president out of respect for the home's political legacy: In 1998 the Fishers hosted Bill and Hillary Clinton for dinner when the pair were in the White House.
Wallace Co Sotheby's International Realty has the listing.
Only time will tell what future dignitaries will grace the halls of this mansion. But by clicking on the pictures below you can see some similarly impressive homes that will put you close to them:
See other homes for sale Chilmark, Mass.
This story drew reporting from a Martha's Vineyard Patch article that explores the history of The Blue Heron Farm.
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