Luxury Getaways for the President: Martha's Vineyard and Beyond

What can tens of thousands of dollars buy for a family vacation? In the case of the nation's first family, think of a secluded, waterfront property complete with horse paddocks, a boat house and an apple orchard.

Those are just a few of the amenities offered by the Blue Heron Farm, the 28.5-acre Martha's Vineyard estate where President Obama, his family and, of course, the Secret Service will spend part of the president's summer vacation next week.

Tom Wallace, of Wallace and Company Sotheby's International Realty, said the property, which is home to a five-bedroom main house, also features a Cape Cod guest house, a swimming pool and a half-court basketball court. The Obamas will have their pick of activities on the property, ranging from kayaking on the West Tisbury Great Pond to a simple game of horseshoes.

"It's the type of place that once you get there, it's not something you want to leave," Wallace said. "It's very tranquil, great place for a family vacation. The kids will absolutely have a ball, as I'm sure [Obama family dog] Bo will also."

Wallace declined to say how much the Obamas were spending on the rental, but Caroline Taylor, another Martha's Vineyard realtor, estimated that the property would go for $35,000 to $50,000 a week.

The Obamas will pay for at least a portion of the rental, but taxpayer funds will be used to pay for Secret Service and staff housing on the property.

Martha's Vineyard is a summer resort island off the coast of Massachusetts. Some Vineyard estates, particular those in the towns of Edgartown and Chilmark, home to Blue Heron Farm, rent for even more -- as much as $75,000 a week or higher. But you wouldn't know it by just driving around the island, Taylor said.

"They're just hidden," she said. "They're off of insignificant dirt roads. If you follow down a driveway and wind around, you see all these private homes that are absolutely stunning."

Chilmark, in particular, is known as a secluded area that has attracted celebrities like Jake Gyllenhall, Larry David, Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.

Obama Vacation: Cheap by Some Measures

Dawn Bellante-Holand, the general manager of Martha's Vineyard Online, a portal for Vineyard vacation rentals, said celebs and others who come to Chilmark and Martha's Vineyard aren't there to show off. It's a casual place, she said.

"You come here because it's relaxing," she said. "There's a quality of life here that people are very grateful to have, and you're able to enjoy that with friends and family in a way that feels very sincere."

By some measures, the Obama's luxury getaway is on the cheap side. A week in posh digs at a high-end New York City hotel, for instance, could cost roughly double the estimated price of their Martha's Vineyard rental. A waterfront home at Lake Tahoe, at just $40,000 a week, might be more their speed. Below, check out some other pricey ways the Obamas could have spent their vacation.

Edgartown, Martha's Vineyard, Mass.


If the first family ever considered a Vineyard alternative, it might have been the Athearn House, a seven-bedroom, 18th-century home steps away from the property's private beach in Edgartown. A one-week August stay at the secluded three-acre estate, which is also for sale, will cost you $45,000.

Ski Chalet, Deer Valley, Utah

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