Despite its humble beginnings as a whaling and trading area, Cape Cod has evolved to accommodate some of the wealthiest and most famous people in the world. The cape’s historic and maritime culture along with ample beaches attract visitors year-round and provide a much needed escape from the fast-paced lifestyle of neighboring cities. Businessmen and politicians, in particular, flock to the cape from New York and Washington D.C. with unmatched fervor each summer. One such summer guest of Cape Cod was none other than U.S. President John F. Kennedy.
The parents of U.S. President John F. Kennedy, Rose Fitzgerald Kenny and Joseph P. Kennedy, purchased a Hyannis Port summer home in 1928 when John, commonly known as “Jack,” was merely 11 years old. Many of Jack’s childhood summers were spent on the cape acquiring a love for sailing and other activities, so it’s no surprise the president found it peaceful and rejuvenating to return there as an adult. “I always go to Hyannis Port to be revived…” said the president.
In 1956, Jack bought his own Cape Cod home not far from his father’s. Subsequently, Jack’s brother Ted purchased a home adjacent to the other two. Today, these two properties along with the original waterfront property on Marchant Avenue are known as The Kennedy Compound.
The Kennedy Compound gained notoriety when John F. Kennedy used the location as a base for his successful presidential campaign in 1960. Significant media attention was drawn to the cape throughout Kennedy’s presidency. The Cape Cod compound was used as a summer White House for the growing presidential family, and the president’s brothers, who also continued to occupy and visit the Cape, gained recognition as Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy and Senator Ted Kennedy.
The celebrity status of the Kennedy family had people from around the world interested in Cape Cod and its unique architecture, landscapes and activities. The Kennedy Compound reflected the traditional Cape Cod white-board clapboard structures typical of cape homes. The well tended lawns and gardens provided inspiration for gardens throughout the U.S. and abroad. The Kennedy boathouse made the American public wanting of a sophisticated boating lifestyle. Cape Cod became inextricably aligned with the Camelot era of the Kennedys and continues to attract America’s attention today.
If you want to experience life on Cape Cod like the Kennedys, come and stay with us at Chatham Gables Inn. You can visit The Kennedy Compound in Hyannis Port and be revived by it, just like President Kennedy. You can learn more about the Kennedy family’s rich history on Cape Cod by visiting important sites on the Kennedy Legacy Trail. You can go boating, visit historic lighthouses and eat fresh fish like little Jack did as a child. And, you can stay in Chatham: a central location on the cape from which you can explore not only Hyannis Port but all of Cape Cod. The Chatham Gables in will treat you to the best services and amenities possible. You could even walk away feeling as if you were a Kennedy in Camelot!
Photo courtesy of Dave Hopton.