Tags: biden | nantucket | holiday

'Average Joe' Biden Rents $4 Million Home

Thursday, 27 Nov 2008 11:02 AM

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Joe Biden may portray himself as a lunch-bucket Democrat with working-class roots, but when it comes to the holidays, the vice president-elect parties like a Kennedy.

Biden and his family caused a stir Wednesday aboard the high-speed ferry from Hyannis, Mass., as the Delaware senator made his way to his traditional Thanksgiving getaway, a rented $4 million home on the eastern end of trendy Nantucket Island.

"We always go over for Thanksgiving the last 33 years," Biden told the Cape Cod Times as he made his way to the ferry dock, a stone's throw from the famed Kennedy compound in Hyannisport.

Biden said he typically traveled to and from the island retreat unnoticed. But all of that has changed since the election.

"There was a lot of state troopers and Secret Service involved in this with bomb-sniffing dogs," Philip Scudder, vice president of Hy-Line ferry told the local newspaper.

A Coast Guard cutter followed the ferry for the one-hour trip to Nantucket. Meanwhile aboard Hy-Line's Gray Lady ferry, the senator's handlers kept him separated from other passengers in a small section on the ferry's upper deck.

Popping the collar of his tweed jacket, the 66-year-old Biden read the newspaper, took family photos, and sported iPod earphones for much of the trip, according to the Cape Cod Times.

Once on Nantucket, the Bidens will celebrate Thanksgiving at a 5,280-square-foot home on scenic Polpis Road near Sesachacha Pond. Biden rented the house from local builder Larry Maury, son of well known Nantucket entrepreneur John Maury.

According to Forbes Magazine, Nantucket boasts the highest median property values in Massachusetts. In addition to its quaint and historic waterfront villages, the island is also famous as a seasonal playground for the rich and famous. Some of Nantucket's notable part-time residents include NBC's Chris Matthews, comic-couple Jerry Stiller and Anne Meara, heiress Teresa Heinz and husband Sen. John Kerry, Google CEO Eric Schmidt, designer Tommy Hilfiger, and retired GE CEO Jack Welch.

About 30 miles off the southern coast of Massachusetts, Nantucket is adjacent to the island of Martha's Vineyard, another popular, high-end New England getaway and a favorite haunt of former president Bill Clinton.

On the campaign trail, Biden rarely failed to bring up his working-class, Roman Catholic roots and the hard times his family faced. Biden, who grew up in a tough part of Scranton, Pa., helped the Democrats reach blue-collar workers in traditionally Republican areas where President George W. Bush clinched previous elections.

But if the pricey vacation seems, to some, discordant with the vice president-elect's work-a-day background and sensibilities, to other island regulars his trip seemed positively ordinary.

"It's nice to see he's your average Joe," said Dan Lyons of Orange, Conn., who was traveling to Nantucket with his family for an extended holiday retreat. Lyons then cajoled his 6-year-old daughter into saying Biden's name.

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