News & Politics

Power at Play

Where do Washington’s heavy hitters vacation? Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket are rivals for the affections of Washington A-listers, both offering the chance to mix with Hollywood stars and New York intellectuals. So close is the competition that Bill Clinton celebrated his 60th birthday last August on the Vineyard and the next day on Nantucket.

In the early 1970s, Kay Graham and Art Buchwald gave Martha’s Vineyard cachet as an August getaway for Washington’s elite, and the Clintons added luster with frequent visits since his first year in the White House. (He gave old golf clubs to the island’s charity auction this year.) Regulars now include Buchwald’s son, Joel, Vernon Jordan, Frank Raines, David Gergen, and authors Tony Horwitz and Geraldine Brooks.

Nantucket is a perennial getaway for Democratic stalwarts Elizabeth and Smith Bagley, John and Teresa Heinz Kerry, Chris and Kathleen Matthews, the Carlyle Group’s David Rubenstein, economic guru David Smick, and restaurateurs Bob Kinkead and John Laytham.

The Hamptons, which offer a similar mix of fame and fortune, draw media powers George Stephanopoulos, Ben Bradlee and Sally Quinn, and Lally Weymouth as well as investment moguls Mark Ein and Rick Rickertsen.

Eastern Shore regulars include the Saul banking family, ex-politicians Birch Bayh and John Breaux, lobbyist Tommy Boggs, and real-estate mogul Chip Akridge. Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, and Tony Snow each recently bought a place there.