Post-presidential pads: After the White House, what comes next?

Former first couples have retired to estates and homes across the US

National /
Dec.December 10, 2019 09:45 AM
The Obamas and 79 Turkeyland Cove Road (Credit: Getty Images, Zillow)

The Obamas and 79 Turkeyland Cove Road (Credit: Getty Images, Zillow)

Former President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama recently closed on an $11.75 million, 6,900-square-foot estate in Martha’s Vineyard, making it the priciest post-presidential pad in history.

But the Obamas are only the latest former first couple to retire to comfy confines after moving out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. In 2008, George W. and Laura Bush snapped up a Dallas property just after the Dow Jones tanked.

Bill and Hillary Clinton paid $1.7 million for a home in toney Chappaqua, N.Y., in 1999. That positioned Hillary Clinton for her successful Senate campaign. More real estate purchases were to come for the Clintons.

George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush retired to their sprawling estate in Kennebunkport, Maine; while Ronald and Nancy Reagan moseyed on back to their “Ranch in the Sky” in California.

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter returned to their longtime, modest ranch-style house in Georgia, after he lost his re-election bid in 1980.

And what is now the most expensive post-presidential property once belonged to one of the most infamous presidents. Richard and Pat Nixon retreated to their home in San Clemente, California, after he resigned amid what would have been certain impeachment in the House of Representatives and potential conviction in the Senate.

Barack and Michelle Obama

Barack Obama's new home on Martha's Vineyard

The Obamas’ new home on Martha’s Vineyard

The former first couple’s 29-acre spread on the moneyed Massachusetts island was actually snagged at a 20 percent discount from its asking price. The listing had been slotted at $14.9 million. The Obamas actually rented the estate before deciding to buy.

Their new residence at 79 Turkeyland Cove Road has a pool and an outdoor stone fireplace surrounded by lush hydrangeas. The seven-bedroom home also has high-vaulted ceilings with exposed beams and a massive kitchen — as well as a private beach. In 2017, an Obama family spokesperson denied a rumor that the couple had been eyeing two much larger parcels on the island owned by Caroline Kennedy and her husband.

George W. and Laura Bush: Dallas

George W. Bush's Preston Hollow home

George W. Bush’s Preston Hollow home

In 2008, just days after the Dow Jones fell 777 points, Laura and George W. Bush paid $3 million for an 8,501 square-foot pad in an upscale North Dallas neighborhood. The house is on a quiet cul-de-sac on a 1.13-acre lot, with an outside fireplace and a separate servant’s quarters.

The former first couple spend most of their days in the ultra-chic Preston Hollow neighborhood, near Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. He bought the Texas Rangers from Bush and other investors in 1988. Another neighbor was oil magnate and corporate raider T. Boone Pickens, who lived there until his death in September.

Separately, the Bushes owned a home in the Texas hill country near Crawford. It was 43’s favored retreat during his presidency. The couple rarely spends time there now, according to reports.

Bill and Hillary Clinton: Chappaqua, N.Y.

The Clintons' Chappaqua home (Credit: Getty Images)

The Clintons’ Chappaqua home (Credit: Getty Images)

In 1999, the Clintons bought a 5,300-square-foot home at 15 Old House Lane, in Chappaqua, New York, for $1.7 million. The purchase was made as Bill Clinton was leaving the White House and Hillary Clinton was planning her Senate run.

In 2000, the Clintons bought another multimillion-dollar home, this one in the nation’s capital. The $2.85 million, 5,500-square-foot home on “Embassy Row” has seven bedrooms, a den, and a pool on grounds surrounded by trees.

But the couple apparently liked Chappaqua, an exclusive neighborhood near where New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo shared a home with now-ex and celebrity chef Sandra Lee. In 2016, the Clintons purchased a second house on Old House Lane in Chappaqua, for $1.16 million. The 3,631-square-foot home sits on 1.6 acres and boasts three bedrooms and four baths, with a chef’s kitchen and a fireplace in the family room.

George H. W. and Barbara Bush: Kennebunkport, Maine

The main home on the Walker's Point compound (Credit: Wikipedia)

The main home on the Walker’s Point compound (Credit: Wikipedia)

When George H.W. and Barbara Bush left the White House in 1992, they returned to their home in Kennebunkport, Maine. The former president purchased the estate from his father in 1977.

The compound, called “Walker’s Point,” was built by his grandfather, David Davis Walker, in the 1870s. The New England-style house sits on nine acres and has nine bedrooms, a library, kitchen and dining room, numerous patios and decks, a private beach and a tennis court. The parcel was assessed at $13.1 million in 2018, according to Kennebunkport tax records.

Ronald and Nancy Reagan: Simi Valley, California

Rancho del Cielo

Rancho del Cielo

The couple purchased this massive, 688-acre estate in 1974 for $527,000. They swiftly named the retreat “Rancho del Cielo,” or “Ranch in the Sky.” The Simi Valley ranch overlooks the Santa Ynez Valley and boasts views of the Pacific Ocean. The 1,600-square-foot house has two bedrooms, a large living room and kitchen. But the real draw is the land — filled with hardwood trees and ponds where the couple would canoe.

It was also the place where the former president conducted official state affairs when away from the White House — and entertained heads of state and VIPs, including Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

Jimmy and Rosalyn Carter: Plains, Georgia

Jimmy Carter's Georgia home (Credit: Library of Congress)

Jimmy Carter’s Georgia home (Credit: Library of Congress)

The couple’s post presidential pad has also been their only home, for almost 60 years. The Carters have owned the 1961 Ranch-style house at 209 Woodland Drive since it was built. The modest, 4,000-square-foot abode has four bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, according to Zillow. The Zestimate for it was pegged at around $200,000.

Richard and Pat Nixon: San Clemente, California

La Casa Pacífica (Credit: Wikipedia)

La Casa Pacífica (Credit: Wikipedia)

Richard Nixon purchased his 9,000-square-foot home for $1.4 million in 1969. It sits on 5.45 acres.

Combined with the other buildings, the estate had a total living space of 15,000 square feet, including Nixon’s ocean-view office, a swimming pool, an illuminated tennis court and a greenhouse. Nixon called the expansive estate “La Casa Pacífica.”

The property has been listed for as much as $75 million — the asking price it reached in 2015 — and was discounted to $57.5 million earlier this year.

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