Is President Joe Biden Coming Back To Nantucket?

Joe Biden at the Nantucket Cold Turkey Plunge in 2012.

Written By: Jason Graziadei | Photography By: Kris Kinsley Hancock

President Joe Biden may be Nantucket’s guest once again for Thanksgiving, this time while holding the highest elected office in the country. Rumors are swirling around the island regarding a potential visit by President Biden next month, although the trip has not yet been confirmed. 

The Current has learned, however, that advance teams of U.S. government personnel have undertaken some planning efforts to facilitate a potential visit, including booking hotel rooms at a number of different establishments for Secret Service agents as well as other security and logistics personnel. Multiple sources confirmed that planning effort is underway. 

But Nantucket Police Lt. Angus MacVicar said yesterday that no one from the Secret Service or the Biden administration had been in touch with the Nantucket Police Department regarding a visit. 

“At this point it would be short notice for something that involves so much logistics, so I would be surprised if he’s coming that we haven’t heard anything at this point,,” MacVicar said. 

If President Biden and the First Lady do come to the island next month, the spectacle will be far beyond those of his prior Nantucket visits as a Senator, Vice President, and Presidential candidate. The scale of the security apparatus necessary to ensure Biden’s safety will be on another level compared to those previous trips, and it’s not yet clear where Biden would stay.

The family’s annual pilgrimage to Nantucket began 46 years ago after his then-Chief of Staff Wes Barthelmes recommended the island to Biden. 

“He suggested the island of Nantucket, which was an hour by ferry south of Cape Cod,” Biden wrote in his 2017 memoir. “Neither Jill nor I had ever been there, but we decided to go ahead and make an adventure of it. We filled my Jeep Wagoneer with fifty-seven-cents-a-gallon gas and piled the boys and the dog into the backseat for what was likely to be a six-hour ride to the ferry in Hyannis, Massachusetts.”

Even as Vice President, Biden made himself at home on the island and was largely accessible to the community, posing for hundreds of pictures during his strolls through the downtown area, getting Thanksgiving dinner from the Puders at Faregrounds restaurant, and taking part in the Atheneum’s Turkey Plunge at Children’s Beach. 

During Biden’s time as Vice President, the family stayed at several different properties around the island for its Thanksgiving visits, including Carlyle Group founder David Rubenstein’s estate on Abrams Point, and former UK Ambassador Louis Susman’s home off Washing Pond Road. 

Biden’s last visit to Nantucket was in 2019 when he was a Presidential candidate, so there was not a huge security detail, no Air Force Two landing, and little fanfare at the time. The Bidens appeared that year at a fundraiser hosted by Elizabeth Bagley, the former ambassador to Portugal under President Bill Clinton and a major Democratic party supporter. Biden did not visit the island in 2020 following his victory in the Presidential election last November. 

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