Nation’s Summer Capital set to become a presidential retreat

President-elect Joe Biden’s North Shores beach home is just north of Rehoboth
November 8, 2020

Rehoboth Beach has long been known as the Nation’s Summer Capital. It will soon be known as the vacation residence for the 46th president of the United States.

President-elect Joe Biden purchased a house in North Shores, a community between Rehoboth Beach and Gordons Pond, during the summer of 2017.

Rehoboth Beach Mayor Stan Mills said Biden’s presidency will be a new challenge for the city, but he said the city is ready. Rehoboth Beach is known as the Nation's Summer Capital and is no stranger to high-profile visitors, including Biden during his time as vice president, he said, in an email Nov. 8.

The Bidens' house is under the jurisdiction of the state police because the house is outside Rehoboth city limits. However, said Mills, when the president-elect comes to town many local agencies get involved with making the visit a success. The Rehoboth Beach Police Department's role is to provide support to the Secret Service to coordinate the president's visits, he said.

Describing Biden as famously friendly, Mills said city officials anticipate he will continue his strolls around town. The city is prepared and looking forward to the Biden family visits, he said.

Henlopen Acres is slightly closer to the Biden house than Rehoboth. Mayor Joni Reich said the town knows that Biden and his wife, Jill, very much enjoy coming to the beach. They were here quite a bit during the campaign, she said.

“While as president we may not see him riding his bike as often, or see his wife Jill out jogging quite as much, I expect they will still come here to relax with their family as often as they can,” said Reich, in an email Nov. 8. “And I do expect they will still make it down to Rehoboth Avenue on occasion to say hello and visit their favorite stores. I can’t see Joe stop being the friendly guy he is.”

Reich said Henlopen Acres security has worked in tandem with North Shores management and the Secret Service for many years during his tenure as vice president, and are prepared to support the new safeguards that are being put in place.

For the past four years, President Donald Trump’s vacation residence has been Mar-a-Lago Club, a resort on a barrier island of Palm Beach, Fla.

Palm Beach Mayor Gail Coniglio said there are two priorities that are intertwined when Trump is in town. First and foremost, she said, are security measures for the President coupled with heightened efforts to protect residents. Secondly, she added, the goal is maintaining movement of traffic based on security confines and island geography.

There may not be a more famous presidential vacation residence than Walker’s Point, in Kennebunkport, Maine, where former presidents George H. W. Bush and George W. Bush spent many days at the family compound. 

Kennebunkport Town Manager Laurie Smith wasn't town manager during either of the Bush presidencies, but she said she’s heard from others security was the biggest issue during the active years. There was constant communication with the Secret Service and lots of planning for visits from the president, international leaders and celebrities, said Smith.

“It becomes a hub of activity - similar to Camp David,” said Smith, in an email Nov. 8.

Smith said presidential visits do impact neighbors and residents in multiple ways - proximity to the action and also impacts of safety protocols. Sometimes roads need to be closed, traffic diverted and a close landing site for helicopters is necessary, she said.

For the citizens of Kennebunkport, said Smith, a lot of pride developed in the community for the Bush family. The Bushes have been very kind to Kennebunkport and connected to so many community events.

“Everyone, regardless of political party, is proud to be the second home to a president,” said Smith. “As we say locally, ‘summer like a president’.”

Subscribe to the Daily Newsletter