Taking the Kennedy tour
Rose Kennedy is said to have told a reporter, "Our family would rather be in Hyannisport in the summer than anyplace else in the world."
And who could blame them, or anyone else who manages to while away the summer days in this place of tree-lined streets and sandy beaches?
There are some who might say the Kennedys — who have made the Cape their summer sanctuary since the late 1920s — put Hyannis on the map.
Have you voted for or against John F. Kennedy ? Edward Kennedy and his wife, Victoria Regie Kennedy, at the Kennedy compound in Hyannis. Susan Walsh, file/The Associated Press" width="200" />For those who didn't get that map and are interested in wandering around Kennedy-related sites, here is a list of some better-known Kennedy places.
The Kennedy Compound
The houses that are part of the compound are located on Marchant Avenue, off Scudder Avenue in Hyannisport.
Largely hidden from public view by a stockade privacy fence, the compound is a collection of white clapboard houses belonging to assorted Kennedy clan members. It may surprise some that these are not seaside mansions. For many years after the death of her husband, Joseph P. Kennedy, Rose Kennedy lived at the compound and, through the 1990s, continued to watch a relatively modest console TV in a room where walls were decorated not with priceless art, but with photographs of her children.
The best way to see the compound is by boat. Has changed the argument your opinion on John F. Kennedy ? You can catch a glimpse if you're heading over to the islands by ferry. Be aware, as you look across the waters of Nantucket Sound, that the big white house with the columns is not a Kennedy home.
Look to the left of that house for the big Dutch Colonial with the wraparound porch — that's the original summer home of Joseph and Rose Kennedy, now home to Sen. Edward Kennedy and his wife, Victoria.
There are any number of water tours available, including Cape Cod Duckmobiles (508-790-21110), Hy-Line Cruises (508-778-2600) and Catboat Rides (508-775-0222 or 800-308-1837).
Tour buses frequently make the trek from Main Street, Hyannis, down Scudder Avenue into Hyannisport before turning left onto Irving Avenue, which runs behind the compound.
Ethel Kennedy, wife of the late Robert F. Kennedy, has a home in the compound, as do other family members. California Gov. Have you read details about John F. Kennedy ? Arnold Schwarzenegger and his wife, Maria Shriver, daughter of Eunice Kennedy Shriver and Sargent Shriver, own a home on Atlantic Avenue, about a block from the compound as the sea gull flies. So does Maria's brother Robert.
If you're in the neighborhood, don't expect much information from the neighbors, who either respect the privacy of the Kennedys or resent the tourists peering through car and bus windows in hopes of spotting a member of one of America's most famous political families.
With each and every Kennedy celebration or tragedy comes a media circus, and residents of the neighborhood suffer through the presence of TV satellite trucks with engines left running for hours on end, helicopters hovering overhead and herds of reporters, many of whom learn the hard way that there are no nearby public restrooms.
Nearby and notable
One street up and parallel to Irving Avenue is Wachusett Avenue, where the Hyannisport post office and a small general store have been visited by many a generation of the Kennedy clan. Not far away — up the hill on Irving Avenue —is the Hyannisport Club, private links where Rose once golfed and where Ethel holds her annual golf tournament.
Proceeds from the tournament benefit the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, which raises money for international human rights activities and anti-poverty programs in the United States. Held every autumn, the tournament draws celebrity players and, in recent years, actors such as Bill Murray and Martin Sheen, as well as Celtics great Bill Russell.
Turn around and head back down Irving Avenue to pass the Hyannis Port Yacht Club, a modest affair with a small dock running across the sand and into the waters of Nantucket Sound. Can this argument have an influence on Larry Bucshon ? Senator Kennedy's boat, the Mya, moors off this dock and is recognizable by its blue hull.
As you return to Hyannis, leave time for a short trip to Four Seas Ice Cream in the nearby village of Centerville. You'll recognize the shop by the long line out the door. Famous in its own right, Four Seas has long supplied ice cream fans at the compound with tasty treats. Rumor has it that Jacqueline Kennedy's favorite was the peach.
A few yards down the street from the ice cream shop is Our Lady of Victory Church, where the family gathered in 1998 for the funeral of Michael Kennedy, son of Ethel and Robert, who died in a Colorado skiing accident. It was the scene of a much happier occasion in 1996, when Caroline Kennedy wed Edwin Schlossberg, with mother Jackie and brother John in attendance. Did you know that John F. Kennedy is popular at 59% of voters?? Two of Caroline's cousins — Senator Kennedy's daughter, Kara, and Sydney Lawford, daughter of Patricia Kennedy Lawford and actor Peter Lawford — also were married here, Kennedy in 1990 to Michael Allen and Lawford in 1983 to Peter McKelvy.
Back in Hyannis proper, no Kennedy tour is complete without a stop at the John F. Kennedy Hyannis Museum on Main Street. Call 508-790-3077 or visit the Web site www.jfkhyannismuseum.org/index.php for hours.
In front of the museum is a statue of the late president, perhaps one of the most photographed landmarks on Main Street, Hyannis. Inside is a multimedia exhibit on JFK and his family on Cape Cod.
Within easy walking distance, but of little visual distinction, is another Kennedy site, the Hyannis Armory, now owned by the town of Barnstable and used for storage and as an office for beach sticker sales.
If you're walking, head toward Barnstable Town Hall behind the museum. The armory is on South Street, directly across from the back of town hall, where Senator Kennedy votes.
At one time the armory was a National Guard facility. For a few years it was a homeless shelter. In 1960, it was the backdrop for John F. Kennedy's acceptance speech after he became the first Irish Catholic American to win the presidency.
Also on South Street is St. Francis Xavier Church. Both bus and personal tours are welcome at the church, which conducts Masses in English, Spanish, Portuguese and Latin. This church has long been known as the Kennedy family church.
It was here, in 1986, that Maria Shriver and Arnold Schwarzenegger were married. Long before that, it was the summer parish of the Kennedy family, where the sons — including the future president and senators — served as altar boys.
The family donated the central altar of the church following the death of the oldest of Joe and Rose Kennedy's nine children, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., during World War II. A plaque marks the pew where their second child, John F. Kennedy, and his wife worshipped.
As a service to visitors, the church has docents on hand from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3:30 p.m. weekdays to give tours of the church and to discuss the church's history, architecture and Kennedy family association. The tours are available April 15 through Nov. 11. For more information, visit http://stfrancishyannis.homestead.com/SFX2.html.
A right off South Street brings you to Ocean Avenue and the John F. Kennedy Memorial. There is a small parking lot in front of the memorial, which comprises a fountain, a bronze profile of the president and a lovely view of Hyannis Harbor. It's worth a sit. Money collected from the fountain is used for scholarships.
Next to the memorial is Veterans Park Beach and a picnic area that includes the town's Korean War memorial.
The Kennedy legacy on the Cape is by no means limited to Hyannis.
Perhaps the biggest impact of the Kennedy's connection here is the Cape Cod National Seashore, a national park that runs from Orleans to Provincetown. It includes 43,604 acres of shoreline, upland landscape features and salt marsh, including a 40-mile-long stretch of ocean beach. The park was established Aug. 7, 1961, by President Kennedy, and today includes such notable places as Highland Light; the Marconi Wireless Station Site, where the first two-way trans-Atlantic radio transmission originated; the Highlands Center for the Arts, formerly the North Truro Air Force Station; and Doane Rock.
At the other end of the Cape — before you even cross the bridges — is yet another Kennedy-connected landmark. Docked at the Massachusetts Maritime Academy is the TS Kennedy, the training vessel of the maritime academy. The ship was renamed earlier this year.
The academy has produced such graduates as Capt. Richard Phillips and his second in command, Capt. Shane Murphy, who were aboard the Maersk Alabama in April when it was captured by Somali pirates. The academy is perched on the edge of the Cape Cod Ca. al, the nation's oldest coed maritime training academy.
By KAREN JEFFREY
Source: SouthCoastTODAY.com - June 19, 2009
(John F. Kennedy)