Living in the DC area, it’s been fun to blog about the White House gardens, a topic that now has its own category.  I’ve included other presidential gardens, like the Biden beach-house landscape in Rehoboth Beach, DE.   Bought in 2017 after Biden left the vice presidency, the home is very close to the beach and to the Henlopen State Park bike path, where the President’s rides are covered like meetings of the G7. (I’ve called that path the“The Most Beautiful Bike Trail in the East.”)

The U.K. magazine Homes and Gardens reports on the house and just this bit about the landscape:

The North Shores’ home offers splendid views of the Atlantic Ocean, making it an ideal Summer vacation spot, and backs out onto the state park. Once again the property boasts three impressive indoor fireplaces as well as one outside on the stone patio.

A very typical American home, wrap-around porches lead to a private dining terrace with an outdoor kitchen and offer plenty of outdoor seating for the family to enjoy the views and sea air.

I don’t know about it being “very typical.” That’s hilarious. 

Security Upgrades Coming

During my visit last fall I rode by on my bike and saw a “fence permit pending” sign posted, so last week I returned to see the result. Because fences are hugely important landscape features, amirite?

But first, a word about photographing this house – don’t try it from your car. And definitely not when the President is there, when I doubt that driving by is even a possibility. (I’m always there on a weekday, so I’ve avoided the street closures and many other hassles people experience around presidential security.)

I did stop cycling long enough to take a shot or two but when spotted by the Secret Service, I quickly pretended to take photos of other homes, like the innocent gardenblogging vacationer that I mostly am.

So behold the stone fence in place, with gates and an actual booth for the Secret Service, seen to the left of the house. To my eyes, the stone work is beautiful and the project is an asset to the neighborhood.

Importantly, the front facade is low, so it doesn’t wall off the outside world – a feature that I bet the security consultants were against. Whether it was county ordinances or HOA rules that kept the fence low and open in front, I’m just happy to see it.

Considerations like openness and aesthetics held little to no sway in Washington, D.C. after 9/11, when we saw the construction of ugly, prison-like walls and bollards all over town, even on low-priority targets like the Department of  Education. There were widespread complaints about it at time; yet, for the most, those expensive things remain.

The stonework looks particularly nice on this side, where conifers provide a lot of screening.

Coverage of the Fence

Of course this fence made news! The local Cape Gazette offered these details:

According to the website, an online database of federal government spending, the Department of Homeland Security, with the Secret Service as the subagency, recently awarded a $455,000 contract to Rehoboth’s Turnstone Builders for “purchase and installation of security fencing at 32 Farview, Rehoboth Delaware.”

As of Oct. 20, construction on the wall had not started, but according to the website, it is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

Biden purchased the North Shores home in summer 2017. County tax records show he paid $2.7 million for the property.

Before you object to the Bidens’ home being upgraded like this, I’ll just note that it’s normal and bipartisan.

But of course that doesn’t stop the coverage from being sensationalized. The Sun’s headline is about where the president will be spending the weekend “instead of the White House.” And they call it a “swish property.”

Built in 2007, the 0.34-acre home also features a stone patio, fireplace, summer kitchen and outdoor showers — and dog wash. County records also reveal an in-ground pool was installed after the Bidens bought the swish property….While, an impressive home, it is in stark contrast to former President Donald Trump’s swanky and sprawling Palm Beach club in the ritzy Florida enclave around Mar-a-Lago.


And the Daily Mail reminded readers of another wall in their attack on the fence:

EXCLUSIVE: Biden IS building a wall… at his Delaware beach house: As the president faces backlash for his ‘sanitized’ border visit, construction work continues on a barrier surrounding his vacation home for increased security… images show the entire side of Biden’s beach home walled off by tall white fencing broken up by gray stone pillars as workers continued to build up the barrier around the grounds last week.

I’ll admit that their photo makes me not love the fencing on this side of the property – stone pillars combined with what looks like white vinyl panels, with no plants for screening.  ‘

Floods Coming?

CNN has some scary news for the Bidens and,of course, for all of us. “Biden’s Delaware vacation home faces ‘extreme’ flood risk as climate change leads to rising seas.”

Climate change just got a lot more real to us in the East last week, thanks to sky-darkening smoke from Canada. We were all like “Wait! Air quality SO bad that you have to stay indoors – that’s happening to US?!?” 

The Neighborhood

I found another beautiful stone fence nearby in the Bidens’ North Shores neighborhood where yes, many of the other homes are much bigger. I look at them and hope they’re holding several families or maybe a small village of refugees. Ha!

And you can see there are no rules about architectural conformity, and maybe no design review at all. I just don’t know what to make of this nearby, um, structure. Except that I do love the colors and, again, the odd touches of stonework.

Next in White House Gardens

I’ll be on the look-out for the announcement of the next tour of the White House grounds – it’s done quite close to the event – and as soon as I see it I’ll post it to the Rant’s Facebook page.  It’s free, and it covers a Saturday and Sunday in late September or early October.  I reported on my April 2022 visit here.