Vice President Joe Biden will spend Thanksgiving weekend with his family in Nantucket, where family members gathered on the island over Labor Day.
Biden, in his third tour of the island, is scheduled to arrive on Thursday morning for an event celebrating Native American culture at the Nantucket Whaling Museum, a source close to the vice president said. He will stay in Nantucket for the holiday.
When first elected, Biden said his schedule would not include a Thanksgiving visit. Then, as a junior senator from Delaware, he made trips to see family in his native Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, but stayed in Washington. He traveled to Atlantic City, New Jersey, in 2013 and 2011, because his children were nearby and he wanted to spend Thanksgiving with them.
In 2014, he attended Thanksgiving dinner at the Arlington home of Navy officials, and in 2015, his family played host to the president and first lady in Bethesda, Maryland.
The former vice president, 77, told Vogue he likes to spend the holidays on Nantucket, which he described as a reminder of the “country” where he was born and raised.
“There’s something more about being home than being anywhere else,” he said. “I think it’s part of the reason I’ve stayed in the Senate as long as I have, is that I feel like I belong here.”
The islands are in Martha’s Vineyard, which makes travel difficult. The Martha’s Vineyard Express, which connects the islands of Nantucket and Vineyard Sound, canceled its service for the weekend after getting about 100 calls this year, about 25 percent of which were from military members, office manager Debbie Susan said.
“There’s no real air service out of here now,” she said. “It’s basically a one-way trip to Martha’s Vineyard or Cape Cod.”
Travellers who have holiday plans in Nantucket include Politico editor in chief Susan Glasser and her son and daughter-in-law, as well as New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli and his daughter, according to the Washington Post.
Every year, Biden hosts a Thanksgiving Day Mass at St. Peter’s Church in Wells Point, where he has worked as a parish priest for more than 30 years.
The traditional ceremony consists of liturgy from the Old and New Testaments, with the sermon delivered by the pastor of a nearby Episcopal church.
“I hope that you realize we are not particularly interested in politics,” Biden said in his opening remarks in 2017. “For us, politics is about doing what we say we’re going to do, and putting the country first.”
For eight years, Biden accompanied his wife, Jill, to the church, but became ill in April 2017 and subsequently had to cancel visits to the region.
This year, he will not be accompanied by his wife or other family members. However, his eldest son, Beau, who died of brain cancer in 2015, will be remembered during a few prayers.