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Heinz-Kerry Homes Built to Impress

From a sailing mecca to a ski resort, presumptive Democratic nominee John Kerry and his wife, Teresa Heinz Kerry (search), enjoy the trappings of their wealth in at least five homes and vacation getaways valued at nearly $33 million.

Some are private escapes for the family, while others serve as prime spots to host fund-raisers and exclusive gatherings for wealthy donors. All reflect the couple's status -- he is a four-term Massachusetts senator, she is heiress to the $500 million family ketchup fortune -- with breathtaking vistas, elegant furnishings and enclosures that protect the property from prying eyes.

Each home has a place in the family's life, with its own history and mission, from the preppy island of Nantucket (search) and Boston's Beacon Hill (searchto the Pittsburgh countryside, from the Idaho mountains to the nation's capital.

Kerry is on a weeklong break from the campaign at the home in the wooded mountains of Ketchum, Idaho. Located near the banks of the Big Wood River (search), the nearly $5 million house is a reassembled barn, originally built in England in 1485, and brought to Idaho by Heinz Kerry's late husband, H. John Heinz III. The Pennsylvania Republican senator died in a plane crash in 1991.

The classic yet comfortably furnished farmhouse, profiled in Architectural Digest magazine in 1993, was inspired by Heinz Kerry's memories of an inn in Swaziland (search) where she vacationed with her parents. Its central point is an enormous, 57-by-24-foot great room with a 25-foot ceiling framed with original oak beams.

The Heinz family has had the house since 1966, and traditionally spends time there in August and during the Christmas holidays -- often throwing a New Year's Eve party capped with fireworks.

This is also where Heinz Kerry, while on one of her frequent hikes, wrestled with the prospect of Kerry's presidential bid -- a political move she had opposed for her first husband and Kerry.

"While taking a long walk in Ketchum, she finally realized she couldn't hold him back, that he had too much to offer the country," said Heinz Kerry's spokeswoman Christine Anderson. "She said they're not getting any younger and this was a contribution she knew he could make."

While Ketchum provides a respite from politics, the tony Beacon Hill brownstone in Boston has been a more frequent campaign way-station for Kerry and his wife. It is the only residence that is theirs as a couple. And, assessed at nearly $7 million, it is the residence that Kerry mortgaged last year to finance more than $6 million in loans to his campaign.

Their other homes, ranging in value from more than $3 million to nearly $9.2 million, belong to Heinz Kerry, and predate her 1995 marriage to the Massachusetts senator. Several are still listed under the name of her late husband.

Formerly part of a convent, the five-story, 12-room Boston town house -- with six fireplaces, a rooftop deck and an elevator -- is Kerry's main residence. It is where he is registered to vote, where his cars and motorcycle are registered and is located blocks from the State House where he began his political career as lieutenant governor.

Visitors say the town house, with its modern two-story kitchen built for entertaining, is filled with books, decorated with family photos and Dutch still-life paintings and boasts a striking portrait of "Moby Dick" author Herman Melville that hangs in the small library just inside the entrance.

While that is their newest home, Heinz Kerry has had a Massachusetts presence for years.

Just beyond the historic Brant Point Lighthouse in Nantucket's harbor is Heinz Kerry's $9.1 million waterfront estate. Rimmed by tall hedges, with a wide deck and a lawn that reaches to the beach, the three-story, five-bedroom manse was the site of the couple's Memorial Day weekend wedding in 1995.

Since then, the house has been used for campaign retreats and Democratic receptions for the party's big money donors.

Visitors say that while the homes are adorned with pricey art and antiques, they are generally friendly and comfortable and not ostentatious. "Their homes have always been places for friends and family to come together," Anderson said. "And their homes reflect that."

While Kerry calls Boston home, Heinz Kerry's base is Pittsburgh, which is her longtime residence and the headquarters of the Heinz Family Philanthropies (search), which she chairs.

Located on a $3.7 million, 90-acre family farm in Fox Chapel, the home is a nine-room white colonial fronted with six columns, and at the end of a steep drive, hidden from the road by a curtain of woods. The property includes a deep-red, nine-room carriage house.

This is where Heinz Kerry raised her three sons, where she is registered to vote, and where -- on one day in the early 1980s -- the late "Mister (Fred) Rogers" filmed an episode of his "Old Friends, New Friends" show. Rogers was the godfather to Heinz Kerry's youngest son, Christopher.

Their fifth home, in Georgetown, is perhaps the most utilitarian, and is necessary to accommodate the time they spend in Washington when the Senate is in session. Also belonging to Heinz Kerry, the 23-room, $4.7 million town house, with its wide stairway and landscaped courtyard, is filled with antiques, fine art, including paintings by Dutch masters, and family photos.