President Obama and his family left Martha’s Vineyard Sunday morning following a ten day vacation. The presidential motorcade arrived at the Martha’s Vineyard Airport at 9:45 am where five helicopters were waiting to transport the the first family, White House officials and the press to Otis Air National Guard Base.
The First Family arrived Thursday, August 19, for a 10-day visit. Vacation activities included a shopping trip to the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore, playing golf at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, Farm Neck Golf Club and Mink Meadows Golf Club, a game of basketball at the Oak Bluffs School, dining out at The Sweet Life Café in Oak Bluffs, State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury and the Beach Plum Inn in Chilmark and a trip to the beach on their last full day on the Vineyard.
Readers will find a running account of the president’s activities online here, compiled from White House press pool reports and other reporting.
Also, under the headline, The President and Me, we invite you to post photographs of your encounters with the first family, whether you’re dining with the leader of the free world, swimming or golfing with him, playing a game of Horse, or just offering advice. Post your photos or videos in real time, and see the images others post. We’re aiming for a Vineyard scrapbook of the president’s 2010 visit.
Sunday, August 29
Martha’s Vineyard Times reporter filed the final local pool report.
POTUS and the First Family ended their vacation on Martha’s Vineyard this morning. Their motorcade left Blue Heron Farm off South Road in Chilmark at 9:35 am. As they passed by Alley’s General Store shoppers waved goodbye from the porch, as did a crowd of motorists stopped by Massachusetts State Police at the turn onto Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. Other scattered groups gathered along the road along the route to Martha’s Vineyard Airport, waiting to clap and cheer as the motorcade drove by.
The motorcade arrived at the airport at 9:45 am, where five helicopters were waiting. POTUS and the first family quickly boarded a Marine 1 helicopter. Members of the White House Press Corps, staff, and otherpersonnel boarded the other helicopters.
The helicopter fleet took off at 9:50 am for a flight to Otis Air National Guard Base, south of the Cape Cod Canal in Barnstable County.
Saturday, August 28
Pool reporter Laura Raposa of the Boston Herald reported that POTUS, FLOTUS and daughters, Malia and Sasha, hit a private stretch of beach on the Island’s south shore this morning, the day before their vacation ends, at a private development in Edgartown off Pohogonot Road.
The motorcade left Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark at 11:07 am and arrived at their Edgartown location at 11:17ish.
The pool is holding, in the ubiquitous yellow bus, in the driveway of former presidential summer landlord Dick Friedman.
The FIrst Family’s motorcade left the sun-splashed private beach in Edgartown at 5:08 pm after sixhours. We’re on our way back to Blue Heron Farm to await POTUS’ plans for his last night on theVineyard. Please stand by.
The motorcade returned to Blue Heron Farm at 5:18 pm. And we now have a lid.
Friday, August 27
In a replay of last year the First Family went biking Friday. The Globe’s pool reporter provided the details. Later, the Obamas dined at the Beach Plum Inn.
At 10:20 am, POTUS motorcade left Blue Heron Farm for an uneventful ride to Edgartown. First family is going for a bike ride. Pool saw no fans or protesters along the route. Pool is holding at airport business park
At 10:45 pool is holding at Correllus State Forest in West Tisbury, in an area criscrossed by bike paths. The first family is taking a bike ride today through the sprawling, 5100-acre forest in the center of the island.No word yet on whom they will ride with.The first family pedaled by the pool on bikes shortly after 11. Everyonewas wearing a helmet–including POTUS, who took some grief last year for riding without one and exposing the First Noggin.”Hi guys,” the president said to the pool. Pool loaded immediately and we are moving.Pool is told POTUS and family took a six mile ride on a path called State Forest Loop. Pool is holding now at Alleys General Store.
At 12:51 pm, motorcade pulls in to Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown. POTUS to ruin a good walk.
POTUS golf partners include Mayor Bloomberg, Vernon Jordan and Marvin Nicholson. POTUS and the mayor had a chance to speak about the economy before they hit the first tee.
POTUS finished his golf outing at about 5:50 pm and the motorcade sped back to Blue Heron Farm. A couple dozen bystanders near Alley’s General store stood and waved at the motorcade. Pool holding at the farm.
POTUS and FLOTUS are at dinner tonight at the Beach Plum Inn in Chilmark.POTUS and FLOTUS dinner companions included Valerie Jarrett, Alan King and Sophia King. At shortly after 10 pm, POTUS motorcade departs the restaurant and arrives back at the farm at 10:18. And we have a lid.
Thursday, August 26
Sunny weather and blue skies left little doubt about what POTUS would be doing today. The Gazette had local pool duties and filed the following reports:
1:28 pm, White House Pool report
POTUS motorcade left Blue Heron Farm at 12:54 pm headed down West Tisbury Road toward Edgartown.
Pulled into Farm Neck Golf Club at 1:10. Blue skies and sunshine for the first time this week.
Pool is holding in vans, waiting to watch POTUS tee off at first hole. No report on golf partners.
POTUS golfing with Eric Whitaker, Marvin Nicholson and Cyrus Walker. Group hit the first green just after 1:30. POTUS wearing tan slacks and light blue shirt.
Correction: POTUS wearing tan slacks and navy shirt.
Wednesday, August 25
Perhaps to underscore that this vacation is not all play, the White House press secretary issued a press release about President Obama’s conference call with his economic team.
“The President conducted a conference call this morning on the state of the economy with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, CEA Chair Christy Romer and NEC Director Larry Summers. The discussion focused on recent data reports, global markets, and economic growth. The economic team provided an update on the next steps to keep the economy growing, including assistance to small businesses and the extension of tax cuts to the middle class.”
Off to Nancy’s
POTUS (President of the United States) and the first family left Blue Heron Farm at about 1:35 p.m., traveled to Oak Bluffs, where the president and a large contingent of friends went briefly to an inside dining room at Nancy’s on Oak Bluffs Harbor. The president could be seen in a second floor window talking with people inside.
POTUS came back out the front door and went to the takeout window at Nancy’s, joined soon by FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States), who turned to the crowd after ordering, and with a big smile, said “How y’all doing? Drying out? Finally!” The crowd responded warmly.
The president and the first lady then shook hands with many in the crowd. “We’re ordering shrimp, c’mon,” the president said, possibly reinforcing his efforts to promote the shrimping and fishing industry in the Gulf of Mexico.The restaurant is owned by Joseph Moujabbar of Oak Bluffs, who visited with the Obamas as they ordered fried seafood.
Afterward,Taylor Wolfson said he shook the president’s hand. “I told him I was honored to meet him, I told him I was a Republican. He said ‘good to see you,’” Mr. Wolfson said.
Joining the president were friends and vacation golf partners, including Eric and Cheryl Whitaker, Valerie Jarrett, and Ann Marchant. Also scheduled to join in were George and Clarice Wallace and family, David Wilkins, and Elizabeth Alexander.
The president, first family and guests ate in an inside dining room at Nancy’s. They left at about 3 p.m. On the way out of the restaurant, the president stopped to shake hands with a crowd of people gathered on Nancy’s elevated outdoor deck. The motorcade took a route through the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association campgrounds, passing by the Tabernacle, as residents of the familiar gingerbread cottages waved.
Then to Mink Meadows where the president played in a foursome with Eric Whittaker, Marvin Nicholson, and Robert Wolf. He played the course’s nine holes.
As the president’s foursome moved up the ninth fairway at Mink Meadows, a crowd of about 40 gathered on the porch of the pro shop. The president’s approach shot rolled about 15 yards short of the ninth green, and about 40 yards short of the flag. He walked into the woods to the right of the fairway for a short time, apparently searching for a ball hit there by another member of the foursome. The president drove his golf cart to the green, and waved to the crowd just before setting over his chip shot. With a smooth stroke, he landed the chip shot about six feet to the right of the pin. The crowd oohed, aahhed, and applauded warmly. The president walked onto the green, but before he putted, pool reporters were instructed to return to press vans, out of view of the foursome as they finished the round.
Tuesday, August 24
The day began with a press briefing in the Mansion House on Main Street in Vineyard Haven press center during the presidential vacation. It includes a rooftop perch for the news cameras that allows the photogenic few, the elite of on-camera television news media, to expound with Vineyard Haven Harbor and Nantucket Sound in the background.
Counterterrorism advisor John Brennan began the briefing by reading a statement marking a milestone in the draw-down of U.S. combat troops in Iraq. He said a week before the goal set by Mr. Obama, fewer than 50,000 combat troops remain in Iraq.
“On September 1, our mission will shift, and we will have a change of command in Iraq,” Mr. Brennan said. “The United States will have a different mission, one of advising and assisting Iraqi security forces.”
After a range of questions on international and national issues, a question about the first family’s rainy-weather vacation activities brought an upbeat response from deputy press secretary Bill Burton.
“They’re having a great time,” Mr. Burton said. “The rain has not dampened spirits. They are playing board games. I’ve heard reports of ‘Taboo,’ and ‘Scrabble,’ being played.” Mr. Burton said among the game players is Valerie Jarrett, a close friend and advisor to the president, who is a regular Island visitor.
The first White House pool report was issued at 6:34 pm and concerned nerf football: “After spirited Nerf football contest outside the farm, pool is loaded and holding.”
The pool did not report that earlier in the day Michelle Obama lunched with girlfriends at the Atlantic Boathouse. At 10 pm the pool provided the following report: POTUS and FLOTUS left the State Road restaurant, walking into a misty night lit up by flashbulbs from waiting pool, after two and one half hour dinner. POTUS told the pool he was “having a great time” despite the weather and has been “doing a lot of reading.”
Monday, August 23
How exciting is it to be a member of the White House press pool assigned to the presidential vacation beat?
The first pool report of the day filed at 12:24 pm by Gayle Fee of the Boston Herald reported: “Lid until mid afternoon.”
At 3 pm the president with the pool following went to the Oak Bluffs School for a game of basketball with pals Eric Whitaker and Robert Wolf and Wolf’s two sons.Later that evening it was off to The Sweet Life in Oak Bluffs where Mr. and Mrs. Obama dined with Eric and Cheryl Whitaker and senior adviser and friend Valerie Jarrett.
9:54 pm, White House Pool: POTUS, FLOTUS, Valerie Jarrett and the Whitakers exited The Sweet Life at 9:43 pm after spending about 2 hours inside. POTUS had a wave and a big smile for a crowd of folks standing across the street on the porch of The Oak Bluffs Inn. First Lady also had a smile for the crowd as they made their way through driving rain the short distance to the motorcade.
On Sunday the President played golf with long-time Chicago friend Eric Whitaker, White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, and regular Vineyard vacationer Bill Lewis at the Vineyard Golf Club. He left the Vineyard Golf Club at 1:05 and returned to Blue Heron Farm at 1:20.
On Saturday, the president and family left Blue Heron Farm at 11 am for a private beach near Oyster Pond on the south side of the Island, where the first family enjoyed a picnic on the beach.
Just before noon Friday the motorcade with POTUS, Malia and Sasha left Blue Heron Farm for Vineyard Haven. The president and the two girls visited Bunch of Grapes bookstore and spent about 15 minutes inside.A block of the downtown shopping district was cordoned off, and several hundred onlookers gathered behind yellow police tape hoping for a peek at the president.They exited the bookstore at about 11:45, to cheers from the crowd. The president, who was wearing a navy blue polo, faded jeans, a White Sox cap, sandals and dark sunglasses, waved to the crowd. Malia, wearing a blue jacket, striped shirt and white shorts and Sasha, wearing a yellow top and plaid shorts, followed their dad back to the motorcade.
Although owner Dawn Braasch wrote a note inviting the Obamas to stop by her bookstore during their vacation, the visit caught her completely by surprise.
“It was so exciting,” Ms. Braasch said in a phone call afterwards. “I had a call giving me about 10 minutes’ notice, and then the Secret Service arrived and came up to my office to explain what I should and shouldn’t do. They asked if I would be willing to greet him at the front door. I told them I would be thrilled to do that.”
When the president arrived, Ms. Braasch said he made it clear the shopping trip was for his daughters.
“He said he lets them read some of what all teens like to read, but that he also likes to suggest some other books to them,” she recalled.
His oldest daughter, Malia, had read a book by John Steinbeck, so he got her another book by Steinbeck, “The Red Pony,” and a copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird” by Harper Lee, which Malia hadn’t read yet, Ms. Braasch said.
The president also picked up a few books for himself. He asked about Jonathan Franzen’s new book, “Freedom: A Novel,” which isn’t available yet, so Ms. Braasch said she loaned him an advance copy the store had.
President Obama shook hands with the staff and signed copies of his book, “Dreams from my Father.” Ms. Braasch said he had tremendous charisma and made her feel as though she had known him all her life.
“He talked to me like he was my next door neighbor,” she said. “His girls were so lovely, well mannered, and well spoken. I complimented him on them as they were leaving, and he said, ‘I give Michelle all the credit.’”
Before the president left the bookstore, carrying two shopping bags, Ms. Braasch said, “I told him it would be an honor for me if you would have the books as a gift, but he said no, that he wanted to do his part to support our local, independent bookstore.”
“I don’t think any of us have touched the ground yet,” she said.
Later, POTUS played 18 holes with White House aide Marvin Nicholson, Chicago pal Eric Whitaker and House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn and finished up shortly after 6:30 p.m.