President Obama arrives on Martha’s Vineyard for family vacation

The president and first lady arrive at the Martha's Vineyard Airport.
Photo by Boston Globe/White House Pool

The president and first lady arrive at the Martha's Vineyard Airport.

Updated 7:30 pm Saturday, August 10, 2013

President Barack Obama and first lady Michelle Obama arrived on Martha’s Vineyard late this afternoon for eight days of rest and relaxation, the fourth year the first family has chosen the Island for a summer vacation during the Obama presidency.

The couple’s two daughters, Sasha and Malia, did not travel with the president and first lady this afternoon, according to a pool report. The White House offered no other information.

If the previous vacations are any indication, the president will keep a modest profile, with lots of golf, some beach time, and dining out at popular Vineyard restaurants.

After a quick trip this morning to Orlando to speak to a convention of disabled veterans, the Obamas boarded Air Force One and left Florida at 1:20 pm, bound for Coast Guard Air Station Cape Cod. They landed there at 3:24 pm and boarded Marine One, the presidential helicopter, for the short flight to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. The Obama family arrived at about 3:55 pm.

For the first time in support of Marine One, the White House used the MV-22 Osprey helicopters to fly the White House staff, Secret Service, and media to the Island.

The presidential entourage traveled in a 20-car motorcade to the private house on Snail Road in Chilmark, where they will stay while on vacation, arriving at 4:11 pm.

According to a pool report, the motorcade passed people taking pictures on Edgartown-West Tisbury Road, and there was a large crowd at Alley’s General Store to see the motorcade.

The White House released pool reporters shortly after 5 pm, indicating that the first couple will not be venturing outside their vacation home this evening.

The president “is looking forward very much to some down time with his family,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said this morning, according to a pool report. Mr. Carney said the president has plans to visit a local bookstore, as he usually does at the beginning of his Island vacation, to choose some summer reading. The White House has not scheduled any public events during the vacation.

White House aides including National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Deputy Chief of Staff Rob Nabors, accompanied the president to Martha’s Vineyard, and other top staffers are expected to visit during Mr. Obama’s stay. He will receive national security and domestic briefings daily.

The Secret Service closed a short stretch of South Road near the president’s vacation rental at 2 pm Saturday, and it will remain closed for the duration of the first family’s visit.

While there are several ways to get around the closed road, Chilmark Police Chief Brian Cioffi urges drivers to use North Road, which forks off State Road near Banana’s clothing store in West Tisbury, as the primary detour route.

“The preferred route for everybody to travel up-Island, to points in Chilmark and Aquinnah, is North Road,” Chief Cioffi said. “Middle Road is narrower and it’s not a preferred route. Meetinghouse Road [which runs between Middle and South roads] is a bumpy dirt road.”

South Road will be open to Meetinghouse Road for drivers traveling up-Island. Coming from Beetlebung Corner, South Road will be open to Wooten Bassett Road.

Only abutters and emergency vehicles will be allowed to pass through security check points between Meeting House Road and Wooton Bassett Road, for the duration of the Obamas’ vacation.

This article was updated to clarify that the president’s daughters did not travel with the family to Martha’s Vineyard this afternoon.