First family wraps up longer, but less visible Vineyard vacation

First family wraps up longer, but less visible Vineyard vacation

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The Obamas returned to the Island for a fifth vacation respite, which included lots of golf, social gatherings with close associates and a fundraiser.

President Barack Obama and daughter Malia ride through the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest in what would be a rare public sighting. (Ivy Ashe for the Vineyard Gazette) — Ivy Ashe for the Vineyard Gazette

President Barack Obama, his family, and the presidential entourage departed Martha’s Vineyard Sunday evening. The clatter of helicopters and osprey aircraft just after dinner time punctuated the end of a 15-day summer vacation that underscored Mr. Obama’s love of golf and was notable for a lower profile and more limited public sightings of the first family than in past visits.

According to White House pool reports, there were no sightings of the president or the first lady, planned or spontaneous, in the final five days of their Vineyard vacation. Photographers assigned to the press pool had little to show for the long days in tow.

On Thursday, August 21, the president spent the afternoon on the links at Farm Neck Golf Club. Later that evening, he and Ms. Obama dined at their vacation home with Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and his wife, Diane.

On Friday, August 22, the president and first lady began the day with a walk near their Chilmark vacation home, and ended it at the annual Oak Bluffs fireworks display. The first family watched from Seaview Avenue Extension, where White House senior advisor Valerie Jarrett rents a vacation home. The motorcade did not return to Chilmark until after 1 am, according to pool reports.

On Saturday, August 23, the president returned to Farm Neck Golf Club for his final round of golf of the vacation. Over the 15-day vacation, Mr. Obama played six rounds of golf at Farm Neck in Oak Bluffs, and three rounds at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown. He skipped Mink Meadows, a course he has played at least once on each previous vacation.

On the links, the president spent time with a tight circle of friends. They included NBA stars past and present Alonzo Mourning and Ray Allen, along with former NFL star and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad. Other frequent foursome partners were Cyrus Walker, a cousin of Ms. Jarrett; White House trip director Marvin Nicholson, and former White House chef and policy advisor Sam Kass.

The first family’s final day on the Island featured a hike along trails near their vacation home off North Road in Chilmark, and a quiet afternoon at home.

The president broke from his vacation schedule three times to address world events, including the civil strife in Iraq, the shooting of an unarmed African-American teenager in Ferguson, Missouri, and the gruesome killing of journalist James Foley by the militant group that calls itself Islamic State.

Immediately after condemning the killing of Mr. Foley, Mr. Obama played a round of golf at the Vineyard Golf Club, which drew criticism from political friends and foes alike.

Ms. Obama enjoyed lunch in Edgartown with friends, hiking in Chilmark, and a stroll from Oak Bluffs to Edgartown along State Beach.

The vacation included three dinners out with friends, at the Sweet Live Cafe in Oak Bluffs, State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury, and Atria in Edgartown.

It also included a fundraiser for Democratic Senate candidates, and a birthday party for the wife of political power broker Vernon Jordan, attended by former president Bill Clinton and his wife, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.