"Barack around the clock" with Island souvenirs
When it comes to souvenirs, there is no shortage of Obamabilia to commemorate the visit of President Barack Obama and his family to Martha's Vineyard this week.
Timing souvenir purchases was tricky for Island business owners, who had to put potential orders on hold during the "is he or isn't he" weeks before the White House officially announced the President's Vineyard vacation destination on July 23.
No one wanted to spend the off-season painting the word "Not" on dozens of coffee mugs that prematurely and erroneously proclaimed, "The President's summer White House."
Retailers mobilized quickly in late July, as evident in the Obama-related merchandise that began to appear in gift stores, eateries, and coffee shops Island-wide.
Given the variety of Obamabilia available for purchase, what's a Presidential enthusiast to do? For those wavering on souvenir decisions, here's a guide for incorporating all things Obama into a day, from dawn to dusk.
Wake up and check the time on a "Barack Around the Clock," decorated with the White House in the center and the President's face in the corners, $26.99 at The Secret Garden in Oak Bluffs.
Then hit the shower to lather up with "The Audacity of Soap," a clear bar that encases a red, white and blue photo of the President, $7 at First Impressions in Oak Bluffs and Midnight Farm in Vineyard Haven.
Choosing the day's ensemble presents the biggest challenge, given the number of President, First Family, and First Dog-themed tee-shirts, hats, and accessories available.
Since one person's souvenir tee-shirt may be another's formal annual town meeting attire, visits to Vineyard stores offer something for everyone - and too many to list them all here.
Soft As A Grape tee-shirt shop in Edgartown claims the largest collection of Obama wearables, including hats as well as shirts. But just to keep things nonpartisan, franchise owner Richard White also sells a "Nobama 2012" shirt, displayed on a cardboard likeness of Sarah Palin.
Will it be "Relax - Summer White House 09" from Shirt Tales in Edgartown, "I vacationed with Obama" from the Locker Room in Oak Bluffs, or "Barack'n on the Vineyard" from Island Authentics in Vineyard Haven and Oak Bluffs? All three sell for $18.95.
Among more "official" looking styles, Atlantic Traders in Edgartown sells a shirt decorated with the Presidential seal, $19.99. South Beach Apparel in Oak Bluffs has one with a Secret Service logo, $18.95.
For a more psychedelic look, a $15 shirt at First Impressions in Oak Bluffs features the president's image surrounded by splatters of neon colors. Shibori's in Vineyard Haven offers handmade, tie-dyed shirts with a peace symbol forming the first letter of "Obama." Children's shirts are $48 and adults' $75.
Roger and Jennifer Schilling, owners of C'est la Vie in Oak Bluffs, have a wide range of First Family souvenirs, including tee-shirts of their own design for $18-20. One features a stylized portrait of the President and the slogan, "It's All About the Vineyard."
Smoke N' Bones restaurant in Oak Bluffs also offers its own original design featuring the President with Oprah Winfrey, and Bill and Hillary Clinton, for $20.
To accessorize, Rainy Day in Vineyard Haven sells a man's tie with a special President Obama "Hope" design and a wallet with a campaign button print, both for $29.95. Glimpse of Tibet in Oak Bluffs offers a woman's scarf decorated with the First Family for $9.99, a "Change we can believe in" wallet for $11.99, and President Obama watches for men and women at $29.99.
For presidential wanna-be's or decoys to throw off the paparazzi, Rosebud Balloons in Oak Bluffs sells President Obama masks for $14.99 and $19.99.
Several souvenirs pay tribute to the First Family's Portuguese Water Dog, Bo. Third World Trading Company in Oak Bluffs has a "Bobama" tee-shirt, $20, and matching baseball hat, $22, with "New dog in town" on the back.
"Bo, America's Commander in Leash," a children's book published by Mascot Books, is available at Mardell's in Vineyard Haven for $14.99.
After working up an appetite making wardrobe decisions, it's off to Espresso Love in Edgartown where $2.59 buys an Obama muffin, a low-fat whole wheat concoction with pineapple, raspberry, macadamia nut, and coconut.
Complement it with a $1.70 cup of Obama-Rama coffee, a blend of dark Guatemalan and Colombian, from Mocha Mott's in Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven. Or perhaps an Obomber Jumpshot Latte, hot or cold, $3.15 to $4.25, or a Cup of Joe Biden, 95 cents, at Beetlebung Coffee House in Vineyard Haven.
To get the full effect, pour those specialty beverages into a mug decorated with President Obama's picture, available in Oak Bluffs at Nautilus gift shop, the Corner Store, and a Glimpse of Tibet, from $6.95 to $12.
Feeling dehydrated from all that coffee? The Secret Garden sells Presidential commemorative bottles of water for $1.
To pay tribute with "Ale to the Chief," Offshore Ale in Oak Bluffs is serving up its own draft "Presidenti-ale" for $5.25 a pint. Sharky's Cantina in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown offers the $8 "Obamarita," a tequila drink with mandarin oranges and pineapple, to pair up with a Barack-o-Tacos Plato for $15.
Cool off with a scoop of Mad Martha's presidential frozen concoction, "Barack My World," coffee ice cream blended with a caramel swirl and crushed macadamia nuts, for $3.95.
Or, for a sweet finish with inspiration from President Obama's campaign slogan, try some "Yes We Candy," pineapple dipped in chocolate with a sprinkling of macadamia nuts, $9 a bag, available from New Moon Magick's Oak Bluffs shop or at the West Tisbury Farmer's Market. The confectioner also sells "Baracky Road Fudge," for $7 dollars a bag.
Just in case the First Family drops in for dinner, be sure to pick up a cloth tablecloth with a President Obama print at Midnight Farm, 44 x 80 inches, for $27.
For days with weather like its name, Rainy Day has a jigsaw puzzle decorated with a President Obama cartoon from the New Yorker magazine, $17.95. Around the corner on Union Street, Mix has President Obama playing cards, $8.95.
Secret Garden offers a book of First Family paper-dolls, $7.99, as well as sets of trivia cards about the President and Ms. Obama, $10.95 each. Alley's General Store sells Obama trading cards, $2.95.
With so much Obamabilia to keep track of, Rainy Day offers a messenger-style tote bag decorated with recycled newspaper articles about the President and the First Family for $53.95 and $58.95. Midnight Farm sells cloth eco-totes with an Obama design for $13-$24.
Beyond the usual souvenirs, the President has inspired some beautiful art. Gloria Lockett Collins and Fred Collins, owners of L'Elegance in Oak Bluffs, have offered artwork featuring the Obamas since the President's campaign, long before their visit here. An eye-catching giclee print of a scratch art etching, "Yes We Can" by artist Harry N. Seymour, that portrays President and Ms. Obama sells for $1,100 framed.
At the Edgartown Scrimshaw Gallery, artist David Schock's oil on canvas painting, "The President's Vacation," depicts the President Obama at the beach with his two daughters and their dog. Mr. Schock has not priced the painting because he would like to donate it to President Obama, gallery owner Tom DeMont said.
A portrait of President Obama by artist Louisa Gould is on display in her gallery window in Vineyard Haven. Although priced at $500, she hopes to donate it to the president. Signed and numbered limited edition prints are $50.
If nothing else, for something easy to pack and always affordable, there's always the ubiquitous Presidential fridge magnet, available for $3.99 at many Island stores.
No Presidential bobble-heads were spotted while reporting this story.