President Obama departs Island with little fanfare

The presidential motorcade travels to the Martha's Vineyard Airport. — Photo by Lynn Christoffers

President Obama and his family departed Martha’s Vineyard Sunday morning with no fanfare or public farewells. The first family left Blue Heron Farm off South Road in Chilmark at 9:35 am.

The presidential motorcade sped past Alley’s General Store where shoppers waved goodbye from the porch, drove by knots of well-wishers along West Tisbury Road and traveled along a back road to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport, bypassing people who had lined the main entrance roadway.

The convoy of black SUVs arrived at the end of the runaway at 9:45 am where five helicopters were waiting to transport the first family, White House officials, and members of the Washington press pool (see Times reporter Janet Hefler’s account) to Otis Air National Guard Base in Bourne

The president and a contingent of reporters traveled to New Orleans. Mrs. Obama and the children returned to Washington, D.C.

The First Family left an Island noticibly quieter than the one they found when they arrived on the first day of the Ag Fair on Thursday, August 19. Other than a few brief exceptions, the President and his family limited their interaction with the public and enjoyed Island activities with a small inner circle of friends during their ten-day vacation.

In contrast to President Bill Clinton, who apeared to relish interacting with the public and the press, even appearing at a press pool party, the Obamas kept a low profile, and for the most part the Secret Service kept the public and the press at a distance.

In a replay of last year, the First Family went biking on Friday in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest in West Tisbury. Later that day, President Obama played golf at the Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown. His golf partners included New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Vernon Jordan, and Marvin Nicholson.

That evening Mr. and Mrs Obama went out for dinner at the Beach Plum Inn in Chilmark with friends Valerie Jarrett, Alan King, and Sophia King.

On their last day of vacation the first family enjoyed a private stretch of beach on the Island’s south shore off Pohogonot Road in Edgartown.

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 trips to the beach.