Updated 5 pm, Friday
President Obama and his family will likely return to Martha’s Vineyard this summer, as they have all but one year of his presidency. While there has been no official confirmation yet, months ago the White House began making reservations to accommodate the large entourage of Secret Service agents, White House staffers, and support personnel that are responsible for the safety and success of the president’s vacation, according to reliable sources.
In a presentation last week before the Mashpee board of selectmen, Air National Guard Col. James LeFavor indicated that the commander-in-chief would be flying into Joint Base Cape Cod again this summer, according to a report published in the Cape Cod Times Friday.
“This summer again, we’re still having a visitor to the Cape down on Martha’s Vineyard as we have for a long time, and we will have some sort of fighter alert presence, whether it’s F-15s from the 104th or someone else, so there might be a little bit of air activity that you might hear,” Colonel LeFavor, commander of the 102nd Intelligence Wing at the base, said.
The Cape Cod Times was unable to confirm a presidential visit with base officials or the White House.
At a meeting of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport Commission Thursday, a discussion of the fiscal year 2016 operating budget, which begins July 1, included a reference to the upcoming presidential visit.
Airport manager Sean Flynn said planning is underway for a presidential visit this summer, which will include dedicating staff time and hours in July and August to maintenance around the terminal. “We’re still planning for the presidential visit this summer and we will obviously dedicate a lot of our staff time to that in July and August,” Mr. Flynn said.
Last year, the Obamas stayed at the home of Joanne Hubschman on Gosnold’s Way off Prospect Hill Road, which overlooks the north shore and Vineyard Sound. The seven-bedroom, nine-bath, 8,100-square-foot house, sits on a 10-acre lot and features 17 rooms in total, expansive water views of Vineyard Sound, an infinity pool and hot tub, and a dual tennis-basketball court.
Ray and Lillian Kellman, who live in the house next door, said they suspect the Obamas will return to the neighborhood this summer.
“We’ve heard that they’re coming back,” said Mr. Kellman. “They’ve rented houses around here, and they wanted to rent this house for the purpose of the Secret Service. I presume if they rented houses around that they’re going to be here.”
Although he hasn’t heard anything official yet, Mr. Kellman said he was contacted by a real estate agent who told him that his house was one of several being considered for rental to the Secret Service. He said the Hubschman house is the perfect spot for the president and his family, as it is surrounded by conservation land.
“It’s completely private — it’s all reservation down here — which is why it’s so great for him,” Mr. Kellman said. “It’s a very secure area. It has a swimming pool, it has tennis courts, it has everything that you could want right there. And it’s got a rather staggering view.”
After living in their home in Chilmark for 40 years, the Kellmans never thought they would be sharing the neighborhood with a president. They said that besides a few road stops for car checks, the biggest inconvenience was having to provide a list of all their house guests. Last year they forgot to include their gardener and best friends on the list. But by and large, they said, having the Obamas next door didn’t really affect them.
“As far as I was concerned, we were just sorry not to catch a glimpse of him,” Ms. Kellman said.
Mr. Obama and his family have vacationed on the Island every year since his 2008 election, with the exception of 2012, when he was campaigning for re-election. Chilmark is their favored vacation spot.
In 2009, 2010, and 2011, the first family rented Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, a 28.5-acre compound on Tisbury Great Pond. In 2013, the first family rented a house in Chilmark just off South Road. The location necessitated a road closure that left some Island residents grumbling about the inconvenience.