The Obama beat: President Obama departs Martha's Vineyard

Daily reports here on President Obama's Martha's Vineyard vacation.

In this photo taken August 12, 2015 on the 18th green at Farm Neck Golf Club, President Obama took a moment to greet Fr. Augustine Bengali, a Holy Ghost Missionary from Sierra Leone, Africa, on-Island for his sixth summer to assist Fr. Michael Nagle. President Obama remembered meeting Father Bengali in 2014, and asked him about the Ebola health issue in Sierra Leone. Former Celtics player Ray Allen sits in the golf cart behind them. — Photo courtesy of Michael Nagle

Sunday, August 23: President Obama and family bid Martha’s Vineyard farewell

President Obama got in one more round of golf Sunday at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, his favored course, before he and his family and a retinue of friends and advisers departed Martha’s Vineyard Airport just after 5 pm for Air Station Cape Cod, where Air Force One was waiting on the tarmac to take them back to Washington, D.C.

POTUS made one last visit to the golf course on Sunday, his final day on the Vineyard. His golfing buddies for the day were Cyrus Walker and businessmen Glenn Hutchins and Robert Wolf.

Following the round, the motorcade departed Farm Neck at 3:19 pm, and returned home at 3:45 pm. Several small groups of people waved at the motorcade, who returned their gestures with a few honks along the way.

At 4:38 pm, POTUS departed the Chilmark rental for the last time. He boarded Marine One at 5 pm.

A group of about two dozen kids, adults, and airmen were on hand to greet the Obamas at Air Station Cape Cod, according to press pool reports.

The president was wearing gray slacks and a blue buttondown, sleeves rolled up. He looked relaxed, and his hair was a little longer than usual. The First Lady was wearing a black sleeveless dress.

“How you doing? So nice to see you,” Mr. Obama could be heard saying.

“We had a great time,” he also said. And it was back to work.

Saturday, August 22: A ride in the woods and dinner with friends in Edgartown

Amid a light drizzle, the Obamas left their vacation house at 10:57 am headed for the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest. At 11:23 am, the First Family, along with their security entourage, donned bike helmets and set off on one of the trails in the West Tisbury section of the forest.

Reporters got a very brief glimpse of the First Family as they whizzed past on bikes in slightly drizzly weather at around 11:42 pm, Michael D. Shear of The New York Times reported. “The four family members, all wearing helmets, were preceded and followed by Secret Service agents on bikes. Sasha came first, followed by FLOTUS, Malia, and then POTUS, who yelled out to the press: “Hello everybody. Having fun?”

FLOTUS and the girls were wearing short sleeve shirts and dark pants. POTUS wore a grey-colored long-sleeved shirt and black pants, with blue-and-black tennis shoes.

Prior to the first family passing by, a jogger and a couple of other bikers were stopped briefly by agents who quickly wanded them and let them proceed on their way along the path toward POTUS. There were also several bikers and joggers in the area who seemed unfazed by POTUS’s imminent arrival and simply headed on away from POTUS.

That night, their last on the Vineyard, the Obamas dined with the Heard family at their home in Edgartown.

Friday, August 21: Friday was golf and the rocket’s red glare

At 11:36 am, the motorcade headed east on North Road in Chilmark following a very familiar route to Farm Neck Golf Club. The President arrived at noon — 24 minutes, beating his earlier time by 3 minutes. His golf partners that day were regulars Cyrus Walker, Alonzo Mourning and Ray Allen.

Mr. Obama departed at 4:52 pm and arrived back at his rental home at 5:25 pm following what press reports described as a short spin around the Island.

At 7:25 pm, the motorcade departed for the rental home of presidential adviser Valerie Jarrett located on Seaview Avenue in Oak Bluffs overlooking the waterfront. The Obamas arrived at 7:58 pm. Ms. Jarrett’s house provided a grand vantage point to watch the annual Oak Bluffs fireworks, which went off without a hitch.

People cheered and waved as the motorcade pulled out of town. The president arrived back at his vacation home at 11:36 pm, after about three hours in Oak Bluffs, according to press pool reports.

Thursday, August 20: On Thursday the First Family went to Aquinnah

The Obamas traveled to Aquinnah Thursday for a day at the beach with the family of Caroline Kennedy, an early supporter of Mr. Obama. Ms. Kennedy is the U.S. ambassador to Japan.

The Kennedy estate is known as Red Gate Farm and is located in a secluded portion of the Island’s smallest town. The property is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean and Squibnocket Pond and features rolling dunes and a long stretch of sandy beach.

Wednesday, August 19: Golf and a trip to Beach Road restaurant

Wednesday the activity of choice was golf. The motorcade left Chilmark at 12:03 pm, and arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club at 12:30 pm. Alonzo Mourning, Ray Allen and businessman Cyrus Walker made up the foursome.

That evening the First Family dined out at Beach Road restaurant in Tisbury. Their arrival tied up traffic heading east on Beach Road, busier than usual as people converged on Oak Bluffs for Illumination Night.

Beach Road is the latest venture by Mary and Jackson Kenworth, operators of another Obama favorite, State Road in West Tisbury.

The president and the first family finished dinner, and the motorcade rolled at 10:06 pm, according to pool press reports.

About 200 people  — very rough estimate — lined the road, cell phones raised for the motorcade.

Tuesday, August 18: Tuesday was a day at the beach

On Tuesday, the motorcade left Chilmark at 11:30 am, according to pool reports. At 11:50 am, POTUS and his family arrived at the beach off of Pohoganut Road in Edgartown.

The First Family departed the beach at 4:25 pm, and arrived home at 4:44 pm after an uneventful ride.

Monday, August 17Back to the links on Monday with the NBA

On a hot, humid day with the temperature in the eighties, President Obama left his vacation home off North Road at 11:40 am, passing a field of Queen Anne’s Lace at the Captain Flanders Inn, and arrived at the Vineyard Golf Club off West Tisbury Road in Edgartown at 12:01 pm after an uneventful, ride across the Island.

The private club boasts one of the Island’s finest restaurants and is open only to members and their guests.

POTUS golfed with NBA stars Alonzo Mourning and Ray Allen, and Boston Celtic’s owner and private equity investor Glenn Hutchins.

At 4:45 pm the motorcade left the Vineyard Golf Club.

At 5:05 pm POTUS’ motorcade turned into the driveway to his Chilmark rental after another uneventful ride.

Twenty minutes club to door, not bad by Island summer traffic standards. By comparison, the ride to Farm Neck Golf Club is 27 motorcade minutes.

Sunday, August 16: Sunday was a quiet day at the vacation home

On Sunday, the First Family remained in their Chilmark vacation home. President Obama and Malia Obama took a short walk on a trail on the property that overlooks Vineyard Sound.

The one official bit of business was a statement on the death of Julian Bond at the age of 75.

From Principal Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz: “This afternoon, the President had the opportunity to phone Mrs. Pamela Horowitz to express condolences on behalf of himself and the First Lady on the passing of her husband, Julian Bond. The President offered gratitude for Julian’s lifetime of accomplishment, and prayers and sympathies to Pamela and her entire family.”

Saturday, August 15: A walk, more golf and a star studded party

POTUS and FLOTUS (that’s president of the United States and First Lady of the United States for the uninitiated) began their day with a walk on a nearby trail, according to pool reports. They likely hiked on the adjacent Menemsha Hills Reservation, a property owned and managed by The Trustees of Reservations, Massachusetts oldest private conservation organization.

Just before noon, President Obama headed to Farm Neck Golf Club. His foursome that day included former President Bill Clinton, longtime seasonal visitor and Washington lawyer Vernon Jordan, and Ambassador Ron Kirk.

In keeping with the vacation theme all week, the press pool was afforded a bare glimpse of the action. Tom Rowley of the Washington Post documented the action at the first hole.

Vernon Jordan, in white hat, coral shirt and shorts, was preparing a shot while President Obama, in baseball cap, white sports shirt and grey pants, and former president Clinton appeared to be talking. When Jordan apparently succeeded, Obama fished the ball for him and handed it back to him. Then Obama crouched down to line up his own shot, taking a couple of practice swings before appearing to successfully putt the ball into the hole. Finally, Clinton, in light blue pants, dark blue polo shirt but no hat, stepped forward, taking three practice swings before apparently also succeeding in putting the ball into the hole. Mr. Obama collected the ball for him.

POTUS departed the golf club at 4:36 pm. Back at the house at 5:03 pm. That is 27 minutes from Farm Neck to Prospect Hill.

At 6:51 pm POTUS and FLOTUS left the house for Vernon Jordan’s 80th birthday party at the Farm Neck Golf Club. The couple stayed until 10:14 pm, an early night even by Island standards, and returned to Chilmark at 10:41 pm. That is 27 minutes from Farm Neck to home, exactly the same drive time as the earlier trip. Of course, it helps to have State Police on motorcycles at every intersection stop traffic.

The White House issued the following press release: “Tonight, the First Family attended the 80th birthday celebration for Vernon Jordan at the Farm Neck Golf Club. There were approximately 200 guests in attendance.

“The President and First Lady have known the Jordans for over twenty years, and were grateful to have sat with Ann and other guests this evening.

“Toasts were offered between courses. Ann Jordan offered the first toast, welcoming guests and honoring her husband. President Obama then toasted Vernon extolling his kindness and generosity. The President told attendees that Vernon’s wisdom and enthusiasm are rare qualities.

“Third and fourth toasts were offered by President Clinton and Vickee Jordan, respectively.

“Other guests tonight included Morgan Freeman, Brian Roberts, Henry Louis Gates, Ken Chenault, Valerie Jarrett, and Capricia Marshall. Tonight’s menu included salad, surf and turf, and birthday cake.”

Friday, August 14: Golf with hoop stars

After a one day hiatus, President Obama returned to the golf course Friday afternoon. It was a beautiful day to walk the 18-hole course that affords views of Nantucket Sound and Sengekontacket Pond.

According to the White House, his foursome Friday included Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors, retired NBA star Dell Curry and free agent Ray Allen.

Farm Neck Golf Club was created in 1979 in support of a conservation effort to protect 500 acres of land along the shores of Sengekontacket from over-development, according to a history on the club’s website.
Fifty Places to Play Golf Before You Die,” described it this way: “All the serenity and New England seacoast beauty are revealed to you as you make your way around Farm Neck. “

Thursday, August 13: A day at the beach

It was a day at the beach for the Obamas. The family spent the afternoon on the south shore, likely on secluded Oyster-Watcha beach in Edgartown.

From a White House official, we have the president’s summer reading list: All That Is, James Salter; All The Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr; The Sixth Extinction, Elizabeth Kolbert; The Lowland, Jhumpa Lahiri; Between The World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates; Washington: A Life, Ron Chernow

Wednesday, August 12: Golf and dinnertime magic

Wednesday was a beautiful, sunny day. Just before 1 pm, Mr. Obama headed for the Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs. His golfing buddies that day included Cyrus Walker, retired NBA player Alonzo Mourning, and current NBA free agent Ray Allen.

In the evening the Obamas went out to dinner at Alchemy in Edgartown. They dined with Ron Kirk and his wife, Eric Holder and his wife, Susan Rice and her husband. The couple returned to Chilmark just after 11 pm.

Tuesday, August 11: A stay at home day

It was damp and rainy Tuesday. Island intersections and roadways were tied up in knots for those without the juice to clear traffic — a good day to stay at home with a good book or a pile of DVDs. We do not know exactly what the First family did but there are no outings to report.

Monday, August 10: Golf

If it is a sunny day it is a golf day. On Monday, President Obama left the house about 1 pm headed for the private Vineyard Golf Club where memberships sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars.

He was joined Monday by World Bank president Jim Yong Kim, private equity financier Glenn Hutchins, and frequent golfing companion Cyrus Walker. Mr. Obama returned home about 6 pm.

Sunday, August 9: Dining out at State Road

It was a quiet day at the vacation rental Sunday. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama did not venture out until just before 7 pm when they departed for State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury, a past favorite. The pair returned to Chilmark just after 9 pm, according to pool press reports.

Saturday, August 8: Vacation begins with a round of golf

President Obama’s vacation kicked off, not surprisingly, with a round of golf. The motorcade departed Chilmark Saturday afternoon and arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club at 1:11 pm, according to Michael Shear from the New York Times, one of the wretched scribes encased in the bus that follows the presidential party.

The White House said Mr. Obama’s golf partners are financier Robert Wolf, businessman and frequent golfing buddy Cyrus Walker and seasonal Vineyard resident, author and producer, Larry David.

In the one glimpse of the game afforded reporters, Larry David was in a sand trap, trying to hit his apparently errant ball back onto the green. After the swing, which brought a bunch of sand along with the ball, Mr. David let out a yell of disappointment, perhaps because it didn’t come close to the hole, Mr. Shear reported.

POTUS, who appeared to be wearing light colored pants, a white or beige golf shirt, and a beige baseball cap, took his turn next. His ball was sitting at the edge of the green. After a couple of practice swings, POTUS hit the ball with his putter and as it approached the hole, POTUS leaned back on one leg, raising the other leg up as if to will the ball to fall in. It did not.

After more than four hours on the golf course POTUS returned home at 6:20 pm where he is expected to spend the evening.

Friday August 7: President Obama arrives on Martha’s Vineyard

At 6:25 pm on Friday, President Obama and his family landed on Martha’s Vineyard in Marine One, and officially began their two-week Island vacation.

POTUS,  as the president is known among the press (President of the United States), left Andrews Air Force before 5 pm today, headed for Otis Air Force Base on Cape Cod. President Obama, dressed in a dark suit, traveled with his wife, First Lady (FLOTUS) Michelle Obama, their daughter Sasha, Susan Rice and Valerie Jarrett.

White House pets Bo and Sunny were already on the plane when the White House pool reporter watched the family leave Washington, D.C.

At shortly after 6 pm, the first family boarded Marine One at Otis, bound for Martha’s Vineyard Airport.

If past Martha’s Vineyard vacations (and there have been six) are any indicator, the Commander-in-Chief will golf, do some bicycling, golf some more, and eat at some favorite Island restaurants.