First Family begins Martha's Vineyard vacation

President Obama receives golf ball from U.S. Rep Bill Keating on his arrival at Cape Cod.

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President Barack Obama and Michele Obama arrived at Martha's Vineyard Airport Saturday afternoon. Pool photo Steve Myrick, Vineyard Gazette

3:30 pm, Saturday

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama along with daughters Sasha and Malia  arrived at Martha’s Vineyard Airport in Marine One at 2:37 pm, Saturday to begin their two week vacation.

The First Daughters headed to the waiting motorcade while POTUS (President of the United States) and FLOTUS (First Lady of the United States) made their way to a viewing area to greet some locals, according to a pool report.

At 3:09 pm the motorcade arrived on the grounds of POTUS’ temporary vacation home off North Road in Chilmark, on the western end of the Island. The ride was uneventful, with pockets of folks at various points along the way waving or snapping pictures.

Quick trip

Earlier, the Obamas boarded Air Force One just after 1 pm at Andrews Air Force base for the trip to the Vineyard.

Malia and Sasha chatted with one another as they boarded ahead of their parents. President and Michelle Obama followed shortly after some small talk with the greeters. They walked up the stairs side-by-side, turned at the top to wave to a crowd watching from outside the terminal, then walked in the plane.

Prior to the First Family’s arrival, First Dogs Bo and Sunny were taken for a final pre-flight walk toward the grass of the passenger terminal, according to pool reporter Mike Memoli of the LA Times.

Air Force One was wheels down at 1:58 pm at the Coast Guard Air Station.

POTUS and the first family were greeted by the following: Captain Donald E. Bader, USCG, Air Station Cape Cod Executive Officer, Captain Richard J. Shultz, USCG, Commanding Officer Sector Southeast, Colonel Christopher W. Hurley, 102nd Mission Support Group, Lieutenant Colonel J. Scott Zuffanti, USA Camp Edwards Administrative Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Nathan Joel Hippe, Commander, USAF, 6 Space Warning Squadron, Mary Pat Flynn, Chairwoman of Barnstable County, Susan James, Chairwoman of Sandwich, Tobias Vanderhoop, Tribal Chairman, Gay Head Wampanoag Tribe and U.S. Rep. Bill Keating.

As POTUS spoke with Rep. Keating reporters spotted him holding a golf ball. The congressman later told reporters that it was a Pro V, made in his district, stamped with New Bedford. “He said he’d use it for his best shot,” Keating told the reporters.

The first daughters headed straight to Marine One. POTUS and FLOTUS spent some time greeting service members and families at the viewing pen.

No surprise

The White House confirmed last week what had been pretty much been common knowledge on Martha’s Vineyard for months. “On Saturday, August 6th, the First Family will travel to Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts,” a White House spokesman said in a press release distributed last Friday. “On Sunday, August 21st, they will return to Washington, D.C. There are no public events scheduled …”

The Obamas have returned to the Island all but one year of Mr. Obama’s presidency.

Official confirmation followed preparations that began months ago when the White House began making reservations to accommodate the large entourage of Secret Service agents, White House staffers, and support personnel who are responsible for the safety and success of the president’s vacation.

In 2014 and 2015, 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.

The Obamas are expected to return to the same neighborhood this summer.

Past presidential vacation activities have included golf, more golf, bike trips with the family, hikes, and dinners with friends.

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.