Sunday, August 21:
The First Family departed Martha’s Vineyard Airport on Marine One at 6:24 pm, Sunday evening bound for Air Station Cape Cod where Air Force One was waiting to take them back to Washington, D.C.
Now back to work. The White House announced that On Tuesday, “the President will travel to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, where he will get a first-hand look at the impact of the devastating floods, and hear from local officials about the response, including how the federal government can assist and tell the people of Louisiana that the American people will be with them as they rebuild their community and come back stronger than ever.”
President Obama and Michelle Obama, the first lady, began the final day of their Martha’s Vineyard vacation with a short walk together on a trail near their rented house in Chilmark, according to a White House official.
The Obama vacation house abuts The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) Menemsha Hills property, a 211-acre preserve that overlooks Vineyard Sound. “The three miles of trails allow walkers to experience multiple mini-environments, including wetlands; woodland groves leading to a hilltop; open, wind-blasted coastal plain; and a rocky ocean edge,” according to TTOR. At 308 feet in elevation, Prospect Hill — also the name of the subdivision where the vacation retreat is located (Local wags refer to the high-priced enclave as Prosperous Hill). TTOR is the oldest private conservation group in Massachusetts and owns or manages some of the Island’s most beautiful and accessible properties.
Following his walk, President Obama left Chilmark for — where else – the Farm Neck Golf Club, arriving about 12:15 pm.
Golf partners for the last vacation day were Glenn Hutchins, Robert Wolf and Cy Walker, according to the White House. The game ended and the motorcade departed at 4:45 pm.
Saturday, August 20
Saturday afternoon, “The First Family and friends” spent the day at the beach, according to the White House.
Coincidently, about the same time the Obamas headed to the south shore beach Times fishing columnist Nelson Sigelman saw a crew of heavily armed men in camouflage board a Coast Guard boat mounted with a machine gun on the bow and depart Coast Guard Station Menemsha, presumably for beach guard duty. No beach toys were spotted on the boat.
The President returned to Chilmark at 6 pm. There was a quick turnaround. The motorcade departed Chilmark at 7 pm for Edgartown.
“The president’s motorcade pulled into Edgartown around 7:45 pm. The streets were packed with people snapping photos. The sidewalks around Chesca’s were blocked off with yellow rope.
From the White House: “The President and First Lady are having dinner at Chesca’s in Edgartown.”
Meanwhile, just down the road in Edgartown, Frank and Carol Biondi hosted a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton.
Tickets to the Vineyard fundraiser sold for $27,000 (host ), $2,700 (fighter) and $1,000 (advocate). The $27,000 ticket buys some face time with Ms. Clinton.
Island host committee members include Bonnie and Merle Berger, Carol and Frank Biondi, Lynn Forester de Rothschild, Jill and Ken Iscol, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Barbara Lee, Nancy and Chuck Parrish, Linda Whitlock, and Marc Cumsky. The Biondis hosted a fundraiser for Ms. Clinton last year as well.
The President and First Lady returned to Chilmark about 10 pm. There was no detour to the Biondi’s.
Friday, August 19:
President Obama spent a quiet Friday at his vacation retreat in Chilmark. The motorcade did not depart the north shore retreat until 7:45 pm for Oak Bluffs. To no one’s surprise, a White House official announced: “The First Family is watching the annual fireworks display in Oak Bluffs with friends at White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett’s vacation rental home.”
The rental house overlooks the Oak Bluffs Steamship Authority dock and is adjacent to The Lookout restaurant, a popular, casual seafood spot.
After three-plus hours at Valerie Jarrett’s soiree/ fireworks-watching gathering, President Obama departed Oak Bluffs in the motorcade at 11:42 pm, the press pool reported.
Of course, no member of the press actually saw the president so his presence is unconfirmed.
President Obama returned to his vacation home at 12:08 am.
Thursday, Aug. 18
At 11:25 am on a bright, clear much less-humid day the motorcade traveled to Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs.
In a change of lineup, Potus is golfing with seasonal Chilmark resident, producer, writer and comedian Larry David, Robert Wolf, a former president and chief operating officer of UBS Investment Bank, and Jonathan Lavine, co-managing partner at Bain Capital and managing partner and chief investment officer of Bain Capital Credit, according to the White House.
After returning from the golf course, about 7:30 pm President Obama and Michele headed down North Road to Vineyard Haven where they dined with friends at Beach Road restaurant in Vineyard Haven just an Olympic shot put throw from The Times. Beach Road is the sister restaurant of State Road restaurant in West Tisbury, another Obama favorite. The Obamas did not leave until just after 11 pm — another late night for the First Couple.
The Obamas have now dined in a restaurant in every Island town but Chilmark and Aquinnah. There are two evenings left before they depart on Sunday so there is still time to set a new presidential record of sorts.
Wednesday, August 17
“On a warm and glorious day, with a few wispy cirrus clouds in the sky, the motorcade started rolling at 10:12 am,” reported our press pool correspondent Gardiner Harris, of The New York Times. “Joshua Roberts of Reuters snapped a photo of POTUS wearing a white polo shirt and tan baseball cap in the back of the Beast.” (The Beast is the large vehicle the President rides in.)
In the next dispatch, Mr. Harris informed us that the motorcade had turned into Vineyard Golf Club. The Club, which bills itself as the country’s only organic golf course, has a charitable arm which gives generously to the Island community. Read about that here.
The Golf Club is also where our Good Taste columnist, Marnely Murray, cooks when she’s not writing for us (here’s her most recent post, about new Chilmark Tavern chef John Thurgood, here).
Yesterday, Marnely was one of the team who prepared lunch for First Lady Michelle Obama, who she reported enjoyed clam chowder at the club’s restaurant.
Most Islanders would not think of trying to drive into Oak Bluffs at the height of Illumination Night but there is nothing like a phalanx of State Police and Secret Service officers to clear the way.
On Wednesday night, the motorcade entered Oak Bluffs, as sizable crowds lined the narrow streets the press pool reported. The Obamas had dinner with friends at Jimmy Seas Pan Pasta, according to the White House.
The 50-seat restaurant focuses on rustic Italian and fresh seafood. The restaurant doesn’t take reservations, but the Obamas had no trouble getting a table.
The presidential party departed Oak Bluffs at 9:40 pm. “Town was packed with vacationers here to see hundreds of paper lanterns put out in the Methodist camp, and many turned to watch, videotape and cheer the motorcade,” the press reported. No mention of where the wretched scribes dined.
Tuesday, August 16
After a full day of golf and a night of fund raising President Obama decided to relax at the beach and he was in no rush to get there.
The press pool reported that At 1:18 pm President Obama’s motorcade was on the move.
The pool reported: The president’s motorcade turned down a dirt road leaving the pool behind in a parking lot on a busy two lane road. The First Family is spending the day with friends at a private beach.
We may easily assume the beach was on the south shore.
The First Family’s beach day ended at 5:23 pm with the motorcade returning to Chilmark.
The President was wearing a black baseball cap, possibly a Chicago White Sox hat — which about sums up the excitement of reporting on the vacation activities of Mr. Obama. Oh yes, more news: “The motorcade today included a silver Jeep and a small SUV, which seemed somewhat unusual.”
Mr. Obama arrived back at his Chilmark rental at 5:46 pm with no plans to depart that evening.
Monday, August 15:
President Barack Obama began Monday morning as he has so many other mornings while vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard — by heading to a golf course.
The president departed from his Chilmark vacation rental shortly before 11 am on Monday to get in a round of golf at the very exclusive Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown before attending a Democratic National Committee fundraiser that evening.
The private club was named Golf Magazine’s “Best New Private Golf Course of 2015,” according to its website.
The president’s golf partners today included basketball great Alonzo Mourning, Washington attorney Cy Walker and Chicago businessman Marty Nesbitt. After about five hours at the Vineyard Golf Club, President Barack Obama wrapped up another leisurely round and departed at 4:17 pm.
President Obama’s motorcade returned to his Chilmark abode at 4:38 pm. After a short respite at his vacation house, President Obama was on the move again at 5:30 pm. The motorcade made the quick six minute drive to the Middle Road home of Hank and Carol Goldberg, hosts that evening for a Hillary Victory Fund event.
According to a Clinton aide, the Hillary Victory Fund (HVF) event is a joint fundraising committee between HFA, the DNC and state parties across the country that was established to ensure the DNC and state parties across the country have the resources they need to help the Democrats up and down the ballot win in November.
Approximately 60 people were expected to attend. Attendees contributed $10,000 to attend and hosts contributed $33,400, according to one source.
The President spoke for about 10 minutes at the fundraiser. Guests were gathered at round tables under a tent on a lawn filled with flowers; behind the press pool was a field with soccer goals set up and two young boys stood at the edge listening. Staff from the catering company wore white aprons embroidered with American flags and “Thank You President Obama,” according to pool reports.
The President was introduced by Carol Brown Goldberg, who recalled attending a 2004 fundraiser “right across the meadow” at the home of Eli and Phyllis Segal.
The President thanked the Goldberg family and said he remembered the 2004 fundraiser. He paid tribute to Eli Segal, who died in 2006.
“I do remember that event at Eli Segal’s. And Eli was such a great American and had provided such great service to the country, and obviously he’s missed. But in some ways, his spirit lives on through all of us. A lot of the work that we’ve pursued during the course of this administration reflects the values that he worked on so valiantly for so many years.”
Mr. Obama explained his break from vacation activities.
“I’m here because we’ve got an election. And although Michelle is very strict about me actually taking a vacation when I get a vacation, she gave me a special dispensation for this evening because she understands, just as all of you understand, how important this is.”
President Obama highlighted his accomplishments.
“There’s a lot of good news out there. And I could not be prouder of the part that our administration played in helping the American people rebound from what was an extraordinarily difficult time. But what is also true is we’ve still got a lot of work to do. Our job is not finished. There are still too many people out there who, if they have a job, don’t make enough money to get beyond the worries of paying their bills at the end of the month. There are still people who don’t have health insurance — not because we haven’t tried, but because you have governors who have been resistant, or a Congress that has not wanted to work with us to close those final gaps in coverage that are so necessary.”
Speaking under the stars in Chilmark he urged all out support for Hillary Clinton.
“We still have too much violence in our society. There are still conflicts not just in the Middle East but around the world. And given the rapidity of change, the pace of change that’s taken place, it is absolutely critical that we have a capable, visionary, hardworking, diligent, smart, tenacious leader in the Oval Office. And that’s Hillary Clinton. That’s who she is.”
Speaking of the job he has held for eight years, Mr. Obama said, “And as I said at the convention, you don’t know ahead of time how you’re going to turn out as President. You don’t — you figure, ‘I seem to know what I’m talking about — I think I have a good sense of what’s involved.’ But until you sit at that desk and you’re making life-and-death decisions and you’re deploying young men and women to war, or you’re having to avert a crisis that can affect millions, or, in some cases, billions of lives, you don’t know how you’re going to respond.”
The President wore a light blue windowpane plaid shirt and khaki pants.
He asked the crowd to keep working for the next 80 days, and noting younger people in the audience, urged them to volunteer.
He briefly mentioned Donald Trump, thought not by name. “Frankly I’m tired of talking about her opponent,” he said, which was followed with a bit of applause.
The press was not allowed to remain as the President began to take questions. He started by praising the Vineyard weather of late. “We’ve got good weather, people. Whoever is in charge of the Vineyard weather, I want to thank you,” the Gazette pooler heard him say.
A hand-written cardboard sign hung from a tree just down the road from the Goldberg residence that said, “Thank You President Obama.”
After spending a little more than an hour at the fundraiser, President Obama departed in the motorcade at 6:55 p.m. He arrived back at his vacation home in Chilmark five minutes later.
Sunday, August 14:
On a stifling hot, humid day, President Obama, Michelle Obama, the first lady, and Malia Obama, their oldest daughter, went for a short walk on a trail near their residence, according to a White House official.
Mark Twain is reported to have said, “Golf is a good walk spoiled.” Clearly, Mr. Obama does not agree.
At 11:48 am the motorcade left Chilmark for the Farm Neck Golf Club, clearly one of his favorite courses on Martha’s Vineyard — or perhaps the course more amenable to opening tee times for the First Golfer. President Obama is golfing with NBA star Alonzo Mourning, Washington lawyer Cy Walker and insurance executive Mercer Cook.
Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that a predominately African American section of Milwaukee erupted in mob violence on Saturday night after a police officer fatally shot a man who had a gun during a foot chase.
Rioters burned a grocery store and a gas station, according to published reports. Fire fighters could not adequately respond due to gunfire, according to published reports.
During a midnight news conference, Mayor Tom Barrett stood beside city leaders to plead for an end to the chaos that had been unfolding for hours on city streets, according to the Associated Press.
Obama administration officials said the president had been updated on the situation in Milwaukee.
From Deputy Press Secretary Jen Friedman: “This morning, the President was updated on the situation in Milwaukee by his Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett, who had spoken with Mayor Barrett earlier in the day to offer the Administration’s support for local authorities. The President asked to be kept updated on any new developments.”
POTUS completed his round of golf, and departed Farm Neck Golf Club at 5:35 pm. “The weather is warm with temperatures in the mid-80s — nothing like the scorching heat in much of the rest of the country but considered hot and humid for the Vineyard,” the press pool said.
You can say that again.
After a long break for dinner, the caravan was on the move again at 10:47, and pulled up to Lola’s in Oak Bluffs at about 11:15 for a private party. Lola’s is a longtime Island favorite, located at the Island Inn on Beach Road.
Run by Paul “King” Domitrovich and Kathy “Lola” Domitrovich, the restaurant has come and gone, and returned, much like the tides along nearby Nantucket Sound. The Domitrovichs opened Lola’s over 20 years ago, and drew Vineyarders to its popular brunch, then literally drew Vineyarders on a mural. By 2011, Paul and Kathy were ready for a changed, and decamped to Florida. Christian and Greer Thornton, owners of Atria in Edgartown opened Hooked in the spot, and President Obama visited on one of his vacations.
“We really thought this time we were going to retire,” Ms. Domitrovich said to Times editor Kelsey Perrett in a story about their decision to reopen the restaurant as Lola’s in 2014.
When the Thorntons decided not to return for a third season, the Domitroviches, who still owned the property, opted to bring back the old Lola’s. “We still have a lot of spirit,” Ms. Domitrovich said, on coming out of retirement. “When I’m not Lola, I’m kind of bored.”
The mural is still there, by the way, but currently “hidden.”
Presidents are efficient socializers, it seems. The First Couple stayed less than an hour at the fun spot, well short of last call, and were on their way back to Chilmark by 12 minutes past midnight.
We hope they have air conditioning in their summer rental.
Saturday, August 13
It is hot and humid — too humid for golf, or after successive golf outings did Michele decide it was time for a day at the beach? The press pool is not privy to that information.
The first report of the day from the melting scribes is that the motorcade departed Chilmark at 12:28 pm. “Twenty minutes later after the uneventful eastward trek the press vans separated from the rest of the fleet just shy of the Vineyard Golf Club. But POTUS’ ride turned instead toward the Edgartown Great Pond.”
“The White House shares that the First Family is enjoying a beach day with friends at Kohlberg Beach. [Press] pool settling in for a good hold.”
The road leads to a series of private beaches that stretch between Edgartown Great Pond and Oyster Pond. Property owners include the Flynn family, for generations the largest landowners of Pohogonot Farm and surrounding property at Jobs Neck and Edgartown Great Pond, Andrew and Pamela Kohlberg, children of Jerome Kohlberg, owner of the Vineyard Gazette, Robert Levine, and Richard L. Friedman, the real estate investor and former host of President Bill Clinton when he vacationed on the Vineyard.
Jerome Kohlberg, a longtime seasonal resident, owner of the Vineyard Gazette, philanthropist and Wall Street pioneer, died one year ago on July 30, at his home on Job’s Neck Cove overlooking Edgartown Great Pond. He was 90.
Mr. Kohlberg was a financier widely acknowledged as a leveraged buyout pioneer, first with Bear Stearns and later Kohlberg, Kravis, Roberts, formed in 1976 to pursue such deals, in which a group of investors buys all the publicly held stock in a company and takes it private, financing the purchase mainly with debt.
Mr. Kohlberg founded his own investment firm, Kohlberg & Co., run by his son and headquartered in Mount Kisco, N.Y.
More later …
Right around 5 pm, the President and his family must have had enough of the 84-degree heat (and 93% humidity); the motorcade left the beach and returned to Chilmark. After a wait there, the family was off again just before 7 pm, retracing their route to Edgartown, this time to the home of Glenn Hutchins, with whom the President golfed earlier in the week. Mr. Hutchins is the founder and CEO of Silver Lake Partners, a Silicon Valley private firm that invests in technology companies. Mr. Hutchins is also part owner of the Boston Celtics.
Our pool reporter wrote that while waiting for the President and First Lady to dine, the press bus parked near the Katama General Store, where a sign out front bore a Jim Morrison quote: “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.”
That certainly gave this media person pause…But more on the Katama General Store, on which The Times reported just recently. Jackie and Doug Korell have owned the classic Island general store, (they liken it to a beach “bodega”) since 2003, and say their best seller is their breakfast sandwich. They credit co-worker Penny Townes with coming up with that idea. “Penny used to make breakfast sandwiches for the hockey players,” Jackie said in a recent story in The Local. “Back then, she brought her husband’s flat top in and showed me how to fry an egg and assemble the sandwiches. They’ve really taken off over the years. Penny is like the heart and soul of the place.”
After what we think must have been friendly cocktails and conversation with the Hutchins family (and maybe some Boston Celtics?), the President and his wife were off to Oak Bluffs, and Red Cat Kitchen, a personal favorite of many Times staffers. Red Cat is owned by Ben deForest, who has run many well-known Vineyard restaurants. If we were advising the First diners on menu selections, we’d make sure they order the Brussels Sprouts, for starters.
Starting last winter, Mr. deForest took over the menu at the Ritz cafe on Circuit Ave., where his menu still delights.
Friday, August 12
As the press waited to see what was in store for Friday, BBC Question Time host David Dimbleby showed up and asked the scribes for the inside scoop on the president’s whereabouts so he could get a sneak peak at the motorcade — not that the pool members knew anymore than anyone else.
As they sat sweating in the heat and humidity the members of the press pool speculated that POTUS was taking time out to enjoy his official summer reading list, released today:
Barbarian Days: A Surfing Life by William Finnegan
The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead
H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald
The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
Seveneves by Neal Stephenson
Unlikely, unless he is a speed reader because by noon the motorcade had arrived back at the Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs.
The President’s partners at Farm Neck Golf Club are Robert Wolf, former president and CEO of UBS Investment Bank, NBA Clipper’s star Chris Paul and his brother, C.J. Paul.
POTUS departed farm Neck at 5:03 pm bound for the home of Robert Wolf. The press pool said the businessman’s summer residence is located “on the south-east tip of Martha’s Vineyard.” We looked in the Island Book, the Island phone book and found no listing for Robert Wolf which says something to Islanders — those looking for some claim to authenticity listed their numbers irrespective of stature.
Later today the President and First Lady arrived at L’Etoile, a modern French restaurant. This makes two nights in a row for Edgartown. One night for West Tisbury and one night for Oak Bluffs. Can Vineyard Haven, Chilmark and Aquinnah be far behind? Stay tuned folks.
L’Etoile chef and owner Michael Brisson celebrated his 30th anniversary in 2015. He has some experience with presidents — he once made a birthday cake for Bill Clinton in the shape of Edgartown lighthouse.
MV Times restaurant columnist Marnely Rodriguez-Murray described L’Etoile as “the ideal restaurant in Edgartown for a romantic night out on the town, cocktails with friends, or marking a special event.”
L’Etoile restaurant is located at 22 North Water Street, Edgartown.
The pool hit the road at 10:09 pm to follow POTUS back to his residence. He left l’Etoile to a chorus of cheers from vacationeers gathered in wait. They had barely dimmed as the motorcade swung into action, whipping through a side street and away for the night.
Thursday, August 11
The day dawned hot and humid. The presidential schedule included some father-daughter time.
“The President and Malia Obama are going for a short walk on a trail near their residence,” the White House announced.
The Obama vacation house abuts The Trustees of Reservations (TTOR) Menemsha Hills property, a 211-acre preserve that overlooks Vineyard Sound.
“The three miles of trails allow walkers to experience multiple mini-environments, including wetlands; woodland groves leading to a hilltop; open, wind-blasted coastal plain; and a rocky ocean edge,” according to TTOR.
At 308 feet in elevation, Prospect Hill — also the name of the subdivision where the vacation retreat is located — is the second highest point on the Vineyard (at 311 feet, Peaked Hill, located just southeast, takes top honors.)
TTOR is the oldest private conservation group in Massachusetts and owns or manages some of the Island’s most beautiful and accessible properties.
At 12:36 pm, POTUS left Chilmark as it started to rain. Presumably, he has access to top notch weather forecasting and knew it would not interfere with his golf schedule.
The motorcade traveled down North Road to State Road and took the back way to Vineyard Haven via Spring Street.
The trip highlighted the need to improve the Island’s bike paths — part of the Martha’s Vineyard Transportation Plan — as two bicyclists braved the shoulder of state road as the motorcade passed by.
Just as the motorcade passed by Tisbury Elementary School, a few burly men sat on the roadside, one in Carhartt-looking overalls and a big beard, holding up a Trump sign made of cardboard. It looked like it was written with a pen, the press pool reported
POTUS arrived at Mink Meadows Golf Course at 1 pm and was on the course at 1:03 pm. This is his first trip to the Island’s public nine-hole golf course overlooking Vineyard Sound. Since his arrival POTUS has played Farm Neck two times and Vineyard Golf Club, where memberships exceed $300,000, once.
His golf partners were a familiar group: NBA player and former Celtic Ray Allen, Washington lawyer Cy Walker, and former NBA player Alonzo Mourning.
In a photograph taken from a distance by a member of the press pool, POTUS could be seen wearing what appeared to be an aqua-green shirt, navy shorts and a tan hat.
Despite the heat and humidity small groups of people stood along Franklin Street cell phones in hand in the late afternoon in anticipation of the motorcade passing by on the way to Chilmark. There is no easy alternate route so it is a good opportunity for a photo op, assuming they do not wilt while waiting.
Motorcade was rolling at 5:39 pm from Mink Meadows Golf Course back to Chilmark.
From the traveling pool (city folks, no doubt): “Motorcade also passed some cows. They looked like milk cows but pool does not know much about cows. Pool also saw a deer.”
POTUS played two rounds on the nine hole course. The motorcade arrived back in Chilmark at 6:04 pm.
After a quick break POTUS and FLOTUS were off to dinner. Perhaps the First Family is taking a diplomatic approach to their dining schedule. So far they have dined in Oak Bluffs (Down Island) and West Tisbury (State Road). Tonight, they were off to Edgartown.
Motorcade departed Chilmark at 7:10 pm and traveled to Edgartown “via a somewhat circuitous route,” and arrived in Edgartown at 7:44 pm. From the White House: “The President and First Lady are having dinner with friends at Detente Restaurant.”
Détente bills itself as “a modern seasonal kitchen in downtown Edgartown” that “features inventive American fare with European influences, local seafood, hand rolled pasta and housemade desserts.”
The motorcade pulled out of Edgartown at 10:30 pm and arrived in Chilmark at 11:02 pm.
Wednesday, August 10
On a cloudy, sometimes rainy, day, President Obama golfed again, this time in Edgartown at the Vineyard Golf Club. The President’s golf partners were businessman Glenn Hutchins, and basketball players Ray Allen and Alonzo Mourning.
The motorcade departed Chilmark just after ten, and encountered some wild turkeys near the airport along the way. The entourage arrived at the club, which claims to be the nation’s only organic golf club, at 10:30 am, and were back on their way to Chilmark just after 3 pm. The White House Press Office called “a lid,” which means, that’s the end of our official reporting for today.
Tuesday, August 9
As of this editor’s bedtime, the Golfer-in-Chief had not golfed. Day three of President Obama’s Martha’s Vineyard vacation sounded like a pretty perfect Island day to us: The presidential motorcade didn’t hit the road until 1 pm, after what we imagine was a leisurely morning at their Chilmark vacation home. We have found ourselves wondering: What does President Obama and his family eat for breakfast? Does the President man breakfast skillet on a day off?
Whatever it was, once the Obamas had their breakfast, they were on their way to the South Shore, to what White House press correspondent Gardiner Harris,(see this MVTimes article about being on the bus with the White House Press Corps) of the New York Times described as “a vast private beach on the south side of the Island, where there are real Atlantic waves and unobstructed ocean views. The beach is a barrier island between the Atlantic and Edgartown Great Pond.”
Job’s Neck, maybe?
The first family lingered until almost 5:30 pm (isn’t late afternoon the best time at the beach?) when our pool reporter shared this: “The motorcade is on the move, headed back in the direction of the rented home in Chilmark. Jonathan Ernst of Reuters snapped a photo of POTUS in the half second the Beast sped by your pooler, showing him in a baseball cap and sunglasses.”
He added, “The sun also goes down on Martha’s Vineyard, although the glow never entirely fades away.” Which led us to believe the correspondent has never visited Martha’s Vineyard in March.
A couple hours later, the motorcade was on the move again; the correspondent guessed that the Obamas aren’t keen on dining in while on vacation, especially with so many great restaurants to sample.
Given the hour, and the long beach day, we immediately thought…State Road!
And we were right. A few minutes later, the Obamas pulled in to the West Tisbury restaurant, a favorite of theirs. Mary and Jackson Kenworth, the owners of State Road, are the former proprietors of the Sweet Life restaurant in Oak Bluffs, another Obama favorite over the years. The Kenworths also run Beach Road restaurant in Vineyard Haven, where the Obamas dined last August, soon after the restaurant first opened its doors. MVTimes “Good Taste” columnist Marnely Murray was at Beach Road that night. “I dined at Beach Road last year,” she told us when we asked if restaurants clear the place for the President. “The manager sat me but said ‘I had to be up by seven because they had reservations coming in.’ … as I left the place, I saw the motorcade drive in.”
Tonight, our pool reporter noted, President Obama and the first lady are “dining with friends.”
In other Vineyard news, Chesney the dog jumped off the Steamship Authority ferry Martha’s Vineyard and was rescued in a collaborative effort among the Island Queen, recreational boaters, and the Oak Bluffs Harbormaster Todd Alexander.
Monday, August 8
More golf on the second day of vacation, a beautiful warm summer day — imagine if Obama liked to fish.
The motorcade arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club at 12:20 pm.
The 18-hole course stretches 5.3 miles, overlooking woodland, salt marshes and, at times, Sengekontacket Pond, a saltwater pond connected by two channels to Nantucket Sound. POTUS’ golfing partners today are Steph Curry, Dell Curry and Cy Walker.
According to a report in the Daily Mail, Mr. Obama estimated he has a handicap of 13. Overall, he said he hits a straight drive. “I think my irons are good, my drive is straight but unimpressive in length, my putting’s decent, my chipping is okay, my sand game is terrible,” he said.
The motorcade left Farm Neck at 5:19 pm after a long afternoon of golf. Word is that the First Family is staying in tonight.
Sunday, August 7
It will come as no surprise to Obama vacation watchers that on his first full day on Martha’s Vineyard President Barack Obama hit the links.
A short time after Chilmark police and firefighters had hauled a Ford Fusion out of Menemsha Creek just down North Road, at 12:38 pm the presidential motorcade left Prospect Hill in Chilmark for Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs. The course is a presidential favorite and offers commanding views from select fairways of Nantucket Sound and Sengekontacket Pond.
The motorcade passed a sign that said “Welcome back, First Family” en route. The off Island press pool reported the route took the press bus by “the Vineyard’s adorable airport and a Smokey the Bear sign warning us that fire danger is ‘high’ today.”
The motorcade arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs at 1:04 pm. Clearly, August traffic was not an issue.
A White House official confirmed: “The President is golfing at Farm Neck Golf Club with Chris Paul, Cy Walker and Joe Paulsen.”
Chris Paul is a point guard for the L.A. Clippers. Mr. Walker is the cousin of White House senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. Joe Paulsen is a White House aide.
The press pool was able to observe the president golfing at the first hole. POTUS was wearing a gray polo shirt and dark shorts. His companions were in polos and shorts as well, with the exception of Chris Paul who was wearing pants.
Chris Paul was given “a gimme” on his putt.
POTUS made about a 25-30 foot putt (just barely missing) before gesturing toward the press pool and said what sounded like “I hope you saw that.”
The presidential motorcade left Farm Neck at 6:12 pm and returned to Chilmark.
The motorcade departed Chilmark at 7:11 pm for Oak Bluffs and dinner out with friends, arriving at 7:44 pm to the cheers and clapping of lots of onlookers on Circuit Ave.
From a White House official: “The President and First Lady are dining with friends at Down Island in Oak Bluffs.”
The First Family represents quite a coup for Down Island, which opened this season with the tagline “fine dining food in a comfortable down island atmosphere.” The restaurant is located in the basement of the well know Island bar, The Lampost.
In an earlier interview, Chef Scott Cummings told The Times, “Our food is defined by sound cooking techniques and a classical foundation with modern practices and plating. This may sound complex, but we keep it very approachable to the everyday consumer. We do everything from scratch, and all products are thoughtfully sourced and prepared to the highest standards. Every element on the plate was built from real ingredients.”
The restaurant is unique for Martha’s Vineyard in that the six-course menu is pretty much set by the chef.
According to the restaurant website, tonight’s menu featured wild mushroom forest; roasted carrots; octopus; Island-caught striped bass; and chocolate pate at a cost of $59.
The Presidential dinner party ended late. The motorcade departed Oak Bluffs at 11 pm amid crowds of onlookers. The White House only identified the President’s dinner companion’s as “family and friends.”
Saturday, August 7
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.
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.
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.