Obama returns to Martha’s Vineyard for vacation

Former President Barack Obama, shown here golfing at Farm Neck in 2016, is back on the Island for vacation. — Peter Graves

Barack Obama, the 44th president of the United States, celebrated his 58th birthday on Martha’s Vineyard Sunday.

Obama is back in his favorite vacation spot, according to multiple sources who asked not to be named, as well as a video posted on social media of Barack Obama at his favorite vacation activity — golfing at Farm Neck. A video shows him driving his own golf cart and playing in a foursome that included former Boston Celtics player Ray Allen and Golden State Warriors guard Stephen Curry. During one clip, Obama can be seen waving as he drives away.

Since he was first elected in 2008, Obama has come to the Island with his wife, Michelle, and their daughters Malia and Sasha. It’s not clear if the entire family is on the Island, but golf, cycling, and eating out at Nancy’s, Red Cat, Cardboard Box, and Garde East are usually part of his itinerary. He first came to the Island as a relative unknown in 2004 for a fundraiser. 

Last year, Barack and Michelle Obama left the Cardboard Box on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs to wild cheers.

Obama missed one year while he was running for re-election.

On Monday, Obama posted on Facebook about the shootings in El Paso, Texas, and Dayton, Ohio, offering condolences to the families of the victims, and calling for politicians to act on gun reform. Without mentioning him by name, Obama appeared to point at President Donald Trump with his comments. “We should soundly reject language coming out of the mouths of any of our leaders that feeds a climate of fear and hatred or normalizes racist sentiments; leaders who demonize those who don’t look like us, or suggest that other people, including immigrants, threaten our way of life, or refer to other people as sub-human, or imply that America belongs to just one certain type of people,” he wrote.

Former Oak Bluffs selectman Ken Rusczyk gathered his golf clubs to hit a bucket of balls at Farm Neck driving range on Sunday evening, expecting the course to be empty in the light rain. He was pleasantly surprised when he happened upon the former president and his “foursome, plus two Secret Service guards,” alone at the sixth tee. 

“[Obama] noticed me walking by, and he walked right up to me and greeted me.” Rusczyk then asked the former president, “How would you think Michelle would do as president?” According to Rusczyk, Obama replied, “She would do great!” then he paused and smiled and said, “Except she’s too darn smart.” With that, Obama rejoined his group and continued his game.

“He looked so calm and relaxed. It was such a nice interaction,” Rusczyk said.
Last Thursday, Michelle Obama was trending on Twitter for a while when filmmaker Michael Moore suggested she would “crush” President Trump in a race for the White House in 2020.

But in a story published the next day in the National, Amtrak’s magazine, she ended any speculation that she would join the crowded Democratic field. “Just between us, and the readers of this magazine — there’s zero chance,” Michelle Obama was quoted as saying.

Valerie Jarrett, a former senior adviser to Obama and a Vineyard regular, posted a photo of fried seafood at Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs on Sunday and wrote, “Heaven on earth.”