Dinner With Friends in Edgartown

3 months 1 week ago

The President and First Lady spent the last night of their Vineyard summer vacation having dinner with friends at a private home in Edgartown.

According to the White House, the Obamas had dinner with the Heard family, friends from Washington D.C. While on the Vineyard last year, Mr. Obama was joined on the golf course by lawyer Preston Heard.

The President is scheduled to depart from the Vineyard sometime tomorrow, bringing the Obamas' sixth Vineyard summer sojourn to an end.

Friday Fireworks and a Saturday Bike Ride

3 months 1 week ago

In what's become a tradition for the First Family, the Obamas were in Oak Bluffs Friday night for the town's annual fireworks show. As they have in past year, the Obamas watched the display from Valerie Jarrett's vacation house on the North Bluff. With streets closed for the fireworks show and thousands of people in town, the small area of Circuit avenue extension that was cordoned off by police tape and guarded by police and Secret Service seemed barely noticed by the crowds.

On a rainy Saturday, the second to last day of the presidential vacation, the First Family headed out on a bike ride in West Tisbury, likely in the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest, arriving at 11:30 a.m. This, too, is a vacation tradition for the Obamas.

In this photo by Alison L. Mead, Secret Service stand guard and police tape blocks off stairs to the portion of the North Bluff in Oak Bluffs where the First Family watched fireworks.


Friday Golf at Farm Neck

3 months 1 week ago

As the President's time on the Vineyard winds down, he returned to the golf course Friday for another round of golf.

Mr. Obama arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs at noon and spent a little less than five hours on the golf course on Friday. His golf partners were basketball players Alonzo Mourning and Ray Allen and friend Cyrus Walker. All three have been frequent presidential golf partners during this vacation.

The presidential motorcade headed back to the Obamas' Chilmark vacation home. In past years, the First Family has headed to Oak Bluffs for the town's annual fireworks show, which takes place tonight, but it is unclear if that is in the works this year.

Obamas Spend Time at the Beach with the Kennedys

3 months 1 week ago

The first family headed back to the beach on Thursday, this time up-Island. According to the White House, the Obamas are spending the day at the beach in Aquinnah with Ambassador Caroline Kennedy and her family. They arrived in Aquinnah at about 12:30 p.m.

Ambassador Kennedy's mother, the late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, purchased Red Gate Farm in Aquinnah in 1978. The secluded 377-acre property fronts the Atlantic Ocean. The property is home to at least a dozen protected species, and is believed to be one of the most ecologically rare areas in the state.

On Wednesday night, the Obamas had dinner on the other side of the Island at Beach Road restaurant in Vineyard Haven. The restaurant opened earlier this summer, and is owned by Jackson and Mary Kenworth, who also own and operate State Road restaurant in West Tisbury, a favorite Island spot for the Obamas.



A Break for the Beach, Then Back to Golf

3 months 1 week ago

After a day away from golf spent at home and at the beach, President Obama headed back to Farm Neck Golf Club Wednesday for his seventh golf outing during his Vineyard summer vacation.

The President arrived at the Oak Bluffs course at about 12:30 p.m. Wednesday. According to the White House, his golf partners are retired basketball player Alonzo Mourning, former Celtics star Ray Allen, and friend Cyrus Walker.

Tuesday was a low-key day for the President, who took advantage of the hot weather to visit a private south shore beach with his family. After spending about five hours at the beach, the presidential motorcade headed back to the Obamas' Chilmark vacation house, where the President remained for the rest of the day.

After Quiet Sunday, Monday at the Golf Course

3 months 2 weeks ago

President Obama stayed true to his Vineyard routine Monday, heading to Vineyard Golf Club on a hot, sunny Monday.

Joining the President for his sixth round of golf on the Vineyard were retired basketball player Alonzo Mourning, investor Glenn Hutchins, and former Celtics star Ray Allen. The President arrived at the golf course at noon.

Monday's golf game follows a weekend that included a night out and time spent at the President's vacation home in Chilmark. On Saturday, Mr. Obama was joined by former President Bill Clinton for a much-publicized golf game at Farm Neck. Later that night, President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, former President Clinton, and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton all attended a party for Vernon Jordan's 80th birthday at Farm Neck.

On Sunday the President spent the day at home. The President and his daughter Malia took a walk on a trail near their residence during the day. The President also called Pamela Horowitz to offer condolences on the death of her husband, Civil Rights leader Julian Bond.

While the President was at the golf course Monday, Mrs. Obama was spotted having a casual lunch with Valerie Jarrett and two friends in Oak Bluffs. Mike Levin took the picture and sent it to the Gazette.

Sunny Friday on the Golf Course

3 months 2 weeks ago

It was back to the golf course Friday for President Obama, who visited Farm Neck Golf Club for the third time so far during his Vineyard summer vacation.

The President's golf partners Friday were a trio of basketball players: former Celtics shooting guard Ray Allen, Golden State Warrior and 2015 NBA most valuable player Steph Curry, and Mr. Curry's father, Dell Curry, who is retired from the NBA.

The President arrived at the golf course at about 12:30 p.m, and after a little more than five hours headed back to his Chilmark rental home, where he will stay for the evening.

Summer Reading on the Beach

3 months 2 weeks ago

Thursday was a beach day for the President and his family, who spent a sunny afternoon on the Island's south shore.

According to the White House, the Obamas spent time with friends at a private beach in Edgartown off Edgartown-West Tisbury Road. The family arrived at the beach just after 11 a.m. and left about five hours later, heading back to spend the evening at the Chilmark home where they are staying.

Also Thursday, the White House released President Obama's summer reading list. The titles included James Salter's novel All That Is, The Lowland by Jhumpa Lahiri, The Sixth Extinction by Elizabeth Kolbert, Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow, Pulitzer Prize-winning All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, and Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates. Mr. Coates was on the Vineyard two weeks ago for a discussion about race in America with journalist Michele Norris.

Dinner Out in Edgartown

3 months 2 weeks ago

The President and First Lady are enjoying a night out Wednesday, dining with friends at the downtown Edgartown restaurant Alchemy.

According to the White House, the Obamas are having dinner with former attorney general Eric Holder and his wife, National Security Advisor Susan Rice and her husband, and former U.S. trade representative Ron Kirk and his wife.

This is the President's first White House visit to Alchemy, a two-story restaurant that is open year-round, with bars on both floors and a second story porch overlooking Edgartown's Main street. The presidential visit has closed traffic for two blocks surrounding the restaurant, between Church street and North Water street, with local police waving cars down side streets as they came into town.

As the sun was setting, the street and the restaurant were filled with the usual summer crowds. People stopped to take pictures or survey the scene, which included Secret Service agents and several vehicles stationed behind yellow police tape in front of the restaurant. Onlookers passed by walking dogs or carrying cups of ice cream, while one couple asked a Secret Service agent how they could get to Isola, a restaurant located through a parking lot behind Alchemy. Security was stationed on the second story of Edgartown town hall across the street from the restaurant.

Earlier in the day, the President hit the links at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs with golf partners Alonzo Mourning, Ray Allen, and Cyrus Walker. According to the White House, Mr. Obama also called former President Jimmy Carter to wish him a full and speedy recovery. Mr. Carter revealed on Wednesday that he has been diagnosed with cancer.

This is the second time in as many days that White House excitement has come to Edgartown. On Tuesday, Mrs. Obama and the couple's daughters had lunch at Atlantic Fish & Chop House, a few blocks down Main street from Alchemy.

President Heads Back to the Golf Course

3 months 2 weeks ago

After a rainy day spent inside, President Obama headed back to the golf course Wednesday for the third golf outing of his vacation. The presidential motorcade arrived at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs a little bit before 1 p.m. This is the President's second visit to Farm Neck; he hit the links there on Saturday, his first full day of vacation.

The President's golf partners Wednesday are retired basketball player Alonzo Mourning, former Celtic Ray Allen, and friend Cyrus Walker.


President Obama's 2014 Visit

Last Day Hike

The Obamas are spending their final day of vacation hiking in Chilmark with friends. This year the Obamas have stayed in a rented home off North Road in an area with rolling hills and hiking trails that lead to the rocky shoreline overlooking the Elizabeth islands. The weather Sunday is sunny and summery with a cool breeze off the water. Perfect day for a hike. The First Family leaves tonight to fly back to Washington, D.C.

Vacation Comes to a Quiet Close

President Obama's two-week vacation is coming to a quiet end.

On a day of changeable weather and a hint of fall in the air, President Obama headed back to Farm Neck Golf Course, where he has spent a lot of time over the last two weeks. He spent a little more than five hours on the course, joined by former basketball player Alonzo Mourning, friend Cyrus Walker and aide Joe Paulsen.

It appears the President will spend the rest of his last full day on the Vineyard at the Chilmark home where he and the First Family are staying. The Obamas are scheduled to depart from the Island Sunday.

Obamas Enjoy Oak Bluffs Fireworks

It always seems like the entire Island comes to Oak Bluffs for the annual August fireworks display. This year that included the Obamas.

The President and First Family joined the crowds that watched the pyrotechnic display above Nantucket Sound Friday night. The Obamas watched the show with senior advisor Valerie Jarrett at the North Bluff home where she is staying.

The additional security for the President blended in with the crowds, street closures and police presence that always accompany the well-attended show.

The fireworks lasted just short of 30 minutes. The annual display is somewhat of a tradition for the First Family, as they have watched the fireworks in past years as well.

The Obamas arrived in Oak Bluffs around 7:45 p.m. and left just before 1 a.m.

Addressing Issues, Defending Golf

White House officials continued to condemn the recent murder of American journalist James Foley and defended the President's trips to the golf course during a press briefing Friday afternoon.

Speaking at the Edgartown school cafeteria, which has served as the press filing center during President Obama's visit to the Island, Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said the murder of Mr. Foley was a terrorist attack and "an affront, an attack, not just on him...but our country."

Mr. Rhodes said the United States has done everything possible to bring home hostages and that as a matter of policy, the U.S. does not provide ransom or any funding for terror organizations.

He and Deputy Press Secretary Eric Schultz fielded questions on a number of other issues, including about the Ukraine, civil unrest in Feguson, Mo., and the Ebola outbreak.

Mr. Schultz addressed questions about the time the President has spent playing golf during his vacation, and whether there was concern about the juxtaposition of the President speaking about grave situations and then going to the golf course.

"Generally speaking, sports and leisure activities are a good way for release and clearing of the mind for a lot of us," the deputy press secretary said.

"First and foremost, he's doing his job," Mr. Schultz said of the President. "Just because the President is in a different location doesn't mean he's not doing his job...nobody can deny he's been deeply engaged." He said that the issues facing the country have "absolutely captured" the President's attention.

The President and his family are expected to depart on Sunday.

Earlier today, the Obamas took a hike around the Chilmark home where they are staying.


Ben Rhodes.

Dinner with the Governor

After spending about four hours on the links at Farm Neck, President Obama is back at his rented Chilmark home.

According to the White House, the President and First Lady are dining at the house tonight with Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick, who is a longtime friend of the Obamas. Gazette photographer Timothy Johnson captured Governor Patrick, his wife Diane and Cape Air pilot Dave O'Connor just after landing at the Vineyard airport prior to the dinner engagement.

Thursday Afternoon at Farm Neck

President Obama is back on the golf course for the eighth time during his Vineyard vacation. Farm Neck seems to be his golf course of choice — he is hitting the links at the Oak Bluffs golf club for the fifth time this summer.

According to the White House, the President is joined on the course today by retired NBA player Alonzo Mourning, Cyrus Walker and Preston Heard.

Back on the Island, Back to the Golf Course

After delivering a statement early Wednesday afternoon in Edgartown, President Obama headed to Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, spending about five hours on the links on a sunny afternoon.

This was the President's seventh round of golf during his Vineyard vacation. He was joined on the golf course Wednesday by Cyrus Walker, who is a cousin of Valerie Jarrett, retired basketball player Alonzo Mourning and investor Glenn Hutchins.

President Condemns Murder of Journalist James Foley

Speaking at the Edgartown School early Wednesday afternoon, President Obama condemned the execution of Jim Foley, an American journalist who was abducted in northwest Syria in 2012.

“Today the entire world is appalled by the brutal murder of Jim Foley,” the president said during a short statement. “Jim was a journalist, son, brother, and a friend who reported from difficult and dangerous places, bearing witness to the lives of people a world away.”

A video released by the terrorist group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) on Tuesday depicts Mr. Foley's beheading. The video was accompanied by the threat of further violence against freelance journalist Steven Sotloff, who has been missing since 2013.

Mr. Obama said he spoke on the phone earlier Wednesday morning with Mr. Foley’s parents, who live in New Hampshire.

“Jim Foley’s life stands in stark contrast to his killers,” Mr. Obama said, condemning ISIL’s attacks on cities and villages, and its killing and brutal treatment of innocent civilians. He pointed out that ISIL targets Christians and other religious minorities, and that the majority of its victims are Muslims.

“So ISIL speaks for no religion,” he said. “No just God would stand for what they did yesterday, and for what they do every single day.”

“People like this ultimately fail,” he said. “They fail because the future is won by those who build and not destroy, and the world is shaped by people like Jim Foley and the overwhelming majority of humanity who are appalled by those who killed him.”

He called on the Iraqi people to “continue coming together to expel these terrorists from their communities,” and pledged to continue supporting the people of Syria “in their pursuit of a future rooted in dignity.”

“Friends and allies around the world, we share a common security and a common set of values that are rooted in the opposite of what we saw yesterday,” Mr. Obama said. “And we will continue to confront this hateful terrorism, and replace it with a sense of hope and civility.”

Speaking in Edgartown, President Obama condemns murder of jouranlist Jams Foley

After Brief Washington Trip, President Back on the Vineyard to Finish Vacation

After two days of meetings in Washington, President Obama arrived back on the Vineyard Tuesday evening.

Marine One touched down at Martha's Vineyard Airport at 6:10 p.m. President Obama, wearing a white shirt and blue jeans, traveled from Washington, D.C., with daughter Malia, who departed the Island with him late Sunday night.

First Lady Michelle Obama apparently remained on the Island, and daughter Sasha was to be joining the family on vacation sometime this week, the White House has said.

The Obamas are renting a home off North Road in Chilmark. The First Family's vacation will continue until Sunday, August 24. There are no public events scheduled.

During his time in Washington, the President met with Attorney General Eric Holder about the situation in Ferguson, Mo.

On Monday, the President also made remarks about the latest developments in Iraq and Ferguson.

On Tuesday, he and Vice President Biden met at the White House with senior advisors and the President's economic team.




Excitement in Edgartown Over President's Visit

Taking the unusual step of interrupting his vacation, President Obama is back at the White House Monday for a series of meetings about issues including Iraq and civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo. He is expected to return to the Vineyard Tuesday.

Before the President left on Marine One late Sunday night, he and the First Lady had an evening out, including a stop at Featherstone Center for the Arts for some outdoor jazz. The couple then went to Atria for dinner, making the first presidential visit to the Edgartown restaurant.

“It was very cool to have them,” Atria owner Christian Thornton told the Gazette Monday. He said that at first he was concerned about whether the visit would be a hardship to his customers, with Secret Service coming through the restaurant, extra security and a portion of Upper Main street closed to traffic. But everyone was excited to be a part of it, he said.

“There’s always a great buzz and excitement,” Mr. Thornton said. “The customers are excited once they figure out what’s going on.”

“It was not terribly disruptive, they come in and they bring a lot of security, the bomb-sniffing dogs come in," he said. "The motorcade was just an amazing amount of vehicles out front.”

The President was with a large party including his family, Mr. Thornton said. President Obama had lobster and Mrs. Obama had striped bass.

They did not order dessert, as the President left immediately after dinner to depart with daughter Malia for Washington, D.C. Mrs. Obama stayed at the restaurant awhile, Mr. Thornton said.
“He was very gracious and said hello to a number of the staff,” Mr. Thornton said, adding that the President seemed happy to be there and posed for a picture. “It was nice to see him with his family, relaxed.”

“It was very exciting for the guests and the staff, and I hope for Edgartown,” he said.