President Obama will return to Martha’s Vineyard early next month for a 16-day family vacation, the White House confirmed this week. It will mark the fifth time during his presidency that President Obama will visit the Island.
A White House official said in an email Wednesday that the president and first lady will travel to the Vineyard on Saturday, August 9, and will depart for Washington, D.C., on Sunday, August 24. No public events are scheduled and no further details were released by the White House.
But the Gazette has learned that as in past trips, the president will be staying in Chilmark, this time at a new location. The Obamas will rent a private home off North Road in Chilmark that belongs to Joanne Hubschman. Situated in a secluded high meadow dotted with wildflowers and native shrubs, the expansive, three-story summer home has sweeping views of the Elizabeth Islands. The home has an outdoor swimming pool set in an outdoor deck, basketball and tennis courts, and an indoor gym and workout area.
President Obama and his family vacationed on the Vineyard in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013. They did not come in 2012 during the run up to the presidential election that fall. Mr. Obama also visited the Island a number of times before he was president. His close friend and senior advisor Valerie Jarrett is a longtime seasonal resident of Oak Bluffs; during Mr. Obama’s presidency she has often accompanied him to the Island during his August vacations, staying in her own rented home near East Chop.
The first family has always stayed in a rented home in Chilmark.
For three years, the president rented Blue Heron Farm in Chilmark, a 28-acre estate that borders Tisbury Great Pond. The gentleman’s farm was sold in 2012 to new owners who opted not to rent the property.
Last year the Obamas stayed at a private home off South Road in Chilmark owned by David Schulte. The location posed some logistical problems, as it required part of South Road to be closed for security reasons during the president’s visit.
This year the Obamas will trade the sandy south shore with its Great Ponds and wide views of the Atlantic for the morainal, boulder-strewn north shore with its long views across the sound to the small chain of Elizabeth Islands that form Gosnold, the seventh town in Dukes County.
If history bears repeating, the president and his family will spend their vacation time quietly, with no scheduled public appearances or events. During past Vineyard trips the Obamas visited secluded beaches, rode bikes through the state forest and had meals at favorite Island restaurants, including Sweet Life Cafe and Nancy’s in Oak Bluffs, State Road restaurant in West Tisbury and the Beach Plum in Chilmark. The president likes to spend time on the Island’s golf courses, including Farm Neck in Oak Bluffs, Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown and Mink Meadows in Vineyard Haven. He has also been known to show up at the Oak Bluffs School to shoot hoops in the school gymnasium.
Dating back to the years when the Clintons vacationed on the Vineyard, from time to time national events historically intrude on presidential vacations, and press conferences are held with the Island as a backdrop.
During the Obamas’ past visits, Islanders have welcomed the president and his family, posting homemade signs and hanging flags along Vineyard roads and gathering to watch as the presidential motorcade speeds past.
In recent years Alley’s General Store has been a favorite spot for motorcade watching, but that will change this year with the change in location for the summer White House.