After a brief sojourn to Washington, D.C., early this week, President Obama arrived back on the Island Tuesday to finish his Vineyard vacation with his family.
This marks the fifth summer during his presidency that President Obama and his family have vacationed on the Vineyard. And this year more than any other, the President’s vacation has been interrupted repeatedly by unfolding events around the world and at home.
The Obamas arrived on the Island for a two-week vacation August 9.
The President and daughter Malia left the Vineyard late Sunday night on Marine One to return to Washington for two days.
Back at the White House, the President and Vice President Biden met with members of the National Security Council for an update on the situation in Iraq, and then met with Attorney General Eric Holder about the situation in Ferguson, Mo. Last week, while on the Vineyard, President Obama authorized U.S. Armed Forces to conduct targeted air strikes to support Iraqi forces in trying to recapture the Mosul dam, which had been captured by insurgents. He has spoken with world leaders while on the Vineyard.
Returning to the Vineyard Tuesday evening on Air Force One, the President was briefed on the murder of James Foley, a journalist from New Hampshire who was abducted in Syria in 2012. The next afternoon, President Obama condemned the murder during a short statement delivered at the Edgartown School. “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,” the President said.
It was the third public statement President Obama has made on the Vineyard this year.
The President has also spent time engaged with other Vineyard pastimes, and spent many nights in at the rented Chilmark home off North Road where he and his family are staying.
Hewing to tradition, he has also spent time on the golf course. He’s hit the links at Farm Neck Golf Club five times so far this summer, and visited Vineyard Golf Club three times. Frequent golf partners this summer have been retired basketball player Alonzo Mourning and Cyrus Walker, a cousin of advisor Valerie Jarrett.
Other activities are Obama family vacation staples. Last Friday, the President, First Lady and Malia went on a bike ride through the Manuel F. Correllus State Forest on a sunny, breezy day. They all wore exercise clothing and helmets, and the President briefly greeted reporters.
Saturday it was off to the beach, with the Obamas spending about four hours at a favorite south shore location in Edgartown. According to the White House, they were joined by friends.
Later that night, the President and First Lady had dinner with friends at State Road restaurant in West Tisbury.
But the Obamas also mixed up their Vineyard routine. On Sunday, President Obama and the First Lady went to an early evening jazz concert at Featherstone Center for the Arts in Oak Bluffs. Jazz on the Vineyard is a benefit for Student Achievement Through Opportunity.
The Obamas then went to Atria in Edgartown for dinner, another new stop for the First Family.
“It was very cool to have them,” Atria co-owner Christian Thornton told the Gazette. 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, and the visit was not terribly disruptive.
“There’s always a great buzz and excitement,” Mr. Thornton said. “The customers are excited once they figure out what’s going on.”
Mr. Thornton said the President, who was with a large party including his family, had the lobster. Mrs. Obama had striped bass.
“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.
The Obamas are scheduled to depart the Island on Sunday.
Alex Elvin contributed reporting.