President Obama and his family had a low-key start to their annual Vineyard summer vacation this week, balancing time at home out of the public eye in Chilmark with trips out for meals with friends. There has also been beach time — and for the President of course, plenty of time on Island golf courses.

Marine One lands at Martha's Vineyard Airport. — Mark Lovewell

The President, First Lady Michelle Obama, and daughter Sasha stepped off Marine One just before 6:30 p.m. last Friday at Martha’s Vineyard Airport, a day earlier than planned. National Security Adviser Susan Rice and senior adviser Valerie Jarrett also made the trip, as did the Obama family’s Portuguese water dogs, Bo and Sunny.

Older daughter Malia arrived on the Vineyard separately.

Marking a departure from previous years, when they arrived on the Vineyard Mr. and Mrs. Obama greeted a crowd of about 30 invited guests who were waiting behind a barrier on the airport tarmac. The couple shook hands and chatted briefly with the crowd. The airport arrival was otherwise closed to the public.

State troopers Gary Cederquist, Mike Jennings, Lenny Wilmoth and Jody Greene at Vineyard Golf Club Monday. — Jeanna Shepard

Then the Obamas were whisked by motorcade to their rented vacation home in a secluded location off North Road in Chilmark.

The start of the President’s sixth Vineyard vacation while in the White House has been marked by downtime and the usual dearth of public appearances. During last year’s vacation, events at home and abroad prompted Mr. Obama to make three live statements to the press during his time on the Vineyard.

This year, the President has been less visible, spending time at home except for a few meals out and trips to the golf course.

On Thursday afternoon, while the First Family visited a south shore beach with friends, the White House released the President’s summer reading list. Titles included 2015 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr, Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates, and Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow.

The presidential motorcade turns onto Main Street in Edgartown. — Maria Thibodeau

The President has also engaged in his favorite Island pastime. He has hit the links twice at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs, and visited Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown Monday. His golf partners have included actor and comedian Larry David and investor Glenn Hutchins, both seasonal Vineyard residents, and retired basketball players Alonzo Mourning and Ray Allen.

Other outings have been to Island restaurants, including dinner at State Road in West Tisbury, a popular farm-to-table eatery and annual stop for the Obamas. On Wednesday night the President and First Lady traveled to a new dining spot, the downtown Edgartown restaurant Alchemy. Their dinner companions were Ms. Rice and her husband, former Attorney General Eric Holder and his wife, and former U.S. Trade representative Ron Kirk and his wife.

The presidential visit closed traffic for two blocks surrounding the restaurant, with police waving cars down side streets as they came into town. The restaurant and downtown Edgartown were filled with the usual August crowds, and 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.

Greetings for the First Family. — Mark Lovewell

There was a similar scene on Main street a day earlier, when Mrs. Obama and her daughters joined friends for lunch at the foot of Main street at Atlantic Fish & Chop House, on a rain-soaked day.

The sign outside Alley’s General Store said Welcome Mr. President early in the week and American flags are hanging from trees and mailboxes on North Road. While the motorcade traveled from up-Island to down earlier this week, a small group gathered at the end of a street near the Agricultural Hall to wave and take pictures and a passing biker gave the thumbs up, but otherwise the ride was quiet.

The Obamas are expected to depart from the Island on Sunday, August 23.