President Obama is scheduled to arrive Saturday for a two-week summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, his seventh and final summer trip to the Island during his time as a sitting president.
The First Family is scheduled to travel to the Vineyard on Saturday, August 6, the White House announced last week. The Obamas will depart on Sunday, August 21.
No public events are scheduled.
This week familiar signs of the President’s arrival were visible around the Vineyard, most notably government planes and helicopters coming in and out of the Martha’s Vineyard Airport. Preparations for the visit have been underway for the past few months and weeks, with the Coast Guard and Martha’s Vineyard Airport working with the Department of Homeland Security and Secret Service to finalize plans and security details.
A temporary flight restriction was issued this week from August 6 to August 22 for a 30 nautical-mile radius around Martha’s Vineyard Airport. The airspace restriction prohibits some air operations, including the use of unmanned aircraft systems, like drones. Those flying private planes in and out of the Vineyard will need to plan in advance and will face tightened security.
The Obama family is expected to once again rent a family home owned by Joanne Hubschman; the house is off North Road and overlooks the Vineyard’s north shore.
For all but one year of the Obama presidency, the Vineyard has served as a summer getaway for the First Family, bringing members of the Secret Service, press, and advisors along with them. The family’s ties to the Vineyard date to before the Obama presidency. In late August 2009, the Obamas arrived for their first Summer White House visit, a one-week stay at Blue Heron Farm in West Tisbury.
The Obamas returned every summer after that, except in 2012, when the President was in the middle of a re-election campaign.
The family vacations are usually low-key, with the President spending time on Island golf courses and family bike rides through the state forest and trips to the beach. The Obamas enjoy watching the annual Oak Bluffs fireworks display and eating out at various Island restaurants with family and friends.
While the President’s trips are unscheduled, world affairs and other duties often call for a break in his down time. In the past he has made statements to the press about world events, speaking from behind a podium with the Presidential in Island school cafeterias and a lawn in Chilmark. The last several years, the Edgartown school cafeteria has served as the press filing center and makeshift briefing room.
Vineyarders typically take the visit in stride, and onlookers often gather with their smart phones to take a picture as the motorcade rushes down Island roads. Seeing the motorcade, or Secret Service stationed outside a restaurant, are often the only visible signs of the Summer White House’s presence on the Vineyard.