1 thing Obamas aren’t giving up: Martha’s Vineyard vacation
FILE - In this Aug. 22, 2015 file photo, President Barack Obama follows his daughter Malia, left, as they rides bikes in West Tisbury, Mass., on Martha’s Vineyard. The Obamas are taking their annual vacation on Martha’s Vineyard as private citizens in August 2017, just weeks before Malia, is slated to start at Harvard. (Susan Walsh, File/Associated Press)
By Philip Marcelo | AP August 4
BOSTON — The Obamas are taking their annual summer vacation on Martha’s Vineyard, this time as private citizens.
Former President Barack Obama and his family are headed to the Massachusetts resort island this weekend. And while they no longer travel under the watchful eye of the world, their trip details were guarded Friday.
Ann Richart, manager of Martha’s Vineyard Airport, confirmed the visit. But she and other local officials declined to provide specifics. Obama spokesman Kevin Lewis also declined to comment.
But judging from “precedent” — the visit will be low-key, with bike rides, golf, and ice cream outings.
The Obamas are no strangers to the island. The family spent seven of their eight summers there while Obama was president and were regulars long before he was in office. Last summer, their younger daughter, Sasha, even worked briefly at one of their favorite spots, Nancy’s Restaurant & Snack Bar in Oak Bluffs.
The family typically spent 10 days to two weeks at a rented beachfront compound, usually on the island’s more secluded western edge in the town of Chilmark.
Their visit this time comes as Obama’s successor in the White House, Republican billionaire Donald Trump, prepared for his first extended vacation as president Friday. Trump planned a 17-day stay at his golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey.
It also comes as Obama turned 56 on Friday and days before the Obamas’ elder daughter, Malia, enrolls in Harvard University, where her parents graduated from the law school. Malia took a gap year before starting college and will get settled in at the Ivy League school later this month.
In visits past, the Obamas rode bicycles around the island and ventured into town for ice cream and New England fare. Then-President Obama’s frequent golf outings were a target for his critics, including Trump before he ran for the White House.
The family also is known to pay visits to longtime friends who vacation on the island, including Valerie Jarrett, Obama’s former senior adviser, and Harvard law professor Charles Ogletree.
Richart said that when a sitting president visits the island, the impact on the modest airport can be significant: Airspace is restricted, the White House sets up its own communications center and the Coast Guard takes up real estate on the site.
While those modifications won’t be an issue this time, a Secret Service detail will accompany the ex-president with assistance, as usual, from the Massachusetts State Police.
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“Martha’s Vineyard Airport welcomes all sorts of VIPs regularly throughout the year,” Richart said. “This visit is more like those other VIP arrivals.”
In Chilmark, the island town where roads closed when the Obamas vacationed there, Police Chief Jonathan Klaren said he has no plans this time to close any roads.