WASHINGTON – President Obama is returning to Martha’s Vineyard next month, making his fourth trip to the Massachusetts island since he became president.
Obama will arrive on the Vineyard on Aug. 10, and plans to remain on the island until Aug. 18, according to the White House. He will arrive with Michelle Obama. Officials would not disclose any travel information about their two daughters, but they typically vacation with the family on the Vineyard as well.
The Obama family also vacationed on the Vineyard in 2009, 2010, and 2011. They did not head to the island last year, a vacation that would have fallen in the months leading up to the presidential election. It was a period when Obama was focused on the campaign, but also on not stirring any controversy, such as taking a respite on an exclusive island in deep blue Massachusetts.
The trip has been rumored for weeks, but until Friday afternoon the White House had not confirmed it or released any dates.
Islanders, it appears, are looking forward to his return.
C’est la Vie is designing a new T-shirt to mark the president’s return. Sharky’s Cantina is preparing to roll out its Obamarita once again, enticing customers with a margarita made with mandarin oranges, pineapple juice, and tequila (they also have Barack-o-taco, and Barack-guac).
“We’re just pandering,” concedes owner J.B. Blau.
One mystery is where the Obamas will stay. Blue Heron Farm, the estate they have rented in the past, was sold in December 2011 to a European couple and is apparently unavailable to rent.
The White House will not say where he plans to stay, and neither will his friends. “I’ll just say he won’t be as far away as he has been in the past, and I’m grateful for that,” said Charles Ogletree, Obama’s former Harvard Law School professor.
On the island, rumors have been rampant that Obama has been looking at property in Farm Neck. But others say that area, where lots are smaller and less secluded, is unlikely.
But Obama will be there during a busy time on the island.
The Martha’s Vineyard Livestock Show and Fair, which Obama’s daughters have attended in the past, is Aug. 15 to 18. The Grand Illumination, an annual outdoor festival in Oak Bluffs, is slated for Aug. 14, and the Oak Bluffs annual fireworks show is scheduled for Aug. 16.
“That third week of August is really the highest of high season,” said Sean Federowicz, a real estate agent.
Harry Belafonte will be performing at an invitation-only event at Dreamland theater Aug. 12, an event that is being organized by Ogletree.
Ogletree said he did not know if Obama would attend (though he did say that the three of them were last together at a White House Christmas party).