Obama’s daughters join family’s Vineyard vacation
CHILMARK, Mass. (AP) — President Barack Obama’s family vacation on Martha’s Vineyard is now complete: Daughters Malia and Sasha arrived Thursday.
They had been finishing up at camp, and their absence was noted when Obama, first lady Michelle Obama and their dog, Bo, arrived on this picturesque Massachusetts island last Saturday for the family’s fourth summer vacation since Obama took office. It’s the first time the girls came separately from their parents.
Obama, who played 18 holes of golf every day but one this week, cut his game to just nine holes Thursday before returning to the family’s $7 million Chilmark rental home to see 15-year-old Malia and 12-year-old Sasha. Reporters had been given the signal that Obama would spend the rest of the day on the property.
He had joked several weeks ago about feeling lonely at the White House because his children were away.
The White House announced the girls’ arrival Thursday afternoon by email.
Obama is scheduled to return to Washington on Sunday.
One sign of the daughters’ absence was that Obama had yet to drop by the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven, where he typically takes them on their full first day of vacation to pick up summer reading. That visit could now come Friday, although there isn’t much time left to make headway on a summer book list.
Their absence also served as another reminder of the amount of time that has passed since their father became president. They are older now and increasingly leading lives more independent of their parents.
Obama spent Saturday night at home after he arrived by helicopter from the Coast Guard station on nearby Cape Cod, Mass. Every day since, his motorcade has made the round trip from Chilmark on the island’s western end to the eastern towns of Edgartown, Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven, rain or shine.
He spent hours playing golf Sunday, Monday and Wednesday; Tuesday’s heavy rain washed out any such plans Obama may have had. He picked up the clubs again Thursday, immediately after making a statement to the news media about the violence in Egypt.
The president spent most of Tuesday in Oak Bluffs. He picked up a lunch of fried seafood, onion rings and french fries from Nancy’s Restaurant and went to the nearby rental home of senior adviser Valerie Jarrett. He then burned it off by playing basketball at an Oak Bluffs school with White House aides Marvin Nicholson and Sam Kass, a chef, and Chicago buddy Eric Whitaker. Mrs. Obama did not join him for lunch.
The president and first lady have also eaten dinner at three of their favorite island restaurants: Sweet Life Cafe in Oak Bluffs, State Road Restaurant in West Tisbury and Beach Plum Inn in Menemsha, voted most romantic by Martha’s Vineyard Magazine.
And they did some mixing and mingling at a cocktail party Monday at the home of campaign adviser Broderick Johnson and his wife, NPR journalist Michele Norris, and Wednesday evening at the waterfront home of Comcast executive Brian Roberts, where they spent nearly two hours at an unspecified event.
Obama has played golf twice at Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown: on Monday in the rain with Washington power broker Vernon Jordan, former U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk and Allison Davis, another Obama associate from Chicago, and on Wednesday with Kirk, World Bank President Jim Kim and the Comcast executive. He went to Mink Meadows Golf Club, a nine-hole course, in Vineyard Haven on Thursday for a round with White House aides, including Nicholson and Kass.
On his first full day of vacation Sunday, Obama settled in at Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs with Nicholson, Kass and Robert Wolf, a Wall Street consultant and Obama campaign fundraiser who sits on the president’s export council. Wolf also served on Obama’s jobs council and economic recovery advisory board.