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Obamas don’t mess with success on Day 1 of vacation

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By Donovan Slack
Globe Staff / August 20, 2011

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VINEYARD HAVEN - For some residents and shop owners of this Martha’s Vineyard village, the sense of deja vu must have been sharp yesterday.

Day one of the first family’s summer vacation last year: President Obama and his daughters make a zip trip to the Bunch of Grapes store to stock up on books, then the president joins a foursome at Vineyard Golf Club.

Day one of the first family’s summer vacation this year: President Obama and his daughters make a zip trip to the Bunch of Grapes store to stock up on books, then the president joins a foursome at Vineyard Golf Club.

That parallel, however, did little to dampen the enthusiasm of those browsing for books or shopping nearby.

As the president and his daughters, 13-year-old Malia and 10-year-old Sasha, perused the aisles for about 20 minutes, customers snapped pictures. A few spoke with the president and shook his hand.

“I was stunned,’’ said Robert Plehn, 49, a banker who is vacationing from England with his family and friends.

His 12-year-old son, Julian, managed to get a picture with the president. He said Obama asked him how his vacation was going.

“It changed the day,’’ Robert Plehn said. “It probably changed the holiday, too.’’

Customers said Sasha Obama picked out “When You Reach Me’’ by Rebecca Stead, while Malia Obama said she didn’t want children’s books and headed to another section. Staff members declined to say what the president or the girls bought to read on their nine-day sojourn here.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the president was seen carrying Aldous Huxley’s “Brave New World,’’ “Room,’’ by Emma Donoghue, and “The Bayou Trilogy,’’ by Daniel Woodrell, the author of “Winter’s Bone.’’

As the family emerged from the store, scores of people waiting outside yelled, “Mr. President, Mr. President!’’ and “2012!’’

Obama stopped to shake hands briefly before the motorcade sped off back to their vacation compound for the past three years, Blue Heron Farm. The president emerged a short while later and headed to the private Vineyard Golf Club in Edgartown, where he teed off with longtime friend Eric Whitaker; the White House trip director, Marvin Nicholson, who was a former aide to Senator John F. Kerry; and another White House aide, Michael Brush.

Earlier in the day, White House officials said, the president received a briefing from his economic team and from his top counterterrorism adviser, John Brennan.

Last night, the president took his wife, Michelle, out to dinner at quaint Beach Plum Inn in Menemsha. The couple also dined there last year.

Donovan Slack can be reached at dslack@globe.com. Follow her on Twitter @DonovanSlack.