WASHINGTON – President Obama is returning to Martha’s Vineyard next month, making his fourth trip to the wealthy island in Massachusetts since he became president.
Obama will arrive on the Vineyard on August 10, and plans to remain on the island until August 18, according to the White House. He will arrive with First Lady Michelle Obama. Officials would not disclose any travel information about their two daughters, but they typically vacation on the Vineyard as well.
The Obama family also vacationed on the vineyard in 2009, 2010, and 2011. They didn’t head to the island last year, a vacation that would have fallen in the months leading up to the presidential election. It was a time period where Obama was focused on the campaign, but also in 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 JB Blau.
One mystery is where the Obamas will stay. The 28.5-acre estate they have rented in the past, called Blue Heron Farm, was sold in December 2011 to a European couple and it is apparently unavailable to the Obamas to rent.
The White House won’t 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, a Vineyard regular and Obama’s former Harvard Law School professor.
On the island, rumors have been rampant that Obama has been eyeing property in Farm Neck. But others have said that area, where the lots are smaller and less secluded, is unlikely.
Regardless, 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. 15-18. 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 on Aug 12, an event that’s being organized by Charles Ogletree, Obama’s former professor at Harvard Law School.
Ogletree said he didn’t know if Obama would attend (though he did say the three of them were last together at a White House Christmas party).