With Obama a recluse on holiday, tourists make do with 'Obamaritas'

Wed Aug 20, 2014 2:55pm EDT
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VINEYARD HAVEN Massachusetts (Reuters) - Against a backdrop of white boats bobbing in the harbor, summer visitors with windswept hair order scoops of Mad Martha’s Ice Cream, and if they'd hoped U.S. President Barack Obama, vacationing nearby, would join them, they dream in vain.

"We've all been waiting, but nothing," said Ena Pejkovic, 24, a cashier at the shop’s Vineyard Haven location on the island of Martha's Vineyard, near which Obama is on holiday with his family.

Indeed, few on the island have seen the 44th U.S. president, who is now more than halfway through a two-week vacation.

Obama’s retreat, like his past four presidential stays on Martha's Vineyard, has been a private one, comprising regular tee-offs at an Oak Bluffs golf club, a few dinners at upscale restaurants, and an evening at a jazz concert.

Still, the president hasn't entirely escaped the pressures of office while on holiday. He has spoken publicly about escalating violence in Iraq, and rioting in Ferguson, Missouri, and even interrupted his idyll to return to Washington for two days of meetings with advisors before recommencing his break.

Onlookers hoping for a glimpse of the chief executive have documented as much as can be seen: When the presidential motorcade peeled out Sunday evening from Atria, an Edgartown restaurant, islanders thronged on the sidewalk, their faces blue in the glow of smartphones.

For some, the First Family's visits are run-of-the-mill.

"The island has gotten used to it," Douglas Nash, 64, said of the Obama vacation, as he sat with wife in a park in Oaks Bluffs, where he has been summering for 35 years, without seeing the president. "It's not a big deal anymore."

And in the spirit of an island that's small but conveniently dotted with hiding spots, Obama's less renowned fellow vacationers tend not to begrudge the First Family their need for privacy.   Continued...

U.S. President Barack Obama cycles with his daughter Malia during their family vacation at Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts August 15, 2014. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque