Obamas to Vacation on Martha’s Vineyard in August?

Its going to be quite a wedding if the First Family vacations in Marthas Vineyard  (Courtesy: Barnes & Noble)

It's going to be quite a "wedding" if the First Family vacations in Martha's Vineyard (Courtesy: Barnes & Noble)

The Boston Globe is reporting that President and Mrs. Obama may have rented a vacation home for two weeks in August on Martha’s Vineyard. In a related article, Lynn Sweet, White House correspondent for the Chicago Sun Times, added that the Secret Service is currently checking out the feasibility of the house, its location, and environs.

The house is located in the East Chop neighborhood of Oak Bluffs. It is smack in the upper middle-class/wealthy black community on the Vineyard. This community is very old and “upper crust;” they were here before Martha’s Vineyard became the place for whites to vacation, paint, or write, just as Georgetown was once an all-black enclave that later became a home for the D.C. white elite. Noted up and coming doctors, dentists, ministers, lawyers, judges, and professors have been welcomed at the Bluffs. Black politicians like the late Rep. Adam Clayton Powell and former Massachusetts Senator Edward Brooke–from the right black families in Boston, New York, and D.C.–had homes there. You wouldn’t have really arrived unless you pierced its inner circle, though.

Even the Native Americans are still there.

The last literary giant of the Harlem Renaissance, Dorothy West, lived in the Bluffs, and carried on a steady ‘conversation’ with Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. It was in Martha’s Vineyard that West, encouraged by Onassis, completed and revised the novel, The Wedding, about a black woman and a white musician on the eve of their wedding. Oprah Winfrey produced The Wedding as a ABC miniseries starring Halle Berry. I seem to remember that it was filmed right on the island.

Naturally, all of Martha’s Vineyard is seeing the prospect of the new First Family residing there as a kind of stimulus package.

“This is one of the most exciting things that will happen this year,” said Fred Mascolo, owner of Trader Fred’s in Edgartown and a principal of Jane Brown Real Estate Associates. “When Obama said he would fix the economy, I didn’t think it would be this soon.”

A presidential visit, especially one lasting two weeks, would indeed be a boon to the island economy because the president travels with a huge retinue of Secret Service, aides, and journalists. Hundreds, if not thousands, of people will need housing during Obama’s stay, Mascolo said. Coincidentally, the Clintons will be on the island at the same time, we hear.

“I’m comfortable telling you rumors are flying that he’s coming here,” said Susan Goldstein, owner of the 40-room Mansion House in Vineyard Haven. “I can also say we’ve had an increase in reservations during that period.”

Nancy Gardella, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, likewise wouldn’t confirm the president’s visit, but said “we would be thrilled, of course, if the Obamas were to come this summer.”

Not only Bill and Hill, but Charles Ogletree, one of Barack Obama’s mentors, and it may be that the Lion of the Senate, Edward Kennedy, may spend part of his last months there as well.  Oprah has a house there, and Spike Lee, and Charlayne Hunter-Gault, who has returned from her stint in South Africa.  There’s media great Walter Cronkite, historian David McCullough, and Dem eminence grise Vernon Jordan who live there either part- or full-time.  Among the younger set, Béyonce Knowles and Jay-Z have been known to hang out there, as well as Jake Gyllenhaal and Reese Witherspoon.  On top of the tourists, the Secret Service, and those who live there year round all watching Obama golf, and hang out at “The Inkwell,” the island is going to be top-heavy with people.  If some disaster hit Martha’s Vineyard (not that I am wishing, understand?), it would be the same as if something happened to an old address in Harlem that would have wiped out most of the black intelligentsia in the country.

Looks like it’s going to be an interesting summer.

~ by blksista on April 8, 2009.

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