Chances are you won't be fielding calls about Libyan rebels, freak earthquakes or impending hurricanes in between rounds of golf and dips in the ocean, but you can still have a presidential vacation on Martha's Vineyard, and you'll probably have more freedom to roam around and explore the island without a presidential motorcade trailing you everywhere you go.
The exclusive island off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, has long been a summer vacation mecca for those in the know. Over the years, the island has played host to a number of famous writers, poets, actors, musicians, politicians and presidents.
The island is best known for its miles of pristine beaches, acres of forests and wildlife sanctuaries, friendly natives and its meticulously historic feel. People come to relax and get away, but over the years word has gotten out about the island, which now swells to over six times its year round occupation during its peak season from June through the end of August.
As President Obama's family vacation on the island winds down, here are a few ways you can replicate his stay for your next trip.
Golf (a lot):
According to reports, Obama has golfed almost every day while on the island. While you may not want to tee-off that often, there are a number of courses to keep you busy. Some are private, members only courses, but you don't need to buy a membership to experience great golfing on the island.
Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs
These 18 holes are updated every year for a constantly changing course. Located along the water, you'll play half your game on the coast and the other half in woodlands, open meadows, salt marshes and brush, for a stunningly picturesque experience. This beautiful, manicured course is open to the public and offers golfing lessons, junior golf and club repair.
Mink Meadows Golf Club
Open since 1936, the 9-hole Mink Meadows course in Vineyard Haven is a fun, challenging layout that can rival more expensive, private clubs. The course is set along rolling terrain with ocean views over Vineyard Sound to Woods Hole and the Elizabeth Islands. Golfers can also expect to see deer and other wildlife sights as they tee-off. The semi-private course is open to the public with reservations two days in advance.
Go into Town:
Before a ride on the carousel (or after, depending on your stomach) stop into Nancy's for some of the freshest sea food on the island. Located in downtown Oak Bluffs, Nancy's has been serving locals and vacationers since 1960. The restaurant offers indoor and outdoor seating, a snack bar, a raw bar and drinks bar. It must be good- it's been a hit with the president since he first came to the Island three years ago.
The heart of Oak Bluffs, Circuit Avenue is home to dozens of quaint shops, restaurants and bars. Located right on the water, it's a perfect place to grab a bite after a day at the beach. It's also walking distance to the Gingerbread Houses- a collection of 300 Easter-egg-colored houses with names like Angel Cottage, Wooden Valentine, and The Pink House, all designed to look like- you guessed it- gingerbread houses.
Bunch of Grapes Bookstore
If you want to see what Obama is reading these days, check out the Bunch of Grapes Bookstore in Vineyard Haven. The store has been a town staple for over 40 years and has a great selection of Vineyard, maritime and children's books. Stop here to pick up light reading for your trip, or to lean more about the history and heritage of the Island.
Flying Horses Carousel
Originally operated as a Coney Island, NY amusement, it was moved to Oak Bluffs in 1884 and has been an island institution ever since. As the oldest operating platform carousel in the country, it is registered as a National Historical Landmark. It is $2.00 to ride one of the 22 wooden horses with real horse hair. But, if you are lucky enough to catch the brass ring, you get a ride free.
The 25-mile-long island is easily traversed by ferry or bus if you don't have your own car, so there's no excuse to not venture around to these beautiful natural landmarks.
Manuel F. Correllus State Forest
Located at the ecological and geographical heart of the Martha's Vineyard, the 4,343 acre forest takes up a good chunk of the middle of the Island and is a perfect place to get away from the crowds on the beach. Bike enthusiasts can mountain bike along a five-mile tour of the western side of the forest through various terrains. The route is designed to showcase all the different aspects of the forest as it twists and turns along the leaf-covered paths.
If you don't mind a short bus ride to the other end of the island, the Aquinnah Cliffs are well worth the trip. Visitors can venture right up to the cliff's edge to see the wind and water erosion below. The town of Aquinnah is also a beautiful, quiet place to spend a day away from the crowds at the north end of the island.
The island off the Island, Chappaquiddick is only a short ferry ride away. Located to the east of Edgartown, the small island is a perfect day trip to pack a picnic, go fishing, take a walk in the woods, relax on the (relatively) undiscovered beaches or even kayak around the island. Visitors can also rent an over-sand vehicle for easier access around the island as it only has one paved road running through it.
The cast iron lighthouse has stood in Edgartown since 1939 and is one of the most charming additions to the skyline of the island. The 45-foot-high house is open to the public from May to October, and visitors can walk up to the top for even greater views of the ocean and the coastline. If you are in the neighborhood, make the short walk from town at sunset for a spectacular view.
Also known as Katama Beach, the popular beach along Edgartown's coast is most visited for its fine surf and easy access. Unlike many of the private beaches along the island, South Beach is open to everyone, but tends to get crowded around peak tourist season. If you're not into crowds, there are dozens of other beaches along the island to find a secluded spot.