It's one day shy of a year since the First Family last visited Nancy's restaurant in the town of Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. Wednesday afternoon, more than half-way through their ten-day stay on island, they were at Nancy's again. It was the first time there'd been a break in the wind and rain that had pounded the Eastern Seaboard since Sunday.
Nancy's is a popular, family friendly seafood joint on the harbor; last year the Obama visit was a quick pit-stop for a fried seafood takeout extravaganza, but this year's 1:55 PM lunch was an hour-long dine-in experience, with a big crowd of friends in tow. (Above: The President and Mrs. Obama place their orders)
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Of note among the late-lunching pals: Poet Elizabeth Alexander, who composed--and delivered--President Obama's inaugural poem, Praise Song for the Day. Chicago pals Eric and Cheryl Whittaker and Senior Adviser Valerie Jarrett, who have been at almost every food outing with President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama since their vacation started seven days ago, were also present, as were George and Clarice Walker, George Walker IV, Cy Walker, Ann Marchant, and David Watkins.
The group enjoyed their lunch indoors on the second floor of the restaurant, and President Obama was spotted through a window (by a reporter toting binoculars?) drinking a Corona Light with a slice of lime, reported the Boston Herald.
Pool was taken over to Nancy's outdoor ordering window to witness and photograph the President and First Lady placing their orders; the pool reports are below.
Citizen diners gathered around as the ordering occurred, and the President and First Lady waved and shook hands.
“How you guys doing? Drying off? Finally,” Mrs. Obama said to restaurant guests, after shepherding daughters Malia and Sasha into the restaurant. (Above: Mrs. Obama samples Eric Whitaker's drink as the President looks on)
Complimented by a well-wisher on her unusual purple-colored watch, Mrs. Obama confided that it was a present from the president, but hinted that he had gotten help in making the selection.
“I think somebody told him,” Mrs. Obama said.
The watch is from ToyWatch, which makes plastic/ceramic ("plasteramic") watches, which have become something of a trend among fashionistas. Mrs. Obama's watch retails for about $195.00, and she's worn it previously in public (The First Lady's watch is visible in the photo at left)
The President stayed on message with his hellos: He declined to comment on reporters' shouted question about the draw down in Iraq.
"We're buying shrimp guys...c'mon," President Obama said, smiling.
It was a bit reminiscent of a moment from the campaign in April of 2008, when then-candidate Obama was asked a foreign policy question by a reporter at the Glider Diner in Scranton, Pennsylvania, on the day before the primary.
"Why can't I just eat my waffle?" Candidate Obama said in answer, and that response went viral, with "waffling" turning into a meme, and actual boxes of Obama Waffles being sold by a conservative Republican group (ObFo still has one of those boxes tucked in the freezer, awaiting donation to the future Barack H. Obama Presidential Library). The President will be giving a speech about Iraq next Tuesday.
Today was the one-year anniversary of Senator Edward M. Kennedy's death, but no-one thought to shout a question about that to President Obama.
A gift for the president
The President also received a gift from a man in the crowd. Pool reported that he was handed a red envelope, which he handed off to a staffer. Politico followed up on the issue, and reports that it was a gift from baseball legend Yogi Berra. Inside the red envelope was a photo of the Brooklyn Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson coming in safe after stealing home during a 1955 World Series game against Berra and the Yankees. Berra wrote “Dear Mr. President, He was out!” and signed his name in blue pen. The gift was presented by Tom Murro (a.k.a. the “Celebrity Magnet” from New Jersey), who met the President while he was playing golf on island last year. Murro had been carrying the photo around all week, hoping to run into the president to hand over the gift.
"Fantastic!" President Obama said, when he peeked inside the envelope.
After lunch, the President played nine holes of golf at Mink Meadows, where he golfed last year, too, then with assistant chef and Senior Policy Adviser for Healthy Food Initiatives Sam Kass in tow. This year, the President was joined by Marvin Nicholson, Eric Whitaker and Robert Wolf.
Info: Nancy's is at 29 Lake Avenue, Vineyard Haven, Martha's Vineyard, Mass. Phone: (508) 693-0006.
POTUS, FLOTUS, Sasha and Malia
arrived at Nancy's in Oak Bluffs at 1:55 p.m. after an uneventful motorcade ride.
Some people stood on a corner near a fire station as we entered town and gave the motorcade hands-over-head applause.
Further into town near the water more clusters of onlookers gathered, and a crowd was already ballooning on street corners near Nancy's, which were blocked off with caution tape.
POTUS was entering the restaurant when pool got into position. Diners who were lunching on the outdoor deck cheered. He said something to them before slipping inside but pool couldn't hear. POTUS was followed by FLOTUS, who waited for a moment at the door for Sasha and Malia.
POTUS went upstairs and appeared to be greeting some fellow diners. Pool could see him through an upstairs window.
Shortly after 2 p.m. pool was rushed over to near the outdoor ordering counter to get some footage of POTUS, FLOTUS and a few pals ordering.
At this point Nancy's outdoor diners abandoned their paper plates of fried fish platters, clam strips and burgers to get a glimpse.
POTUS, wearing a White Sox cap, tan slacks, sneakers, a white short-sleeve polo with a Nike swoosh on the sleeve, and a black watch on his left wrist, stepped up to the counter, which was sectioned off with yellow caution tape, to order.
"Where's my wife?" he asked, looking around. FLOTUS, wearing a coral cardigan over a pink and white striped shirt and long white shorts, then appeared by his side.
As POTUS ordered, FLOTUS turned and gave a couple waves to the crowd that was standing along the deck.
"Michelle! Michelle!" Some of them yelled. "Over here."
"How you guys doing?" FLOTUS said to them.
"Drying off?" she added. "Finally."
POTUS joked with Eric Whittaker about the drink he ordered and then walked over to greet some of his admirers.
"Good to see you guys," he said, shaking hands. "You doing alright?"
They were very excited, with squeals of "Mr. President!"
FLOTUS was wearing a purple watch on her left wrist (it looks like a Toy watch but pool can't be sure).
"I love your watch," one woman told FLOTUS.
"Oh, thank you. It was a gift," FLOTUS said, gesturing toward her husband, who was behind her shaking hands. "I think someody told him."
As POTUS walked to the other side of the deck, back toward the entrance, poolers tried to ask him about Iraq.
"Mr. President, will the war in Iraq..."
He ignored, then finally turned to look at pool:
"We're buying shrimp guys," he said with a smile, "c'mon."
POTUS then greeted some more diners, giving a high five to a little boy. By 2:10 p.m. POTUS was back inside Nancy's eating his shrimp and pool is holding in vans.
Pool report #2
Dozens of people were gathered on the outdoor deck - on the lower and upper levels - crammed to the edge, with their cameras out.
POTUS walked over to greet some of them who were just outside the door. He stood for a moment and looked around. Then he spotted Marvin Nicholson, who had exited Nancy's first, and tossed him his jacket. Without the burden of his jacket, POTUS shook some hands.
One man, standing at the edge of the yellow police tape, handed POTUS something (it looked like a maroon 8.5x11 folder but pool was too far away to tell.) POTUS looked at it, then handed it to Nicholson.
POTUS waved to people who had gathered down the street and got into an SUV.
The motorcade snaked through the tiny streets of Martha's Vineayrd Campmeeting Association, known locally as the gingerbread cottages near the Tabernacle. (Above: The President at Mink Meadows)
People were everywhere - along the tiny streets, outside on their balconies, standing in the grass. A couple guys in white aprons stood in a small parking lot, as if they'd stepped out of the kitchen to get a look.
At 3:18 p.m. motorcade arrived at Mink Meadows Golf Club, where a sign outside says "Public Welcome."
Pool is told POTUS's golf partners are: Marvin Nicholson, Eric Whittaker and Robert Wolf.
*Pool was Carol Lee, of Politico. *Photos by Reuters, Getty. Video from ABC. *Updated.