Chicago Sun-Times
The scoop from Washington

Obamas rent lavish farm for Martha's Vineyard vacation: Michelle, daughters to arrive early


WASHINGTON--President Obama and First Lady Michelle and daughters Sasha and Malia will be staying at a posh Martha's Vineyard farm, the Blue Heron for their vacation, according to the Vineyard Gazettte.

First Lady Michelle Obama and her daughters are to arrive early in Martha's Vineyard. They are supposed to be coming up in advance of President Obama, who land Aug. 23 and stays through Aug. 30.

A few days ago, the three were spotted sightseeing in Philadelphia. Later this week they head to Yellowstone and Grand Canyon National Parks. The girls have been to Europe twice this summer.

From the Vineyard Gazette:

While the mechanics of renting the property were still ongoing at press time, the Gazette has learned that a rental agreement for the farm will comprise three leases, one to be held by the Obamas, another by the Secret Service and a third by a White House entourage.

The amount of the rental has not been disclosed, but up-Island properties similar to Blue Heron Farm rent for between $35,000 to $50,000 per week.


Where is all this money coming from? What happen to daley's suggestion on cutting back? NO change at all, sad.

Where do you expect the POTUS to stay? in a tool shed? "lavish?" -- good grief, he doesn't have enough problems?

Working Americans are suffering and this is how our President blows more of our money. He is asking us to pay for healthcare to people who don't want to work, illegals and their boat load of family and my husband has to work 2 to 3 jobs just to keep us in our modest home and care for our 4 children? Amazing. We don't take anything from the govt. but they continue to take and tax us to death. Enough!

It is my understanding that he, the President, is footing the bill on this rental. So, what's your problem with that, Ms. Snarky? Do you expect him to stay at a local hotel?

Why don't you start earning your pay by reporting on REAL news instead of making snarky comments, hack!

Both the President and the First Lady have money of their own making. It is their business where they want to vacation. They are only staying a week. I guess you don't remember Mr. Vacation President Bush staying a whole month at the ranch, not to mention visits to the lower-middle class ocean resort of Kennebunkport.

Whoever writes your headlines ought to know that the headline should read: "Obamas Rent Lavish Farm...."

The apostrophe (that little mark between the "a" and the "s" in the President's surname) is used for the possessive, NOT for the plural.

Did everyone at the Sun Times fall asleep during high school English class?

fixed. thanks

As a part-time Martha's Vineyard resident, I am so happy to see that the Obama family has chosen the island for a vacation. The town they've rented in is a true sanctuary and simple, natural place (they deserve it), the African American history is rich and long on the island, and there is no better time to be there than those last weeks in August, when the Agricultural fair and illumination night , among other Vineyard events, serve as a reminder of the rich traditions of not just the island's history--- but our great country's history. I hope they have a safe, fun and restful time and return for years to come.

he could stay at camp david. i don't understand the 'sympathy' for president cool who rolls with the biggest perks on earth as is. and who's gonna hang wit 'em, val? oprah? and he's paying rent for his crew, not for all the government services laid out for the trip. kinda like jetting to nyc for a show, ala three planes.
the two recently retired supreme court justice are correct in urging americans to learn more about their government. the need is obvious given the bozos that post without thinking...or knowing.

The internet has given us anonymity, and that anonymity has brought out bad manners in most of us. In my comment of August 12, I meant what I said, but I could have been kinder and less sarcastic—especially about something as minor as a misused apostrophe.

All of us who post comments on the internet should realize our opinions will be far more powerful if delivered with civility and backed up by the facts.

For example, before you post a comment, find out who is paying for the Obamas’ vacation on Martha’s Vineyard. If it’s not the government, then an opinion about someone who “blows our money” is unfounded. If it is the government, then write something interesting—for example, the estimated rental cost of $50,000 as a percentage of the cost of just the engines on the cancelled F-22 fighter aircraft.

President Obama and his family are standing in the harsh spotlight of public scrutiny, not an easy place to be. Let’s be grateful that someone this strong and this intelligent has signed up for the toughest job on the planet.

Finally, Ms. Sweet, you’ve written a balanced, factual article. But I’d still like to know who is paying for their stay on the island.

Good Morning!

Well, we have read everyone's comments on this blog and have come up with our conclusion. Whatever anyone may say, do you really consider time away from "home" a vacation when your every move is constantly being scrutinized? FLOTUS, POTUS and the 2 offspring can have all their fame and glory, thank you very much. We'll take our humdrum life ANY day compared to theirs.

Clearly the Obamas are paying the rent for their accommodations at Martha's Vineyard. The government would never foot the bill for accommodations on a personal vacation, and I'm sure the Obamas would not take that money anyway even if it were permissible (Every incoming presidential family gets $100,000 to personalize the White House and make it home for themselves. But the Obamas opted to use their OWN personal money instead. They stated that they would use their personal money because they could afford it and they wanted to spare the taxpayers that expense. They're not trying to unnecessarily use taxpayer money.)

People seem to forget that the Obamas are very wealthy - Senators earn a good salary and Michelle's previous job paid quite well - I believe into the $200,000's. President Obama has also published two books that have done immensely well. I'm sure book sales skyrocketed worldwide once he started running for president and have increased even more since he took office.

Yes, taxpayers foot the bill for Air Force One and the Secret Service detail. But I don't remember people making such a fuss over the Bushes vacationing habits. President Bush spent 487 days (149 visits) at Camp David AND 490 days (77 visits) to his ranch in Texas during his presidency (numbers according to CBS News). People are upset that the Obamas went to NYC for a well-deserved bit of time together - not even overnight. I am sure the transportation and security costs are much higher for a single trip to Texas than a single trip to NYC. That's ignoring the mammoth difference in frequency - 1 trip to NYC versus 77 trips to Texas.

So let's not hold the Obamas to different standards than we did the Bushes. Or previous presidents, for that matter. Most presidents (especially in recent history) have been extremely wealthy and have taken "lavish" vacations. Who cares what they do with their personal money? Cut them a break. We should be celebrating the wonderful example of family and marital values the Obamas exhibit instead of finding a way to criticize any personal time they take. Do you expect him to ever stop working?

Furthermore, might I point out that when people who do have money spend it, it stimulates the economy? So the whole attitude "how can they spend so much money when so many Americans are struggling" is totally backwards and counterproductive. We should be thankful when Americans who aren't struggling spend their money.

The president pays for his own vacations, not the taxpayers like most everyone here assumes. In fact, it was published a few weeks ago that Obama is paying his share of expenses while at Martha's Vineyard. Also, in case you didn't know, President's also pay for most of their groceries while living in the White House.

Most all are treating the Obama's like they are just ordinary citizens. My goodness, he is the leader of the free world and the most powerful man in the world.

Some people just want to deny the Obama's...dignity; humanity; citzenship and love for his family.

Why not cut some slack and stop your whining people or better yet, before you post your comments, do your research first. Let's be honest.

I am amazed that so many people do not check the facts before they write. I know that they pay for the groceries etc. that they use in the White House. They did not accept the money that is given for decorating their residence. They used their own money.They have paid for the trips that were not official business and they are paying for their vacaation at Martha's Vineyard.The Obamas are not poor. If you cannot say something nice, do not say anything at all. Leave this lovely family alone. They are a model for true family values.

Well said. Amen.

Gosh, I really hope the Obamas have a great vacation week. I hope the press keeps at bay particularly when it comes to photographing the Obama girls. I have never seen such obsession with covering anything and everything about our new first family. Please let them enjoy their well earned holiday.

Didn't Obama just come back from a vacation trip to the Grand Canyon and Paris and New York and ....

P.S. I am not a Bush supporter, so please don't try that red herring.

Obama has been touring the globe or vacationing since he was elected.

I think that he loves the royal red carpet rollout he gets as president - feels like a king. It gives him the stage he craves to flout more hype and hot air.

Thanks for posting this, Lynn. He's simply portraying what he thinks he is: A King. At a time when millions of Americans are struggling financially, and millions of jobs have been lost, you'd think Obama would try to show some sympathy...he's disgusting...

Hey Maria, I would like to give you some facts about the Bush's vacation. 1) The ranch in Texas was their one and only home during his presidency. He did not lease it. President Bush and First Lady Laura Bush would go there on a working vacation. He not only did a lot of work that needed to be done at the ranch himself, but he invited his peers from other countries there for meetings.
2) The home at Kennebunkport was his Grandfathers home and has been a family residence for years, and still is. He did not lease a place for a vacation. I have to question Brianna's report on the amount of days President Bush spent at the ranch, as she is using those liberal TV stations as her guide. 3) Camp David is a place close to the WH where presidents have gone since before Ike. They can drive there. It was built only for the presidents use and is named after Ike's grandson.

Now let's see the difference in price: Bush went to ranch in Texas = round trip air, Bush went to Kennebunkport = round trip air. Bush went to Camp David = drive there. According to your own numbers 149 trips to Camp David in 8 years = 18.6 times. (remember they can drive there) and 77 times to Texas in 8 years = 9.6 times.

Obama goes to Paris twice, Grand Canyon, Yellowstone, New York (on a date, no less) Pennsilviana, back to Illinois for his anniversary dinner date and now to Marths's Vineyard. All of this in six and 1/2 months!!!
Well no wonder he is so tired!!! He needs to go to work once in a while, that's what he was elected to do!

P.S. Let's see how many trips Obama racks up in the four years he will be in office.

Thank you, Suzanne for clarifying Bush's trips. Exactly what I wanted to say, also. Let's also not forget that Geo. W. would not play golf as a matter of principal. He said "he did not want to be seen playing golf while our troups were fighting in a war". Make what you want about that comment, liberals, but I respect Pres. Bush. I'm so tired of this childish Blame Bush Game. Just wait and see what this administration ends up doing, and do your comparisons then. I want our country to succeed, I don't care which administration pulls us up out of the muck. But this incredible waste of frivilous $$ spending absolutely must stop, and it should start at the TOP of our government leaders.

So maybe I'm not understanding everything written here, but I wonder how Sunny can say that this "incredible waste of frivilous $$ spending absolutely must stop", when it's already been determined that the Obama's are paying for the vacations themselves? I also wonder about the fact that Brianna pointed out, that spending actually helps stimulate an economy. Wouldn't this make a lavish vacation a good thing?

I also think that we should all remember that the Obama's did not create the situation that this country finds itself in. Greedy people, poor banking, and a ridiculous administration did...we should just thank our lucky stars that someone with some moral character is trying to fix it.

Oh, and as for Sunny comment, here is a little more information on Bush's comment about golf, .

Autumn, you must be joking when you use the words "Obama" and "moral character" in the same sentence!! Why don't you google "Who is Larry Sinclair"?

You are very, very naive (I am trying to be nice here). Plus you need to wake up and smell the coffee!!!

All I can say is that I wish I could afford a $50,000.00 vacation. God bless him.

I wonder what happened to the "Change we can believe in"
Lack of integrity. He is out of touch with America just sad.....

To Autumn
The democrats have been in power since 2006. Obama voted for every bill that was passed since then.
This time they can't hide, the Democrats created this, from every bill they have passed since 2008 until today.
Nothing has improved.
If he was a man of the people he would be more considered of the rest of us and stay home this year no matter if he is spending his own money.
"Be the change you want to see in the world"

"Change we can believe in"

Give me a break Barack Hussein Obama

After doing some research, it shows that Reagan took the most vacations while in the White House, something like 496 days, than both Bushe's and the least days of vacation was Carter and Clinton. My question is how much money did these presidents spend of taxpayers money, that includes: Air Force On, Secret Service, office staff, lodging, autos, police, food and etc. Has the Obama's won in this class?

Leave a comment

Get the Sweet widget

More widgets


Lynn Sweet

Lynn Sweet is a columnist and the Washington Bureau Chief for the Chicago Sun-Times.

Stay in touch

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Lynn Sweet published on August 11, 2009 9:45 PM.

Kirk, Biggert at health care forum in Naperville was the previous entry in this blog.

President Obama official schedule and guidance, Aug. 12, 2009. Sotomayor reception is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.