BAR HARBOR, Maine — President Obama and his family had a second busy day of motoring around Mount Desert Island on Saturday on sightseeing jaunts that took them to Southwest Harbor, the Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia National Park and then dinner in downtown Bar Harbor.
The president, first lady Michelle and the couple’s two daughters — 12-year-old Malia and 9-year-old Sasha — left the Bar Harbor Regency hotel just before 10 a.m. Saturday, winding their way through town as spectators watched and waved from the sidewalk. The Obamas left their SUV and entered the Bar Harbor Club, a private establishment on the downtown waterfront.
Built in 1929, the Bar Harbor Club offers a variety of activities for the Obamas, including tennis courts, fitness facilities, pools and a spa.
After a brief stop at their hotel, Obama and his family made the drive to Southwest Harbor. The motorcade arrived at The Claremont — a historic inn located at the mouth of scenic Somes Sound — at roughly 1:15 pm, at which point the family went inside to eat a private lunch.
From their luncheon at The Claremont inn, it was only a short drive farther south to the presidential family’s next stop: Bass Harbor Head Light.
“It looks splendid down there,” the president told U.S. Coast Guard Chief Tim Chase from the Southwest Harbor station as Chase led the family and the first dog, Bo, down to the lighthouse.
A few minutes later, the couple and their two girls could be seen standing on the lighthouse catwalk, from which they could look out over Blue Hill Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Below, two kayakers waved excitedly and called out to the family.
Before venturing up the lighthouse, the Obamas had strolled along a path that cuts through the rocky terrain along the water. It was there that the Obamas crossed paths with Michael Fournier, 27, and Matthew Duggan, 22, as well as Fournier’s dog, Natchez.
After the Bo and Natchez amicably “aquainted themselves,” the two men talked for several minutes with the president, the first lady and Malia and Sasha. Both men said they were impressed by the entire family.
Fournier, who teaches on Swan’s Island, said Michelle Obama talked at length with him about his profession and even asked him to relay a personal message to his students: Remember to eat their vegetables.
“Talking to Michelle Obama was like talking to a neighbor,” Fournier said afterward, still stuck on the trail amid the tight security.
“She was very, very wellspoken,” added Duggan, who works in Acadia National Park.
Immediately after leaving Bass Harbor Head Light, the Obamas hiked down nearby Ship Harbor Trail in Acadia.
Following their hike along the Ship Harbor Trail, the Obamas returned to their hotel near downtown Bar Harbor until after 7 p.m.
The motorcade of security and support vehicles — including more than a half-dozen black, heavily armored Chevy SUVs — then roared back out of the hotel parking lot bound for downtown Bar Harbor, where they were met with massive crowds lining the sidewalks.
Saturday evening, the president and first lady were eating at Havana, a Main Street restaurant that describes itself as offering “American fine dining with a Latin flair.” This was the couple’s third time grabbing a bite to eat downtown since Friday, although this time Sasha and Malia did not eat with their parents.
The first family arrived in Maine on Friday afternoon for a weekend vacation on MDI. That day, the Obamas toured the summit of Cadillac Mountain in Acadia National Park, biked some of Acadia’s carriage roads, ate ice cream and dinner in downtown Bar Harbor and went for a short cruise of Frenchman’s Bay. While the president’s presence in Bar Harbor has created traffic headaches in this popular tourist destination, the family has been greeted enthusiastically by thousands of spectators lining the streets. The president and first lady also stopped to talk and pose for pictures with several groups of onlookers on Friday.
The White House has not released an itinerary for the first family’s vacation. No public events are scheduled.
Fresh from key victories in Congress and positive developments in the gulf oil spill, the first family wasted no time delving into their short vacation in the Bar Harbor area, which long has been a destination for the rich and famous.
And everywhere they went, the Obamas were greeted by large, enthusiastic crowds lining the sidewalks in hopes of catching even a momentary glimpse of the president.
Full coverage of Obama’s visit can be followed at obama.bangordailynews.com.
You can follow live updates of the Obama’s visit on Twitter. Contribute your photos to the pool and have them ReTweeted by the Bangor Daily News by tagging your Tweets with #ObamaMDI.
Correction: An earlier version of this article erroneously reported that the Bar Harbor Club was built by J.P. Morgan.