President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama are having a romantic vacation this weekend without daughters Sasha and Malia. The couple left Washington, DC and headed to Asheville, NC for some fun and relaxation that included barbecue for lunch followed by a hike. Pop the hood for more photos and details.
First stop for the first couple’s weekend vacation on Friday was a roadside restaurant that President Barack Obama visited during the final month of his White House campaign. Obama and first lady Michelle Obama landed in the Blue Ridge Mountains and made a quick stop at Twelve Bones Smokehouse on the way to their resort.
The Obama mingled with customers and staff, posed for photos and eventually ordered two rib plates, and given order number 99. From the pool report, the precise order per Bill Burton was:
Ribs, greens, baked beans, corn pudding, mac & cheese and corn bread. All washed down with a couple of sweet teas.
When the Obamas left 12 Bones, a crowd had gathered on the corner, a few with “Welcome” signs, and a couple that read: “We love Sasha” and “Howdy Malia.”
The Obamas worked off the meal with an hour plus hike up the Blue Ridge Parkway, emerging from the trail shortly after 4:30.
A string of sweaty USSS agents and support staff emerged first. POTUS and FLOTUS, each carrying a bottle of water, exchanged a few words with a couple of rangers at the top of the trail. Neither of the first hikers seemed winded, and FLOTUS, who had on a tank top and her shirt around her waist, even did a light jog to their SUV.
This trip was meant to be vacation, and Obama didn’t even plan to make calls on the fierce debate over financial reform legislation in the Senate, press secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters at the White House on Friday.
“Knock on wood,” Gibbs said.
On Obama’s previous visit to the city, in October 2008, the then-senator prepared for a debate and rallied supporters – and lamented he couldn’t play golf.
“What a spectacular place,” Obama said during the Oct. 5, 2008, stop in Asheville.
“The only thing I don’t like about it is that I had to drive by the golf course, and it looks really nice. And my staff won’t let me play. I’m going to have to come back.”
Back, he is. And not just for the golf: The president always keeps his eye on politics.
Obama was the first Democratic presidential candidate to win North Carolina since Jimmy Carter in 1976. He defeated Republican Sen. John McCain by just 0.4 percentage points in a state that favored President George W. Bush’s re-election by 12 percentage points four years earlier. His aggressive campaign – and volunteers from bordering South Carolina – helped turn North Carolina in Obama’s favor.
As Democrats’ fortunes have sunk, though, Obama’s trip to North Carolina reflects a nod to a middle-class vacation – in contrast to last year’s trips to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass., and his native Hawaii.
Asheville, a city of about 73,000 residents, is home to the Vanderbilt family’s Biltmore Estate, a tourist draw, along with scores of art galleries and restaurants.
The White House says the Obamas have no public plans while in North Carolina, although the president will speak at Sunday’s memorial in Beckley, W.Va., for the victims of the worst U.S. coal mine disaster in 40 years. The April 5 explosion at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine took 29 lives.
The Obamas plan to return to Washington on Sunday evening.
Gotta love it! The First Couple know how to keep matrimony-dom fresh…