Obama Vacation Boosting Vineyard's Bottom Line

The first family's trip to Martha's Vineyard helps struggling area businesses.

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BY David Saltonstall
DAILY NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT

OAK BLUFFS, Mass.—If President Obama wants to convene another beer summit while vacationing here on celebrity-studded Martha's Vineyard, he might want to stop by the Off-Shore Ale Co.: They've brewed a new ale in his honor.

"We call it The President-i-ale," said Phil McAndrews, owner of the bar, where rowboats hang from the rafters and peanut shells adorn the floor. "And our toast is 'Ale to the Chief!"

The beer is just one example of how Obama's visit has already delivered a very discernible stimulus package to this sun-splashed isle, where restaurants, T-shirt shops and other retailers are heartily competing to come up with the catchiest draws.

Not a beer drinker? Then walk two blocks to Sharky's Cantina, where $8 will buy you an Obama-rita—a king-sized, bright-orange margarita mixed with mandarin orange juice, pineapple, triple sec and tequila.

"The mandarin, because it's his favorite fruit, and the pineapple is a nod to his native Hawaii," explained manager Adrianne Clancy, 28, at Sharky's, which also sells the Barack-O-Taco, a hearty dish featuring coconut encrusted shrimp in a soft, flour tortilla, filled with rice and beans and topped with vanilla-infused pineapple salsa.

Retailers across the tourist-friendly island say that after a May and June all but wiped out by rain, the First Family's visit is providing a much-needed boost to their bottom lines.

"It's like wildfire," said Derek Hull, 31, owner of Island Authentics T-shirt shop in the heart of Oak Bluffs, where more than 30 "Barack'-n On The Vineyard" shirts had sold within two hours on Saturday.

The wares are almost always delivered with the latest Obama gossip, free of charge.

The chatter du jour: that Tiger Woods will jet to the island early this week for a round of golf with the First Duffer. White House spokesman Bill Burton called that just "a bad rumor."

Even over in Edgartown, the island's most Republican town, Richard White was doing a brisk business with shirts, hats and even soap.

"No one else but Oprah has this little bar of soap—it's called the Bo Bar," said White, flashing a small bar of shea butter and olive oil soap adorned with a picture of the First Dog, Bo.

In his storefront window, cardboard cutouts of Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Republicans John McCain and Sarah Palin sport all the latest fashions. Palin is wearing an off-message "Nobama 2012" T-shirt, but also has a word bubble overhead that quotes her saying, "I can see Martha's Vineyard from my house."