First family enjoys tennis, sights on Maine coast

Bar Harbor (US): President Barack Obama and the first family played tennis and took in the sights around a Maine resort even as he contemplated a new struggle over jobless benefits with his Republican foes.

After a first vacation day packed with biking, boating and a visit to the summit of Cadillac Mountain, yesterday`s program was more laid-back. The Obamas went to the Bar Harbor Club to play tennis and "hang out" at the pool, spokesman Bill Burton said.

Then they motorcaded across Mount Desert Island to a hotel overlooking Southwest Harbor. Lunch was served against a backdrop of sailboats swinging at anchor in a gentle breeze.

The Obamas toured Bass Harbor Head Light, in the southwest corner of Acadia National Park. Built in 1858 on an outcrop overlooking Blue Hill Bay, the lighthouse is run by the Coast Guard. "It looks spectacular," Obama said as he and his family were led on a tour.

They climbed to the top of the light and held fast to its railing as first dog Bo frolicked on a path below. A pair of surprised kayakers paddled in close for a look, and a pleasure boat motored slowly past, its excited passengers jumping to their feet and waving. The Obamas waved back.

After the lighthouse, it was a 3-minute motorcade and off they went hiking in the park, which takes in 47,000 acres (73 sq miles) of island, granite hills, pine forests and rocky coast.

The Obamas returned to their SUV after an hour on the trail. The first lady`s press secretary, Katie McCormick-Lelyveld, reported the hike was "good family time ... with stops at the water to skip rocks and play with the dog." She said the Obamas ran into other families walking their dogs, and stopped to say hello.

For dinner, it was date night in Bar Harbor: Havana, a restaurant that describes itself as "American with a Latin flair." Just the president and first lady stepped out of the SUV as a small crowd of onlookers snapped pictures.

The three-day vacation was due to end today morning _ a brief respite from the pressures and policy clashes of Washington.

Bureau Report