KAILUA, Hawaii -- President-elect Barack Obama bid adieu to his native Hawaii on Thursday, wrapping up his 13-day pre-inaugural vacation here with a morning workout before returning home to Chicago.
Obama is scheduled to arrive in Chicago early Friday morning and will spend just over 48 hours at home before moving his family to Washington on Sunday, in time for his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, to begin classes at Sidwell Friends School. The future first family will stay at the historic Hay-Adams Hotel, just steps from the White House, before moving to Blair House on Jan. 15.
Obama concluded a relaxing respite in Hawaii during which he remained largely secluded at a seaside vacation compound with his wife, Michelle, their two daughters and several friends from Chicago and their families. The president-elect maintained a relatively low profile in Hawaii, some days venturing out in public only for his morning workout at a Marine Corps base.
Making his last stop at the gym Thursday morning, Obama was greeted by about 20 onlookers. "We love having you with us," one woman told the president-elect. Obama shook hands, posed for pictures and signed autographs with a red Sharpie.
"I wish I could hang out with you, but I've got to go home," Obama told the crowd.
Twice, Obama took his daughters, Malia, 10, and Sasha, 7, on outings, including visiting the Honolulu Zoo and a marine park to take in a dolphin show and taking them for shave ice, one of his favorite local treats. Early in the trip, Obama and his family attended a private memorial service for his grandmother, Madelyn Dunham, who died of cancer at 86 on the eve of the presidential election.
Obama's aides have not said how the family celebrated New Year's, and offered few details about how they spent Christmas. The family had a natural cut tree in their vacation home, opened presents Christmas morning and enjoyed a traditional dinner of turkey and ham. On Dec. 25, the president-elect visited military families enjoying Christmas dinner at the Marine Corps base.