President Biden Hits The Town After Thanksgiving

President Joe Biden and his family hit the town on Friday, dining at the Tap Room inside the Jared Coffin House before strolling the streets of downtown Nantucket for some shopping as he greeted crowds to shake hands and take pictures. 

Hazel Portillo, of Nantucket, with President Biden

The Bidens then joined thousands of islanders and other visitors for the annual Christmas tree lighting and community caroling ceremony on Main Street hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. 

It was reminiscent of Biden’s previous Thanksgiving visits to Nantucket, with one major difference. A massive security entourage of Secret Service agents and State Police Troopers surrounded Biden as he walked the streets for more than an hour, with barricades and security checkpoints set up on Main Street for most of the afternoon. 

While Biden had been expected to attend the tree lighting ceremony, with the Secret Service announcing the new security measures days in advance, the President’s leisurely stroll through the downtown area with his family was a bit of a surprise given the law enforcement presence it required. 

The afternoon began around 1:30 p.m. when Secret Service agents closed down Broad Street to all traffic and pedestrians. The Biden family arrived shortly thereafter, and descended into the basement of the Jared Coffin House for lunch at the Tap Room. The President and First Lady dined with their children and grandchildren at the restaurant. 

The Bidens dining at the Tap Room

On the way to the bathroom, Biden stopped to greet people at the bar, including island resident Rebecca Chapa, who told the President how she had canvassed for him in Arizona ahead of the 2020 election. 


Biden ordered a burger for lunch, and on his way out he apologized to the diners at one table any disruption caused by the security presence before stopping to take a photo with them. 

From there, the Bidens walked the streets and hit a number of downtown shops, including Nantucket Bookworks, where he took a photo with island resident Suzanne Bennett, as well as ACK 4170, the Sunken Ship, and Centre Pointe. He stopped to shake hands and take photos with the crowds of people who had gathered to catch a glimpse of the President. 

Photo by David Creed

From there it was on to the tree lighting, where the Bidens remained at the top of Main Street near the Methodist Church, away from the large crowd farther down the street. 

The additional security included Secret Service and State Police Troopers who were conducting searches and screenings of attendees who wanted to move closer to the top of Main Street beyond a barricade running from Lemon Press across the street to Or, The Whale. At Mitchell’s Book Corner, owner Wendy Hudson reported it was the “quietest Elin Hilderbrand book signing ever” thanks to the Secret Service security presence outside the front door. 

At the conclusion of the tree lighting and caroling, Biden shook hands with Town Crier Eric Goddard, and greeted members of the Nantucket High School choir, the Accidents and Naturals.

Photo by Kit Noble
More from Jason Graziadei


An exclusive look behind the scenes at the Nantucket Cottage Hospital. Six...
Read More