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Election-Year Vacation Getaways
For all you presidential election junkies out there who just can’t get enough of anything presidential – why not get away from it all and surround yourself with even more things presidential? Why not take an election-year getaway to some of the top presidential tourist attractions?
First up is Mount Vernon, one of the most popular historic sites in America, located approximately 16 miles south of Washington D.C. Mount Vernon was the home of George and Martha Washington from 1759 until his death in 1799.
As a visitor to Mount Vernon, you are able to tour the Mansion and other buildings on the estate, as well as explore the different gardens, a 4-acre working farm, the tombs of George and Martha Washington and the Slave Memorial and Burial Ground. After your tour be sure to have lunch or dinner at the Mount Vernon Inn Restaurant.
Monticello, located near Charlottesville, Virginia, was the estate of Thomas Jefferson, the principal author of the United States Declaration of Independence, as well as the third President of the United States, from 1801 to 1809. The house was designed by Jefferson, who, along with members of his family and their descendants, is also buried on the estate grounds.
The guided tour lasts about 30 minutes and covers the rooms on Monticello’s first floor. Admission to the guided tour also gives you access to the grounds, which include flower gardens, fruit and vegetable gardens, as well as a grove of native trees. While there be sure to visit the Jefferson Library, which is not far from Monticello, and includes an extensive collection of literature related to the Lewis and Clark Expedition.
Lincoln Home National Historic Site
What better way to celebrate the upcoming election than to visit the former home of Abraham Lincoln, one of America’s favorite presidents, who served from 1861 to 1865. Abraham Lincoln’s home is located in Springfield, Illinois, and is open for guided tours, having been restored to its 1860 appearance. Be sure to plan about 2 hours for the tour, which includes exhibits located in many homes in the four-block historic “Lincoln Neighborhood.” These exhibits focus on Lincoln’s family life, as well as life in general in the 1800s. While there, you might also want to visit Oakridge Cemetery in Springfield, where Lincoln, his wife and three of their sons are buried.
You could also choose to visit some of the many presidential libraries open to the public, such as:
Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum
The Franklin D. Roosevelt Library and Museum is located midway between New York City and Albany, four miles north of Poughkeepsie.
Franklin D. Roosevelt was the only U.S. president to have served more than two terms, having been elected to four terms from 1932 to 1945. President Roosevelt died in office while sitting for a portrait by artist Elizabeth Shoumatoff. This Unfinished Portrait now hangs in Warm Springs, Georgia, at Roosevelt’s former health retreat.
Make sure you visit the The Presidential Gallery which is located on the museum’s main floor, where you can explore President Roosevelt’s time in office. Exhibits include a video about World War II, along with a recreation of the President’s White House Map Room. Also on display is the desk used by the president during his time in office, as well as his car, a 1936 Ford Phaeton. After your visit, you might want to head on over to the Culinary Institute of America, located a couple miles south of the museum, which is home to five restaurants open to the public.
Ronald Reagan Library and Museum
The Ronald Reagan Library and Museum is located in Simi Valley, California, and includes a full-sized recreation of the Oval Office as it appeared during President Reagan’s administration. The museum also includes the Air Force One which flew presidents from 1973 to 2001, allowing visitors to actually board the plane. If you’ve got the time, head on over to the Nixon Library and Museum in Yorba Linda.
Stay Where the Presidents Stay
And, finally, for those of you into all things presidential, you might want to treat yourself to a night or two in a hotel in which presidents have also hunkered down for the night. Standouts include the Hotel del Coronado, which counts 10 U.S. Presidents as visitors, including Franklin Roosevelt, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. Another hotel is the Hotel Colorado, located in Glenwood Springs, Colorado, between Aspen, Vail, and Grand Junction. Hotel Colorado has been visited by such presidents as Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft, not to mention Al Capone and the Unsinkable Molly Brown. Then there’s The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond, Virginia, which counts as its presidential visitors Calvin Coolidge, Harry S. Truman, Woodrow Wilson and Ronald Reagan, as well as scores of non-presidential celebrities.
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