As Presidents Day approaches, falling on Monday, Feb. 20, this year, several historic sites in Georgia with presidential ties offer an opportunity to celebrate the holiday by honoring and learning about our leaders with visits to spots with strong presidential ties. From some of Georgia’s state parks to an upscale hotel in Augusta to a presidential library and museum in Atlanta, here’s a look at seven places worth a special trip:
Walk the halls of the home where President Woodrow Wilson lived as a boy in Augusta and hear how his childhood experiences helped shape the nation’s 28th presidency. The home is a National Historic Landmark and serves as a house museum depicting the life of the 28th president as a boy growing up in Georgia during the Civil War and Reconstruction.
Open for guided tours, Thursdays-Saturdays, with tours beginning on the hour at 10 a.m and the last tour starting at 4 p.m. In honor of Presidents Day, it will be open for tours on Monday, Feb. 20, and tours will be given on the hour and half hour between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. $5 for adults; $4 for seniors, $3 for students k-12; free for children under age 5. Note: Admission on Presidents Day will be buy one, get one of equal or lesser value for free. 419 Seventh St., Augusta. 706-722-9828, www.WilsonBoyhoodHome.org.
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Over the decades, the Partridge Inn has been the setting for Augusta’s high-society events such as parties, weddings and dinners. In 1923, the hotel’s magnificent ballroom was the site of a dinner for President Warren Harding, an event the Augusta Chronicle described as “the grandest in the history of the city.” The menu for the banquet included Grapefruit Cocktail, Essence of Augusta Chicken En Tasse, Broiled Savannah Shad Maitre D’Hotel, Potatoes Julienne and much more. In the late 1980s, the Partridge Inn reopened as both a historic landmark and a renovated luxury hotel. It is 3 miles from the Broad Street Historic District and 4 miles from Augusta National Golf Club.
2110 Walton Way, Augusta. 706-737-8888, www.PartridgeInnCurio.com. A recent check on rates had rooms available starting at $129. Go to the website for specials and specific prices.
Franklin D. Roosevelt, not yet the 32nd U.S. president, was first attracted to the small town of Warm Springs in 1924 while looking for a cure for polio. He then built the Little White House as his personal retreat in 1932 (the same year he first won the presidency) and visited this spot frequently during his presidency until his death in 1945. Step back in time and explore the impeccably preserved house, which features FDR’s 1938 Ford convertible and the half-finished portrait that Roosevelt was sitting for at the time of his death. For those looking to extend their visit, accommodations may be found in the nearby F.D. Roosevelt State Park.
9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Admission: $2-$12. 401 Little White House Road, Warm Springs. 706-655-5870, www.GaStateParks.org/LittleWhiteHouse.
Located near the Little White House and encompassing over 9,000 acres, this is the largest state park in Georgia. It features more than 40 miles of trails, most notably the popular Pine Mountain Trail. Bring a picnic lunch and relax at Dowdell’s Knob, a favorite overlook of the late president. It is marked by a life-size sculpture of Franklin D. Roosevelt. For those wishing to plan an overnight stay in the park, campsites and cottages are available for booking.
7 a.m.-10 p.m. Free. $5 parking. 2970 Ga. 190, Pine Mountain. 706-663-4858, www.GaStateParks.org/FDRoosevelt. Check out accommodations and promotional details at GaStateParks.org/Specials. (And if you stay at any accommodations at Georgia State Parks from Feb. 17-26, 2017, stay three consecutive nights at any overnight accommodation, and get the fourth night free.)
Take a trip back in time and enjoy a train ride through Georgia in vintage 1949 rail cars on the SAM Shortline.
On Feb. 17 and 18 (Friday and Saturday before Presidents Day), the “Presidential Flyer Train Ride” starts at 10 a.m.; it travels from Georgia Veterans State Park in Cordele across Lake Blackshear to Plains, Archery and back. During the trip lasting just over six hours, explore former President Jimmy Carter’s boyhood farm, go shopping and sample peanut butter treats.
$25.99-$55.99 depending on age and seating, which ranges from general seating to VIP seating with complimentary drinks and lunch. 105 E. Ninth Ave. Cordele. 229-276-0755, www.SAMShortline. See website for train schedule, and to reserve tickets.
The only presidential library in the Southeast, the Carter Presidential Center is located on 35 acres of beautifully landscaped grounds with two lakes and a Japanese garden. In the museum, enjoy the life and career of the 39th president through interactive exhibitions and experience “a day in the life” of Carter. In addition to his Nobel Peace Prize on display, see an exact replica of the Oval Office.
9 a.m.-4:45 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays; noon-4:45 p.m. Sundays. $8 for adults; seniors, military and students with IDs, $6. Free for 16 and under. 441 Freedom Parkway, Atlanta. 404-865-7100, www.JimmyCarterLibrary.gov.
While the Confederate president might not be a traditional first thought for Presidents Day, a visit to Jefferson Davis Memorial Historic Site signifies the monument where Davis was arrested by Union forces in 1865. Davis, president of Confederate States during the Civil War, and his remaining staff members were camped in this pine forest, not knowing that pursuit was so close behind. At dawn, gunfire ensued until the federal forces realized they had been shooting at one another. Today, visit the monument to learn more about this battle, and the site also offers a museum and gift shop.
9 a.m.-5 p.m. Wednesdays-Sundays. (Note: This spot is not open on Presidents Day.) $2.75-$4. 338 Jeff Davis Park Road, Fitzgerald. 229-831-2335, http://gastateparks.org/JeffersonDavis.