Claiming eight United States Presidents, of course presidents have eaten, slept, and strode all over Virginia and in the obvious places, but what about later presidents? The ones who weren’t born in Virginia? Take a glance through history to see the interesting places United State Presidents pop up.
— THE OMNI HOMESTEAD RESORT —
Located in Hot Springs, Virginia and dating to 1766, The Omni Homestead Resort has been rebuilt after a 1901 fire, added onto under various owners, and remains a quintessential destination for Southern hospitality. The dignitaries and debutantes that have graced those grand halls are numerous and include 22 U.S. Presidents (Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, Woodrow Wilson, Dwight Eisenhower, James McKinley, William Taft, Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton are among them) and The Duke and Duchess of Windsor whom stayed for 30 days. Suites and restaurants are named in honor of several of these visitors.
— INN AT THE CROSSROADS —
A legitimate 1817 tavern that has never had any other purpose than to cater to travelers, Inn at the Crossroads in North Garden has welcomed presidents and will welcome you, too.
According to the current owners, “In the spring of 1823, a meeting between Thomas Jefferson and Martin Van Buren was held in the Dabney Carr room which was the private dining room at the time. Jefferson was either traveling to or from Poplar Forest to be with his grandson Frances Eppes and his family. Teddy Roosevelt visited the tavern for supper following a day of birding while visiting his beloved Pine Knot. Franklin Delano Roosevelt made a visit to the tavern in 1936 when he made a speech from the front porch prior to dedicating the George Washington National Forest.”
— THE JEFFERSON HOTEL —
A grand dame of a Southern hotel, The Jefferson Hotel in Richmond has been a go-to for the glamorous and famous since 1895, even through a couple of fires, exchanges of ownership, additions and renovations. Esteemed guests have included a host of presidents, including Benjamin Harrison, William McKinley, Woodrow Wilson, Calvin Coolidge, William Howard Taft, Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Theodore Roosevelt, Harry Truman, Ronald Reagan, George H. W. Bush, George W. Bush, Bill Clinton (post presidency for the inauguration of Virginia Governor Terrence McAuliffe), and Barack Obama. Additional guests are numerous and include Vanderbilts, Sir Edmund Hilary, Charlie Chaplin, Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Elvis Presley.
— 1811 HISTORIC ROSEMONT MANOR —
Berryville’s Rosemont Manor is an elegant destination for anyone, but has a history of being a getaway retreat for presidents and celebrities. Once owned by Governor and U.S. Senator Harry Flood Byrd, Sr., Rosemont’s twelve suites are named for some of its more prominent guests. Specifically, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Lyndon B. Johnson (while U.S. Senator), Charles Lindbergh, Sir Winston Churchill, and Albert Einstein. Yes, Einstein. So cool. It is reported that Richard Nixon was also a guest at Rosemont, but apparently the owners ran out of suites to name.
— WEXFORD —
While this is not a place you can visit or stay, I’m hoping to see it made available as a bed and breakfast one day. Wexford is the only home that President and Mrs. Kennedy designed and built from the ground up, and it’s located near Middleburg, Virginia. The estate is currently on the market and includes much of its original features like parquet flooring, stable, bunker and Secret Service dependencies. See the video below – a great glimpse of the Kenendy’s at Wexford in 1963. Note that the estate was also called Rattlesnake Mountain and Atoka. It was not until after President Kennedy’s passing that Mrs. Kennedy called it Wexford in honor of her husband’s Irish heritage.
An additional note about Wexford: President and Mrs. Reagan leased the property during his presidential campaign in 1980 and also spent time there prior to inauguration.
Video courtesy John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum. Refresh page if not appearing.
— RED FOX INN & TAVERN —
One Kennedy related place you can stay and dine is Red Fox Inn & Tavern in Middleburg. According to the Inn’s website, “The J.E.B. Stuart Room once served as the stage for a rare press conference by President Kennedy and as a meeting room for hopeful Democrats hosted by Ambassador Pamela Harriman, a local foxhunting resident. Elizabeth Taylor often graced the Tap Room both during the courtship and after her marriage to a local gentleman, Senator John Warner. The lovely and kind Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis frequently stayed at the Inn during foxhunting holidays each fall.”
— RAPIDAN CAMP —
Before Camp David, President Herbert Hoover saw the need for a “Summer White House” and sought out to create one. President and Mrs. Hoover built their Rapidan Camp retreat in early 1929 on 164 acres on the Eastern Slope of the Blue Ridge Mountains in what is today’s Shenandoah National Park. Rapidan Camp was comprised of 13 rustic cabins constructed over a period of years by the Marine Corps as part of training exercises. Mrs. Hoover hired the architect and helped design the camp. Guests of the Hoover’s while at Rapidan Camp included Charles Lindbergh, Mrs. Thomas Edison, Mr. and Mrs. Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. and British Prime Minister Ramsay McDonald.
In 1932 the Hoover’s donated the camp to the Commonwealth of Virginia and asked that it be made available to future presidents, which it was. President Jimmy Carter was the last to use it. All that remains of Rapidan Camp are three buildings; two are restored to their 1929 appearance and are accessible by a ranger-led tour in Shenandoah National Park.
Do you have additional information on this topic? Feel free to leave a comment to help us add to the list!
© Casey for Virginia’s Travel Blog, 2015. |