Before Camp David, there was a quiet presidential retreat just three miles from downtown Washington. The hidden treasure, now known as President Lincoln's Cottage, actually served as an escape for Presidents Buchanan, Hayes and Arthur, too.
After a seven-year, $17 million restoration, the cottage opened to the public in 2008, offering an intimate view of Abraham Lincoln's presidency and family life. Restored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the cottage served as Lincoln's family residence for part of his presidency.
It was here that Lincoln developed his policy of emancipation and plotted Union wartime strategies.
Visitors tour the site in small groups with trained guides who bring Lincoln's time at the cottage to life. Also offered as part of the experience is the Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center, located in a restored 1905 building adjacent to the cottage, where visitors can explore "Being Lincoln," an exhibit that lets you portray Lincoln in an interactive display.
Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made online at lincolncottage.org or by calling 800-514-3849. Tickets are $12 and all tours are guided so limited space is available and entry cannot be guaranteed without a reservation. Photo identification is also required.
Lincoln's Cottage is at Upshur Street at Rock Creek Church Road, NW Washington, DC; 202-829-0436; lincolncottage.org
—Nancy Jones Bonbrest