President’s Day Travel – Winter Break
Remember when you were a kid in school and counted down days to the first break of the New Year, President’s Day? Celebrated the third Monday of February, Presidents Day combines the celebration of both George Washington‘s birthday and Abraham Lincoln’s birthday into one national holiday. One surprising fact is that during the last year of Washington’s presidency, the United States began honoring him by celebrating his birthday. By the early 1800′s, Washington’s birthday was an unofficial national holiday celebrated with lavish balls and parties. In 1880, his birthday on February 22, became a national holiday.
However, in 1968, legislation was passed that Washington’s birthday would be celebrated on the third Monday in February and the day would also honor Abraham Lincoln. So, there you have it. Why we (or some of us), have an extra three day weekend in February. So, what should we do with that extra day? Some schools have a winter break allowed for this time of the year.
In honor of this, I gathered a few Presidents Day travel ideas to celebrate these two great presidents who led the United States through some of its darkest times. The first stop, Colonial Beach, VA. George Washington was born near here and is one of the few smaller seaport towns along the Potomac River. Washington’s birthplace is open daily.
This time of years is a perfect time to go visit Valley Forge, PA. The Valley Forge National Park memorializes where Washington trained his Continental Army during the 1777-78 winter encampment. Here, the army struggled to survive against hunger and disease. Open year round, this is a perfect place to really see part of our early history.
After George Washington was elected president by the Electoral College, he traveled to the Federal Hall in New York City. Here at Federal Hall, George Washington took the oath of office as the first President, the first Congress, the Supreme Court, and the Executive Branch.
George Washington retired to Mount Vernon, VA. Here you can visit over a dozen of original buildings, as well as his mansion. The site has several exhibits and recently opened up the restored grist mill and distillery. You can also pay your respects to our first President by visiting his tomb.
Traveling to Knob Creek, KY you can view the birthplace of Abraham Lincoln. He spent his first five years of life, here, in a small one room cabin. During the winter, the park is only open on the weekends, so please check the website for availability. From 1816-1830 Honest Abe spent 14 years of his life in Spencer County. One of the highlights is the five sculptured panels that depicts Lincoln’s life.
Abraham Lincoln worked as a young legislator to name Springfield as the capital of Illinois. He grew his law practice, ran for office, and was to retire in here after his Presidential term was over. At the Lincoln House in Springfield, IL, you can view the small house which has been restored to when Lincoln lived there. Donated to Illinois by Robert Lincoln, (the President’s oldest son), it is free to the public.
In the Washington D.C. area, you can visit Ford’s Theater where John Wilkes Booth shot the President. Still a working theater, it is open during the day and has tours, a Lincoln museum and other displays. Admission is free to this exhibit, as well.
Of course, probably one of the best places to pay tribute to all the Presidents, is to tour the National Mall in Washington, D.C. From the Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, Jefferson Memorial and all other memorials, statues, and monuments the history of the United States can be visited. Even if you aren’t planning a trip on this President’s Day or Winter Break, add it to your to-do list for the spring, summer, or fall.
If you have been to any of these places, let us know in the comments. We would love to know what you think of our tips!
If planning to fly to any of these locations, be sure to use ParkRideFlyUSA.com to secure your off-airport parking reservation. Our vendors provide transportation to and from the airport terminal, luggage assistance, and you will have a guaranteed parking space with no hassles.