Presidential Museums – Visiting the President Carter Museum in Atlanta

This is another in an ongoing series of travelogue articles about presidential historic sites, homes, and museums. The Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum is located just east of downtown Atlanta, not far from the city’s many attractions. Let’s take a closer look…

Visiting Atlanta

Atlanta, one of the deep south’s most enduring cities, is a popular destination for business and leisure travelers alike. Vibrant and energetic, Atlanta boasts several appealing neighborhoods for visitors, along with ample nightlife, family attractions, and outstanding restaurants.

We recommend you rent a car, but it is possible to navigate Atlanta via the MARTA transportation system, an above ground metrorail. Stops are located conveniently to most attractions, and if you’re staying downtown, it is a viable option.

Although the downtown area is reasonably compact, you will need a car to explore many of the neighborhoods. Spring, fall, and even winter are great times to visit. Summer is usually hot and humid, but bearable for the most part.

When visiting downtown Atlanta, you will want to tour the visitors centers of both the giant soft drink manufacturer Coke and the CNN media headquarters. Both are fascinating tours, and at CNN you can see live shows being filmed and even participate as an audience member.

Nearby is a below ground shopping area called Underground Atlanta, a several square block area of shops and market stalls directly below the busy streets above.

Atlanta’s Neighborhoods

Two neighborhoods in particular are well worth a visit for dining and shopping opportunities. The Virginia-Highland area, named after its two main streets, is a stretch of stores, restaurants, and nightlife options. It is ideal for a stroll, window shopping, or bar hopping.

Just north of the city is the upscale Buckhead area, sort of a miniature version of Rodeo Drive. Here you’ll find fine dining, trendy nightlife clubs, and shopping for the latest fashions. Either neighborhood is the perfect destination for an afternoon or evening.

Visiting the Carter Library And Museum

A few miles east of downtown is the President Jimmy Carter Library and Museum. The former president still has his offices here. The site is partially owned and administered by the federal government and also by private interests.

The museum is open for tours daily and was remodeled in 2009. There are numerous rotating exhibits, depicting not only crucial events in American history but also specific to the presidency. Carter’s career and presidency are chronicled, along with his family life and many contributions after he left office.

At the museum, you can view a life size replica of the Oval Office, and learn about Carter’s unlikely ascent to the presidency as a relatively unknown governor from Georgia. His years in office are spotlighted, with numerous multi media presentations and a display of memorabilia from his presidency.

Summary

A visit to Atlanta and the Carter Museum is perfect for travelers of any age and interest level. Family activities abound in Atlanta, and there are several great neighborhoods to explore. You can also learn about President Carter’s life and presidency and the impact he had on American history.

Presidential Sites – Visiting the Home of James Polk, America’s 11th President

Welcome to another in a series of travelogue articles spotlighting presidential historic sites. America’s 11th president, James Polk, was born in North Carolina and later moved to neighboring Tennessee. His birthplace in North Carolina and family home in Tennessee are both open to visitors and historians. Join us as we visit both sites and learn more about President Polk…

President James Polk: An Overview

James Polk was born into a North Carolina farming family in 1795. Ten years later, Polk’s father moved his family into Tennessee, where Polk eventually made a name for himself. After his graduation from the University of North Carolina, he established a law practice in Columbia, Tennessee.

In 1822, Polk was elected to the Tennessee Legislature and married his wife Sarah, who became an integral part of his later campaigns. Polk himself was well known as a staunch supporter of President Andrew Jackson and became a United States Senator at age 29 in 1824. He remained in the Senate for fourteen years, before successfully running for governor of Tennessee.

With his national ambitions intact, Polk was drafted as a compromise candidate for the presidency in 1844. Running on a campaign of continued westward expansion, he won the election and served as president until early 1849.

During his productive administration, the boundary of the United States was extended to the Pacific Ocean, and thousands of square miles of land was acquired in the northwest territory.

After leaving the presidency, Polk returned to Tennessee. Long suffering from rather frail health, only three months later he died of cholera at age 53.

Polk Home In Columbia, Tennessee

In historic Columbia, Tennessee, in the eastern part of the state, visitors can tour the only remaining home where Polk lived. The handsome two story structure was built in 1816 by Polk’s father. It is here where Polk lived as a young lawyer until his marriage in 1824.

Tours of the home are available year around for $7. Over 1000 items belonging to Polk and his family are displayed here, and there is a beautiful garden adjacent to the property. Campaign memorabilia, inauguration items, and White House china are among the many items to see. A small gift shop is also on site which carries a number of interesting presidential themed gifts.

Polk’s Birthplace

In Pineville, North Carolina, just outside of Charlotte, a memorial site is dedicated to James Polk on the land where he was born. The actual birthplace building is long gone, but faithful reconstructions of period buildings now occupy the site.

Visitors can view a film about Polk’s life and his presidential administration. The buildings are authentically furnished and emphasis is placed on Polk’s North Carolina roots.

Summary

Both of these historical sites give visitors and historians a glimpse into the life and administration of President James Polk.

Polk’s influence is still felt today. He was a visionary who foresaw the need for western expansion and making the United States a continental country.

American Presidents Historic Sites – Visiting President Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage in Nashville

This is another in a series of travelogue articles about U.S. presidents historic sites. Our 7th president, Andrew Jackson, built a beautiful home with spacious ground just outside of Nashville, Tennessee. That homestead still welcomes thousands of visitors every year…

Andrew Jackson: An Overview

Andrew Jackson, America’s 7th president, held the office for two terms, ending in early 1837. He returned to his plantation home, The Hermitage, just outside of Nashville and commenced a meticulous remodeling project of the home, which had been damaged by fire three years earlier.

Jackson himself was a self made man who had lost his entire family to illness and tragedy by the time he was 14. He studied law and enlisted in the military, becoming a national hero in the War of 1812.

He soon entered the world of politics, running unsuccessfully for president in 1824 despite handily winning the popular vote. He won the election of 1828 and 1832, and had many notable achievements as president. After leaving office, he continued to be an influential national figure until his death in 1845.

Visiting Nashville And The Hermitage

Nashville, a vibrant city in central Tennessee. is a center for the music industry. Be sure to visit the Grand Ole Opry while you are here, and stop in at one of the many downtown Nashville bars to catch up and coming music acts.

The neighborhood known as the West End, just minutes from downtown, is a walkable shopping and dining area favored by visitors and locals alike. Vanderbilt University and other colleges call Nashville home, lending a youthful, energetic vibe to the city.

Nashville is also a foodie town, well known for its many excellent local restaurants serving a variety of innovative cuisine. There are numerous great choices downtown, in the West End, and in the suburban areas.

The Hermitage is located about 15 minutes east of downtown, and it is open every day for visitors. A visitors museum details Jackson’s life and career, and an introductory overview film is available for those not familiar with his place in American history.

Also on the spacious grounds is the mansion Jackson lived in, restored to the late 1830’s time period when he returned from Washington. Many of the furnishings are original, as is much of the wallpaper. Numerous Jackson artifacts are displayed, and it is fair to say this is one of the best preserved early presidential homes.

Summary

Both Nashville and The Hermitage, located minutes from downtown, are an excellent destination choice for those interested in American and presidential history. Nashville is a thriving, lively city and an epicenter for the music industry. Meanwhile, The Hermitage is one of the best examples of historic home preservation in the country.

Both The Hermitage and Nashville are appropriate for all ages and interest levels, making this a perfect weekend travel destination.