Something tells me that most of us don’t get dressed up in presidential gear to celebrate George Washington’s birthday. What’s stopping you? With a day off work and half a billion sales to hit, you might as well throw on your Apollo Creed boxing shorts and colonial wig. Imagine the hi-fives you’ll get as you stroll the aisles of the car dealership or bargain shop the bins at Wal-Mart. You probably won’t be the funniest looking person at either venue, but at least you’ll be the one with spirit!
If that doesn’t sound quite like the plan you had in mind, maybe you’re itching to get out of town. Here are a five travel destinations across the country that can both honor George Washington and President’s Day without being boring.
Do you really need me to break this one down for you or did you kind of already know this would be on the list?
George Washington & Jefferson National Forests
Roanoke, Virginia (Headquarters)
While he may not get his own personal National Forest, teaming up with Thomas Jefferson for one doesn’t seem like a bad idea. Considering it’s nearly 1.8 million acres in size, it is one of the largest sections of publicly available land in the eastern United States. The bulk of the combined parks are stretched out across Virginia and West Virginia, with almost 1,000 additional acres in Kentucky, you know, for bourbon rights. Whether you’re looking to glamour camp and find a cabin or you’re planning your zombie survival trial run, you’ll be quite pleased with a trip into the forest.
Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington
Mount Vernon, Virginia
What the…? He doesn’t event get to hold the title card of his own library? Surprisingly enough, he didn’t even get a library until 2013. That’s right, the first President of the United States, the guy we put on our dollar bill, didn’t get his obligatory Presidential library until 216 years after his term ended. In all fairness, they made up for it to the tune of about $500,000 per year and gave him a pretty swanky $106 million dollar library. In reality, Presidential Libraries didn’t become a thing until 1955, when President Harry S. Truman got a little jealous that President Franklin D. Roosevelt was getting a library thanks to his buddies. While the Presidential Records Act of 1978 mandated that POTUS records be archived, most pre-Hoover Presidents don’t get the library treatment and are instead housed in the Library of Congress.
Keystone, South Dakota (Rapid City)
Just curious, can you actually name the faces on Mt. Rushmore? Do you have any idea why they’re the ones on it? Unless you said Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln AND Theodore Roosevelt, and that the preservation, not promotion, of our country is the goal, you might just want to actually check out the big rock carving. While there is no camping or overnight lodging allowed in the park itself, there are a surprising amount of things to do in the Rapid City area. Whether you love exploring caves, eating steak or just relaxing under a sky that never ends, this isn’t just some obligatory trip for the kids and their American History class. You could actually enjoy yourself and maybe, just maybe, ride a buffalo.
I don’t think we give enough credit where credit is due to this fabulous state. Sure, there’s Seattle and the famous Pike Place Market, home to fishmongers and baristas alike, but if that’s all you know, you’re missing out. From the charm of small town Olympia to the majestic waters of Puget Sound there is a bounty of American beauty in this state. Mt. St. Helen’s has one of the best camping and spelunking experiences in the country, while Boeing’s Museum of Flight lets you tour an out of commission Air Force One. Mount Rainer, Olympic National Park and wild Orca Whales make Washington an incredible adventure designed to honor all the beauty this country has in no small part to President Washington himself.