joy magnetism: An accidental presidential side trip

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Monday, October 27, 2008

An accidental presidential side trip

Magnet #248 - Teddy Roosevelt, 150th Birthday

It's TR's birthday today! For a guy people considered an accidental president (because he took over after McKinley was assassinated), he sure became a seminal U.S. President. Bully for you!

A few weeks ago, a friend and I went up to Oyster Bay. It was my second time in (on?) Long Island, the first being just after that European band trip almost 20 years ago. I know, I know. You'd think with all the big deal the Sex and the City and Gossip Girl made about the Hamptons and Sag Harbor, and blahblahblahtoorichformybloodcakes, that I'd have at least gone out there to see what the fuss was. One word: Beach. Here's another: Ugh.

Anyway, so of course, I pick one of the most cerebral things to do on LI, which is visit a presidential house: Teddy's Sagamore Hill.

First and foremost, let me just say that the National Parks Service should give their tour guides a raise. Hands down, the best guides - EVER. They know their sites, they know their history, and for goodness' sake - they CARE. Otherwise, why would they be giving tours to apathetic tourists, instead of earning a cushy salary elsewhere. Seriously. NPS, give the guides their due.

Our guide at Sagamore Hill was no exception. She gave a brilliant house tour.

Sagamore Hill was Teddy's rustic getaway that allowed him to leave the city and get back to nature...without having to go all the way out to North Dakota to do it. Known as the Summer White House while he was president, the house served to entertain industry giants and dignitaries - and he has the hardware to prove it. Seven-feet-tall elephant tusks. Rhino feet inkwells. Samurai swords. He even earned his Nobel Peace Prize (the first awarded to an American) by negotiating the end to the Russo-Japanese War - here at Sagamore Hill.

Like his Birthplace in the city (with possibly my favorite NPS tour guide), Sagamore Hill also houses much of his hunting trophies. It's so odd to think that the walls filled with such game trophies would belong to Teddy, the great conservationist.

Still, it's quite an amazing house. There's so much more to learn about this place, but you really just need to visit. It might be dorky as hell, but I find it's always quite of the awesomest awesome to be able to walk through the front doors of presidential houses to learn about the history of the rooms that lie beyond. Go visit. You won't be sorry.

And, no, pink's not TR's favorite color.
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Erika said...

Next stop, Mt Rushmore!

Anonymous said...

Yeah, it's great to have a tour guide who "cares". Coz they've seen the same sights for lots and lots of times. Care for the place they are guiding, or care for the visitors...just make the visiting wonderful.
local guides, local wisdom

joy said...
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