A visit to the Eisenhower National Historic Site begins with buying a shuttle/tour ticket for a specific time at the Gettysburg National Military Park's Visitor Center. Visitors are driven there by shuttle bus. Visitors cannot drive there on their own. There is no place to park.
On arrival, a ranger meets the tour bus and begins the orientation. Then, for the house tour, the group is split in two due to space constraints inside the house.
Due to Ike’s career with the U.S. Army and then as President of the United States, The Eisenhowers never had a home to call their own until Ike’s retirement. They decided on this farm in a picturesque setting.
Most of the furnishings originally belonged to The Eisenhowers. One striking thing about the home is that Mamie Eisenhower had exceptional taste in interior decorating. Another is Ike’s paintings. The story is that, after commissioning a painting of Mamie, Ike watched the artist and became fascinated with the process. He then took up painting on his own. His work shows that he had considerable natural talent.
After the ranger-led tour of the living room, visitors are allowed to browse the rooms off the hallways upstairs and downstairs. Visitors are met again on the way out.
Then, after the house tour, visitors are allowed to roam the grounds and the barns of this working farm.
At the bookstore/visitor center, one can watch a brief video. There is also a National Parks Passport Cancellation Station there.
Our tour was in conjunction with a visit to Gettysburg National Military Park on July 3rd, the 150th Anniversary of the end of the Battle of Gettysburg. It was a welcome side trip to break away from the crowd of thousands awaiting reenactment of the battle in the afternoon.
We enjoyed out visit here. It was a nice counterbalance to the somber atmosphere at Gettysburg National Military Park, site of the largest and bloodiest battle ever fought on North American soil.
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