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“Lincoln's Sanctuary”

President Lincoln's Cottage
Ranked #53 of 433 things to do in Washington DC
Certificate of Excellence
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Attraction details
Owner description: Known as the "Cradle of the Emancipation Proclamation". The Cottage is where Lincoln lived with his family at the height of the Civil War. The Cottage is located on a picturesque hilltop in Northwest Washington, DC. Opened to the public for the first time in 2008 after being restored by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, the Cottage is the only designated National Monument in DC and the only National Monument in the country that is operated by a non-profit. Guided tours of the Cottage focus on Lincoln's ideas and offer visitors an intimate view of Abraham Lincoln’s presidency and private life. Visitors are also invited to browse exhibits in the adjacent Robert H. Smith Visitor Education Center. Tickets are required for entry to the Cottage, and advanced ticket purchase is strongly recommended. Weekend tours often sell out completely.
Reviewed January 7, 2014

Recently my college classmates living in the area decided to celebrate a milestone birthday together in some special way, and we chose to have a tour and catered luncheon party at the Lincoln Cottage. What a great idea! This little known place in the district, accessible by metro (with a longish but pleasant walk from the Petworth station), played a fascinating role in the life and administration of President Lincoln, and we loved our visit. It is not an expansive place, but the hour's guided tour was emotionally moving and intellectually intriguing. [The giftstore has among many other things a wonderful book about Lincoln's time spent here, whose title I borrowed for my review.] I have long been a great student of all things Lincoln, but I learned a great deal on our visit. Everyone loved it. With the outstandingly capable assistance of Sahand, the Cottage's go-to person for setting up such an event, we had a terrific experience in coordinating this group tour followed by a catered luncheon in the visitors' center. I highly recommend this spot if you are up for a historical excursion in our metropolitan area; if you are looking for an interesting reunion venue; or you just love Lincoln.

1  Thank Cheryl W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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323 - 327 of 494 reviews

Reviewed January 7, 2014

For those interested in history in general and Abraham Lincoln in particular, the Lincoln Cottage is a quietly impressive place to visit. It's off the beaten path; you have to make an effort to get there; and it requires use of your imagination (aided by an excellent guide, in our case). Tours are by reservation, and it's wise to get there about a half-hour before to go through the excellent exhibits giving background on the Civil War in Washington before the tour.

Thank Emily S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 6, 2014

We had a holiday visitor in town and have pretty much used up all of the usual Washington, DC sites to see. I'd heard about Lincoln's Cottage, on the grounds of the Old Soldiers Home. We thought this would be a new and different place to explore.

It certainly is different, and in a very good and interesting way. The cottage itself has been restored to what it would have looked like in Lincoln's day (he used it as a retreat form the White House and in fact lived here for a big chunk of his presidency and "commuted" down the hill to the White House). The place is very sparsely furnished (to the dismay of at least one of the other commenters). Once our outstanding tour guide Michelle explained why, I was sold.

Michelle said that they could have refurnished the place with all sorts of period pieces. But her M.O. for her tour was to get you to think about what Lincoln was thinking and going through while he was staying here, not just looking at a chair that he might have sat in.

Lincoln wrote the Imancipation Proclamation while here, the war was raging around him and dead soldiers were being buried in the cemetery right outside his front door. So was this really a refuge for him? Michelle's way of making us talk and think made the experience much more than seeing yet another dry artifact or renovated mansion.

In addition to the in-depth history of the time and place, there are good audio and visual additions to the guide's narration, and the juxtaposition between the tale of Lincoln in 1863 and the tapping of an iPad to bring up the next slide or video is interesting.

I would highly recommend this to anyone who is interested in digging a bit deeper into their history of Lincoln. It might not be for everyone, because it's not just a museum of "things", but a museum of "thoughts". As another reviewer mentioned, this isn't for little kids, who will likely be bored.

The Old Soldiers Home is a bit difficult to find, and is a bit of a hike from Georgia Avenue and the Petworth Metro station.

I'd highly recommend this for locals as well as visitors who want to see something different.

Thank daveb84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2013

A fascinating location that tells about a side of Lincoln I have not heard about before. It was an interesting mix of technology, restoration, and narration at a unique location. I would not recommend the regular tour for children. This is about the history of Lincoln's Presidency not about the architecture of the cottage.

Thank Fred B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed December 31, 2013

This was recommended, but I don't know why. The tour was extremely minimal with a few audio snippets once inside, the tour guide added nothing worthwhile, and the cottage itself was just a shell. They should have at least restored it to look like it looked during Lincoln's stay. A tour of the grounds and the Old Soldiers Home would have added significantly (but was not included). Stay away, this is just a waste of time and effort to get there (it is relatively far from any DC attraction).

1  Thank ams44
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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