Vermont’s State Historic Sites are all interesting, but President Calvin Coolidge Homestead is definitely my favorite. So, if you find yourself near Woodstock or Quechee, or Killington, don’t miss the chance to go and visit (in the summer or fall of course).
In the middle of the cute and tiny village of Plymouth Notch, surrounded by open fields and mountain backdrops, stand both the humble house where President Calvin Coolidge was born and the one where he was raised, where he took his oath as the 30th president of the United States and which became his summer White House.
Watching the old footage of the activity at the time (such as the arrival and departure of various elegantly-dressed officials by car) is truly fascinating. You soon realize that the village today is exactly the way it was in 1924-1925! And you imagine the commotion which must have created the “summer White House” in the middle of the countryside, far from any large city, at a time when Vermont roads were not even paved!
The house however is telling you a lot more about the humble way his family lived than about its very “official” function. It looks everything BUT a White House! The rooms are very simply furnished exactly as they were in 1923 and you can see how laundry was done (took 2 days every week), how meals were prepared, etc….
From an architectural point of view, the house is also a perfect example of the “connected farm”, also described in books as “the big house, the little house, the back house and the barn” – a succession of connected buildings typical to the agricultural landscape of the time.
But the Calvin Coolidge Homestead is in fact only one of 16 structures of a larger complex, the Plymouth Notch Historic District. Carefully preserved are the community church, the one-room schoolhouse, the general store, and several homes of President Coolidge’s family and neighbors. And the humble grave of President Calvin Coolidge can be seen in the little cemetery across the road.
You’ll have the chance to visit traditional farm buildings – barns and stables – and, if you’d like, take a ride in a horse-driven wagon through the open fields. In the stables, you’ll even see a couple of old horse-drawn US Mail carriages and other vehicles.
You can finally enjoy lunch at the restaurant, or picnic outdoors surrounded by quite spectacular panoramic views.
Overall, two or three hours of delightful and relaxing time… a perfect activity for late spring, summer, or fall afternoon! Definitely our favorite Vermont State Historic Site!
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Note: July 4th is a special day of celebration at President Calvin Coolidge’s site, for the anniversary of his birthday. He is the only U.S. president born on the Fourth of July!
Opening hours: Open daily, 9:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. – from the end of May to mid-October
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