Celebrate President’s Day Weekend with Abe and Ike

Historic Gettysburg, Pa.

Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, best known for its famous Civil War battle in 1863, is also a place to get a glimpse into the lives and legacies of two of America’s most-known presidents – Abraham Lincoln and Dwight Eisenhower.

On President’s Day Weekend – Feb. 18-20, 2012 – Gettysburg is inviting Americans to learn more about the short, but monumental visit by Lincoln in 1863 to deliver the Gettysburg Address, and the retirement of Dwight Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, in the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

“This weekend is a great opportunity to honor America’s presidents,” said Norris Flowers, President of the Gettysburg Convention & Visitors Bureau. “Both Lincoln and Eisenhower made an incredible impression on Gettysburg, and their legacies live on through the great historic sites now open to the public to enjoy.”

Lincoln visited Gettysburg on Nov. 18-19, just five months after the tragic battle that summer. The 16th president made his mark on history with his 10-sentence Gettysburg Address, a speech that helped Americans understand the sacrifice in Gettysburg and helped the nation begin the path to healing.

Lincoln was in Gettysburg only 25 hours, and today visitors can trace his footsteps during his visit. Visitors can start at the Historic Gettysburg Railroad Station where Lincoln began his trip, tour the David Wills House museum where Lincoln put the finishing touches on the Gettysburg Address, and Soldiers’ National Cemetery where the president delivered his immortal remarks. Travelers can hire the expertise of a Licensed Town Guide or take a self-guided tour to explore Lincoln’s visit and understand the weight of the war and how his remarks helped turn Gettysburg from a place of tragedy into one of hope, a sentiment that still lasts today.

After World War II in 1950, Dwight Eisenhower hoped to retire in Gettysburg, a place he spent many months as commander of Camp Colt, an Army tank training facility on the fields of Pickett’s Charge. He and his wife, Mamie, remembered their days in Gettysburg, and the couple bought a home on 189 acres adjacent to the Civil War battlefield.

His retirement was delayed, however, when he was asked to be president of NATO and later, President of the United States. He and Mamie, the kids and the grandkids, found enough time during his presidency to visit Gettysburg many times, including a five-week stint when he recovered from a heart attack. His home in Gettysburg was referred to as the “Temporary White House.”

Today, his home and grounds are open to the public as the Eisenhower National Historic Site. Visitors from around the world tour the historic home, appreciating the simple and typical life the Eisenhowers led during their time in Gettysburg. The site also includes a working farm, the skeet range and putting green, and Eisenhower’s collection of automobiles.

Visitors can also enjoy sites around town, including the Gettysburg library in which Eisenhower once had an office, the Majestic Theater where the president would often hold press conferences, and Gettysburg College, where Ike spent many days writing his memoirs.

Additionally, visitors are encouraged to visit the Hall of Presidents and First Ladies, a collection of presidential figures chronologically staged to detail more than 230 years of American history. Tour the gallery of First Ladies, adorned in their dresses from respective inaugurations.

During this holiday weekend, three getaway packages are available:

For visitors wanting the full presidential experience, the Best Western Plus Gettysburg Hotel est. 1797 offers its “Memories of a President Package,” a one-night stay for two that includes tickets to the Eisenhower National Historic Site, the David Wills House, dinner and breakfast for two, along with several presidential keepsakes. Prices over the President’s Day Weekend are $240 for a traditional room, $270 for a suite. For more information on Gettysburg Hotel’s package, visit www.gettysburg.travel/visitor/ps_detail.asp?ps_id=660.

Gettysburg’s Gaslight Inn Bed & Breakfast also offers a package that helps illustrate the presidential experience in Gettysburg. Starting at $329, two guests can enjoy two nights of lodging at the inn, tickets to the Gettysburg National Military Park Museum and Visitor Center, a two-hour battlefield tour and tickets to either the Eisenhower National Historic Site, the David Wills House, or the Shriver House Museum. For more details on the Gaslight Inn package, visit www.gettysburg.travel/visitor/ps_detail.asp?ps_id=770.

For President’s Day Weekend only, the Brickhouse Inn is offering “Lincoln at Gettysburg,” an event that includes a tour of Soldiers’ National Cemetery with Historian Roy Frampton and dinner at the Historic Dobbin House restaurant with famous Lincoln presenter James Getty. Tickets are $120 plus lodging. For more information on Brickhouse’s event, call (800) 864-3464.

In addition, each day over President’s Day Weekend, renowned Lincoln artist Wendy Allen will host an event, from 1-4 p.m., at her Gettysburg gallery, Lincoln Into Art.

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