140 Rock Creek Church Road, (202) 829-0436 WEBSITE
We’ve all been there: We host visitors who want to see D.C., and they think it’s all museums and monuments. If you want to show them a place with historical significance that doesn’t involve the Smithsonian, take them to President Lincoln’s Cottage. Open to the public since 2008, it can stump even a visiting history buff. Lincoln and his family would retreat to the Gothic Revival residence to escape the suffocating atmosphere of the White House during the Civil War—especially in summertime. Guests will be impressed by the innovative tour and accounts of Lincoln visiting with wounded soldiers and self-emancipated men who buried war casualties in the nearby U.S. Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Home National Cemetery. They will be moved by a re-telling of the parable “The Wolf and the Sheep.” And they will be humbled by the vision of Lincoln—battlefields on the horizon, construction of the U.S. Capitol below—as he composed the Emancipation Proclamation.