Sunday, October 30, 2011

Trip #5 Northern New York State and New England

United First Parish Church Quincy, Massachusetts Presidents John Adams and John Quincy Adams are buried in the basement.

Presidential Gravesites seen on this trip: #32 Franklin D. Roosevelt Hyde Park, New York 12 of 38
                                                      #8 Martin Van Buren Kinderhook, New York 13 of 38
                                                      #21 Chester A. Arthur Albany, New York 14 of 38
                                                      #2 John Adams Quincy, Massachusetts 15 of 38
                                                      #6 John Quincy Adams Quincy, Massachusetts 16 of 38
                                                      #14 Franklin Pierce Concord, New Hampshire 17 of 38
                                                      #30 Calvin Coolidge Plymouth Notch, Vermont 18 of 38
                                                      #13 Millard Fillmore Buffalo, New York 19 of 38

The brainstorming for this trip started back in May. After hitting 3 Presidents in 3 states in one day I started thinking of what could be accomplished in 3 or 4 days. I got the idea for this trip from Dave, who's trips are on this link, traveled from Detriot to New England and saw 7 of the President above. I started kicking around idea's for doing a simular trip. I ended up doing it alittle differently then Dave did. Plus I added FDR which he hadn't seen on his trip. My Mom, Dad and cousin came along on this trip with my wife, Khloe and I. I originally planned to do this trip over Labor Day weekend. But there was a work conflict with Dad so we did it the weekend after Labor Day and added the next Monday and Tuesday to the trip.

September 12, 2009 Franklin D. Roosevelt

We left home around 11 pm on the night of Friday September 11. We drove through the night with the idea of being at FDR's home when they opened. We made better time than expected and got there an hour before they opened. We found an older looking diner just down the road and got some breakfast. We made it back shortly after they opened. They were offering free house tour that day that we took advantage of. FDR's Hyde Park, NY home is kind of a one stop of most significant FDR sites. The house there was his life long home and he was born there. He is buried on the property and his Presidential Library is also there. We didn't take time to see the Library so I may try to return someday. The house tour was pretty interesting. He had a beautiful property along the Hudson River. After touring the home we headed for the garden where Franklin and Elenor Roosevelt are buried. FDR once said that he didn't want his tombstone any bigger than his desk. Which explaines the unique shape of his tombstone.

FDR's gravesite Hyde Park, New York

September 12, 2009 Martin Van Buren

We left Hyde Park and continued north along the Hudson River. Along the way we came to a roadside farmers market type place that had fresh apples and cider. With apple and cider to snack on we continued north to the small town of Kinderhook, New York, Martin Van Buren's hometown. We made a quick stop at the Van Buren birthplace historical marker before heading to his Lindenwald home. Lindenwald has been called the 'Monticello' of the north. It was the first house in America with indoor plumbing. We took the tour which we really enjoyed. I would definatly recommend it.

After the house we headed for Kinderhook Cemetery, the final resting place of Van Buren. It was pretty easy to find in that it was one of the tallest gravestones in the cemetery. We took a few pictures and then were on our way to the next stop, Chester Arthur in Albany.

Martin Van Buren's gravesite Kinderhook, New York

September 12, 2009 Chester A. Arthur

We left Kinderhook for our last site of the day. Chester Arthur's grave in Albany Rural Cemetery is only 30 minutes or so away from Kinderhook. We found the cemetery but it took awhile to find the gate. We eventually found Arthur's gravesite. It is definatly one of the most unique Presidential Gravesite. After a few pictures we where on our way to our hotel for the night over 3 hours away just south of Boston, Massachusetts.

Chester Arthur gravesite Albany, New York

September 13, 2009 John Adams
                                John Quincy Adams

We spent the night in Braintree, MA at a motel near the Boston subway system. Braintree is the last stop on the subway line that stops at Quincy. So we hit the subway around 8am and headed to Quincy. Quincy was the birthplace and hometown of both John and John Quincy Adams. The National Park Service controlls the 2 birthplace houses which stand side by side, and also 'Peacefield' which was John Adams retirement home. When John Adams died John Quincy Adams inherited the house. The National Park Service opened at 9. We had a little time to kill so we explored Hancock Cemetery. Hancock Cemetery is right across the street from the United First Parish Church in which both Adams and their wives are buried. Hancock Cemetery is the final resting place of many members of the Adams family as well as John Hancock's family. John Hancock himself though is buried in Boston. Which we saw later that day.

We were on the first Adams National Historic Site trolly of the day that took us to the birthplace houses and "Peacefield'. The 'Peacefield' tour remains one of my favorites. The National Park Ranger that gave the tour was very good and informative.

When we got back to the National Park station we headed over to United First Parish Church to take the tour and see the Adams gravesites. It was a nice tour which showed us the Adams family pew. We headed to the basement where we came across 4 big stone coffins, for lack of a better term. Having recently watch the HBO mini series 'John Adams' I was really enjoying the Adams sites. And visiting their final resting places was a great way to finish the Adams experience.

That afternoon we hoped back on the subway and headed into Boston. We walked the 'Freedom Trail' which had several big historical sites along the way including Granery Burial Ground where Samuel Adams, John Hancock, and Paul Revere are all buried, the site of the Boston Massacre, The Old North Church, and the USS Constituation. All in all a really great day of site seeing. We then headed back to our motel in Braintree for the night.

John Adams grave Quincy, MA

John Quincy Adams grave Quincy, MA

September 14, 2009 Franklin Pierce

We got an early start on the morning of Monday September 14th. I didn't know what to expect as far as Boston morning rush hour traffic. So we left the motel around 6 am figuring that should be early enought to avoid it. All went well as we headed north out of Boston for Concord, New Hampshire and Franklin Pierce. Once we got to Concord we stopped and got some breakfast. We then headed into town and found the 'Pierce Manse' Home of President Pierce. Of course they were closed that day so we took some pictures and were soon heading for Old North Cemetery to see Pierce's gravesite. It was a small town cemetery and the Pierce family gravesite wasn't hard to find.

Pierce left a sad legacy that I couldn't help but reflect on at his gravesite. Franklin and his wife Jane had lost all but one of their children by the time he was elected President. On the train ride to the Inaguration there was a train derailment and their last surviving child 'Benny' was decapitated right in front of them. Franklin went on to serve 4 miserable years as President. After his wife died he spent his remaining years drinking himself to death. Now it seemed that most of the residence of Concord didn't even know or care that there was a former President buried nearby. All very sad.

Franklin Pierce gravesite Concord, New Hampshire

September 14, 2009 Calvin Coolidge

From Concord we headed west into Vermont to see Calvin Coolidges home and grave. To this day the Coolidge site in Plymouth Notch, Vermont remains in my top 3 of all Presidential sites that I have visited. The small town seems unchanged since Coolidge lived there. His birthplace is there as well as is his boyhood home were he spent alot of time as an adult, and was Inagurated there also after Harding died. There is a cheese factory there that the Coolidges once owned, and it is still in use. But I guess that the main thing is that it is in the middle of the Vermont wilderness surrounded by beautiful scenery. This very unique spot was what made Calvin Coolidge the man he became. And it was great to experience it first hand.

Coolidge is buried in a small cemetery not far from his birthplace, along with 7 generations of his family. It is a simple respectable tombstone. And if you didn't know any better you could easily drive past the cemetery and never realise that there was a President buried there.

Calvin Coolidges gravestone Plymouth Notch, Vermont

September 15, 2009 Millard Fillmore

After Coolidges historical site we started heading west. It was a 6 to 7 hour drive to our hotel in Batavia, New York. After getting dinner along the way we finally arrived at our hotel around 10 that night.

In 3 days I had pushed my family pretty hard. So we slept in on this Tuesday morning and enjoyed the hotels continental breakfast. Around 9:45 am we started to drive the 30 minutes or so to Forest Lawn Cemetery in Buffalo, New York to see the final Presidential Gravesite of the trip, Millard Fillmore. We found Fillmore's gravesite easily enough. It was a simple pink obelisk. I spent a little time reflecting on Fillmore himself but more in thankfulness that the last 4 days had gone great. We left Forest Lawn and headed down the road away's and saw the Theodore Roosevelt Inagural site. I got directions to see the marker where William McKinley had been shot. But I could tell that my family was getting restless and they really wanted to see Niagara Falls. So we skippped the McKinley assassination site and headed for Niagara Falls. After a little time at the falls we started our 5 hour car ride home. It had been a great 4 days and I had started to think about all that I had seen that year as compared to previous years. So at the half way point in September I looked back on 2009 thinking that it had been a great year. Little did I know that one small adventure was to occure before the years end.

Millard Fillmore's gravesite Fores Lawn Cemetery, Buffalo, New York

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