Blogs > Gil Troy > The Surprisingly Glamorous History of New Jersey Presidential Vacations

Aug 14, 2017

The Surprisingly Glamorous History of New Jersey Presidential Vacations

tags: New Jersey,vacation,Donald Trump

Donald Trump’s 17-day “Working Vacation” at the Trump National Gulf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, has resurrected the tradition of New Jersey Summer White Houses.

The first president to enjoy an extended summer vacation in New Jersey, Franklin Pierce, spent ten days in Cape May in 1855—back when the words “New Jersey” evoked fresh sea breezes not industrial (and political) sludge.  Two American traditions marred the visit. First, Americans’ over-enthusiasm for visiting celebrities had the locals firing a cannon honoring Pierce. The shot was too early in the morning and too close to Congress Hall where the President and his First Lady Jane were sleeping. Their sleep-in ended, abruptly.

More disturbing–and quite familiar–was the New York Times complaint that the “country” at this “critical moment” has “lost its president.” “President Pierce is at Cape May,” the editors sniffed. “For practical purposes he might as well be at Cape Horn” in Africa. The president’s supporters responded indignantly because Jane Pierce was suffering in Washington’s un-airconditioned 99 degree heat. “Has it come to this,” asked the Washington Evening Star, “that a president of the United States cannot visit the seaside with a member of his family, to whom the fresh and invigorating ocean air is essential to recovery of health, without incurring the malignant mendacity of partisan newspapers?”...

Read whole article on The Daily Beast.

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