PHILADELPHIA, July 25, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- History will be made as Philadelphia hosts the 2016 Democratic National Convention (DNC), July 25-28, adding another major milestone to Pennsylvania's already rich political and presidential story.
"Home to so many historic events, starting with the birthplace of our nation's independence and the signing of the Declaration of Independence, Philadelphia has also played host to eight party conventions since 1856 – but what visitors may not know is there is so much more presidential history to experience throughout Pennsylvania," said Carrie Fischer Lepore, Deputy Secretary of Marketing, Tourism & Film at the Department of Community and Economic Development. "If you're coming for the Democratic National Convention or looking to immerse yourself in our nation's presidential history, now is the perfect time to explore your passion and pursue your happiness in Pennsylvania."
In addition to experiencing historical and presidential history at sites throughout Pennsylvania, visitors can also stay overnight at a number of historic properties where past presidents have stayed.
Experience Presidential History
President James Buchanan's Wheatland
History buffs and casual visitors alike will enjoy touring the beautiful grounds and mansion of the only president from Pennsylvania, James Buchanan. Located in downtown Lancaster, visitors can explore Wheatland's rooms, stairwells and gardens where the secrets and details of his political and personal life intersect. Experience history come to life as tour guides dressed in traditional period clothing lead you through the same grounds Buchanan once roamed.
Eisenhower National Historic Site
Eisenhower National Historic Site was the home and farm of President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Adjacent to the Gettysburg Battlefield, the farm served as Eisenhower's weekend retreat from Washington and a meeting place for world leaders. Take a tour of the president's home, enjoy a self-guided walk around the farm or join a park ranger for an exploration of World War II.
The David Wills House
The David Wills House offers visitors a world-class museum experience that tells the story of President Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address. Prominent attorney David Wills' home, in the heart of Gettysburg, became the center of recovery and justice after the Battle of Gettysburg. The David Wills House is the only site where you can experience President Lincoln's immortal Gettysburg Address in the place in which it was crafted. The museum features six galleries and two restored rooms: Wills' office and the bedroom where Lincoln stayed and prepared for his famous address.
Washington Crossing Historic Park
Relive one of the most important moments of the Revolutionary War at Washington Crossing Historic Park. On Dec. 25, 1776, General George Washington and his men crossed the Delaware River into New Jersey to march on Hessian troops quartered in and around the village. Each year, thousands gather in Washington Crossing to experience a reenactment of Washington's triumphant journey across the Delaware. After touring the park, enjoy a cozy dinner at the spot where General George Washington assembled his troops — the Washington Crossing Inn.
George Washington was a central figure in the French and Indian War. In 1758, he led on foot a detachment of 500 Virginia soldiers from Fort Ligonier. Eight acres of the original site have been preserved for visitors to explore including the fort, General Forbes' hut, the Pennsylvania hospital, a smokehouse, a saw mill, bake ovens, a log dwelling and a forge.
Stay Like a President
Right across the street from the David Wills House, the former Scott's Tavern was established in 1797. It became a temporary "White House" for President Dwight Eisenhower in 1955, when he spent time at the hotel while recovering from a heart attack. Eisenhower and his wife, Mamie, became the hotel's last guests before the owner closed its doors in 1964. The old building was destroyed in a fire in 1983, and a new building opened in 1991 as the Gettysburg Hotel.
Hyatt at the Bellevue
Then called the Bellevue-Stratford, every U.S. president from Theodore Roosevelt to Ronald Reagan has stayed at this hotel on Philadelphia's Broad Street. After undergoing several transformations since its origin in 1881, the Bellevue building now houses a shopping mall and food court, offices, a ballroom, a restaurant and, of course, a hotel on floors 12 through 19.
Historic Hotel Bethlehem
Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, John F. Kennedy and Bill Clinton are among Hotel Bethlehem's extensive list of famous guests. Be warned that the downtown hotel is rumored to be haunted – but the ghosts are said to be friendly.
Omni Bedford Springs Resort
Few properties can boast the historic significance of Omni Bedford Springs Resort in Bedford, Pa. Located in the Allegheny Mountains, the resort has eight mineral springs that have served as a gathering place for U.S. presidents, celebrities and dignitaries from around the world for more than 200 years. Some of the most prominent historical events include the housing of Japanese diplomats who were captured in Germany during WWII at the resort from 1943-1945; the stays of Presidents Thomas Jefferson, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush; and the resort's designation in 1984 as a National Historic Landmark.
Omni William Penn
Presidents Harry Truman and Dwight Eisenhower stayed at the downtown Pittsburgh hotel, as well as Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson. Numerous presidents also visited for events and speeches.
"There are so many ways to learn about America's political past throughout Pennsylvania," said Fischer Lepore. "Endless combinations of sites can fill your itinerary and expand your knowledge. We encourage travelers to come back and spend more time in the commonwealth."
For additional information about the DNC and to explore more of Pennsylvania's presidential history and attractions, please visit www.visitpa.com/dnc. Find DNC photos, attractions and travel tips using the hashtag #PHLDNC2016 on social media.
The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, which operates under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to inspiring travel to and throughout the commonwealth. For more information, go to visitPA.com or call (800) VISIT PA; become a fan at facebook.com/visitPA, follow us at twitter.com/visitPA, view scenic photos on instagram.com/visit_PA, share photos at pinterest.com/visitPA, friend us at foursquare.com/visitPA, or watch us on youtube.com/visitPA.
Lyndsay Kensinger, DCED, 717-783-1132
SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development