Tuesday, June 8, 2010

2010-17A A Bonus Report, The Little White House: Warm Springs Georgia

I've traveled from Macon to La Grange Georgia so I could visit the Roosevelt Little White House in Warm Springs Georgia.  I could have stayed at the FDR state park, but they now charge $28 a night for an Rv site which is just a bit much for my budget.  As a full time Rv’er, that equates to $840 a month in camping fees.  I know it sounds like I pinch my pennies, but I do have to watch them, as the cost of camping can quickly get out of hand if I don’t.  

This should be on any travelers itinerary.  The Site includes the Little White House, a home FDR had built while he was Governor of NY and was running for President.  He started coming here in 1924, when he contracted polio as the warming spring waters eased the pain and hardship a bit.  A first rate museum as well as the restored original pools are available for tours.   

The museum has the 1940 Willy roadster that FDR drove while down here along with story boards describing his accomplishments as well as Eleanor Roosevelt’s.  Though the museum and house are really about his life, challenges and triumphs.  The guide inside the little white house told me that the locals in the area did not like Eleanor, as she began supporting education for all the black children in the area.

One of the story boards said how he was always Optimistic, something I try to be most of the time.  For some reason, that along with the story of his life grabbed a hold of me.  Visiting the Little white house, a  simple pine paneled 3 bedroom cottage, with two out buildings, one for the servants quarters above the garage and the second as a guest house, exuded charm from every angle and vantage point.  

This is the first presidential home or museum that I must admit, I got choked up about.  From the minute I walked into the small kitchen and read the handwritten note: “Daisy Bonner cook the 1st meal and the last one in this cottage for the President Roosevelt” written above the stove, next to the panty entrance, I was hooked.  The house was left almost completely as it was the day he died in the cottage.  The simplicity of the only house President Roosevelt ever built for himself has enough charm to warm the coldest heart.  

So as I wandered through the main living area, dining, out onto the patio over looking the sloping wooded terrain, I could almost feel his presence.  A man who led our country through the great depression and WWII.  His fire side chats, the new Deal, the Civilian Conservation Corps, Rural electrification and the Tennessee Valley Authority all came about by his hand.  A man who understood the common man and his struggles and did so much to help them out.  

This will most likely be the highlight of my summer travels.  The small town of Warm Springs is filled with shops and restaurants along a compact two block district.  Weekends you will find a farmers market and local flea market sales on the corner.  The adjacent Roosevelt Warm Springs Institute which was founded by Roosevelt is still active and available to those in need of healing and rehab.  

This is truly a world heritage site if I’ve ever seen one.  Though I don’t think it has that designation yet.  Glad I could feel the power of this man and walk though the home he cherished.  With a bit of a moist eye, I leave the place as others explore and discover some of what I felt and saw that day.

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