Step back in time this Christmas at the Eisenhower Farm in Gettysburg, PA! Step back in time to see how a former president celebrated Christmas with his family!
We were visiting as guests of Destination Gettysburg and want to thank them for their hospitality! All opinions and experiences are 100% our own, but we do recommend visiting their site as you plan your visit.
I should probably start by being completely honest here… I’ve never really given much thought to President Eisenhower. I didn’t even know that he had a home in Gettysburg even though I’ve lived a short hour away my whole life!
And now that I’ve visited the farm where he and Mamie retired, you might say I’m a little obsessed! I’ve been reading articles about them and I even think I’m going to order this book to find out more about his fascinating life!
And to think, the only reason I really wanted to visit the farm was because I saw it was all decorated for Christmas! I love seeing inside homes that are festive and decorated and the Eisenhower’s Farm was no exception!
President Eisenhower’s wife, Mamie, seems like she was such a spitfire! My kind of woman!
She also famously loved the color pink. There were touches of pink throughout the house including Mamie’s personal bathroom that was ALL.PINK. Like literally all pink down to the fixtures, the tiles, the towels and even her hairbrush laying on the sink!
Mamie’s mom stayed with them often and she even got her touches of pink in her mom’s bedroom!
And because we were there for the Christmas tour, we were able to see some of the Christmas cards that Ike and Mamie sent each year. How cool was Mamie’s style?? These would be popular now too!
But President Dwight Eisenhower had a creative streak too. Did you know that he painted? And well!
He even had some of his paintings turned into holiday cards by Hallmark while he was president! They have examples displayed in the small store at the edge of the property.
Eisenhower’s Oil Paintings
My absolute favorite room in the house, though, was the sun porch. Incidentally, it also happened to be Ike and Mamie’s favorite room too!
Not only did they relax with friends and family here, but they also held meetings with world leaders like Nikita Khrushchev and Charles de Gaulle. Right here in this very porch that you get to see when you visit the Eisenhower Farm in Gettysburg! Facts like that just blow my mind!
This is also the room where Ike would work on his oil paintings because of the amazing sunlight. In fact, that painting that’s on the easel is a reproduction of the painting he was working on during his last year of life!
Tour of the Eisenhower Farm
The tour of the Eisenhower Farm takes you through the entire house. I’ve been on many tours of historic homes and there are usually rooms or entire floors that are blocked off. For the Eisenhower home, you actually see the entire home as well as get a guide that describes each room and what it was used for.
The formal dining room was set for Christmas dinner and included a tea service that General Eisenhower bought for Mamie piece by piece with his poker winnings!
The den was Ike’s personal room to retreat to for reading or playing card games with friends. It also shows off remnants from the original farmhouse. I loved how they added shopping bags and wrapping paper rolls for the Christmas tour!
You also have the opportunity to explore the grounds of the Eisenhower’s Farm including the guest house:
the barn that has an old tractor and some of Eisenhower’s cars. There also is a pretty impressive backyard BBQ where Ike himself enjoyed cooking.
The farm has a gorgeous view of South Mountain in Gettysburg, and was the perfect retreat for President Eisenhower and his family. In fact, it was the only home that the Eisenhower’s every owned and the place where they retired after he left the White House.
Tips for Visiting the Eisenhower Farm in Gettysburg
- The tour starts at the Gettysburg National Military Park Visitor Center. That is where you will also purchase tickets.
- You will ride a shuttle to the Eisenhower Farm so plan on leaving your car at the Visitor Center. It is a short ride of about 10 minutes or so through the battlefields.
- You are allowed to take pictures inside the house, but no flash photography.
- Plan on the whole visit (from shuttle ride to farm tour to shuttle ride back) taking about 1.5-2 hours.
- Be sure to strike up a conversation with one of the park rangers on site. We learned some really interesting tidbits about the Eisenhowers that wasn’t included in the general speech at the beginning of the tour.
- If you’re visiting for the Christmas tour (which you should!), be sure to dress warm since parts of the tour are outside.
- Leave some extra time before the shuttle returns to visit the museum and shop at the edge of the property. There are over 48,00 artifacts from the Eisenhowers’ lives on display and it made me love them even more!
For more information on tour hours or to purchase tickets, visit the Gettysburg National Military Visitor Center Site.
If you do plan on visiting during the holiday season, be sure to check out these other Christmas Activities in Gettysburg to make the most of your visit to one of my favorite towns!
If you plan on visiting during another time of year, follow along with Destination Gettysburg for upcoming events and amazing places to eat.
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