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National Park Getaway: James A. Garfield National Historic Site

MENTOR, Ohio – A tall windmill casts its shadow on lush grass. Its blades spin gently, pushed by a light wind that sways the limbs of surrounding trees. Never mind that this picturesque structure, which you might anticipate seeing on a tour of the Dutch countryside, graces the Midwestern estate of an American president.

The windmill embodies a lesson about this elegant home, the James A. Garfield National Historic Site: when you come here, expect to make unexpected discoveries.

This National Park Getaway article introduces Garfield himself, a lesser-known president about whom there is plenty to discover. Learn about his early life, presidential campaign, and brief presidency in the large, gray house he occupied before moving to a somewhat more famous white one. Here you can savor the intellectual pleasure of learning something new, as National Park Service rangers, museum exhibits, and an informational film serve up interesting tidbits and food for thought. A visit to the Garfield estate is a bit like having supper with friends eager to introduce you to their culture: in the course of the meal, what was exotic or “other” becomes familiar. Likewise, at this national park, the obscure figure of the nation’s 20th president comes into sharp focus.

James A. Garfiled Historic Home

After you sample and take your fill of Garfield’s life and times, enjoy some eye candy for dessert. The gables, spires, red roof, and front porch of the house provide a feast for the eyes. The grounds also delight.

Continue to whet your appetite for the James A. Garfield National Historic Site by reading this week’s Getaway at www.nps.gov. Check out the articles from the proceeding weeks to discover—without expecting to do so—other travel destinations. Each week, the series introduces you to a place where you can connect with nature, history, family, and friends.

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