Celebrate Our "Fur-Fathers" at these Pet-Friendly Presidential Estates

Posted by Lauren Barker

Is your pup a history “ruff?” If so, she’ll enjoy exploring the grounds of properties owned by our nation’s former leaders while you learn about the lives they led with their spouses, families and pets. In honor of the United States welcoming a new president on January 20, we invite you to take Fido on a tour of one of these seven pet-friendly presidential estates.

Franklin D. Roosevelt’s Springwood

Hyde Park, NY
“The only thing we have to fear is … thunder? Fireworks? The smoke detector?” Photo by @gustogram_

Originally built in 1793 and enlarged by the Roosevelts in 1915-16, Springwood at the Home of Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site was the birthplace of our 32nd president. Roosevelt spent much of his life in the home as a child and as an adult, returning often during personal and political crises. He lies buried on the property, and it was his wish to leave the house to the American people. The Roosevelts shared their estate with many dogs, including perhaps the most famous presidential pup, Fala, so it’s only fitting that dogs are allowed on the grounds today. Your pooch will enjoy a stroll through Sara Roosevelt’s rose garden, where the final resting places of Franklin and Eleanor are located. You can also walk the path Eleanor took daily, stop by the Walled Garden at Bellefield, or tour the Val-Kill Cottage to discover what life was like for Mrs. Roosevelt while at Springwood.

Book a pet-friendly room at America’s oldest continuously operated hotel, Beekman Arms and Delamater Inn, in Rhinebeck, NY. Two dogs of any size are permitted for an additional fee of $20 per night.

George Washington’s Mount Vernon

Alexandria, VA
Ace impersonating his noble pawfathers. Photo by BringFido

During George Washington’s lifetime, many beloved dogs lived with him and Martha at Mount Vernon in Alexandria. While your pooch is not able to venture inside the historic mansion today, there is still plenty to keep both of you busy on this 50-acre estate. As featured in the 2021 edition of BringFido's Ruff Guide to the United States, Mount Vernon allows canine visitors to spend time in the gardens, visit George Washington’s tomb, and enjoy breathtaking views of the Potomac River from the piazza. On select Saturdays in the spring and fall, bring your dog for the All the President's Pups Tour. This 1.25-mile guided walk explores canine life at the estate. Along the way, learn about George Washington's love for man’s best friend and his efforts to improve the quality of his hunting dogs through breeding.

A short drive north from George Washington’s Mount Vernon will lead you to the Kimpton Lorien Hotel & Spa in the heart of Old Town Alexandria. Dogs of any size are welcome for no additional fee.

Andrew Jackson’s Hermitage

Hermitage, TN
“Walking in the steps of Old Hickory himself.” Photo by Ann dee

In 1804, Andrew Jackson purchased a 425-acre farm just outside of Nashville, TN which would become known as The Hermitage. He and his wife, Rachel, resided in the mansion, which was constructed between 1819 and 1824. The home underwent major renovations in 1831, during Jackson’s presidency, and again in 1834 after a devastating fire. Today, The Hermitage is considered to be one of the best preserved early presidential homes. Purchase a grounds pass and visit with your pup in tow to see for yourself. Leashed dogs are invited to wander the grounds and explore 1,120 acres of history and beauty, including a garden, field quarters, trails and more. The grounds pass also includes a tasting of two wines from the on-site tasting room by Natchez Hills Winery. Check the BringFido event calendar for updates on when The Hermitage hosts Dog Days events with a special Hounds Hike the Hermitage tours.

Keep the history lesson going by staying at The Hermitage Hotel in downtown Nashville. Built in 1908, the city’s first million-dollar hotel has hosted many presidents and musical icons. Two dogs of any size are accepted for an additional fee of $75 per stay.

James Madison’s Montpelier

Montpelier Station, VA
“Does this place have a doggie door?” Photo by @mukhathedingo

In the early 1760s, the family of Founding Father James Madison moved to a new home on a 2,600-acre tobacco plantation, which they called Montpelier. When his father passed in 1801, Madison inherited the plantation and after his presidency retired there with his wife, Dolley. Leashed dogs are welcome on the grounds, which include over 8 miles of walking trails through the Old Growth Landmark Forest, the archaeological remains of a Confederate war camp, and the Annie DuPont Formal Garden. Pack a picnic lunch and relax at a table in the shade of historic trees, or grab a seat on the outdoor patio of the on-site cafe. Take a self-guided tour to see where the Montpelier enslaved community lived, Mr. Madison’s temple, and the Madison Family cemetery. Dogs are also allowed on the outdoor walking tours.

Spend the night in the Black Walnut or Library rooms at the Inn on Poplar Hill in Orange, VA. Fido can explore over 20 acres of grassy area with 2 miles of walking trails during his stay. Two dogs of any size are permitted for an additional fee of $25 per pet, per night.

Teddy Roosevelt’s Sagamore Hill

Oyster Bay, NY
“Speak softly and carry a big stick to fetch.” Photo by @travis_orlich

Construction began on Theodore Roosevelt’s home, Sagamore Hill, in Oyster Bay, NY in 1884. In 1887, he moved in with his second wife, Edith. The Roosevelts raised six raised children in the home, and the family cared for many pets. Today, leashed dogs are welcome to explore the property as they did in the late 1800s. Eighty-three acres of forests, meadows, salt marshes and beaches are accessible by trails. Take Fido to Roosevelt Beach to put his paws in the sand or walk the Carriage Path, which leads to the Roosevelts’ pet cemetery. You can even enjoy a self-guided audio tour along the way, and you’ll spot plenty of wildlife. Bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in the designated picnic area.

Enjoy more time on Long Island and stay at La Quinta Inn & Suite Garden City. Two pets of any size are welcome for no additional fee.

Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello

Charlottesville, VA
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all dogs are created equal. Photo by @gringo.the.terrier

In 1769, Thomas Jefferson began construction on his home on land inherited from his father, just outside of Charlottesville, Va. He named the property Monticello, which was Italian for “Little Mountain” because it sat on a hilltop overlooking his 5,000-acre plantation. Today, you can visit the gardens and grounds with Fido, including Mulberry Row, the main street of the plantation. Take a self-guided tour of the grounds using the text panels and reader rails set up outside of exhibits, and locate QR codes so you can retrieve a mobile guide straight to your smartphone. You can also participate in a family scavenger hunt by finding particular exhibits, like Jefferson’s gravesite or the textile workshop, and uploading a snapshot of them.

After a day in Monticello, spend the night at Holiday Inn Charlottesville Monticello. Two dogs of any size are allowed for an additional fee of $20 per pet, per night.

Lincoln Home

Springfield, IL
“Four score and seven dog years ago …” Photo by @tucker_the_havanese_

On the corner of Eighth and Jackson Streets in Springfield, IL stands the home of Abraham Lincoln. Honest Abe, along with his family and dog, Fido, resided here for 17 years prior to him becoming our nation’s 16th president. The Lincoln Home National Historic Site chronicles what life was like for Lincoln as a husband, father and neighbor as well as a lawyer and rising politician. Dogs are not allowed inside the home or other buildings, but are welcome in the neighborhood of the Lincoln home, which encompasses four blocks and has been restored to its 1860 appearance with 12 historic structures. You can also visit the Jameson Jenkins Lot, a site of the Underground Railroad, and the Heirloom Garden, where visitors can learn about foods that were grown and eaten in the 1860s.

Spend the night in the Land of Lincoln at La Quinta Inn & Suites Springfield. Two pets up to 30 lbs are accepted for no additional fee, and two pets over 30 lbs are welcome for an additional fee of $10 per pet, per stay.

Ready for a Road Trip?

Life’s “ruff.” Photo by Linda Segerfeldt

The editors at BringFido have dedicated themselves to digging up the best historical attractions and other dog-friendly things to do across the country. And we've assembled it all in our new book, Ruff Guide to the United States.

Now in its second edition, the book features over 365 of the best places to stay and play with your dog in all 50 states. Pre-order your copy today and get free shipping when you use the discount code POTUS.

Which presidential estates have you visited with your dog? Leave a comment or tweet us @BringFido!

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