Abraham Lincoln is among the most recognizable and influential American presidents. Though he remains well-known to this day, anyone can benefit from a deeper appreciation and more authentic understanding by visiting the places where he lived.
There are many places associated with our 16th president, but for the first-time historical traveler, it’s a good idea to start with a weekend at the proud “Lincoln capital” of Springfield, IL. Many services can help cut down time-consuming tasks, from website destination reviews to laundromat services and route-planning apps. Most of us are lucky to travel over the weekend – here’s how to maximize yours.
The place where Lincoln made a living
Although he was born on the frontiers of Kentucky and moved to Indiana as a child, it was in Springfield that Lincoln got married and settled down to practice law and start a family. The Lincoln family tomb is also located here. National historical sites such as the Lincoln Home and the Old State Capitol are proudly preserved and serve as focal points of the city’s heritage and identity.
Simply walk around the downtown area, and you’ll be able to see various exhibit pieces that tell stories of Lincoln as a regular man making his living here. Local guides and park rangers will be full of information to share that is probably not included in any textbook histories of Lincoln. Feature films and exhibits in the museums present an in-depth look at the president, which goes well beyond the short synopses of his life and times that anyone can find online.
A few short trips – under an hour or so – beyond the town hub can also yield more Lincoln-related sites. The Lincoln family homestead, where his father Thomas took up residence in 1830, is the site of a state memorial. Young Lincoln’s first place of residence as an independent man in New Salem is another nearby attraction. And later in his life, the town of Lincoln became the first place in the United States to be named after him. Here the president is remembered with a statue on what is also officially the world’s largest covered wagon.
Covering the itinerary in just one weekend
As with any sort of travel, a little planning and smart preparation can greatly improve the experience. Modern apps and websites allow you to figure out the best accommodations for your needs. Whether you’re after a convenient location, the best amenities, or a budget-friendly stay, you can be assured that choosing and booking a place to stay ahead of time will go smoothly and make for one less thing to worry about on your travels.
After settling on accommodations, plan for transportation. This isn’t just travel between the airport to the hotel and back. Location and navigation apps can show you which destinations are adjacent, allowing you to take fewer rides – and shorter walks. Site reviews aggregate ratings and feedback from thousands of fellow travelers, so you know which places are worth your time and what to expect.
Pack and carry less, and save your time and energy. Bring fewer clothes, and utilize professional laundry services when needed. You can use the extra space to bring along another gadget, a book to read, or simply go light. Bring a secondary, travel bag that you can use to carry only the items you’ll need to bring around day-to-day.
Visiting Lincoln’s roots can be a unique and memorable way of appreciating his legend, and lead us to places less explored in today’s world of top ten lists and must-see destinations. Plan well and manage your schedule, and you’ll best enjoy your experience.