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Where Our President Escaped to Before Camp David

Trump wouldn't have stayed here.
Where Our President Escaped to Before Camp David
Photograph by Getty Images.

To see the rest of our Explore the Shenandoah package, including scenic drives, panoramic hikes, and cool caverns, click here.

When President Herbert Hoover wanted to escape Washington’s steamy summers, he headed to Rapidan Camp, in Shenandoah National Park, where he rode horses, hiked, and fished. The rustic log cabins were built in 1929, right before the stock-market crash. It was a modest setup—which you can now see on a tour (reserve at recreation.gov or 877-444-6777)—and it’s hard to picture Hoover and his wife, Lou, entertaining guests such as Charles Lindbergh there.

At the retreat that President and Mrs. Hoover built in Shenandoah National Park, they hosted guests such as leaders from the Girl Scouts of America. Photograph by Getty Images.
At the retreat that President and Mrs. Hoover built in Shenandoah National Park, they hosted guests such as leaders from the Girl Scouts of America. Photograph by Getty Images.

The Hoovers paid for the building and upkeep and, on leaving office, donated the property to the state. President Hoover’s successor, Franklin Roosevelt, couldn’t navigate the rugged terrain and instead established Camp David as the country’s official presidential retreat.

Photograph by Library of Congress.

This article appears in the October 2017 issue of Washingtonian.

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