This past summer I took a day trip into Washington to visit the Lincoln Summer Cottage in the northern portion of the city at the Soldiers’ Home.
The house sat on a higher elevation than downtown Washington, and afforded some breezes and relief from the heat of the city. Though it is in a rather older surrounding city neighborhood now, in the early 1860s, this was the country!
The house itself is still somewhat a work in progress – only being restored and opened to the public for a handful of years (since early 2008 I believe). I am not suggesting it is not worth seeing, but I believe it will be increasingly enhanced. The nearby museum is especially good, and regular tour groups are briefed and then taken through the home.
The tour guide I had the day I visited did a very good job of explaining things. He mentioned a book that was written by one of his college professors – Matthew Pinsker – “Lincoln’s Sanctuary: Abraham Lincoln and the Soldiers’ Home.” I looked at the book (and did buy it), and noted that the professor is from Dickinson College – where two of my sons attended, as well as my daughter-in-law. Seeing the tour guide still in the museum, I mentioned this to him, and he knew my daughter-in-law, and even ran in the same cross country program with her.
If you go, you are able to park inside the military installation. Just drive up to the gate and the guard will direct you to a specific parking area for your visit. I did not initially understand this, and parked on a nearby street and walked in, which was fine – but unnecessary.
Here is a link to the cottage: http://www.lincolncottage.org