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Kenneth Walsh, Observing Presidents in Retreat

Kenneth T. Walsh's book takes a look at presidential getaway spots, from Mount Vernon to the Crawford ranch.
Jesse Baker, NPR
Kenneth T. Walsh's book takes a look at presidential getaway spots, from Mount Vernon to the Crawford ranch.

Being president of the United States is no easy job. And when it comes time to get away from it all, the president can't just load his family into a mini-van and drive out to a public beach or go camping in the woods, and not just because it would drive the Secret Service crazy.

Instead U.S. presidents have needed more secluded getaways, such as Warm Springs, Ga., San Clemente, Calif., Kennebunkport, Maine, the old weekend standby Camp David in Maryland -- or President Bush's ranch in Crawford, Texas.

What those sanctuaries reveal about the presidents' private lives is the subject of Kenneth Walsh's book From Mount Vernon to Crawford: A History of the Presidents and Their Retreats.

Walsh is White House correspondent for U.S. News and World Report. On a recent tour of Mount Vernon, he talked about how George Washington spent his time there.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Liane Hansen
Liane Hansen has been the host of NPR's award-winning Weekend Edition Sunday for 20 years. She brings to her position an extensive background in broadcast journalism, including work as a radio producer, reporter, and on-air host at both the local and national level. The program has covered such breaking news stories as the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, the capture of Saddam Hussein, the deaths of Princess Diana and John F. Kennedy, Jr., and the Columbia shuttle tragedy. In 2004, Liane was granted an exclusive interview with former weapons inspector David Kay prior to his report on the search for weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. The show also won the James Beard award for best radio program on food for a report on SPAM.