I’ve booked two airplane trips today, and I have two more in the works. All of them are happening in November. I’m pretty sure this is as close to the jet set as I’m going to get.
My month of living out of a suitcase begins in Greeneville, Tennessee, where Andrew Johnson is buried and where the National Park Service hosts a historic site dedicated to the life and career of “The Constitution President.” Greeneville is as far from the beaten path as I’m likely to get for this book: I’m going to fly to Charlotte, North Carolina, and then drive three hours. Yes, that’s the easy way to get there. Luckily part of that driving is on the Andrew Johnson Highway, so I’ll feel very constitutional as I go.
After that, it’s off to Buffalo, New York, which is the final resting place of president number thirteen, Millard Fillmore. Not far away from the president are the remains of the one and only Rick James, making this the super-freakiest part of the project. The rest of Buffalo is full of presidential history – in addition to Fillmore, Buffalo was once home to Grover Cleveland, and it was the site of the McKinley assassination and, subsequently, Theodore Roosevelt’s inauguration.
November 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and I’ll be in Dallas on that day, covering the official city commemoration as well as some unofficial stuff that I’m just starting to learn about now. While in Texas I’ll also drop by the LBJ Ranch to see where the second President Johnson is laid to rest. Interesting side note: in the National Park Service web system, the Andrew Johnson site is listed under the acronym “ANJO,” while LBJ’s sites are under “LYJO.” One can only hope for a historic site dedicated to former New York Mets third baseman Howard Johnson so it can be the “HOJO” National Historic Park.
In the interests of efficiency, my plane out of Dallas will head not to New Hampshire, but to Nashville, Tennessee, where I’ll check out the Hermitage, home to my two year old son Owen’s favorite president, Andrew Jackson, and the grave of James K. Polk, on the grounds of the Tennessee state capitol. Then I’ll head back to New Hampshire and spend much of December sleeping, with occasional breaks for writing.
All in all, November should take me to five more gravesites and plenty of other historic sites. I’ll keep the notes and photos coming here, so check back for the latest!