Tuesday, April 25, 2017
THE HERMITAGE, ANDREW JACKSON’S HOME
For those of you just joining our travels I should warn you we visit a lot of historical and natural sites, although we do also visit amusement parks.
In all our years together Gary and I have often visited various historical homes. This was our first visit to the Hermitage and we were not disappointed.
We scheduled a whole day to visit it properly and were certainly glad we did. In fact toward the end of our walk around the grounds we were offered a ride on a golf cart back to the main buildings by a docent and we gladly accepted it due to the heat and quite frankly we were tired.
From the parking lot you enter the information center where you purchase your tickets. It is a self-guided audio tour that allows you to move at your own pace. The ticket price for adults is $20 or for seniors age 62 and up $17. Active military and children under five are free. This is a privately owned historical site so your national parks pass will not get you a discount.
We started our tour in the information center reading the displays prior to buying our audio tour tickets. Doing so refreshed our memory on the events in Andrew Jackson’s life and in what was going on in the world in general at that time.
Once we had finished the displays we paid for our tickets and were given instructions on how the unit and the audio tour worked.
Quite frankly I loved how they had the audio tour set up. As you came to different sign posts or information kiosks you put in the appropriate number for adult or child and listened to various voices portraying different visitors and residents of the Hermitage telling you not only what you were looking at but information on the history or use of the item and/or location.
Yes, there was a segment especially for the younger visitors, but I must admit I often listened to both the adult and children’s playback to get all the information.
It was well done and very interesting. It also had where you could sometimes click another number after listening to the main section to get more information. By doing it in such a manner your tour could be as long or as short as you wanted it to be.
I loved how they spoke of every day life things, or how the wall paper was chosen and so much more.
The grounds were beautiful and well maintained and the audio tour would often tell you of maintenance, and events that took place on the grounds.
Approximately in the middle of the tour you get a guided tour of the mansion itself. They take people in as a group and a docent tells you much of the history of the place. You are given sufficient time to look around in each section, for which we were thankful. You are free to ask questions of the costumed tour guides and will receive detailed answers to your questions. Again a major plus, there was no rushing around.
In fact you are even given a chance to view in closets and such at the original wall paper to see how well the restoration team had done on copying the wall paper to match in the public use areas, where they had for reason or another had to replace the wall paper.
One warning to those with disabilities there are a lot of stairs to climb and descend in the house tour.
The final part of the guided tour for the home takes you through a rear exit door where you can view the summer kitchen and other areas you did not see in the guided tour. It also allows you to continue on the other half of your self guided tour. Along the way are many kiosks, or signs that show where various buildings that no longer exist had been located.
These information centers, along with the audio tour help make the area come alive and realize how hard the slaves of the time worked, as well as how crowded some of their conditions were. Even the sights and smells are discussed.
It was very eye opening, even with all the early American history we have studied throughout our lives.
From the main house you go past the spring house then on back through the grounds along a long winding trail that leads you to where an encampment had been and much more. This trail slowly winds you back toward the main house.
Luckily there are benches and shade along the way to allow for you to sit and relax and just watch nature as it parades by.
It was toward the end of this trail we hitched the ride back up to the museum and parking lot. All in all we both felt we got our $17 each worth.