Best President’s Day Ever

Lost between the Olympics, Chinese New Year, post-Super Bowl delirium and New Orleans’ Mardi Gras, it’s President’s Day on Monday. I came up with 50 suggestions for presidential attractions, state by state, for Lonely Planet.

But here’s three more key things to do on Monday.

Narrowly edging out Lincoln’s beard, and William Howard Taft’s peppery swoop of a ‘stache (the last pres with facial hair), Chester A Arthur had the best facial hair of any US president. In a landslide.

This year, replicate it, by picking up a chop and adding a moustache. Caufield’s sells the chops – curiously called ‘60s sideburns’ – for US$8.49.

Speaking of facial hair, from Lincoln to Taft, only two presidents of the 11 went bare-faced – and didn’t fare well. Andrew Johnson, the VP who assumed presidency after Lincoln’s assassination in 1865, was impeached; William McKinley was gunned down by a crazed Polish-Belarussian American (barefaced) anarchist.

Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, George HW Bush, Ronald Reagan – every president since 1980 except W – were left-handed.

Last year was Poe’s 200th birthday and Richmond, home to one of a few competing Poe sites, recreated – curiously – his death. Wonderful. Let’s repeat it for the last Whig president, Millard Fillmore, an elected VP who became president when Zachary Taylor died in 1850. Here’s how: Spend Monday in bed, having soup and uttering, nearly breathlessly, Millard’s last words: ‘the nourishment is palatable.’ He died at 11:10pm, March 8, 1874 if you’re curious.

Moving on, in non-presidential news, I took a stab at making an ‘Oklahoma world map’ for my favorite Oklahoma blog yesterday. It was fun.

About Robert Reid

Robert Reid is a travel writer (Lonely Planet, New York Times, ESPN), travel expert (Today Show, CNN's Headline News), travel videographer (76-Second Travel Show) and travel artist (don't ask).
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