Very Presidential
January 20th, 2019 by Pamela A. Keene

Dwight D. Eisenhower is among the presidents who have used Truman’s Little White House for official business through the years.
Photo courtesy of the Truman Little White House

Did you know you can visit several presidential sites and museums connected with our country’s famous leaders right here in Florida?

Disney’s Hall of the Presidents in the Magic Kingdom was a technological wonder when it opened October 1, 1971. Through the years, it has been updated by adding each new president. Since 1993, it has given the sitting president a speaking role.

Although no U.S. president has been born in Florida, some have maintained winter homes here, most famously Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago in Palm Beach, Richard Nixon’s Florida White House in Key Biscayne and the former Kennedy Compound in Palm Beach. Nixon’s residence in Florida was torn down in 2004; the Kennedy Compound was sold in 1995.

Never fear. You can still experience some of Florida’s presidential connections just in time for Presidents Day. Truman’s Little White House is in the Truman Annex in Key West and Clermont has the Presidents Hall of Fame.

Truman’s Little White House is part of the former Key West Naval Station. It was home to President Harry S. Truman for 175 days during 11 visits there between 1946 and 1952. During that time, he met with world political figures.

The Truman site has been used by subsequent presidents, including Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, as well as for international peace talks between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in 2001.

Originally known as Quarters A, the structure was built in 1890 as the home for Naval Station commanders in Key West. President William Taft visited in 1912. During World War I, Thomas Edison lived there for a time, inventing weapons.

Truman’s Little White House is open for tours 365 days a year. Visitors can experience President Truman’s personal life through photos and displays, and find out about the history of the Truman Annex as a naval base during the Cold War.

A visit to Clermont’s Presidents Hall of Fame showcases the history of American presidents with a collection of First Lady inauguration gowns and a miniature replica of the White House—complete with a cutaway of rooms on three floors. Outside, a re-creation of Mount Rushmore provides a backdrop for photographs.

The Presidents Hall of Fame is at 123 N. Highway 27, Clermont. The phone number is 352-394-2836. It is open every day except Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Watch Your Weight On Vacation?
There is good news for those of us who worry about gaining weight on vacation.

According to, you probably shouldn’t be too concerned.

Here’s why: Weight is not the only indicator of good health. It’s normal for your weight to fluctuate. A brief splurge of a couple of days or a week probably won’t make a long-term difference, as long as you return to normal eating habits when you return home.

Just in case, here are some tips from nutritionist and author Rachel Meltzer Warren to help you be healthier on vacation, as quoted in

  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  • Carry snacks, such as nuts or granola bars, to help curb overeating.
  • Pick wisely from restaurant menus.
  • Walk whenever you can, especially when sightseeing.

Meltzer says you may even lose weight on vacation because you’re not sitting at a desk all day.

Florida Fast Facts
From the folks who keep track of these kinds of things at the official state website: Did you know Florida has more golf courses than any other state, with more than 1,250? Palm Beach County has the largest concentration of golf courses in the nation. Florida’s 700 campgrounds offer more than 100,000 campsites for the 6 million people who camp in the state annually.

Florida native and travel enthusiast Pamela A. Keene is a freelance journalist who specializes in travel, gardening, personality and feature writing. She is also a photographer and accomplished sailor. Her website is