President James Buchanan's Wheatland is the estate of the only US President to have come from Pennsylvania. This place consists of various parts, some of which, will cost extra to see. As I have written more about James Buchanan himself in the blog, this review will be more about visiting the place.
Getting to it can be tricky, as it is located in a residential neighborhood. And no signs that really point the way, so you will have to get directions ahead of time to get it. Then you will have to enter The Campus of History building, where you have to pay admission, which is also where you have the option to see the short film on Buchanan, and the Exhibit Galleries.
Wheatland mansion - this is the main reason to visit, as this was the home of James Buchanan, as well as his niece Harriet Lane, and nephew James Buchanan Henry (more known as Buck Henry). And where Buchanan died. This can only be seen on a guided tour, as there is a very knowledgeable guide, showing the different rooms. Some of them include the different bedrooms, as well as the dining rooms, sitting room and library. And most of the furniture is original as well. Some of the items included the desk used in the White House, and the doll that was made into Harriet Lane's likeness. The rooms and furniture are very impressive to tour around. And have to say, the tour guide that I had, did a remarkable job, telling the histories of Buchanan, Lane and Buck Henry, making them a lot more interesting than the history books do. This should not be missed at all!
Exhibit Galleries - located in the Campus of History building, this is a small gallery with a bunch of old artifacts from the last 3 centuries in the Lancaster County area. A bunch of old furniture, as well as an old campaign poster for James Buchanan when he ran for President in 1856. While the items were nice to look at, it does have less to do with Buchanan himself, and more to do with the general history of the area. Worth a look, but only if time permits, as I did find it to be a bit overpriced, as it can be seen relatively quickly.
Also, there is a short film, which can be seen either before or after the tour, that gets into the life of James Buchanan. Mainly about his time as President, and tries very hard to see the good in it, which is next to impossible to do. And I think it does make him more interesting, at least for me, enough to want to know more and possibly read a book about him. It is worth a watch.
James Buchanan may be considered to be one of the worst Presidents of all-time, but his Wheatland estate is certainly not. This attraction is definitely worth visiting, for any visitor to the Lancaster area. And worth the detour, as it is located out of the way from the Amish attractions.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.