Presidential R&R: Pine Knot Retreat

Feb 02, 2016

A little R&R is always nice and everyone has their own version of it. Maybe it is a trip away to let your hair down, with the sound of waves crashing on a beach or a quiet stream gurgling away in the distance as you are surrounded by trees. Any or all of these might sound a bit like heaven and to the 26th President of the United States, the more solitude and roughing it the better.

R&R for the Roosevelt clan took the form of a simple two story home called Pine Knot. Most homes were starting to add the comforts of indoor plumbing and electricity, but these amenities were not to be found at Pine Knot. The President and his family hauled spring water from 300 yards away and visited the pioneer version of a bathroom, an outhouse in the woods.

The large covered front porch was the spot to find TR. He would spend hours out there looking, counting and documenting close to 75 species of birds, including the rare passenger pigeon which was thought to be extinct. The family didn’t have many visitors to their secluded and primitive retreat, but the ones they did entertain fit right in. For example, John Burroughs and Roosevelt trekked through the surrounding woods doing what they did best, checking out the wildlife. The Roosevelts did hold at least one Thanksgiving at Pine Knot and I can’t imagine how that went. Six rambunctious children and a Thanksgiving meal. Busy would be an understatement. Not what some would consider R&R but perfect for the Roosevelts.

Pine Knot Exterior

Exterior of Pine Knot. n.d. Theodore Roosevelt Birthplace National Historic Site. Theodore Roosevelt Digital Library. Dickinson State University.

Posted by Pamla Kukla on Feb 02, 2016 in History  |  Permalink  |  Comments (0)  |  Share this post

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