There is one National Park Unit that commemorates both a father and a son. That is Adams National Historical Park in present day Quincy, Massachusetts.
There you can visit the birthplace of two former United States Presidents: John Quincy Adams and his father, John Adams.
President John Adams
On Father’s Day it is quite fitting to remember John Adams because he is one of the Founding Fathers of this country. As a delegate to the Continental Congress, John Adams helped write the Declaration of Independence. He also helped negotiate the Treaty of Paris that officially ended the Revolutionary War in 1783.
John Adams was the first Vice President of the United States, and the second President.
President John Quincy Adams
The eldest son of John Adams, John Quincy Adams was groomed from birth to become President. In fact, one of the things we remember from our tour was the story they told that when father and son went to Europe, his mother Abigail told John Quincy not to return until he was ready to be President!
John Quincy Adams spent much of his youth traveling with his father, becoming fluent in several languages and learning the language of diplomacy. Like his father, and most presidents of the time, John Quincy Adams was a lawyer.
Not only was John Quincy Adams the sixth President of the United States he also is notable for having helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent that ended the War of 1812.
Visiting Adams National Historical Park
We found the park really interesting – not just for the history. When you visit the home, you will see furniture that was actually used in the White House. Back in the day, the President had to provide their own furniture for the White House. When he left office, John Adams didn’t much like the next guy – Thomas Jefferson – so he took all the furniture with him.
All visits to the Adams National Historical Park start at the visitor center. You can’t visit the inside of any of the houses without going on a guided tour, but it’s fun. You take a trolley and visit both of the birthplace homes. The first one is tiny… really just a few rooms.
The family home is lovely. It was kept in the Adams family until the early 20’s, so much of the original furniture is intact.
The stone library was the most impressive – both the building and the contents.
John Quincy Adams had the foresight to keep most of his father’s books and diaries, along with his own, preserving the history of the time in a fireproof library.
This photo was the entrance to the library. They wouldn’t let us take photos inside, but it was gorgeous. You could just picture sitting there at the desk reading and looking out on to the beautiful grounds.
If it is a nice day, be sure to take a bit of time to walk around the gardens.
Plan 2-3 hours to take the tour, plus a bit of extra time to walk around the town of Quincy. There are some beautiful old homes and churches.
Not only is Quincy the birthplace of the two presidents, it is also the birthplace of Dunkin Donuts! You can visit the original Dunkin Donuts store.