It is hard to get away if you’re the president of the United States, at least so I’ve heard. I have no trouble getting away myself. But then, I don’t have an entourage of people following me around everywhere I go, some with firearms.
So, it’s not surprising, then, to find that the chief executive, like many of his peers, has a place to unwind from the heavy responsibilities of state. In the case of the president, it is Camp David, a rustic wooded area about 60 miles north of Washington, D.C.
Here in the relative peaceful quiet of rural Maryland, a president can wear flannel or not. Go swimming or not. Take a hike (as many have suggested) or not. No one will bother them at all. You’re still being watched, but more discreetly.
Because of its rustic and relative seclusion, presidents have vacationed here often during their time at the White House. President Jimmy Carter invited Egyptian President Anwar Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menacham Begin here in 1978 to craft the Camp David Accords for which Sadat and Begin would share a Nobel Peace Prize.
President Bill Clinton also brought together Israeli Prime Minister Shimon Peres and PLO Chairman Yassar Arafat to broker a Middle East Road Map here at Camp David in 1993.
Created by the Works Progress Administration (WPA) during the Depression, it was intended as a retreat for federal workers and their families when it opened in 1938. By 1942, it’s original purpose remained, except now the federal workers and their families were limited to those of the president and his guests and called Shangri-La. The name was changed to Camp David by President Eisenhower for his grandson, David Eisenhower, sometime during his Administration.
Officially, it is called the Naval Support Facility Thurmont and is managed exclusively by the U.S. Navy.
There aren’t very many collectibles from Camp David, mostly key chains, coasters, plates, glassware, even Christmas cards. This is one area of presidential collectibles that really needs to be catalogued.