Location: Gansevoort, NY
Full Price Admission Cost: $6 adults; $5 kids; 62+ $5; under 6 free; active duty military free
Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Ulysses S. Grant isn’t a president we hear a whole lot about these days. That said, he was a fascinating man who led a highly interesting life. Additionally, while the man did have his flaws, he is quite underappreciated, considering his successes. For this reason, a visit to Grant Cottage in Gansevoort, NY is highly recommended in order to dig deeper into the life of this intriguing president.
Every visit begins in the visitor center, which is home to an excellent movie everyone should take the time to view. After the visitor center comes the main attraction: the cottage tour.
The tour starts with an informative talk that acts as a great introduction to our 18th president, and an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Because the talk takes place on the front porch of the cottage, it’s a great opportunity to get a look at the grounds and enjoy the outdoors for a bit while learning something new.
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After the talk, guests are shown the interior of the cottage. This part is absolutely amazing. Because it was made a memorial within months of his passing, the cottage includes all of the furnishings and most other items that were in the home at the time of Grant’s passing, making it a truly unique and remarkable experience. Some of the most notable items in the home include the clock that Grant’s son stopped at the time of his death, the flowers from the former president’s funeral, which were preserved through the use of beeswax, and the many notes he used to communicate with his family when he couldn’t speak.
Possibly the most interesting artifact was the jar of liquid cocaine that still sits on the shelf over 130 years after last being used. Grant had lost all his money shortly before being diagnosed with throat cancer, and knew that completing his memoirs was the only way to ensure his family’s solvency. Because of his dedication to that goal he was unable to take most pain relieving medication of the time and remain lucid enough to write, so he used topical cocaine for pain relief.
Although this tour is on the short side, it is well worth experiencing in order to get a better handle on who President Grant was as a devoted family man, as well as what he did to change our nation.
- Food is not available for purchase on the premises. Outside food and drink is allowed though, and a grassy area is available for picnics.
- A parking lot for large vehicles is available down the road from the visitor center. Call ahead for directions.
- Watch the movie in the visitor center.
- Walk to the overlook (less than half a mile, round-trip).
- Plan for about 1.5 hours of time spent on the grounds in order to get the full experience.
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Books to Read
- The Story Of Ulysses S. Grant by Tamara Smith
- Hello, Adirondacks! by
- Good Night New York State by Adam Gamble
- Who Was Ulysses S. Grant? by Megan Stine
- Ulysses S. Grant: Eighteenth President 1869–1877 by Mike Venezia
- If You Lived At The Time Of The Civil War by Kay Moore
- Magic Tree House: Civil War on Sunday by Mary Pope Osborne
- What Was the Battle of Gettysburgh? by Jim O’Connor
- You Wouldn’t Want to be a Civil War Soldier by Thomas M. Ratliff
- Grant by Ron Chernow (For older teens only. Some drinking, violence, and other adult content.)
- The Red Badge of Courage by Stephen Crane
Videos to Watch
Activities to Do
- Write your own short “memoir” just as President Grant did.
- Make rice pudding, President Grant’s favorite food.
- Reenact Civil War battles with a Big Bucket of Civil War Soldiers
- Reenact family life during the Civil War with American Family of the Civil War Era Paper Dolls
- Play a trivia game to learn more about the Civil War
- Choose some activities from The Civil War for Kids: A History with 21 Activities (For Kids series)
Things to Discuss
- What is one of the most important things President Grant did for the country?
- If you were president in the late 1860s and early 1870s, what would you have done differently?
- If you were around when President Grant ran for president, would you have voted for him? Why or why not?
Other Area Attractions
Below are some of the other great attractions in this area. We try to keep things affordable, sticking to free and cheap attractions and/or museums and zoos on reciprocal lists. If an attraction is affiliated with a reciprocal program or offers free admission, I have noted that beside the attraction listing. To learn more about saving money using reciprocal programs, see this post.
- Canoeing, kayaking, skiing, mountain biking, etc
- Adirondack Experience – Check out our Roadschool Guide!
- Hudson Pointe Nature Reserve — Free
- Moreau Lake State Park
- Saratoga Race Course
- Saratoga Spa State Park
- Congress Park and Congress Spring — Free
- National Museum of Racing and Hall of Fame
- Yaddo Gardens
- The Children’s Museum at Saratoga — ACM
- Saratoga Automobile Museum — NARM/ROAM
- New York State Military Museum — Free
- National Museum of Dance and Hall of Fame
- Saratoga Springs History Museum
- Tang Teaching Museum and Art Gallery — Free (donation suggested)
Closest Places to Stay on a Budget
For information on camping memberships, see this post.
- Trails Collection/Encore/RPI: Lake George Escape Campground (27 mi)
- Trails Collection/Encore/RPI: Lake George Schroon Valley Resort (32 mi)
- Trails Collection/Encore/RPI/Passport America:Alpine Lake RV Resort (10 mi)
- Coast to Coast: Saratoga Escape Lodges and RV Resort (8 mi)
- Coast to Coast: Schroon River Escape Lodges and RV Resort (31 mi)
Related Attractions in Other Areas
- Ulysses S. Grant National Historic Site in St. Louis, MI
- U.S Grant Birthplace in Point Pleasant, OH
- James Madison’s Montpelier in Montpelier, VA – Check out our Roadschool Guide
For more great roadschool guides written by Chelsea Gonzales have a look around our blog or visit Wonder Wherever We Wander. A wanderer and lover of new experiences, Chelsea enjoys traveling full-time in her RV while writing about her experiences and roadschooling her son.
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