KEY WEST, Florida Keys — The “heart starter” bourbon drink prescribed by former President Harry Truman’s doctor is among attractions for attendees at a Presidents Day weekend celebration at Key West’s Harry S. Truman Little White House.
Scheduled Friday through Sunday, Feb. 16-18, at the 111 Front St. residence that is Florida’s only presidential museum, events also include a walking tour of Truman sites, a “bourbon and barbecue” cook-off and a panel discussion featuring the former president’s grandson.
Truman first visited Key West when his doctor ordered rest to fight a bad cold. During his 1945-1953 administration, he spent 11 working vacations at the spacious West Indian–style residence that became known around the world as his Little White House.
Attendees can follow in his footsteps Friday, Feb. 16, during a 45-minute guided walking tour of the Little White House gardens and surrounding Truman Annex neighborhood and Truman Waterfront. The 4 p.m. event begins with the bourbon-and-orange-juice “prescription” enjoyed by the past POTUS.
At 4 p.m. Saturday, a gathering in the Little White House gardens is to feature craft cocktails and barbecue created by local celebrity mixologists and grillmasters. The “menu” also includes a presentation and book signing by A.J. Baime, author of “The Accidental President: Harry S. Truman and the Four Months that Changed the World.”
Author and Truman grandson Clifton Truman Daniel takes center stage Sunday afternoon, pairing with former President Dwight D. Eisenhower’s granddaughter Mary Jean Eisenhower for the annual Presidential Family Forum. In a panel discussion moderated by Baime, the two are to share personal experiences and recollections of their famous forebears.
Tickets for all Presidents Day weekend events can be purchased through the Little White House website at trumanlittlewhitehouse.com. Proceeds benefit the restoration fund of the not-for-profit Key West Harry S. Truman Foundation, whose mission is to preserve and protect the Little White House State Heritage Landmark.
In addition to being Truman’s working headquarters, the house also has hosted former presidents Eisenhower, Franklin D. Roosevelt, John Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton and even William Howard Taft, who was photographed on the property in 1912.
Key West visitor information: fla-keys.com/keywest or 1-800-LAST-KEY