Visit Pine Knot, Retreat of the Roosevelts

The United States presidency is a job of pressure placed not only on the president himself, but also on the First Lady and their children. For one former president, a small, rustic cabin called Pine Knot became a familial sanctuary during his time in office.

In 1905, President Teddy Roosevelt and his wife Edith became the owners of 15 acres of land near Keene, Virginia, and included in their purchase was a farm worker’s cottage. Edith instructed the renovations, and when the cottage was complete, it became a retreat for the Roosevelt family for the next few years: “In addition to Edith’s initial visit to inspect the property prior to the purchase, she and the President made 8 visits here, usually lasting from 2 to 6 days, before he left office…Edith purchased 75 more acres at Pine Knot, anticipating TR’s intention to run for a second full term as President. But they never visited the property again after their last visit in May 1908” (Pine Knot).

Perhaps you are asking yourself, “Was it safe for the president of the United States to be in the middle of the woods in such a secluded area?” When asked how many members of the Secret Service accompanied the Roosevelt family on their Pine Knot retreat, Teddy’s son Archibald answered, “Secret Service men? We didn’t need any Secret Service men—our father was the only protection we needed” (Scottsville Museum). However, Edith was not so certain, and unbeknownst to her proud husband, she instructed two men of the Secret Service to guard the cabin at night. (They were definitely living up to their name, weren’t they?)

If you’re staying at the Iris Inn, consider visiting Pine Knot for yourselves. (It’s about a 45-minute drive from our B&B.) Happy travels!