Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Making a Billgrimage

I recently moved to Fayetteville, Ark., which was the one-time home of Bill and Hillary Clinton. Both taught at the University of Arkansas School of Law in the mid-'70s until Bill was elected Arkansas Attorney General in 1976.

The house that they owned is now open to the public. It's all part of "The Billgrimage," which I'll get into a bit later.

The Clinton House Museum, as this house is now called, held a party last month celebrating Bill Clinton's 65th birthday.
To celebrate, they offered cake, a performance from a saxophone quartet and plenty of Bill's favorite snacks: Moon Pies and RC Cola.
You can take the guy out of Arkansas, but you really can't take the Arkansas out of the guy.

I can understand Arkansas wanting to take attention away from its uglier bits of history and instead showcase the fact that a President of the United States came from here.

Visitors to the Clinton House Museum get a free Official William J. Clinton Arkansas Passport.
No, you don't need it to cross state lines.
And like a real passport, you get it stamped every time you visit a "Billgrimage" location. They include his birthplace in Hope, his boyhood home in Hot Springs and places in Little Rock, for his years as attorney general and governor.

Being the presidential history buff I am, I had figured that since I'm living here, I should check out all of the spots and get all four stamps in my passport. But now that I'm reconsidering it... I don't know.

Little Rock is a 3-hour drive. I'd imagine I'd eventually find a reason to go there eventually. It's a mid-sized city nearish to Fayetteville (though Tulsa is closer). I could easily swing by during one of my trips.

Hot Springs is a bit further than Little Rock, but there's other stuff to do there. For instance, one could check out the hot springs.

Hope is a different story. Yeah, I don't know guys.
That's a 4½-hour journey, and there's not much else to do there, nor is it it really in a spot of the state I'm rushing to get to. I don't know, maybe if I decided I needed to drive to Dallas one day (why would that ever happen?) and I decided that the 5½-hour trip just wasn't long enough (Why?) and I should tack on another 2 hours of driving (None of this sounds like me). Then I could swing by Hope.

I don't know how likely any of that is. Why couldn't they all be walking distance from my house like the Clinton House Museum?
If you haven't already voted in Clinton's match against Dwight Eisenhower (whose home state may or may not also have a tourism gimmick revolved around him), now's a wonderful time to do so.

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