President Obama is hosting the G-8 Summit at Camp David today. Schools were closed, and the threat of protesters and the swarm of visitors to our area had all of the locals in a tizzy. In the past, I’ve driven by the entrance to Camp David outside of Thurmont, and I think many of the locals and curious have, too. A close friend lives near the retreat so I understand the beauty and peacefulness that attracts people to these mountains.
Camp David was originally named Hi-Catoctin and was established as a WPA project in in 1935. Then the ailing President Franklin D. Roosevelt selected it as a presidential retreat during WWII to escape the summer heat and stress, naming it the USS Shangri-La. His first official stay was in 1942.
Eisenhower re-named it Camp David after his grandson. Plenty of modern-era presidents used Camp David for official business, including the famous Camp David summit in 1978, between Egyptial President Anwar al-Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin initiated by Jimmy Carter. Carter also loved fly fishing in the beautiful trout streams. Reagan visited often.
Both Presidents Bush, though, found the retreat the idea place to spend Christmas, the younger George W. Bush spending a total of 12 Christmases at Camp David. Their Christmas Eve menu is published online, consisting of Texas favorite foods like enchiladas and tamales, rice and guacamole.
Camp David Christmas ornaments are available online from the White House gift shop and from the local Thurmont restaurant, The Cozy Inn. These might be perfect gifts to remember the frenzy of this week!