Okay, so President Obama is clearly not dead, but he too is not forgotten in the somewhat weird but completely awesome garden of President Heads.
For history buffs, social media content creators, and everyone else in between, visiting these enormous busts of past president was a very cool experience. I had previously heard about this from my friend and blogger, Nikki Alyssa. (In addition to her travel recs, she also makes some cool ass bracelets!) Anyway – after hearing about and seeing pictures of her experience, I decided I had to check them out.
In Croaker, Virginia (near Williamsburg) sits 43 effigies of presidents past crowd together in the tall grass and, as it was on the day I went, mud. Some of the 18-to-20-foot busts have crumbling noses and some have tear-like stains coming from their eyes. All of them have degree of bashed-in heads. Our guide equated it to what he felt we would see in an apocalyptic movie. He wasn’t wrong.
Presidents Park first opened in 2004, the brainchild of local landowner Everette “Haley” Newman and Houston sculptor David Adickes, who was the sculptor of the busts after he was inspired by Mt Rushmore. Although in Williamsburg at the time, the park did not lend itself well to tourists as it was too far away from its usual attractions and behind a motel. The park went belly up and Howard Hankins, who helped in building the park, decided to take matters into his own hands and transported all of the larger than life busts to his land in Virginia. Although on private land, and not technically part of the Smithsonian, Hankins has partnered with John Plashal to allow tours of the presidents. Based on the area, I would definitely not advise trespassing on his land without going on one of the sanctioned tours. The tour includes a 3 hour window to take as many pictures as you want, some (optional) historical trivia, and a brief (also optional) historic overview of the history of the heads and their journey.
10/10 would recommend.