Take a tour of U.S. poet's two cities


December 17, 2006|By San Jose (Calif.) Mercury News

My husband and I are interested in Walt Whitman. Are there tours where we can pay homage to America's poet?

Whitman, born in 1819 in the community of West Hills in Huntington, Long Island, N.Y., lived the last 19 years of his life in Camden, N.J. Both cities celebrate his life and works and are worth a visit.

Last summer, tourism officials in Camden, east of Philadelphia, offered "Walt Whitman and his Invincible City," a three-hour guided tour to Whitman's home and burial site, plus readings of his poems by an impersonator. Tours were supposed to end in June, but they proved so popular that tourism officials decided to continue them.

Right now, however, they're available only by appointment for groups of 20 or more. John Seitter, a spokesman for South Jersey Tourism, said he hopes funding will be made available by the spring so that individuals and families can visit (although you can always do a self-guided tour). For more information, go to south jersey.com and click on "tours & itineraries" or call 877-333-2400.

You can also visit the Walt Whitman Birthplace (waltwhitman. org) on Long Island, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The exhibit and interpretive center are in the newly restored farmhouse built by Whitman's father. Open Wednesday through Sunday during the winter and every day from June 15 through Labor Day. Admission is $4.

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