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Gillette side trip: Try Thomas Jefferson's ice cream recipe at Mount Rushmore

Mount RushmoreFMCA members who attend the association's 50th anniversary Family Reunion & Motorhome Showcase in Gillette, Wyoming, June 19 to 22 also might want to visit Mount Rushmore National Memorial in South Dakota. There, they will be able to taste ice cream made with Thomas Jefferson's own recipe.

Mount Rushmore is a 2 1/2-hour drive from Gillette, so it makes a fine day trip or an excellent stop before or after the Family Reunion.

Thomas Jefferson's ice cream recipeAt the memorial, Thomas Jefferson, one of the four presidents immortalized, is remembered for more than just writing the Declaration of Independence. "Not so many people know that he also authored the first ice cream recipe in this country,” said Russ Jobman, general manager of Mount Rushmore operations for Xanterra Parks & Resorts. “He served his vanilla ice cream to his guests at Monticello and at a state dinner while president in 1802.”

Jefferson's recipe uses only four ingredients: cream, egg yolks, sugar, and real vanilla. Aside from pasteurizing the eggs, the ice cream makers, located in Bottaineau, North Dakota, are following the recipe to a "T." Visitors will be able to literally "taste history."

In addition to tickling the tastebuds, Mount Rushmore also offers visitors a variety of other things to see and do. Stay for the evening lighting ceremony, see a 13-minute film narrated by Tom Brokaw, and explore the Lincoln Borglum Museum, which has exhibits showing how the huge carvings were made and why the four presidents they depict were selected. Many other activities are available as well.

Admission to Mount Rushmore is free, but an $11 parking fee is charged per vehicle. For more information about Mount Rushmore National Memorial, visit www.nps.gov/moru.

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