While most of this weekend's attention will focus on 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, it might be wise -- and less congested -- to go calling at some other addresses that presidents have called home. Here are a few presidential abodes to consider:
DECATUR HOUSE -- 748 Jackson Place NW. While serving as secretary of state under Andrew Jackson, Martin Van Buren lived in this restored three- story Federal-style brick townhouse from 1829 to 1832. Overlooking Lafayette Square and once believed to be haunted, the house gets its name from Navy Commodore Stephen Decatur who died in the house after a duel with Commodore James Barron in Bladensburg. Open to the public this Friday and next Tuesday and Wednesday, and by reservation only through February. Museum begins full schedule in March. Admission is $2 adults; $1 students six to 15 seniors 65 and older; five years and younger, free. Call 673-4030.
MOUNT VERNON -- Take George Washington Parkway south to Mount Vernon. George and Martha Washington brought up their family in this house overlooking the Potomac River. Guided tours, which take about 11/2 hours, are available every day of the year; winter hours are 9 to 4. Admission for adults is $4; over 62 is $3.50; and childen six to 11, $2. Call 780-2000.
OCTAGON HOUSE -- 1735 New York Avenue NW. This unusual eight-sided house served as James Madison's residence while the White House was being repaired after the British set fire to it during the War of 1812. Madison spent six months here in 1814. The Treaty of Ghent, which ended the war, was signed in the second floor of this house. You'll see the original treaty box and the table on which the treaty was signed. Dolly Madison held weekly receptions for the public in this house. Tuesdays-Fridays 10 to 4; Saturday and Sunday, 1 to 4. Free, but donations accepted. Call 638-3105.
GEORGE WASHINGTON'S BIRTHPLACE -- 38 miles east of Fredericksburg via Route 3 and Route 204. Follow signs. George Washington was born and spent his first 31/2-years in this house before his family moved to Little Hunting Creek Plantation, later called Mount Vernon. Washington returned to his birthplace several times during his life, particularly during his early teens. His last known visit was in the spring of 1771. Films and guided tours from 9 to 5 every day except Christmas and New Year's Day. No admission charge. Call 804/224-0196.
WOODROW WILSON BIRTHPLACE -- Take I-66 to I-81 south to Staunton, Virginia. This large Greek revival mansion has been restored to its condition in 1856, the year when Wilson was born. See films, take a guided tour through ten rooms and see Wilson's Pierce-Arrow limousine. The home is open 350 days a year; closed on Christmas Day, New Year's Day and Sundays, now through February. Winter hours: 9 to 5. Admission for adults $2.50; over 60, $2; children under 16, $1; and under six years, free. Call 703/885-0897.
WOODROW WILSON HOUSE -- 2340 S Street NW. A time capsule of upper- middle class 1920s lifestyle, the retirement home of the 28th president is closed to walk-ins during January and February (February weekends excepted) but open to groups of ten or more with reservations. Walk-in tours are given Tuesday through Sunday from March through December. Admission is $2.50 for adults, $1 students 18 and under and seniors 60 and over; seven and under, free. 673-4034. -- Jeffrey Yorke.