Historic Bed and Breakfasts
Celebrate America's History at a Unique Inn
Michael David Adams
Connect to America's rich history, and celebrate great architecture and the unique stories of the past at one of these historic bed and breakfasts.
Aaron Burr House
New Hope, Pennsylvania
Historic Bucks County is filled with charming inns and pleasant spots that welcome travelers for a quick escape from nearby Philadelphia and New York. The Aaron Burr House takes its name from the third Vice President of the US who retreated to New Hope in 1804 after his famed pistol duel with Alexander Hamilton. Burr hid out for a week in the home that stood on this very spot where the bed and breakfast is today. Only the original stone foundation remains; the house was replaced with a Victorian Painted Lady in 1873. All of the rooms have unique hand painting and stenciling and shiny hardwood floors while some boast canopy beds and gas fireplaces.
Cedar Grove Inn
A wealthy young businessman named John Alexander Klein began building Cedar Grove in 1840 as a home for his love and soon-to-be wife Elizabeth. It took 12 years to complete the Greek Revival mansion and fill it with treasures from around the world, including fireplaces crafted from Italian marble, unique clocks and delicate gold-leaf mirrors. They had a few years to enjoy their home before the Civil War when Cedar Grove was struck by a cannonball during a skirmish. Visitors can still see the ball lodged in the parlor's wall. Inside, they can appreciate the fine handcrafted furniture that remains in the house today. Each morning after breakfast, the innkeepers lead a 30-minute tour of the home to share the intriguing history of this antebellum mansion.
San Francisco, California
You may recognize Chateau Tivoli from San Francisco postcards featuring the row of cheerful, brightly colored Painted Ladies along Steiner Street across from Alamo Square. Since it was commissioned in 1892, the chateau has been home to equally colorful individuals: It has served as the home to early opera singer Ernestine Kreling, the cultural center and school for the Yiddish Literary and Dramatic Society and a New Age center filled with chanting, drumming and enlightenment. It opened as a bed and breakfast in 1989 and welcomes guests to 9 lavish rooms and suites. The most elegant is the Luis Tetrazzini suite, named for a famous opera singer who was a frequent visitor, with a carved queen canopy bed from the Charles de Gaulle estate, a private parlor with fireplace and dainty antique furniture.
Sugar Hill Harlem Inn
New York, New York
Sugar Hill was at the center of the Harlem Renaissance in the early 20th century when middle-class black families moved to the gracious 4-story townhomes alongside legends like Duke Ellington, Langston Hughes and Thurgood Marshall. There are 5 suites and standard rooms in the inn, each named for an African-American performer or artist who made their mark in Harlem. The fanciest spot in the house is Lena's Room, an homage to singer Lena Horne with an elaborate fireplace, a 4-poster bed draped with diaphanous fabrics and a Technicolor bathroom in shades of royal blue and romantic red.
Built in the 1830s, the Holladay House is one of the oldest buildings still standing in Orange, VA. It's a spot along Route 15 that is known as the Journey Through Hallowed Ground, a tour of important locales in American history throughout Virginia's Piedmont region. Many of American history's greats passed by the inn's door on journeys through the area, including James Madison and Robert E. Lee. After stints as a store, a doctor's office, a private schoolhouse and a private residence spanning nearly 2 centuries, the Holladay House welcomed guests to the inn starting in 1989. Choose from 6 rooms, many with gas fireplaces, cozy sitting rooms and private patios, and enjoy the Southern hospitality with a 2-course breakfast feast and homemade cookies throughout the day.
Battlefield Bed and Breakfast
Located on battlefield grounds in Gettysburg, the Battlefield Bed and Breakfast offers a glimpse of what life was like during the time of the Civil War. The 1809 farmhouse has hand-hewn beamed ceilings, original chestnut wood floors and exposed stone walls, and each of the 8 themed rooms commemorates the troops of the South Cavalry Battlefield. In the morning, there's a full breakfast. But before you eat, you can learn more about the history of the bed and breakfast and the region during an early morning history lesson with costumed Civil War experts who spin tales of the soldiers, doctors and women of the war.
Joshua Barney House
Joshua Barney was the only officer to be recognized as a Naval War Hero and to serve with distinction in both the American Revolution and the War of 1812. This proud patriot was also instrumental in flying the flag at Ft. McHenry in Baltimore that was the inspiration for Francis Scott Key as he penned the Star Spangled Banner. His home in Maryland was built in a mill town in 1760 on 6 acres overlooking the Little Patuxent River. There are 5 rooms including the Captain's Quarters, a private apartment designed for business travelers with a separate bedroom, mini kitchen, laundry facilities and all of the comforts of a cozy B and B.
Britt Scripps Inn
San Diego, California
The Brit Scripps Inn was the most expensive home in San Diego when it was built in the late 19th century with a budget of $3,000. The original owner, Eugene Britt, sold his home to Edward Wyllis Scripps in 1900 for $16,000. The Scripps name is a familiar one to Californians as Edward Wyllis Scripps founded the media empire United Press Associations as well as the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The home changed hands many more times before its current iteration as a high-end inn benefitting from a $6-million renovation. Nine modern and vibrant rooms have antique touches and lavish furnishings that are equally beautiful and comfortable. The location is ideal for exploring the city with the museums and San Diego Zoo at Balboa Park just a short walk away.