Great Historic Hotels in New England

New England, the birthplace of America, is a region steeped in historical drama and Old World charm. The states that comprise this north-easternmost corner of the country beckon travelers with their winding cobblestone streets and classic architecture -- not to mention their gorgeous coastlines and wide-open landscapes. Of course modernity has reached its cities, but those seeking that historic vibe can still find it in many spots in New England -- particularly in its gorgeous historic hotels. Check out a few of our favorites!

The Ocean House

1.

Rhode Island

The Ocean House Rating: 4.5 Pearls

Rhode Island may be the smallest state in the Union, but don't scratch it off your short list yet. The state packs quite a punch for its size, offering up Victorian mansions and Revolutionary War sites to explore. In Providence, travelers can wander along the picturesque East Side, home to the First Baptist Church in America, author H.P. Lovecraft's house, and College Hill's Brown University and Rhode Island School of Design campuses. Downtown offers riverside parks, as well as a wide variety of quaint boutiques and coffee shops. An hour drive from Providence brings visitors to either the sleepy beach town of Watch Hill or the historical mansions of upscale Newport.

This luxury, beachfront resort was built in 1868 and stands amongst many other Victorian mansions that dot Watch Hill's sleepy coastline. Renovated in 2003, the hotel offers a bucket-load of amenities, including a full service spa, fitness center, indoor pool, and many classic New England dining options on site. Though Watch Hill is a quiet locale, offering mainly small boutiques and shops for visitors to peruse, the Ocean House's long list of services and proximity (thanks to Rhode Island's small size) to Providence and Newport make it a solid choice.

Smack dab in the middle of Newport's downtown, the Yankee Peddler Inn harkens to days past with its classically charming architecture. Originally built as a sea captain's home, the inn is one of the oldest in Newport. Some guests do find the space outdated, but its quirky configurations (no two rooms are alike) and classic details make it an affordable, centrally-located destination.

Located a short walk from Providence's State House, this charming Old World bed-and-breakfast provides visitors with a glimpse into the city's Victorian past. Built as a private mansion for the Dodge family in 1858, it was converted into an apartment house in 1901. Thanks to careful restoration and attention to detail, the quaint building has retained much of its architectural charm, including original tin ceilings and marble fireplaces. Antique-replica furniture and the wood-burning stove in the lobby offer a cozy atmosphere on Providence's many rainy days.

Omni Parker House

2.

Massachusetts

Omni Parker House Rating: 3.5 Pearls

Massachusetts pride runs strong in this state's denizens, whether they be from the quaint beach towns that dot its coast, the western farmland, or the compact metropolis of Boston. A place where old meets new, the state has both cobbled streets and sprawling conventions centers. Often viewed as Providence's big brother, Boston has a wide variety of cultural and historical highlights (such as the Freedom Trail and the quaint neighborhood of Beacon Hill) that rival those of its sibling to the south. Beach locations, such as Cape Cod, Nantucket, and Martha's Vineyard, are laid back, picturesque destinations.

Opened in 1855, this 551-room landmark is the longest continuously operating hotel in the country, and the first in Boston to offer running water and elevator service. Previous guests and former employees comprise a who's who list and include Charles Dickens, Ho Chi Minh, Malcolm X, and JFK. You can't walk two feet without tripping over some artifact of historical significance, including the resident ghost and former whiskey salesman who purportedly lives in room 303. The hotel underwent a major renovation in 2008, preserving its architecture but providing guests with more luxurious amenities.

Over 200 years old, The Red Inn was converted into a hotel in 1915 and has since been the host to politicians and celebrities alike (FDR and Isabella Rossellini are two notable previous guests). The hotel may show it's age in more ways than one -- with low ceilings, creaky floors, and thin walls -- but it remains a Cape Cod staple thanks to the delicious food served up at Dining at the Inn and its beach-chic antique decor. More hip than quaint, the inn has been known to sell out quickly.

Located in the up-island section of Martha's Vineyard, this hotel is well known for its kid-friendly atmosphere and beautiful sunsets. The Menemsha Inn opened its doors in 1923 and has served up entertaining activities and relaxing times ever since. Rooms and cottages are spread out over 14 acres, interspersed with tennis and basketball courts, as well as ping pong tables and a fitness center. Free passes to Squibnocket Beach are available as well.

Castle Hill Resort and Spa

3.

Vermont

Castle Hill Resort and Spa Rating: 3.5 Pearls

Vermont isn't all maple syrup and snowy walks through the evergreens. Come summer time, the state is a relaxing hide-away for families and couples seeking some R&R. Towns range from sleepy to sleepier, but that could be just what the doctor ordered after weeks of all work and no play. Turn-of-the-century mansions hob nob with farmhouses-turned-bed-and-breakfasts in this quiet corner of New England, providing unique glimpses into the area's past.

Built in the early 1900s, this castle in the Green Mountains offers old-world charm that is all about the details -- from the historic wood-paneled walls to the library filled with old books. There are just 10 quaint rooms here, offering antique touches like Tiffany lamps, claw foot tubs, and brick fireplaces. While the vibe is definitely historic, there are also modern amenities on offer including free Wi-Fi and flat-screen TVs. The outdoor spaces here are equally as special, including lush gardens, ivy-covered stone walls, and a heated pool.

This is not your grandmother's farmhouse. Though retaining the footprint of the original farm, Amee has transformed itself completely, creating a stylish, rustic-chic atmosphere in the sleepy town of Pittsfield. Wide-planked hardwood floors, comfortable beds with white, soft linens, and interesting antiques are found in all the rooms. One perk here is an inviting wrap-around porch with Adirondack chairs for admiring the scenery.

Stage Neck Inn York Harbor

4.

Maine

Stage Neck Inn York Harbor Rating: 3.5 Pearls

Maine not only boasts a rich history but also an impressive natural diversity, and the state attracts visitors seeking outdoor adventure. Hikers and campers flock to Adadia National Park, while beach goers prefer to stay south in the summer for the sandy beaches: Kennebunkport, Ogunquit, and York are among the most popular spots. During the winter, skiers and snowboarders race to the nearest mountain. Maine's past also remains alive and cherished in the rich architecture (some of which that dates back to the 1600s) that draws visitors almost as much as the natural scenery. Kennebunk is famous for its beautiful historical architecture; Summer Street was Maine's first Historic District listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The village is easily explored on foot, but if you feel like driving a few minutes, Kennebunkport, a neighboring but independent town, offers good dining spots and some historic buildings worth seeing.

Stage Neck Inn has a scenic oceanfront location, right next to York Harbor Beach in the cute town of York. The hotel offers some outstanding features, like access to the beach; an outdoor freshwater pool with ocean views; an indoor atrium pool; and a fire pit surrounded by Adirondack chairs. While the beach may be its biggest draw, the hotel is also surrounded by some great historical sights, most in walking distance of Stage Neck.

First settled in 1621, Kennebunk is now a popular summer destination in Maine for the well-heeled. This renowned inn is one of the premier luxury options in the town (and in all of Maine), offering a true boutique experience. It is housed in a historic building, meaning its 26 rooms may vary greatly in size but not in amenities. The much-acclaimed restaurant serves outstanding (and pricey) seasonal cuisine in an 1820s restored barn.

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