New England is a hotbed of history. Inns, cottages, hotels, and bed and breakfasts that harken back to Colonial times dot the landscape. And yet, New England doesn’t have a monopoly on American history. From Gold Rush-era inns to 19th-century mansions, America offers a variety of accommodations. Among them, the homely warmth of an old-school bed and breakfast stands out.
Are you ready to step back in time? Read on for this innkeeper’s list of historic bed and breakfasts and historic hotels both in our neck of the woods, as well as across the USA.
- Stay at one of the many historic B&Bs across the US to explore America’s history and create unforgettable memories!
- For a thrilling supernatural adventure, stay at haunted historic inns located in intriguing places.
- Enjoy the classic charm, modern amenities, and delicious cuisine at these B&Bs, all while preserving our nation’s past.
Historic Bed and Breakfasts in CT
Connecticut is proud to host a range of charming historic bed and breakfasts. They each offer unique accommodations and a rich history. Each of these Connecticut bed and breakfast inns holds fascinating stories and offers the opportunity to create unforgettable memories. In order of the construction date of the inn’s building:
Roger Sherman Inn (New Canaan, Connecticut)
In New Canaan, Connecticut, the Roger Sherman Inn stands with a history that dates back to 1740. It began as the home of Martha Sherman, niece of Roger Sherman, and her husband, Reverend Mitchell. They established the first private school in New Canaan, preparing young men for Yale University. Later, the building transitioned into a tavern and inn, serving as a key stop for colonial travelers.
The Gwyn Careg Inn (Pomfret, Connecticut)
The Gwyn Careg Inn is a historic gem located in Pomfret, Connecticut. Its rich past dates back to 1810 when it was initially constructed as a stagecoach stop. Since 1845, it has been owned by the same family. Today, the inn is a meticulously renovated Colonial Revival mansion. It offers six suites and serves as a venue for special events. With its warm hospitality and verdant gardens, the Gwyn Careg Inn is an ideal getaway for the enchantment of a bygone era.
The Griswold Inn (Essex, Connecticut)
This establishment has been around since 1776, making it the oldest continuously operating inn in the United States. You’ll find it nestled in Essex, Connecticut. The inn offers 33 unique guest rooms. The location is unbeatable, right on Main Street. It’s just a short stroll from galleries, boutique shops, and fine dining. The Connecticut River and Essex harbor are also nearby.
The inn itself is quite a sight for romantic getaways in CT. You’ll find art-filled dining rooms, an award-winning taproom, and a wine bar. The festive season brings a special charm with wandering madrigal singers and a costumed wait staff.
The Cottage House (Thompson, Connecticut)
Located in Thompson, Connecticut, The Cottage House is a historic inn with a unique past. The Marquis de Lafayette stayed there during his American tour in 1824. This beautifully restored inn now offers six guest rooms and a luxurious spa. It’s situated on the historic Thompson green, providing a serene setting for a relaxing and memorable stay.
Stanton House Inn (Greenwich, Connecticut)
Located in Greenwich, Connecticut, Stanton House Inn is a product of the many different people who lived here. This inn is a beautiful blend of history and modern comforts. Its charm is enhanced by its 21 historically decorated guest rooms, each with its own private bath. The inn’s hospitality is warm and welcoming. It’s an ideal choice for both a romantic getaway or a business trip. And its perfect location is just a short walk from Greenwich Avenue and downtown Greenwich, CT.
Hopkins Inn (New Preston, Connecticut)
This cozy retreat is in New Preston, Connecticut. The inn’s story dates back to 1790. It offers seven welcoming rooms and boasts an Old-World courtyard that radiates tranquility. The doors of this charming place first opened in 1847, attracting people with the beauty of Lake Waramaug and the Litchfield Hills. Today, the Hopkins Inn has expanded to include:
- 11 rooms
- 2 apartments
- A dining room
- A spacious outdoor terrace
- A private beach on one of the largest lakes in CT
The cuisine here has a distinct Austrian flavor, reflecting the owner’s heritage. You can enjoy a meal at this quaint inn from the end of March all the way through to New Year’s Day.
Captain Stannard House (Westbrook, Connecticut)
Constructed in 1872 by Captain Elbert Stannard, The Captain Stannard House embodies coastal New England charm. The inn in Westbrook, Connecticut, boasts nine tastefully appointed guest rooms. Just one block from the beach, it is an ideal location for both beach lovers and history buffs.
Silas W Robbins House (Wethersfield, Connecticut)
Step back in time and experience the Silas W Robbins House in the town of Wethersfield, Connecticut. This beautifully restored Victorian mansion offers five guest rooms and elegant common areas. It provides a luxurious stay for guests seeking a unique and historic experience. Despite its origins as an 1820s stagecoach stop, the mansion is equipped with modern amenities such as hot tubs. You’ll be surrounded by charm and history during your stay.
Westbrook Inn Bed & Breakfast (Westbrook, Connecticut)
Across the street from the Stannard House, The Westbrook Inn Bed & Breakfast is a charming Victorian home from 1876. It offers nine guest rooms that blend history with modern comforts. Near the coastline and a river, the inn features a picturesque garden. It’s perfect for a relaxing getaway that mixes small town charm and one of the best beaches in CT.
Mountain View Green Retreat (Norfolk, Connecticut)
The Mountain View Green Retreat in Norfolk, Connecticut, is an embodiment of Gilded Age elegance. This 1900 Victorian mansion has seven historically decorated guest rooms. It also serves as a stunning venue for special events throughout the year. Here, you can immerse yourself in history while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Berkshire foothills that surround the inn.
More historic hotels and inns throughout New England
Quite a bit stuffed into tiny Connecticut, no? There’s plenty more to discover in the rest of New England.
Historic B&Bs in Rhode Island
Rhode Islanders accuse Connecticutians of being stuffy. Though Rhode Island has always been the more progressive community, starting in the colonial era.
Mill Street Inn (Newport, Rhode Island)
This charming building, adorned with beautiful brickwork, is conveniently situated a mere block from the waterfront in the Historic Hill neighborhood. Once a 19th-century mill, it’s now a 23-room hotel offering a variety of accommodations.
The Mill Street Inn is a perfect fusion of history and luxury. The exposed brick and original beams blend seamlessly with high-end furnishings and plush linens. Guests particularly enjoy the harbor views and complimentary Continental breakfast served on the rooftop during the summer months. The location is also a hit, with plenty of shopping, dining, and Newport, RI, attractions on nearby Thames Street just a short walk away.
Famous inns in Massachusetts
Boston lost out to New York City as the premier American city. And yet its home turf still hosts plenty of historic hotels and inns.
Longfellow’s Wayside Inn (Sudbury, Massachusetts)
Longfellow’s Wayside Inn in Sudbury, Massachusetts, is a must-visit for history buffs. As the oldest inn in the United States, established in 1707, it offers a unique glimpse into New England’s past. The inn’s charming ambiance and picturesque grounds make it a popular wedding destination.
The Merchant (Salem, Massachusetts)
The Merchant of Salem, Massachusetts, is a boutique hotel in a federal-style building. of Salem, Massachusetts, is a boutique hotel in a federal-style building. It houses 11 chic rooms, each adorned with modern furnishings. This building is steeped in history, having undergone renovations since President Washington’s visit in 1789. Despite the changes, it retains its original craftsmanship and woodwork. Guests can even book the George Washington King Deluxe Suite and sleep where the 18th-century President once did.
Hampton Terrace Inn (Lenox, Massachusetts)
During the Gilded Age in the 19th Century (1865-1901), Lenox was a vacation hub. It attracted notable names like Carnegie, Morgan, Vanderbilt, and Westinghouse. And the Hampton Terrace Inn was one of the original “Berkshire” cottages. Constructed in 1897, it served as a summer residence for the elite. And in 1937, it converted to a bed and breakfast.
The inn now boasts 14 tastefully updated cottage rooms. These rooms feature period antiques and vintage fabrics, creating a charming atmosphere. For modern comfort, twelve of the rooms have fireplaces, and ten suites feature spa tubs.
Red Lion Inn (Stockbridge, Massachusetts)
The Red Lion Inn is a historic treasure dating back to 1773. It exudes a rich Colonial charm. Over the years, it has expanded from the Main Inn to include the rustic Maple Glen and other quaint village houses. This 125-room hotel is welcoming to all, it’s also one of the most dog-friendly New England hotels. Guests can enjoy the heated pool, hot tub, live entertainment, and fitness center. Dining options are plentiful nearby, ranging from fine dining to more casual fare.
Old Sturbridge Inn (Sturbridge, Massachusetts)
The Old Sturbridge Inn & Reeder Family Lodges is nestled right next to the historic Old Sturbridge Village. It offers 39 rooms that blend modern comfort with a touch of the past. One notable feature is the Oliver Wight House, a structure built in 1789. It houses 10 rooms and is listed on the National Historic Register. Despite their colonial inn ambiance, the rooms are equipped with all the modern conveniences for a comfortable stay. When the weather is warm, guests have access to an outdoor pool, a fire pit, and a workout room.
The Porches Inn (North Adams, Massachusetts)
Once a mill, the Porches Inn is now a hip place to stay in the rejuvenated town of North Adams. Its elegance is simple, yet distinct. A long veranda connects its six buildings. Inside, there are 47 rooms. Each room offers a unique blend of classic and contemporary design.
This place has its special touches. A healthy continental breakfast is served daily. The popular Porches lunchbox is another highlight. Guests can choose from a variety of rooms. Options include king or queen beds, with or without a porch.
Old inns in Vermont
Vermont is where you go if you want to feel quaint. Without driving all the way to Quebec, anyway. And what’s more quaint than visiting one of these historic hotels?
Four Columns Inn (Newfane, Vermont)
The Four Columns Inn is nestled in Newfane, Vermont. Since 1965, it has attracted visitors to its good food, good company, and good times. The inn is committed to healthy living and sustainability, serving farm-to-table cuisine.
The inn is located on 138 acres of Vermont’s lush greenery. Over the years, it has welcomed many notable figures. The amenities are first-rate. Guests can enjoy king beds and Jacuzzi soaking tubs.
The Four Columns Inn is steeped in history. The rooms are a blend of old and new, filled with antiques, fine linens, and modern furniture.
And the food is exceptional. The inn offers a unique dining experience for food and history enthusiasts alike.
Dorset Inn (Dorset, Vermont)
Vermont’s oldest inn has been welcoming guests since 1796. The Dorset Inn is unique, boasting 25 rooms, each with its own design. Many rooms have classy touches like Oriental rugs, marble floors, and walk-in showers. Guests often rave about the comfortable rooms and the tasty bistro-style food in the red dining room.
What’s more, the hotel’s location is quite convenient. It’s near Manchester and several historic attractions. These include Hildene, the Southern Vermont Arts Center, Dorset Theater Festival, and Weston Playhouse Theater.
The Norwich Inn (Norwich, Vermont)
The Norwich Inn sits just a mile from Hanover. Its first proprietor was a Dartmouth graduate, way back in 1797. The inn retains much of the classic country charm that has attracted visitors since Colonial times.
Nowadays, the hotel offers guest rooms equipped with all modern conveniences. The Main Inn has 17 rooms, each radiating a classic New England appeal. In 2010, the Walker House was added, bringing an additional 18 rooms. And the Ivy Lodge offers four more residences.
Historical bed and breakfasts in New Hampshire
When you want to see fall foliage (or swing Presidential elections), you head to New Hampshire.
Wakefield Inn & Restaurant (Village of Sanbornville, New Hampshire)
The story of Wakefield Inn starts in the early 19th Century. starts in the early 19th Century. Recognized by the National Register of Historic Places, the original building was constructed in 1804. It was a private estate until 1890 when it transitioned into an inn.
Today, the bed and breakfast offers five guest rooms. Each room is fitted with a king or queen bed. The inn features a three-sided fireplace. It also has a wrap-around front porch, offering views of the village.
The Wakefield Inn Restaurant is a highlight too. It serves dinner to both guests and the public. The local flavor of the food is a hit among visitors. On Sundays, the front sitting room comes alive with live jazz.
Historic places to stay in Maine
Most New Englanders equate Maine with a more rustic experience. This writer spent summers at a lake lodge in rural Maine. But the most famous inns in Maine sell a more European-style experience.
Hartstone Inn and Hideaway (Camden, Maine)
This place is a Victorian gem, built in the Mansard-style back in 1835. It’s since transformed into a unique bed and breakfast. It’s a stone’s throw from the picturesque Camden harbor, nestled right in mid-coast Maine. The Hartstone Inn and Hideaway boasts 21 rooms, each with its own character.
The food at Hartstone is something special. Your day starts with a fulfilling breakfast. Their signature dish is a gourmet lobster roll picnic basket, a Maine classic. In the evening, they serve a five-course dinner that will leave you satisfied. And to top it all off, they offer an extensive wine list. It’s a culinary experience you won’t forget.
Camden Harbour Inn (Camden, Maine)
Camden Harbour Inn has over a century of history. It’s a charming Victorian-era building, boasting a traditional white clapboard exterior and a European interior design. The inn is perched high on a hilltop. From here, large picture windows and a wrap-around porch offer breath-taking views of Camden Harbor, Penobscot Bay, and the surrounding mountains. The inn has 20 lodge rooms and suites.
Hawthorn Inn (Camden, Maine)
This Queen Anne-style Victorian mansion is tucked away on a spacious 1.2-acre property. The inn is surrounded by lush gardens and lawns that add to its charm. It’s conveniently located just a short walk from Camden Harbor and the lively Camden village.
For the adventurous, Mount Battie and Penobscot Bay are nearby. The inn itself houses 10 unique rooms, distributed between the Main House and the Carriage House. After a day of exploration or adventure, you can relax. Choose from a soaking tub or a Jacuzzi. Or unwind by the fireplace. It’s all here at the Hawthorn Inn.
Unforgettable Historic B&Bs Across the US
Have you enjoyed exploring historic New England inns? Good news! The United States is a trove of unique, historic bed and breakfasts. These lodgings, ranging from centuries-old inns to those that hosted famous figures, offer a glimpse into America’s past.
Geneva On The Lake (Geneva, New York)
Geneva on the Lake is both a resort and an experience. Nestled on ten acres of land, it sits on the shores of Seneca Lake, in the heart of the Finger Lakes wine region. This place is a recognized landmark on the National Register of Historic Places. The resort is housed in an Italianate villa from the turn of the last century. You’ll find art, music, and museums that captivate. Meanwhile, the natural beauty is mesmerizing, this is an ideal spot from which to explore Finger Lakes waterfalls. The restaurant is a culinary delight, serving dishes made from local ingredients.
Swanendele Inn (St. Mary’s, Maryland)
Swanendele Inn is a luxurious boutique inn in historic St. Mary’s County, MD, offering 800 feet of waterfront and stunning views of the Chesapeake Bay. The eight-room inn is luxuriously appointed with artwork and antiques from around the world. All rooms have fireplaces, fine linens, and some have Jacuzzis with private waterfront decks and wet bars. Swanendele Inn is known for its fine cuisine and hospitality. It offers a serene getaway in rural southern Maryland, famous for its colonial and civil war history and water sports. It’s a great destination, if you’re on the hunt for one of the best road trips from NYC.
Red Fox Inn & Tavern (Middleburg, Virginia)
This remarkable establishment has been standing since 1728 in a historic town. Middleburg, VA, is at the heart of Virginia’s “Horse and Hunt Country”. The town sits on the way to the Blue Ridge Parkway through the Blue Ridge Mountains. Over the centuries, the Red Fox Inn has been a popular stop-off for colonists and has survived both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. It’s even hosted distinguished guests like John F Kennedy and Elizabeth Taylor. Today, it’s protected on the National Register of Historic Places. What does the Red Fox Inn offer now? offer now? Elegant guest rooms and a hearty breakfast in The Tavern.
John Rutledge House Inn (Charleston, South Carolina)
No where else can you sleep in the home of a signer of the Constitution. As you enter the John Rutledge House Inn, you’re greeted by grand rooms with towering 12-foot ceilings and gas fireplaces crafted from Italian marble. It feels like stepping back in time. After a day of exploring Charleston, you return to the comfort of Broad Street. When it’s time to retire, you find your suite meticulously prepared for the night. They ensure you feel at home with a cooked breakfast, evening cordials, and a nightly turndown service.
The Mermaid & The Alligator (Key West, Florida)
Nestled in the Old Town borough of the island, The Mermaid & The Alligator is an adults-only haven. It boasts nine uniquely adorned guest rooms. Each morning, expect a delectable, made-to-order breakfast. The surroundings are a sight to behold, with lush gardens inviting tranquility. The architecture and artwork of this historic home transport you to a long past era.
The Empress of Little Rock (Little Rock, Arkansas)
Get a taste of southern elegance at The Empress of Little Rock in Arkansas. in Arkansas. This bed and breakfast hails from the Victorian era, skillfully blending historic charm with modern conveniences. Guests are ensured a luxurious stay steeped in history. The rooms are exquisitely furnished, the perfect setting to enjoy the warmth of southern hospitality.
Rough Riders Hotel (Medora, North Dakota)
This inn in Medora, North Dakota, boasts historic rooms with a unique connection to President Theodore Roosevelt. It provides a distinctive glimpse into the past, while ensuring modern comforts for guests. During your stay, you can immerse yourself in the rich history of the American frontier. This fabled accommodation is listed on the national historic register. It’s what makes Rough Riders Hotel a truly special place to rest and rejuvenate.
Haan’s 1830 Inn (Mackinac Island, Michigan)
For a unique gastronomic adventure, stay at Haan’s 1830 Inn on Mackinac Island, Michigan. This inn combines historic charm with delightful cuisine, promising a memorable experience. This historic inn invites guests to sip on fine wines and savor delicious dishes.
Riverside Hot Springs Inn (Lava Hot Springs, Idaho)
If a culinary experience both cozy and comforting has an appeal, the Riverside Hot Springs Inn in Lava Hot Springs, Idaho, is the place to be. Renowned for its thermal baths, heated pool, and hot tub, this historic inn is a haven of relaxation. It also houses the Portneuf Grille & Lounge. Here, guests can savor Northwest-inspired cuisine featuring fresh seafood and aged black angus steak.
This historic country inn offers guests a taste of homely comforts. Soak in the warm, inviting atmosphere and create unforgettable memories.
Cobb Mansion Bed and Breakfast (Virginia City, Nevada)
The Cobb Mansion Bed and Breakfast, located in Virginia City, Nevada, is an excellent example of a restored historic inn. Constructed in 1876, this Victorian mansion spans three stories. Hoteliers have thoughtfully renovated the house to preserve its original features. At the same time, it has updated with modern conveniences such as free Wi-Fi and en suite bathrooms.
Haunted Tales: Ghostly Encounters at Historic Inns
If you’re a fan of ghost stories, head to a historic inn with a haunted past. These unique lodgings offer more than just a good night’s sleep (maybe). They provide a thrilling encounter with the supernatural. From the spirits of the South to the ghosts of the Gold Rush era, you’re in for a spine-chilling adventure. For Connecticut inns with haunted pasts, be sure to read our guide to the most haunted places in CT. To embrace the spooky ambiance a little afield, read on:
Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn (Bardstown, Kentucky)
Get ready for a spooky stay at the Bourbon Manor Bed & Breakfast Inn in Bardstown, Kentucky. This historic inn is famous for its eerie encounters. It’s a hotspot for the paranormal. Here, you can immerse yourself in Southern spirits and soak in the chilling atmosphere of this legendary accommodation.
The Shaw House (Ferndale, California)
Step back into the Gold Rush era at The Shaw House, located in Ferndale, California. Built at the peak of this historical period, visitors claim that the spirits of those who lived and died during this eventful chapter of American history are still here.
Offering seven luxurious rooms and retaining its original features, The Shaw House ensures an intriguing and unique stay for its guests.
Historic Bullock Hotel (Deadwood, South Dakota)
Step into the eerie ambience of the Historic Bullock Hotel in Deadwood, South Dakota. in Deadwood, South Dakota. The spirit of Seth Bullock, a renowned Western lawman, supposedly haunts the hotel. With 28 guest rooms and a historical link to President Roosevelt, this hotel is truly legendary. It promises a thrilling stay for adventurous guests who dare to spend the night.
Historic bed and breakfasts offer a wealth of unforgettable experiences. Whether you’re exploring charming inns in Connecticut and New England, braving haunted lodgings, or indulging in gourmet getaways, these venues cater to history enthusiasts and adventurers alike. They invite you to embrace the past, revel in the present, and create lasting memories. And of these unique and enchanting inns are perfect for any traveler seeking a distinctive experience.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the history of bed and breakfast?
The history of bed and breakfasts dates back to the 20th century. Initially, monasteries and private homes would offer travelers a place to sleep and a morning meal. The term ‘B&B’ itself has its origins in England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Which state has the most bed and breakfasts?
In the United States, California holds the record for the most bed and breakfasts. It boasts a total of 1,734 establishments.
What is the point of a bed and breakfast?
A bed and breakfast provides a homely atmosphere to make guests feel comfortable. It also offers a chance to meet new people. Additionally, guests can enjoy a cozy stay and a delightful breakfast menu under the same roof.
What is the oldest hotel chain in the United States?
The oldest hotel chain in the United States is Quality Courts United, Inc. This chain established back in 1941.
Are all historic bed and breakfasts haunted?
While some historic bed and breakfasts have reported ghostly encounters and attract paranormal enthusiasts, it’s not a universal trait.