-- intro: Historic getaways are nothing new (pun intended!), but it’s relatively easy to get stuck in a rut; you’re either visiting whatever’s close, or heading into the big U.S. cities that lay claim to some of the most important historic sites, museums, and other attractions in the country.
quicklist: 1title: 1. Williamsburg, Va. text: Some consider Williamsburg, Virginia, to be a tourist trap, but history aficionados, families and plenty of others love it here. The town is genuinely historic, but it pulls double-duty as a town-wide theatrical stage. Dozens of period actors -- that’d be the Revolutionary War period -- stroll the streets and staff the stores of Colonial Williamsburg, where you can walk in the steps of our Founding Fathers. If you’re not already a Colonial history buff when you arrive, you will be by the time you leave.
Hotel Pick: The Historic Powhatan Resort is just five miles from the center Colonial Williamsburg -- and a historic landmark itself. Be sure to visit the manor house, which was built in 1735, and explore the resort’s network of hiking trails, which wind past several historical buildings.
Hotel Pick: The French Quarter is full of historic hotels, but we’re partial to the Hotel Monteleone, which is a national literary landmark and home to the circus-themed Carousel Bar.media: 39099795
quicklist: 3title: 3. Portland, Mainetext: If we’re talking historic, we can't miss New England, where the settlers first set up shop in the New World. Home to nearly four centuries’ worth of history, Portland, Maine, is a wonderful assortment of charming architecture (one look at the gambrel roof on the Tate House Museum, and you’ll see what we mean) and Americana (we’re looking at you, Breakwater Lighthouse).
Hotel Pick: Because of historic disasters, like the Great Fire of 1886, historic hotels can be hard to find in Portland. Thankfully, the Portland Regency Hotel & Spa has weathered the years in the heart of Old Port.
quicklist: 4title: 4. Savannah, Ga.text: Dive into the antebellum south in Savannah, Georgia, where the state’s sophisticated upper-class first gathered. Settled in 1773, this is where Georgia’s elite built quaint squares, comfortable townhouses, and the kind of sprawling southern mansions that would make Scarlett O’Hara feel at home. Over the centuries, a few things have changed, but much of Savannah has stayed the same: polite, sophisticated, and a little bit eccentric, this historic town will welcome you with typical southern charm.
Hotel Pick: The Dresser Palmer House is a charming, historic bed and breakfast in an Italianate townhouse that dates back to 1876. The 16 rooms are each decorated differently but share a similar historic feel, many with four-poster beds, antique-style wood furniture, fireplaces and patios.
quicklist: 5title: 5. Nantucket, Mass.text: Nantucket is a popular vacay destination, for sure, but did you know it’s also a historic whaling town? This sleepy little island in Massachusetts, which once made its fortune during the U.S. whaling era, now offers history lovers a glimpse into a past of cobblestone streets, traditional New England architecture, a quaint harbor and, of course, the town’s whaling history, courtesy of the Whaling Museum (housed in a restored candle factory dating to the mid-1800s).
Hotel Pick: The historic district, or harbor area, is the place to be, and our area pick is the charming Union Street Inn, just three minutes’ walking distance to downtown, and the only inn on the island to offer a full, hot breakfast.
Hotel Pick: Not everything is bigger in Texas. Case in point: Hotel Granduca, which -- with 122 classic Italian guest rooms and suites -- is relatively small by Houston standards, and has a decidedly boutique vibe.