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Escape to a world of rich history and timeless luxury at the top historic resorts in New England. This charming region of the United States is home to a plethora of historic vacation resorts that offer a unique blend of old-world elegance and modern amenities. From Maine to Connecticut, each state boasts its own iconic resorts that have been preserved to transport visitors back in time.
Discover the fascinating stories behind each resort and get ready to indulge in a luxurious getaway like no other. In this article, we’ll explore the best historic resorts in New England (some are even haunted!), highlighting the features and activities that make each one a must-visit destination. So, pack your bags and get ready to step back in time on a journey through the top historic resorts in New England.
The Importance of History at New England’s Resorts
New England’s historic resorts are more than just places to stay; they are living pieces of history that offer a glimpse into the past. These resorts have preserved the historic charm and elegance of the past, while also providing modern amenities and services that guests have come to expect.
One of the most significant aspects of New England’s historic resorts is the architecture. Many of these resorts feature stunning examples of colonial, Victorian, and other architectural styles that showcase the region’s history. Some of the resorts were once private homes, and others were built specifically to accommodate travelers during the heyday of the railroad.
But it’s not just the architecture that makes these resorts special. Many have played a vital role in American history. For example, the Equinox Resort in Vermont served as a hub for Union Army officers during the Civil War, while the Ocean House in Rhode Island was a popular vacation destination for some of America’s wealthiest families in the early 1900s.
Guests at these historic resorts can enjoy a wide variety of activities that allow them to experience the history and culture of New England. From guided tours of historic landmarks to traditional New England activities such as clam bakes and fall foliage tours, there is something for everyone.
So whether you’re a history buff, a lover of luxury, or simply seeking a unique and memorable vacation experience, New England’s historic resorts have something to offer. Come and discover the timeless luxury and rich history of these iconic destinations.
The Best Historic Resorts in Maine
When it comes to historic resorts, Maine has plenty of options that offer a blend of luxury and history. Here are some of the top historic resorts in Maine that you should consider for your next vacation:
|The Colony Hotel
|A National Historic Landmark with ocean views, on-site activities and dining, and a private beach.
|Sebasco Harbor Resort
|Located in a 550-acre estate with a championship golf course, harbor views, and activities such as kayaking, sailing, and fishing.
|A historic prison turned hotel, offering unique accommodations, on-site dining, and easy access to outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.
Whether you’re looking for ocean views, outdoor activities, or unique accommodations, these historic resorts in Maine have something for everyone.
The Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport: A National Historic Landmark with Ocean Views
If you’re looking for a historic resort with ocean views, The Colony Hotel in Kennebunkport is a great option. This National Historic Landmark was built in 1914, and has been offering guests a luxurious vacation experience ever since. The hotel’s historic charm can be seen in its classic New England architecture and elegant furnishings.
Guests at The Colony Hotel can relax by the pool, enjoy the private beach, or take part in on-site activities such as shuffleboard, croquet, and tennis. The hotel also has two on-site restaurants, a spa, and a fitness center.
Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg: Championship Golf and Harbor Views
For those who love outdoor activities, Sebasco Harbor Resort in Phippsburg is a great option. This historic resort is located on a 550-acre estate, and offers guests a variety of activities such as kayaking, sailing, and fishing. The resort also has a championship golf course with breathtaking views of Casco Bay.
Guests at Sebasco Harbor Resort can stay in charming cottages or in the historic Main Lodge. The resort also has on-site dining options, a spa, and plenty of opportunities for relaxation and recreation.
Liberty Hotel in Liberty: Unique Accommodations in a Historic Prison
If you’re looking for a truly unique vacation experience, the Liberty Hotel in Liberty may be just what you’re looking for. This historic resort was once a prison, and has been converted into a luxurious hotel with unique accommodations. Guests can stay in the former cells, which have been transformed into luxurious guest rooms.
The Liberty Hotel also has on-site dining options, including a restaurant housed in the former prison chapel. Guests can take part in outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing, or simply relax in the hotel’s luxurious surroundings.
With so many historic resorts to choose from in Maine, you’re sure to find one that offers the perfect blend of history and luxury for your next vacation.
Rhode Island’s Iconic Historic Resorts
Rhode Island may be a small state, but it is packed with historic charm. Some of the most iconic historic resorts in New England can be found in Rhode Island, offering guests a chance to step back in time while enjoying modern luxury amenities.
One such resort is the Ocean House in Watch Hill. This resort has been welcoming guests since 1868 and has been meticulously restored to its original grandeur. The Ocean House offers stunning views of the Atlantic Ocean, a private white-sand beach, and a host of activities for all ages. Guests can enjoy kayaking, paddleboarding, and boating on the ocean, as well as tennis, croquet, and lawn games on the resort’s expansive lawns.
Another iconic historic resort in Rhode Island is the Castle Hill Inn in Newport. This resort occupies a 19th-century mansion that was once the summer home of a prominent marine biologist. Today, the Castle Hill Inn is known for its elegant accommodations, beautiful grounds, and panoramic views of the Narragansett Bay. Guests can indulge in a range of activities, including sailing, fishing, and horseback riding, or simply relax on the beach or by the outdoor fireplace.
The Dining Experience at Rhode Island’s Historic Resorts
Dining at the historic resorts in Rhode Island is an experience not to be missed. The Ocean House boasts several restaurants, including the AAA Five-Diamond Ocean House Restaurant, which serves modern American cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients. The Castle Hill Inn also offers a variety of dining options, including a beach bar and a farm-to-table restaurant that showcases the best of Rhode Island’s culinary bounty.
No matter which historic resort you choose in Rhode Island, you are sure to be transported to a bygone era of elegance and luxury.
Massachusetts’ Timeless Historic Resorts
The state of Massachusetts is home to several historic resorts that offer a unique blend of charm, luxury, and history. These resorts have been carefully restored to preserve their historic significance while offering modern amenities to guests.
One such resort is the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. This historic inn has been welcoming guests since 1773 and has played host to many famous figures throughout its history, including Nathaniel Hawthorne and President William McKinley. The inn features elegant rooms with antique furnishings, a full-service spa, and a renowned restaurant serving farm-to-table cuisine.
Another top historic resort in Massachusetts is the Wheatleigh Hotel in Lenox. This stunning estate was built in 1893 and features a grand marble staircase, exquisite gardens, and a Michelin-starred restaurant. Guests can enjoy luxurious rooms with marble bathrooms, original architectural details, and stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
|The Red Lion Inn
|Antique furnishings, full-service spa, renowned restaurant
|Michelin-starred restaurant, luxurious rooms with marble bathrooms, stunning views
|Private beach, full-service spa, world-class dining
The Ocean House in Watch Hill, Massachusetts, is another top historic resort that is not to be missed. This iconic resort was first built in 1868 and has been completely restored to its original grandeur. Guests can enjoy a private beach, a full-service spa, and world-class dining in addition to elegant rooms with luxurious amenities.
Whether you are looking for a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Massachusetts’ historic resorts offer a unique experience that combines history and luxury. Make sure to book your stay in advance to experience the charm and elegance of these timeless resorts.
Connecticut’s Charming Historic Resorts
Connecticut may be one of the smallest states in New England, but it boasts its fair share of historic resorts. These charming resorts offer a glimpse into the state’s rich history, combined with modern amenities and excellent service.
One of the top historic resorts in Connecticut is the Saybrook Point Resort & Marina, located in Old Saybrook. This charming resort offers stunning waterfront views and a range of activities, including spa treatments, a fitness center, and private beach access. The resort’s historic Three Stories restaurant is also a must-visit, with its award-winning cuisine and unique setting in a converted Victorian-era home.
|The Mayflower Inn & Spa
|Relais & Châteaux luxury resort Historic 18th-century property Spa and wellness center
|The Griswold Inn
|Historic inn dating back to 1776 Charming rooms with antique furnishings Famous tavern with live music and great food
|The Inn at Stonington
|Waterfront boutique hotel Charming coastal town location Excellent dining options nearby
Another historic resort worth checking out is The Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington. This Relais & Châteaux luxury resort is set on an 18th-century property and offers a range of wellness and spa treatments for guests. The resort’s restaurant, The Mayflower Dining Room, serves up delicious farm-to-table cuisine using local ingredients.
For a more traditional experience, The Griswold Inn in Essex is a historic inn dating back to 1776. The inn features charming rooms with antique furnishings and a famous tavern with live music and great food. And for those looking for a coastal retreat, The Inn at Stonington offers a charming waterfront boutique hotel in the heart of a picturesque coastal town.
New Hampshire’s Hidden Gem Historic Resorts
While many travelers flock to the more popular historic resorts in New England, there are also hidden gems waiting to be discovered. New Hampshire, in particular, boasts several historic resorts that offer a unique blend of history and luxury.
One such resort is the Wentworth by the Sea, located on the coast in New Castle. This grand hotel was originally built in 1874 and has recently been restored to its former glory. Guests can enjoy stunning ocean views, as well as amenities such as a spa and fine dining restaurant.
|Wentworth by the Sea
|Ocean views, spa, fine dining
|Omni Mount Washington Resort
|White Mountain views, golf course, ski area
|The Manor on Golden Pond
|Lakeside location, fine dining, spa
Those seeking a mountain retreat should consider the Omni Mount Washington Resort in Bretton Woods. This resort, originally built in 1902, boasts stunning views of the White Mountains. Guests can enjoy activities such as golfing, skiing, or simply relaxing in the spa.
For a lakeside escape, consider the Manor on Golden Pond in Holderness. This charming resort offers a variety of accommodations, from cozy rooms to private cottages. Guests can enjoy fine dining, spa services, or explore the nearby lakes and mountains.
While these resorts may not be as well-known as some of their counterparts, they offer a unique and luxurious experience that shouldn’t be missed.
Vermont’s Quaint Historic Resorts
Vermont, the Green Mountain State, is home to some of the most charming historic resorts in New England. From cozy inns to grand hotels, these resorts offer guests a glimpse into the state’s rich history while providing modern amenities and exceptional service.
The Woodstock Inn & Resort is a prime example of a historic resort that has maintained its charm while upgrading its facilities. Founded in 1793, the inn offers a variety of accommodations, ranging from standard rooms to suites and cottages. Guests can enjoy the resort’s amenities, including a 10,000-square-foot spa, a golf course, and a farm-to-table restaurant.
The Equinox Golf Resort & Spa in Manchester Village is another historic resort that has stood the test of time. Built in 1769, the resort has played host to many notable guests, including presidents Abraham Lincoln and Theodore Roosevelt. The resort’s activities include golf, fly-fishing, hiking, and mountain biking.
If you’re looking for a more secluded getaway, the Lake Morey Resort in Fairlee may be just what you need. The resort, established in 1905, boasts a 600-acre lake and a nine-hole golf course. Guests can enjoy a variety of water sports, including swimming, kayaking, and paddle boating.
Whatever your preference, Vermont’s historic resorts offer a unique blend of charm, luxury, and history. Plan your next visit to one of these quaint resorts and experience all that the Green Mountain State has to offer.
Best Activities at Historic Resorts in New England
When you stay at a historic resort in New England, you have the opportunity to experience the region’s rich history and culture while enjoying modern amenities and activities. Here are some of the best activities offered at these resorts:
- Guided tours: Take a guided tour of the resort and learn about its history and architecture. Some resorts even offer ghost tours!
- Hiking and outdoor activities: Many historic resorts are located in beautiful natural areas, offering opportunities for hiking, biking, fishing, and more.
- Spa treatments: Relax and rejuvenate with a spa treatment at the resort’s on-site spa.
- Historic reenactments: Some resorts host historic reenactments to give guests a glimpse into life in New England during different time periods.
- Cooking classes: Learn to cook traditional New England dishes at a cooking class hosted by the resort’s chef.
- Local excursions: Many historic resorts offer excursions to nearby attractions, such as museums, historic sites, and wineries.
Whether you’re interested in outdoor activities, spa treatments, or learning about history, a historic resort in New England has something for everyone. Make sure to check with the resort ahead of time to see what activities are available during your stay.
Dining at New England’s Historic Resorts
One of the highlights of staying at a historic resort in New England is the dining experience. Many of these resorts offer unique culinary experiences that showcase the local flavors and ingredients of the region.
At The White Barn Inn & Spa in Maine, guests can indulge in an unforgettable seven-course tasting menu at the AAA Five Diamond and Forbes Five-Star restaurant. The menu changes frequently to feature the best of seasonal ingredients, and the dishes are expertly prepared and presented.
Another notable dining destination is The Dining Room at Castle Hill Inn in Rhode Island. The restaurant is located in a historic mansion and offers panoramic views of the ocean. The menu features locally sourced seafood and produce, and the wine list is extensive and carefully curated.
The historic Wentworth by the Sea in New Hampshire also offers a memorable dining experience at their signature restaurant, SALT Kitchen & Bar. The menu features fresh seafood and classic New England dishes, accompanied by craft cocktails and an impressive wine list.
Accommodations at New England’s Historic Resorts
When it comes to accommodations at New England’s historic resorts, guests can expect a blend of old-world charm and modern comforts. Many of these resorts have preserved their historic architecture while updating the interiors to provide guests with the latest amenities. From cozy rooms with fireplaces to luxurious suites with waterfront views, there’s something for everyone at these resorts.
Step back in time at the Inn at Hastings Park
Located in Lexington, Massachusetts, the Inn at Hastings Park offers guests a chance to step back in time to the Revolutionary War era. The inn has 22 guest rooms, each decorated in a classic New England style with modern amenities, including private bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. Many rooms even have working fireplaces, perfect for cozy nights in.
One particularly special accommodation at the inn is the Captain Parker Suite, named after the Revolutionary War hero. The suite features a king-size canopy bed, a separate sitting area with a fireplace, and a soaking tub in the bathroom.
Relax in luxury at the Mayflower Inn & Spa
The Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington, Connecticut, offers guests a luxurious spa retreat in the heart of New England. The inn has 30 guest rooms, each individually decorated with antiques and luxurious linens. Some rooms even have private terraces or balconies with stunning views of the surrounding countryside.
For the ultimate indulgence, guests can stay in the Carriage House Suite. The suite has a separate living room with a fireplace, a dining area, and a king-size bed with luxury linens. The oversized bathroom features a soaking tub, a separate shower, and a double vanity.
Stay in a historic cottage at the Wentworth Mansion
The Wentworth Mansion in Charleston, South Carolina, may not be in New England, but it was built by a New Englander, and its historic charm is hard to resist. Originally built in 1886 as a private residence, the mansion has been restored and converted into a luxury inn with 21 guest rooms.
For those who want an extra level of privacy, the carriage house cottages are the perfect choice. These historic cottages feature a separate living room with a fireplace, a kitchenette, and a private courtyard or balcony. The bedrooms have king-size beds and luxury linens, and the bathrooms feature oversized showers and soaking tubs.
FAQ: Everything You Need to Know About Booking a Historic Resort in New England
If you’re considering booking a historic resort in New England, you may have some questions about what to expect and how to make the most of your stay. Here are some frequently asked questions:
Do historic resorts in New England offer modern amenities?
Yes, many historic resorts in New England have been updated with modern conveniences while still preserving their historic charm. You can expect to find amenities such as Wi-Fi, flat-screen TVs, and luxury bedding.
How far in advance should I book my stay?
It’s best to book your stay as early as possible to ensure availability, especially during peak travel seasons. Some resorts may offer early booking discounts, so it’s worth checking for specials.
What should I pack for my stay at a historic resort in New England?
The weather in New England can be unpredictable, so it’s a good idea to pack layers. Comfortable walking shoes are also recommended for exploring the resort and surrounding areas. Some historic resorts may have dress codes for certain dining venues, so it’s worth checking in advance.
What activities are available at historic resorts in New England?
Many historic resorts in New England offer a variety of activities, such as guided tours, hiking, biking, and water sports. Some resorts may also offer cooking classes, spa services, and other wellness activities. Be sure to check with the resort for a full list of available activities.
What dining options are available at historic resorts in New England?
Many historic resorts in New England offer various dining options, including fine dining restaurants, casual cafes, and room service. Some resorts may also offer farm-to-table dining experiences featuring local ingredients and flavors.
Can I bring my pets to a historic resort in New England?
It depends on the specific resort’s policies. Some historic resorts may allow pets in certain accommodations, while others may have restrictions or pet-free policies. It’s best to check with the resort in advance.
What is the cancellation policy for a historic resort in New England?
The cancellation policy may vary depending on the resort and the type of reservation. It’s important to review the cancellation policy before booking and to consider travel insurance for added peace of mind.
Booking a stay at a historic resort in New England can offer a unique blend of history and luxury. By considering these frequently asked questions and tips, you can make the most of your stay and create lasting memories.
About the Author
Justin Abbate is a passionate traveler and explorer, having journeyed to diverse destinations from the historic streets of Italy and Greece to the breathtaking landscapes of Australia. Born in Scottsdale, Arizona, his wanderlust has taken him to hidden gems like Nice, France, where he spent a summer, and to renowned spots in Switzerland, Germany, London, and beyond. As the Account Director at Single Origin, Justin combines his love for travel with his expertise in digital strategy. Dive into his articles as he shares captivating tales and insights from his global adventures.