State Directory
City Guides
Historic Inns
Events and Tours

Historic Inns Across America

There is something uniquely special about staying in a historic home or hotel while on vacation. It adds a sense of historical romance to an otherwise ordinary trip. Historic inns range from simple cottages tucked away in the country to elegant hotels that were frequented by Victorian aristocrats of the last century. Historic inns and Bed and Breakfasts usually offer extra attention to detail and hospitality, as well as delicious full breakfasts. If you have never stayed at a Bed and Breakfast, you may not know what you are missing. You may also have questions about what the accomodations are really like, or whether you must share a bathroom or other amenities with other guests. Read on for answers to your frequently asked questions regarding Bed and Breakfast inns.

Bed and Breakfast inns (or "B & Bs" as they are commonly referred) provide a welcome change of pace from most other hotels. They often reflect unique regional styles and history. A Bed and Breakfast in Florida will not be the same as a historic inn in Massachusetts. Bed and Breakfasts are generally smaller than hotels and usually have anywhere from 2-20 rooms. The innkeeper is often the owner and stays at the house to make sure that the guests' needs are being met around the clock. Innkeepers are most often ready and willing to offer suggestions for fine dining and tourist attractions, as well as available to answer questions about their house's history. Frequently, the innkeepers have themselves worked to renovate the house. While Bed and Breakfasts are usually a little more expensive than your average hotel, they provide an extra level of personal attention and hospitality.

Sometimes people wonder what sorts of accomodations are available in a Bed and Breakfast. The rooms are generally furnished in period style, depending on the original architecture and history of the home. A Georgian mansion is likely decorated with furniture from the 18th century, while a Queen Anne Victorian house will feature 19th century pieces. Bedrooms are often beautifully decorated, each with a different name and theme. Guests are often treated to sleeping on a featherbed under a lace canopy, and the linens are usually of the high-quality variety (such as designer Laura Ashley favorites). Nowadays, most Bed and Breakfasts offer private full bathrooms for their guests, although some may only include a sink in your bedroom. Guests may share a bathroom with one other room. While many antique bathroom fixtures (think romantic clawfoot tubs and pedestal sinks) may still be intact, plumbing has usually been modernized to provide guests with everything they are accustomed to having at home. Like hotels, Bed and Breakfasts do offer a cleaning service (e.g., providing fresh towels and making up the bed each day), as well as provide basic toiletries.

Historic inns often offer afternoon tea with light snacks, and cordials in the evening. There is of course, usually a continental breakfast in the morning, often featuring freshly baked pastries made by the innkeeper or hostess herself. Many offer breakfast in the privacy of your room or veranda, or a full spread in the dining room along with other guests. The breakfast meal provides a lovely opportunity to meet your fellow guests, as well as converse with your innkeepers. Many times, the host or hostess will be happy to accomodate the special needs of their guests. Make sure you let your host know of any food allergies or preferences that you may have. Remember that you are not staying at the Westin or Ritz Carlton, so don't expect room service for your midnight cravings, a bar, an in-house restaurant, or even a snack machine on the premises. Some Bed and Breakfasts may offer a refridgerator stocked with beverages for guests to help themselves.

A few special considerations to make when deciding whether to stay in a Bed and Breakfast... First, there is the issue of whether you can in fact live without modern conveniences. Most Bed and Breakfasts provide a restful place away from the bustle of the city. As such, guests are often expected to be quiet in the evening hours. Most Bed and Breakfasts do not come equipped with televisions in each bedroom, and many do not have private telephones either. Most inns have a public telephone that can be used by all guests, and a television set in a common sitting area. As for entertainment, most Bed and Breakfasts are stocked with books, magazines, board games and a select list of movies that can be viewed. Some Bed and Breakfasts offer rental bicycles for guests to visit the surrounding neighborhood the old-fashioned way. But don't expect a fitness room, sauna, pool or jacuzzi. While many Bed and Breakfasts welcome children over a certain age, they are expected not to disturb the other guests -- which is a particular consideration if you are traveling with an infant prone to crying in the evenings. And as for family members of the four-legged variety, they are almost never allowed.

So remember the next time you are planning a vacation, there are a plethora of wonderful Victorian inns, historic hotels and Bed and Breakfasts that provide a restful and elegant respite for the modern traveler. All across the United States, these hidden treasures are tucked away from the hustle and bustle of the twenty-first century lifestyle. If you prefer to be in the center of activity, there are also fine historic hotels located close to most tourist attractions. American Historic Inns has provided a fantastic resource guide featuring Bed and Breakfasts, inns and historic homes across the United States and Canada. Whether you would like to stay in a Queen Anne Victorian home or a Georgian mansion, use our search box or click on the state of your choice on our map to find the perfect place for your next vacation.