HISTORIC HOTELS OF AMERICA, a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation, has identified hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic architecture and ambience. Plan a trip that links several of the 200 well-preserved hotels, or stay at one with nearby sites. Here are two on the list:
Hotel del Coronado, San Diego, CA. Built in 1888, this red-roofed, gabled hotel on the water feels like you're stepping back into a 19th-century beach party/tea party/debutante ball. Walk to restaurants, bookstores, and boutiques on the surrounding island of Coronado. Then tour San Diego's historic districts, or drive north to see the adobe-walled Spanish missions built between San Diego and San Francisco from 1769 to 1823 (800-HOTELDEL).
Williamsburg Inn, Williamsburg, VA. Built in 1937 by John D. Rockefeller, this white brick, neo-classical hotel is far more elegant than you'd expect to find adjacent to the Colonial-era town of Colonial Williamsburg. Step back to the 17th-century by day, relax in (updated, more recent) historic splendor at night (800-745-8883).
And in Canada... Explore Quebec City, a UNESCO World Heritage site, while staying at the Chateau Frontenac. A spire-topped, turreted, castle-like hotel looming high over this historic walled city, the Frontenac was originally opened for travelers on the Canadian Pacific Railway in 1893. Today, its central location and updated amenities make it a perfect stay for touring the citadel and the Plains of Abraham (800-257-7544).
Wendy Paris is a regular contributor to NRTA Live & Learn.
Watch for new stories every Thursday in Live & Learn, NRTA's publication for the AARP educator community: Celebrating learning as a creative lifestyle.
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