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Once Upon an Inn: Historic Hotels & Inns

Glimpse Into the Past at These 12 Historic Craft Lodging Properties

If the walls could talk, you'd be surprised hear the storied pasts of the guests and innkeepers at Select Registry's portfolio of historic and antique accommodations. Whether you prefer independent hotels with authentic tales behind their names or famed buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, these historic craft lodging properties are just waiting to be rediscovered.

Elegant and historic living area in the John Rutledge House

John Rutledge House Inn Bed & Breakfast

Charleston, South Carolina

While many inns have hosted notable historical figures, only one can claim that parts of The U.S. Constitution were drafted within its walls. At the John Rutledge House Inn, John Rutledge, head of The Constitution drafting committee, crafted early versions of our nation’s founding documents. The fingerprints of Founding Fathers don’t stop there–George Washington himself was among the esteemed house’s dinner guests. And if that wasn’t enough notable history, legend has it She-Crab Soup, an iconic Charleston dish, was created at the Rutledge House to impress President William Taft. The soup uses crab roe for added flavor and its distinct orange color.

John Rutledge House

Rocking chairs on the porch at Hickory Bridge Farm Restaurant and Bed & Breakfast

Hickory Bridge Farm Restaurant and Bed & Breakfast

Orrtanna, Pennsylvania

Like most buildings over 400 years old, Hickory Bridge has lived many lives. From a working farm to distillery, smithy to restaurant, this Orrtanna bed and breakfast embodies good bones. Lest the building gets all the credit, owner Mary Lynn Martin comes from an equally impressive hospitality background. Her family’s first property, The Fairfield Inn, was recognized in the 1975 edition of Select Registry’s guidebook, Country Inns and Back Roads. Hickory Bridge is particularly known for its family-style meals, bringing friends together at the on-site restaurant. “It is a special place to step back in time, to embrace what is important, and to break bread with those we cherish,” says Martin.

Hickory Bridge Farm

Historic Storybook Inn

A Storybook Inn

Versailles, Kentucky

This sprawling two-story Victorian Classic estate has been a piece of Kentucky history since the 1830s. Founded by the notable Amsden family, the estate remained in their hands for over a century. Historically known as Sunny Hollow, the inn has always felt like a fairytale, complete with a darling playhouse, stone pond, English-style courtyard and soaring turret. The Storybook’s latest chapter focuses on restoration. Owner C. Elise Buckley oversaw two massive renovation projects to maintain the property’s historic integrity while transforming it into a world-class bed and breakfast.

A Storybook Inn

Queen Victoria Bed and Breakfast exterior

Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast

Cape May, New Jersey

Three 1800s-era historic buildings make up the Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast. “Each building has its own charm,” says general manager Jamie Harvey, noting the wraparound porch at the Prince Albert building, the House of Royals’ building ocean-view balconies, and the Queen Victoria building’s French-inspired mansard roof. These historic flourishes fit flawlessly in Cape May, a seaside city with the largest collection of Victorian-era homes outside of San Francisco. At the Queen Victoria, you can stay in the heart of the historic district and just one block from the beach for the ultimate royal treatment.

Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast

Historic Gingerbread Mansion exterior

Gingerbread Mansion Inn

Ferndale, California

Behind its peach-and-cream exterior, The Gingerbread Mansion Inn has long offered sanctuary to those who visit. Built in 1895 by Dr. Hogan J. Ring, the distinct Eastlake and Queen Anne Victorian-style home was later expanded and converted into the Ferndale General Hospital. “For many guests, the most meaningful part of their visit is getting to see their family members’ birthplace,” says owner Seta Mesrobian. “A significant number of babies were born in the mansion.” The architectural preservation, authentic feel and (guest favorite) English Garden all make the Gingerbread Mansion Inn a must-visit.

Gingerbread Mansion

Historic Devereaux Shields House

Devereaux Shields House

Natchez, Mississippi

Every night on the 700 block of Natchez, Mississippi, three historic homes light window candles, signaling a warm welcome to travelers. This is just one tradition at the Devereaux Shields House that guests love about the 10-room, boutique bed and breakfast. The inn’s three homes are all on the same block and “we are just a few small-town blocks from the heart of downtown and breathtaking views of the mighty Mississippi River,” adds owner Ron Fry. Stay in your pick of the restored Victorians: the Main House–with luxurious two-room king suites, Aunt Clara’s Cottage, or the Bost House–which garnered the owners a Natchez Historic Foundation award for restoration efforts in 2021.

Devereaux Shields House

Historic black and white photo of the Grafton Inn

The Grafton Inn

Grafton, Vermont

For over 200 years The Grafton Inn has welcomed travelers, making it one of the longest-operating inns in the country—and its stories read like a United States history textbook. Money earned in the California Gold Rush funded its restoration; the Great Depression nearly ended the business; and figures like Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rudyard Kipling, Teddy Roosevelt, and Woodrow Wilson have all been guests. Just as it did back in 1801, the inn “remains the anchor for the town today,” says innkeeper Angela Comstock. Experience the inn’s 42 guest rooms, two on-site restaurants, and the same hospitality that’s kept the lights on for two centuries.

The Grafton Inn

Antique accommodations at the Laurel Oak Inn

Laurel Oak Inn

Gainesville, Florida

During the 1960s, Gainesville, Florida was known as the Berkeley of the Southeast, and right in the middle of its Hippie Hill neighborhood stood Laurel Oak Inn, formerly known as the Lassiter House. This 1885-era home was built by Wilburn Lassiter and his second wife, Fanny, but by the ‘60s, the mansion had been turned into apartments more suitable for starving artists like a young Tom Petty, who reportedly lived there in 1969. Since undergoing significant restoration throughout the 1990s, Laurel Oak Inn has, and continues to, welcome music buffs, history fans, and Sunshine State visitors to experience its luxurious and storied past.

Laurel Oak Inn

Scenic front porch at the historic Inn and Spa at Intercourse Village

The Inn & Spa at Intercourse Village

Intercourse, Pennsylvania

Sit long enough on the front porch of The Inn & Spa at Intercourse Village and you might be confused about what century you’re in as horses and buggies roll down Main Street. Welcome to Intercourse Village, the heart of Pennsylvania’s Dutch and Amish country, where modernity meets tradition. As you walk inside the 1909-era home, history follows. The inn’s original chestnut woodwork, found in its windowsills and moldings, is a rare feature due to a blight that destroyed many of the local chestnut trees. Guests also love the pocket doors, working push-button light switches, and early 20th-century decor. “Our memorable part of the world will enchant you with its quaint shops, beautiful scenery, and rich history,” promises owner Carl Kosko.

The Inn & Spa at Intercourse Village

Scenic front porch overlooking the water at Ullikana Cottage in Bar Harbor

Ullikana Cottage on the Harbor

Bar Harbor, Maine

The tranquil harbor and stunning natural landscapes of Bar Harbor, Maine are the only clues to exactly what was going through Alpheus Hardy’s head in 1885 when he named Ullikana Cottage on the Harbor. Hardy, a china trader from Boston, never told anyone who—or what—Ullikana was, and the mystery remains to this day. Over the years, guests have come to create their own unique versions of what the name means to them. The original cottage has lovingly restored rooms, each with its own distinctive character—it feels like a modern retreat. In the decades since its naming, Ullikana has become synonymous with seclusion and luxury. Today, it is a tasteful basecamp to explore Acadia National Park and Bar Harbor.

Ullikana Cottage

Historic home of Silas W Robbins

Silas W Robbins House

Wethersfield, Connecticut

Shining in a neighborhood full of historic homes, this Second Empire-style mansion is a steadfast fixture of the Wethersfield Historic District. Intricate cast-iron patterns, a mansard roof, beckoning balustrades, and an impressive three-tier entry are all original details built by Silas W. Robbins, a successful politician and businessman. However, in 1996, a devastating fire destroyed the inn’s interior. Only after a painstaking restoration, the opulent Silas W Robbins House returned to its original grandeur, complete with intricate woodwork, marble fireplaces, and elegant furnishings—and made its debut in the 2018 Hallmark film, “Honeysuckle Lane.” For guests today, luxurious accommodations and a glimpse into the past await.

Silas W Robbins House

Hotel Saugatuck exterior

The Hotel Saugatuck

Saugatuck, Michigan

If the walls at The Hotel Saugatuck could talk, they would sound like a gangster film. When the 19th-century building reopened as a hotel in 1922, owner—and vaudeville banjo player–Tom Carey invited his fellow Chicago musicians to play, dance, and wait out prohibition. Gangsters from Al Capone’s crew often frequented the hotel, and local legend says shots were fired in honor of one gangster’s sweetheart. If the drama doesn’t impress you, the fine finishings of this historic building surely will, including supple wood floors dating back to the 1920s and original windowed vestibules that are “the perfect place to sit and take in the views of the gardens and Lake Kalamazoo,” says general manager Brittany Hollingshead.

The Hotel Saugatuck

Best Places to Stay in Bar Harbor

Ariel view of Balance Rock Inn
outdoor breakfast with a view
exterior night
Hotel Lounge area
Balance Rock Guestroom

Balance Rock Inn - On the Ocean

Bar Harbor, ME

The Inn at Bay Ledge Aerial
ledge by bay
sunset
back patio
sitting room
The Inn at Bay Ledge Staircase
The Inn at Bay Ledge Piano
The Inn at Bay Ledge Sunroom
common area
milky way
front porch

The Inn at Bay Ledge

Bar Harbor, ME

Ullikana exterior
Ullikana outdoor breakfast
Ullikana Guestroom 3
Ullikana Guestroom
Ullikana outside day
Ullikana Guestroom 2
welcome ullikana
Ullikana Entry

Bass Cottage Inn & Ullikana Inn

Bar Harbor, ME

Best Places to Stay in Cape May

themainstayinnandcottageexteriorfront
themainstayinnandcottagefrontporch
themainstayinnandcottagegarden
the mainstay inn and cottage interior

The Mainstay Inn & Cottage

Cape May, NJ

Queen Victoria Bed and Breakfast Inn
Queen Victoria Dining Room
Queen Victoria Porch
beach
Queen Victoria Balmoral room
Queen Victoria Breakfast
porch
Queen exterior

The Queen Victoria Bed & Breakfast Inn

Cape May, NJ

Best Places to Stay in Charleston

exterior front of main building
sitting room
outdoor patio
outdoor breakfast
view of steeple
guest room
people on a balcony
kids with a dog
exterior courtyard
signing a book
john rutledge exterior
ladies at window
kids greeting

John Rutledge House Inn

Charleston, SC

Best Places to Stay in Ferndale

Gingerbread Mansion Exterior
Gingerbread Mansion Bedroom
Gingerbread Mansion Parlor
Gingerbread Mansion guest room
Gingerbread Mansion- wedding couple

Gingerbread Mansion Inn

Ferndale, CA

Best Places to Stay in Gainesville

front yard and porch entrance
guestroom with flowers on the bed
laurel oak living room sofa
laurel oak living room
guest suite
kitchen
Laurel Oak Inn room
blue room bed and pillows
guestroom
bathroom with clawfoot tub
guestroom loveseat with robe
guest suite
plate and napkin setting with flowers
sitting area in guestroom
view of front entrance through the gate
flowers
flowers and champagne
door sign on suite
robe with flowers
guest room

The Laurel Oak Inn

Gainesville, FL

Best Places to Stay in Grafton

grafton exterior
Grafton Inn exterior beautiful green property
Outdoor Dining at Grafton Inn
Tavern Presidential Suite
Phelps Barn Pub
Summer at Grafton Inn
Seasonal Swimming Pond
Tavern Presidential Suite
Tavern King Room
Tavern Queen Room
Phelps Barn Pub
Summer Outdoor Dining
Grafton Inn Burger

The Grafton Inn

Grafton, VT

Best Places to Stay in Intercourse

inn_spa sign
in-spa-common
inn-spa-aerial
inn-spa-appetizer
inn-spa-board
The Inn and Spa at Intercourse Village Guest Bath
The Inn and Spa at Intercourse Village Spa
inn_spa horse buggy
inn_spa pathway
inn-spa-dine
inn-spa-dessert
inn-spa-board
inn-spa-bath
inn-spa-ext
inn-spa-ext
Red rose and chocolate candies
Rider On Motorbike, Motorcycle Bike In Motion On Country Road

The Inn & Spa at Intercourse Village, a Boutique Hotel

Intercourse, PA

Best Places to Stay in Natchez

Best Places to Stay in Orrtanna

Hickory Bridge Farm Rocking Chairs
Hickory Bridge Farm Cheese and Crackers
Hickory Bridge Farm Dining Room
Hickory Bridge Farm Guestroom
Hickory Bridge Farm Store
Hickory Bridge Farm Woods

Hickory Bridge Farm Restaurant ~ Bed & Breakfast

Orrtanna, PA

Best Places to Stay in Saugatuck

The Hotel Saugatuck at dusk
bikes
tub-and-fireplace
guestroom
dessert-photo
guestroom
guest-room
hotel-exterior-view
whirlpool-tub
breakfast-photo

The Hotel Saugatuck

Saugatuck, MI

Best Places to Stay in Versailles

astorybook place seting
conservatory dining room
guest room
Exterior
dining room
astorybook door
astorybook vintage
astorybook side
astorybook dining
astorybook interior
astorybook exterior
a storybook cupcakes
breakfast crepes
Our gorgeous 48 foot conservatory where breakfast is served. Colors change with the season.
The massive air-whirlpool tub in Somewhere In Time luxury bathroom.
A section of our stunning 34 ft. living room where guests enjoy relaxing
Our original Quiche with fresh organic or local ingredients in puff pastry
The arched door in the wall. Does it go to the "secret garden?"
The gardens and courtyard behind the old brick wall. Gardens and a pond with waterfalls feature.

A Storybook Inn Bed and Breakfast

Versailles, KY

charred oaks exterior
Living Room on first floor at Charred Oaks Inn
Dining Room offers separate tables on first floor
The inn on a snowy day from the circle drive
Ground level outdoor terrace
Front lawn with view of the building
charred oaks exterior
fruit salad
Commemorative Poster on display in common room
Kentucky Derby Dessert served in mint julep cups
Charred Oaks Inn signature breakfast sweet potato hash topped with fried egg
Charred Oaks Inn afternoon tea open face cucumber sandwiches
Charred Oaks Inn signature chocolate orange bread pudding
Glimpse into the front entrance hall at Charred Oaks Inn

Charred Oaks Inn

Versailles, KY

Best Places to Stay in Wethersfield

exterior front of inn
robbins room
guest room with fireplace
front entrance
dining room
jane room
dining room
sitting room

Silas W Robbins House

Wethersfield, CT

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