Top 10 Historic & Grand Hotels in New England

Top 10 Historic Hotels in New England

New England has a deep and wonderfully varied history from the Pilgrims to the present. Much of that history is alive and on display at comfortable historic inns and Grand Hotels -- a few that have been welcoming travelers since before America was a country. If these walls could talk, they would tell stories of rich ship owners, farmers, or outdoor explorers who built hotels in the mountains and along the shores. Find intriguing historic hotels in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

Lake Morey Resort is tucked cozily between the Green Mountains and the White Mountains, offering year-round natural beauty and outdoor activities. Now in its third generation of family ownership, the resort has welcomed guests for more than 100 years. The resort’s 130 guest rooms include suites that work well for families. A centerpiece of the property is the lake, where summer swimming and kayaking are replaced by ice skating in winter. Kids are super-welcome at Lake Morey, which offers a summer program for children and a fun evening on New Year’s Eve. The spa is just the thing for adults.

This hotel, with views of New Hampshire’s Presidential Range, is a grand hotel in the strict meaning of the phrase. It was founded and expanded as a full-service resort in the second half of the 19th century, when many other Grand Old Ladies of the Gilded Age opened to welcome summer guests. It even has its own creation story, as a farm house where the Dodge family welcomed refugees from a stage coach accident on a rainy night in 1865. The Dodges went on to run the resort for four generations. Today it continues as a luxury resort in a beautiful setting offering amenities like golf and a spa.

You could hardly find a more authentic historic lodging on Nantucket than the Jared Coffin House. A historic whaling center in the 19th-century, Nantucket and its town center was the place chosen for this three-story brick mansion home for Jared Coffin, one of the most successful ship owners of his time. The house was built in 1845 and its tough brick and slate roof survived a great fire in 1846. The mansion was later expanded and opened as a hotel. Today this elegant historic hotel offers fine service, placing guests in the center of fine dining, shopping, water sports, and sightseeing.

The word “castle” in the name of this resort is well-chosen. The luxurious lodging -- located in the Green Mountains of Ludlow, close to the Okemo Mountain ski trails -- is just right for a romantic winter getaway. But the resort works equally for a rough-and-tumble family summer vacation. It is a member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World and the Historic Hotels of America. Guest rooms are individually decorated to blend elegance, pampering, and modern convenience. And Castle Hill’s more-spacious resort homes have magnificent views, elegant accommodations, and more room to relax.

This comfortable hotel in the pretty town of Jackson in White Mountains has been welcoming guests of 130 years. Another statistic helps explain the reason -- it is the hotel’s 280-foot wraparound veranda with magnificent views of the mountains. The Eagle Mountain House is a Historic Hotel of America and is listed on the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It shelters guests in the middle of mountain countryside that offers outdoor adventures from golf and fresh water swimming to snowboarding. It is near world-class ski areas like Wildcat, Attitash, Black Mountain, Cranmore, and Bretton Woods.

Located at the peak of a bluff above the pretty village of Watch Hill, the Ocean House is a reconstructed beauty modeled exactly upon its predecessor in that place. It is the first and only AAA five diamond hotel in the state. It is a Grand Hotel of the Gilded Age of the 1870s to ’90s, a contemporary of Newport’s mansions, but so much more comfortable and luxurious for a lavish seaside New England vacation. Famously known for its warm yellow façade and stunning views of the Atlantic, the original Ocean House welcomed guests from 1868 until 2003. It was rebuilt, using many of the original interior elements.

Whether your passion is New England literature, Colonial history, or fine small hotels in wonderful small cities, the name Hawthorne Hotel in Salem could send a shiver up your spine. This regal brick building stands in the heart of historic Salem. Halloween and its link to the Salem witch trials is a busy time here, but the city and the hotel -- named for one of New England’s most-loved authors -- is fun all year. The Peabody Essex Museum includes artifacts of the city’s seafaring history; the Salem Maritime National Site is fascinating. Or just linger in the hotel and enjoy the comfort.

Welcoming guests for over 200 years, the Equinox Resort has six architectural styles, 17 structures, and has hosted four Presidents. Equinox has had many names, starting with the Marsh Tavern in 1769, when the Green Mountain Boys met there. The hotel was named Equinox after a state surveyor summated the adjacent Equinox Mountain on the autumn equinox in 1823. Shuttered in 1972, the Equinox reopened in July 1985 as a lavish resort hotel and a National Historic Place. Today, guests may handle birds of prey at the British School of Falconry onsite or enjoy a round of golf. History? Just a little.

Sun-drenched and suffused with the presence of the sea, Ocean Edge Resort thrives inside a grand mansion that dates to 1890, when a local man build a home boasting four chimneys, a carriage house, and a stone tower for viewing the coast. The house burned down in 1906 but was rebuilt larger, with Italian marble fireplaces and fine woodwork by master carvers. Today, the resort hotel in the former mansion and carriage house resembles an English country manor with extra piquant touches. The mansion and villas are near Cape Cod’s many joys: surf, water sports, golf, tennis, beach bonfires, and more.