heritage, history, & hotels, too

May is National Preservation Month, in case you hadn’t heard. Launched by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 1973 to showcase America’s historic places, Preservation Month celebration events include architectural and historic tours, river cruises and museum visits across the country. It’s also the perfect excuse to overnight at one of the Historic Hotels of America, a collection of quality hotels that have faithfully maintained their historic integrity and architecture. From the legendary Palace Hotel in the heart of San Francisco, to the iconic Lenox hotel in Boston’s Back Bay, to the luxurious Royal Hawaiian, more than 50 member hotels across the country are offering packages designed to lure you into taking advantage of the social and economic benefits of historic preservation and heritage tourism.  Here are just a few.

Jekyll Island Club Hotel, Jekyll Island, Georgia. (pictured above) Heritage Tour Package includes: traditional accommodations for two nights, hotel history tour, tour of the historic district by tram, afternoon tea one day in the Riverview Lounge, and breakfast buffet each morning in the Grand Dining Room. Rates start at $639 for two nights and are available through September 4.

The Lenox, Boston, Massachusetts. One if by Land, Two if by Sea Package includes a custom town-car tour. Guided by a historian, travel through time and visit Boston’s most famous sites – Paul Revere’s home, USS Constitution, Old North Church, Bunker Hill Monument, and others. The Lenox and Boston History Experience:  Sit down with Bellman Jimmy Fisher and hear stories – from quirky encounters to brushes with fame – acquired over more than sixty years on the job. Since 1949, Mr. Fisher has stood curbside greeting guests to The Lenox and watching Boston history pass through the hotel’s doors.  Rates starting at $700 for two nights are available through December 30.

Bienville House Hotel, New Orleans, Louisiana. Discover Quintessential New Orleans Package includes: deluxe accommodations, admission to the World War II Museum, admission to a cruise on the steamboat S.S. Natchez, admission to The Historic New Orleans Collections, welcome cocktail in the Iris Bar or at Hotel Monteleone’s famous Carousel Bar, daily Continental breakfast. Rates from $465 for two nights.

The Wort Hotel, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Last and Best of the West Package includes: two nights in a deluxe guestroom, dinner in the famous Silver Dollar Grill, a walking tour of historic downtown Jackson Hole, tickets to the National Museum of Wildlife Art, and a special Wort Hotel gift – the history book Meet Me at The Wort. Rates starting at $500 for two nights are available through September 30.

Omni Bretton Arms Inn, Bretton Woods, New Hampshire. Preservation Month Package includes: afternoon tea in the Princess Room, guided hotel tour, 20% off retail purchases and spa services of $50 or more, 20% off dining, 20% off the Bretton Woods Canopy Tour. Members of the National Trust for Historic Preservation also receive 10% off their guestroom rate, plus a copy of A Century of Grandeur, the hotel’s coffee table history book. Rates starting at $119 per night are available May 1, 2011, through July 31. Not valid May 27–29, 2011, and July 1–3, 2011. Two-night minimum stay. Subject to tax, and nightly amenity fee.

The Royal Hawaiian, Honolulu, Hawaii. From the moment it opened its doors on a pristine expanse of Waikiki Beach in 1927, The Royal Hawaiian, a Luxury Collection Resort, has ushered in a new standard of exotic resort travel. A magnet for Hollywood’s elite and distinguished guests from around the globe, its enveloping pink glow reflects both the radiant beauty of Hawaii’s spirit and the essence of indulgent escape. 1927 Package includes a fifth night at just $19.27 when you stay four nights at the normal rate. Rates from $315 per night. Valid through June 30.


do not disturb

Being holed-up at home recovering from surgery does have its minor advantages:  you can hang the “do not disturb” sign on your door with impunity.  A few weeks ago on my way to Provincetown I overnighted at Boston’s Liberty Hotel.  In addition to a farm-to-table restaurant called Clink and an outdoor  patio bar dubbed The Yard, the former Charles Street Jail has the most clever doorknob dissuaders, one of which has curiously made its way to my front door.


in fireworks lie secret codes

Whether you cringe at the thought of anything overtly patriotic or your cell phone rings that you’re “Proud to Be an American (‘cause at least I know I’m free)”, there is one thing that everyone can agree on come July 4th and that’s fireworks. Big, bright and blazing across the sky. Here are a handful of ways to indulge your inner child and take in the rocket’s red glare across the US of A this Independence Day.

For the Patriot

From Tea Parties to Massacres, Boston’s tumultuous history played a major role in the birth of our nation. Stay at The Liberty Hotel – the historic building was previously the Charles Street Jail – and you’re just steps from the Esplanade and a VIP view of the city’s famous Boston Pops Fireworks Spectacular celebration.

For the Modern Cowboy

It doesn’t get much more American than the Wild West.  And Jackson Hole, Wyoming has one of the most down-home Independence Day celebrations in the country:  after a morning at the “Music in the Hole” festival head out to Spring Creek Ranch for a traditional BBQ and outstanding views of fireworks against the backdrop of the Teton Mountains

For the Jersey Girl

With the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop, the Sheraton Lincoln Harbor Hotel is the ideal spot for watching the Macy’s fireworks while staying close to home.  In the heart of Weehawken’s business district – and overlooking the Hudson River – there are prime river views to be had at the hotel’s Harbor Bar Restaurant.  Plus it’s located directly across from one of the fireworks barges.

For the Indecisive

For revelers whose American spirit is matched only by their fear of commitment, the Allegria Hotel & Spa in Long Beach, NY has a number of viewing options. Spend the night and you’ll have front-row seats to several Fourth of July fireworks shows – including the most talked about show at Jones Beach. From the boardwalk, the roof, an oceanfront room, or the beach, you can see the breathtaking show from any and every corner of the hotel.

For the Gambling Man

Prefer red and black to red, white, and blue?  Find the perfect mix at Atlantic City’s The Borgata Hotel Casino.  The hotel will light up the skies July 4th weekend with a special fireworks show in the nearby marina. Igniting at 9:20PM on land near the hotel, patrons of The Borgata and neighboring Water Club will have a front row seat to AC’s only patriotic pyrotechnic extravaganza.


hatches harbor

My virgin trip to Provincetown, Massachusetts last weekend can pretty much be idealized in these three photos.  It was like being on the moon:  an ethereal landscape; clear, cool water; and the off-season added-value of feeling like one of the only men on the planet.  It made for great exploring, beach walking and bike riding.  These photos are of Hatches Harbor  – a salt marsh at the  tip of Cape Cod – as the tide slowly rolled in and reclaimed the sandy shore.  I think it’s one of the prettiest places on earth.


snapshot: p-town planks


snapshot: p-town peds


snapshot: p-town pilgrims


snapshot: p-town poppies


recycle redux

How could I have forgotten to include an image of the Liberty Hotel yesterday?  The central lobby is one of the coolest places in Boston.  I’m particularly fond of the cleverly named Clink – a seasonal, sustainable Modern American restaurant, where original jail cells create cozy dining nooks – and Alibi – a cocktail bar set in the old drunk tank.  Click the image for greater detail.


reduce, reuse, recycle….room service?

Inspiring stories of adaptive reuse shapes a unique group of converted hotels which offer experiences rich with history and intrigue – while being conscious of the mantra inherent in the 3 R’s.  Boston’s Liberty Hotel, once the storied Charles Street Jail, underwent a $150 million renovation to reopen as a 300-room luxury boutique hotel.  In Lancaster, PA, the unearthing of a 19th century tobacco warehouse gave way to the Lancaster Arts Hotel, which displays the original red brick and stone walls. The cleverly named Jumbo Hotel is a 25-room hostel hotel at the Stockholm-Arlanda airport and is actually a converted Boeing 747.  At Das Park Hotel in Austria, the “rooms” are massive concrete sewage pipes with a double bed, side table, light, and sleeping bag tucked inside and guests pay whatever amount they feel is reasonable.


5 hot winter weekends: quick getaways for a short break

Tempting as it seems, there’s no need to blow a week’s worth of vacation days just to scratch that getaway itch. Relief is just a long weekend away — escapes that won’t cost much in time or money.

The best part: There’s a hot winter-weekend deal for every traveler’s taste, whether it’s rekindling a romance, bonding with the boys, enjoying family-friendly fun or starting the new decade with an adrenaline rush.

Not to mention saving those valuable days off for when you’ll really need them.


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