Amidst the hustle and bustle of everyday life, daydreaming about jetting off to a luxurious locale is natural. But the reality of researching, planning, and paying for the perfect vacation can be more stressful than the stress you've already got. That doesn't mean, however, that you can't get away from it all. A nearby — versus far-flung — vacation destination is the ticket, and staying at a quaint bed and breakfast will make your holiday extra memorable. Here are the most unique bed and breakfasts in every region of the US. No matter where you live, a relaxing retreat isn't far away.
*We've divided the bed and breakfasts by region: The Northeast, Southest, Midwest, Southwest, and West (shown below).
The Merchant in Salem, MA
The Merchant is located in the heart of Salem’s central historical district — within walking distance of museums, witch trial sites, and the waterfront — and has 11 unique, whimsically decorated guest rooms, one of which George Washington occupied in 1789. This boutique hotel is named for Salem merchant Joshua Ward, who commissioned it as his home in 1784. The Merchant is modern in its decor and amenities, yet “unique because of its age and history,” said Georgia, who works at the front desk. “It’s so wonderful because it has character.” Visit The Merchant’s website to learn more and book your stay.
Ghost Light Inn in New Hope, PA
The Ghost Light Inn, which has 12 exclusive rooms, is nestled on the bank of the historic Delaware River in the small, charming town of New Hope. It’s named as a nod to the neighboring local theater, the Bucks County Playhouse; the single stage light that stays on even when the theater is empty is known as a "ghost light." This common practice is said to allow ghosts to perform at night, so that theater performances — whether human or spectral — can always happen, unobstructed. Every room at the Ghost Light Inn has a small ghost light of its own, as well as a photo of the ghost light at the Bucks County Playhouse, says manager Jimmy Nikodellis. And good news for any furry friends: pets are more than welcome to join, since it’s dog-friendly. “We love our dogs here,” says Nikodellis. “Stella, our restaurant, is named after the owner’s rescue pitbull.” Grab your pup and book your stay at the Ghost Light Inn for an unforgettable weekend.
The George of Old Town in Alexandria, VA
The George, an eight-room luxury townhouse, is a beautiful paradox — funky, modern, contemporary decor highlights the beautifully maintained period fixtures, like Washington’s original kitchen fireplace. This property was “the first item mentioned in George Washington’s will to Martha,” according to The George’s website. Each room is uniquely decorated and named after a former president. It’s situated in Old Town Alexandria, which was named the country’s “most romantic city” in 2016 for its cobblestone walkways, waterfront views, and historical charm. Visit The George’s website to book your stay at this bed and breakfast and learn more.
Fife & Drum Inn in Williamsburg, VA
History buffs, rejoice! The Fife & Drum Inn is situated in the heart of Colonial Williamsburg, which is “the largest outdoor educational living museum in the country,” and boasts “immersive and authentic 18th-century programming,” according to its website. The Fife & Drum Inn has nine rooms, decorated in period style, so you truly feel like you’re part of a different era. It’s within walking distance to all that Colonial Williamsburg has to offer, so don’t hesitate to book your stay at this historical retreat. Learn more and schedule your trip on their website.
The Mermaid & The Alligator in Key West, FL
In need of a little sunshine? The Mermaid & The Alligator bed and breakfast has you covered. This adult-only Key West respite has nine rooms housed in a 1904 Queen Anne Victorian mansion and is surrounded with lush, tropical gardens. Innkeeper Diana notes that The Mermaid & The Alligator is an “oasis away from everything — it’s the perfect place to relax and unwind.” Read more about this property’s story, history, and old-world charm on its website — and don’t wait to book your stay.
Steel Magnolia House in Natchitoches, LA
You might be thinking, how fun! This place is named after the movie! Well, not quite. But this is where Steel Magnolias (starring Dolly Parton, Julia Roberts, and Sally Field) was filmed. That’s right — you can stay in the centerpiece of many scenes from the 1989 classic and enjoy “a full breakfast, along with true Southern hospitality,” according to the website. Though its cinematic relevance is perhaps its most popular draw, the house-turned-bed-and-breakfast is also rich with cultural and architectural history. Learn more and book your stay today.
Elkader Jailhouse Inn in Elkader, IA
I can think of worse places to “do my time” than in Iowa’s historical Elkader Jail House Inn. This cozy bed and breakfast once served as the Clayton County Jail in 1870, and it housed some pretty famous (or should I say infamous) characters — rumor has it Jessie James spent some time there, but definitely not for vacation. It’s pet-friendly and on a beautiful stretch of property, and they’ve even kept some of the jail cells intact — you can stay in one if you dare. Check out their website to learn more and “book your sentence.”
1899 Inn in Deadwood, SD
The 1899 Inn is a lovingly restored, period-accurate home with nine unique rooms and two individual cottages on its property. It has a rich and well-documented history and is located in the heart of Deadwood, a town famous for its Wild West heritage — perhaps best known for the saloon in which Wild Bill Hickock was killed. At the Inn, chef-prepared breakfasts are served on local antique china. And while the area has lots to do, you’re also only an hour away from Mount Rushmore — so you won't run out of American history to explore. Book your stay and learn more on their website.
Montford Inn in Norman, OK
The Montford Inn provides the quintessential, Americana, home-away-from-home type of getaway. It has nine rooms and six cottages, all thoughtfully appointed with comfort and personal touches that make it feel like you’re staying with family. Perhaps that’s why celebrities like Helen Hunt and James Garner have chosen to hang their hats at the Montford Inn. Just steps away from the University of Oklahoma, you’ll always have something to do nearby — but I wouldn’t blame you for just sitting on the enormous wraparound porch and sipping some tea. Learn more and schedule your stay on the Montford Inn’s website.
The Surgeon’s House in Jerome, AZ
This eclectic and historic property was built in 1917 and is named for its former owner, Jerome’s Chief Surgeon, Dr. Arthur Carlson. Its mountaintop position gives guests an unbelievable view of Sedona’s Red Rock Cliffs and the Verde Valley. With just four artfully appointed rooms, a stay at The Surgeon’s House is the perfect combination of intimate and relaxing. Stroll through its lush gardens, savor delicious homemade food, and take in the majestic views. Book your stay on their website.
Newport Belle houseboat in Newport, Oregon
If you love the ocean so much that a mere waterfront room isn’t enough for you, The Newport Belle might be the perfect place for your stay. According to its website, The Newport Belle is a “97 foot paddlewheel boat built in 1993. She is permanently moored in the South Beach Marina in Newport, Oregon.” The Newport Belle has five comfortable and modern staterooms and a sundeck to take in the views, plus you'll enjoy daily three-course breakfasts and happy hours. Get cozy by the wood stove or kayak on the river at this undoubtedly distinctive bed and breakfast. Learn more and book your stay on their website.
Point Wilson Lighthouse in Port Townsend, WA
The Point Wilson Lighthouse is a fixture of Port Townsend. Kept almost identical to how it looked in 1913, this lovingly maintained and historical lighthouse is available for rental. It has four bedrooms, a living room, a kitchen — and of course, unforgettable views. It’s also right on the beach. Learn more on their website and book this special property for your next getaway.
We could all benefit from a change of scenery — especially when the scenery of these bed and breakfasts is so beautiful and full of historical significance. Pack your bags, and wherever you go, savor your stay.