Choose a historic property for your vacation

Published4/6/2008 1:30 AM

History buffs like to stay in historic hotels when they travel, to soak up the happenings that made our country what it is.

One that is both historic and a good value is Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill,, in Harrodsburg, Ky., which opened in 1809 as part of a Shaker community. It's in the middle of 3,000 acres of farmland and within a cluster of historic 19th-century buildings. The simple, Shaker-inspired rooms are located in 15 buildings on the property and start at $79 per night.


In addition to good, simple meals, based on local recipes, served in its restaurant, you'll find daily Shaker craft demonstrations such as furniture making, music performances and even old-time gardening demos.

Another reasonably-priced historic beauty is the St. James Hotel in Selma, Ala., with rooms starting at $129 per night. Built in 1837 and later closed for 100 years, it is now restored to former splendor and overlooks the Alabama River. Book at

Make finding a restaurant easy when you travel by going to Menu,, before you leave, or tap into it on your laptop on the road. The word comprehensive barely covers the density of information here. If you are going to New York, it breaks down restaurant options by every conceivable type of ethnic or style of food, from Afghan to wild game, with stops at Cuban delis, diners and sushi places

It also lists places by their locations. To find popular restaurants, click on the Hot Menus option, which tells you which restaurants have been clicked on the most in the last 24 hours.

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The only limitation of this site is that it covers only a handful of big cities, including New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Washington, D.C., and one region, South Florida.

In print

"Historic Hotels of America 2008 Directory" is put out by the National Trust for Historic Preservation. It covers all kinds of historic hotels in this country, dividing them into categories such as Original Hotel, a lodging which was originally built as a hotel, and Historic Conversion, a property that started life as something else, perhaps a home or church, and was converted, retaining its historic character.

The categories for service style are Charming, exuding simple charm; Classic, more elegant and sophisticated; and Luxurious, with a refined atmosphere and exceptional service. Icons sprinkled throughout the text note where historic tours, art collections, ghosts or gardens are present.

There is also a Dozen Distinctive Destination category, inns selected by the National Trust for its annual list of communities with character.

Hotels are listed alphabetically in the front of the directory, but if you want to find one by region, look in the back for a state-by-state break-out.

Order a copy -- which is free but requires a $5 shipping and handling charge -- by sending an e-mail with your name and postal address to A $5 shipping and handling charge will be invoiced; do not send cash.

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