Two new websites are helping US history-lovers explore the iconic destinations of years past in more depth.
Historic Hotels of America allows
travellers to book lodging that has historical significance. The Omni Parker House in Boston, for example,
hosted every American president since Ulysses S Grant and was the birthplace of
the distinctively shaped Parker House roll, for which the recipe was kept
secret until 1933 when President Franklin Roosevelt requested it for a state
dinner at the White House.
can narrow their search by using a map-based hotel finder, and sort by 39
different architectural styles — from Art Deco to Victorian — 15 different
property styles — from monasteries to mansions — and four levels of luxury.
Local events, activities, museums, battlefields, historic sites and some 2,400
packages are listed for more than 235 hotels across the country. Additionally,
the site’s interactive
timeline matches historic events, famous people, inventions and economic
milestones with hotel opening.
“This is the one time in
life when you are encouraged to sleep in your history class,” said Lawrence Horwitz , executive
director of Historic Hotels Worldwide, which oversees Historic Hotels of America.
a website created by the National Trust for Historic Preservation, is in
part, a social network that connects like-minded travellers. Civil War buffs
or those interested in railroad
tourism find each other through online discussion circles. It is free to
site also lists upcoming heritage and cultural events, profiles museums both
large and small and recommends guided tours, some of which travel
internationally. An upcoming
trip follows in the spirit of the 19th-century European Grand Tour.
“It’s never been a
better time for historic heritage travel, as there are so many more
resources available to the public than ever before,” said Sharr Prohaska, a
New York University associate professor that specializes
in cultural heritage. But she cautions travellers to do their research and to
choose programs and tours carefully. “There is a fine line between people
promoting heritage travel and understanding what it is.”
Other good resources for
history-themed travel include Unesco’s
World Heritage list which highlights close to 1,000 sites considered to be
of cultural or natural significance, and the US National Park
Service site, which provides detailed
information about locations listed in the United States National Register
of Historic Places. The site also lists dozens of travel itineraries,
highlighting different geographic regions and themes like aviation and women's