Historic Homes are some of my favorites sites to visit when traveling! Y’all know I love History. And often Famous Mansions and Historic Homes are filled with antiques and period artifacts, which I also love! But, this Travel Blogger can’t see EVERYTHING, so today I’m excited to share information and tips for visiting Historic Homes or Famous Mansions in America that are worth your time, and mine, to visit!
Whether formerly owned by eccentric millionaires or Gilded Age Industry Tycoons, or simple country houses in the middle of rural America, many fabulous mansions and simple log cabins have been preserved as museums. These famous mansions and old homes preserve important American cultural history. Visitors can catch a glimpse of the past, as it really was, and learn more about America’s progress as a Nation. Here’s a few Famous Mansions and Historic Homes that totally fascinate me!
Newport, Rhode Island Mansions
I visited Newport when I was twelve, and have not been back since. Newport is at the TOP of my must-see-again list! The Gilded Age comes alive inside each of these Famous Mansions. If you are planning a visit, I’d suggest starting off planning your visit by visiting the The Preservation Society of Newport County’s website. Here you can explore ten different Famous Mansions in Newport, and make decision about which ones you want to explore.
The Preservation Society of Newport County has a year-round operating schedule. However, some houses are open only seasonally. The schedule is a rolling calendar, which is updated regularly. All properties are closed Thanksgiving Day and Christmas Day.
Suggested Mansions include: The Breakers, Marble House, The Elms, Rosecliff, Chateau-su-Mer, Kingscote, Issac Bell House, Green Animals Topiary Garden, Hunter House, and Chepstow.
The Biltmore Estate
Not only did the Vanderbilts have a gorgeous home in Newport, Rhode Island, they enjoyed this “county home” in Asheville, North Carolina. A self-guided tour of the 250 room Biltmore House is available to guests. Also, visitors can visit the gardens. This is a famous mansion I’d like to see in the Fall, when the leaves are changing in North Carolina!
In addition, there are overnight accommodations, as well as fine dining opportunities at The Biltmore Estate.
Texas can claim one of the most Famous Mansions in America! Bishop’s Palace is in Galveston, Texas. Architectural historians list the Bishop’s Palace as one of the most significant of Victorian residences in the country. Additionally, Galveston boasts several Historic Homes near Bishop’s Palace, so there’s plenty to see in Galveston!!!
A zillion years ago, my brother, Michael, and I drove a friend’s car from Dallas to California. When we arrived in LA, we drove North on the Pacific Coast Highway, and stumbled upon the Heart Castle. Wow! Talk about an amazing place!
Newspaper tycoon, William Randolph Hearst, built the estate, which includes 165 rooms and 123 acres of gardens. Heart Castle has impressive indoor and outdoor pools! There’s a huge Gothic dining room, an elegantly appointed theater and guest quarters that once hosted the rich and famous. Because there is so much to see, several different tours of the property are available.
It’s located about half-way between both LA and San Francisco.
Historic Homes in America
Beautiful famous mansions are always fun to see, but I also enjoy visiting Historic Homes in America that are rich in, well, History, no matter how fancy they are!
George Washington’s Mount Vernon
Mount Vernon is certainly not a small Historic Home by any standard. And its history? Well, you can’t get any more American than the home of our Nation’s Founder!
Mount Vernon is a popular place for families to visit, and I enjoyed reading fellow Blogger Devon, author of MamaCheaps.com, Blog post about her visit with her own children! I particularly appreciated her tips, including the following:
- “You can purchase tickets to Mount Vernon online or in person. Sometimes they offer discounts for purchasing online. Also check their social media accounts to see if any special discounts are running. When we visited, they were offering a discount on their Facebook page. I was able to pull up the page at the ticket office and it was honored.
- Kids 5 and and under are FREE, and parking is free at Mount Vernon.
- When you buy admission to Mount Vernon, you get a timed entry for the guided mansion tour. which lasts about 30 minutes We LOVED this tour!”
- Be prepared to do a lot of walking.Mount Vernon is a sprawling estate spanning many acres.
- Upon arrival, our kids were each given a kids’ scavenger hunt to complete as we toured the grounds. This was a fun way to keep them engaged as we explored.”
Carnton and The Carter House
In February 2019, I had the pleasure of visiting two Historic Homes in America, Carnton and The Carter House. Carnton, an important historic home to the Civil War Battle of Franklin, is managed by the Battle of Franklin Trust. Hundreds of Union soldiers were brought to Carnton, which was used as a field hospital. In fact, the blood from the numbers of wounded soldiers was so extreme, you can see the stains in the wood floors today.
The Carter House is nearby, which contains many original pieces of furniture, and an outside building riddled with hundreds of bullet holes. You can read my full Blog Post about both historic homes by clicking here.
The Fairbanks House
We’ve admired famous mansions, and we’ve admired historic homes. Let’s conclude with a historic home in America that is the oldest surviving timber-frame house. The Fairbanks House was built by Puritan settler Jonathan Fairbanks sometime between 1637 – 1641. Jonathan built the house for his wife Grace and their family. When he died in 1668, he left the house to his eldest son, John.
After that, the house was passed down through eight generations of the Fairbanks family. In 1904 Rebecca Fairbanks was the last person to live in the house. Upon Rebecca’s departure, the Fairbanks family members established the Fairbanks Family in America, Inc. to purchase the house and preserve it for future generations.
Today, the Fairbanks House, located in Dedham, Massachusetts, is a historic house museum that is open to the public.
Whew! That’s a lot of fancy! And that’s a lot of History!
I’d love to know YOUR favorite Historic Homes to visit! Let me know in the comments!