A getaway doesn’t have to involve boarding a plane to jet halfway across the world—and neither does staying in a storied spot. Top-notch style and rich history await at these hotels and bed and breakfasts, all less than a three-hour drive away.
The Broadview Hotel, Toronto
The historic Broadview Hotel, built in the late 1800s, was restored to a charming 58-room boutique hotel with a hip, eclectic vibe. The stylish lobby bar and rooms plastered with touches of vintage style bubblegum-pink floral wallpaper, rich red-velvet window treatments and statement chairs add a trendy edge to its historic bones that pairs nicely with the rich history of its East End neighborhood.
Built by the business guru Archibald Dingman, the building’s colorful past includes being a boarding house (with a strip club inside) in the 1970s. Today, step through the front doors to take in the chic vibe of the interiors—and be sure to stop by the glamorous center bar in the sun-filled dining room or head up to the rooftop overlooking the city for a nightcap. (106 Broadview Avenue, Toronto)
The Argos Inn, Ithaca
Ithaca is known for being a small college town, but the surrounding area is full of thundering waterfalls, beautiful hikes and delicious restaurants. Hidden away from the chain hotels, tucked back on a side street near the commons, is the the historic white mansion of the Argos Inn.
The boutique hotel preserved its classic charm while incorporating modern sensibilities during its thoughtful restoration. Its bright, sunny rooms with soft colors feel decidedly fresh, and are expertly balanced with period detailing and select 19th-century furniture pieces.
Take a moment to view the art pieces placed throughout the building by 20th-century artists. Even the drinks at Bar Argos inside the hotel will make you feel like you stepped back in time. The glasses are unique, the bartenders extremely knowledgeable—and there’s even a scale of weirdness for their cocktail menu, which can feature offbeat ingredients like activated charcoal, mushroom bitters and herbs de provence that create a wow factor. (408 E State Street, Ithaca)
Aurora Inn, Aurora
The founder of the famous American Girl empire was also the driving force behind the restoration of several historic buildings in Aurora, including the Aurora Inn. Pleasant Rowland launched her iconic dolls in the late 1980s, and after selling her multimillion-dollar doll business to Mattel in the '90s, she decided to revisit her college-day roots in Aurora. There, she helped lead the project to breathe new life into neglected historical buildings, rebuilding them into beautiful, unique hotels (The Inns of Aurora).
Aurora Inn’s original building was constructed by Colonel E.B. Morgan in the 1930s, and it still captures that rich history. Each room features a restrained vintage touch, with era-appropriate colors, prints and furniture pieces. Relax on the balcony overlooking Cayuga Lake or get warm by the fire while soaking in the decades of charm. (391 Main Street, Aurora)
Hart House Hotel, Medina
About an hour northeast of Buffalo, set in the heart of Medina’s charming historic district, is the boutique Hart House Hotel. Dating back to 1876, it was once a 30-room destination that provided a comfortable stay to those passing through the bustling Erie Canal stop nearby.
By the early 1900s, dwindling demand caused the hotel to close, and the building was transformed into a clothing factory. The clothier’s custom service kept big names like Winston Churchill, John Jacob Astor and Bob Hope coming back for its pieces. Revived as part of a 10-year restoration of the building, the boutique hotel now features seven rooms—paying tribute to its past by naming a few after those notables. (The building is also home to aptly named Shirt Factory, a café that turns speakeasy by night.)
Each room in Hart House has a completely different flair and style. The MicroLoft on the third floor features soaring high ceilings, exposed brick and rafters and the original paint. The Hope room is more 1950s chic, with peachy pink accent walls and maple hardwoods circa 1918. The Astor channels NYC’s urban energy with colorful art, ladders and a generous amount of exposed brick adding character to the sun-drenched room. (113 W Center Street, Medina)
Belhurst Castle and Winery, Geneva
The Finger Lakes are full of beautiful places to stay, but Belhurst Castle overlooking Seneca Lake in Geneva has unique standing. A century’s worth of rich history landed it a spot on the National Register of Historic Properties, and the castle is located on lands that was once a Seneca Indian village.
While there are some modern touches tucked within these castle walls (like Wi-Fi and TV), the Old-World charm reigns. The history seems to seep out of every detail, and each room has its own unique story to tell. The Study room, for example, features ornate woodwork, stained glass windows and a small staircase up to a landing that overlooks the space.
When inside Edgar’s Steakhouse on the ground floor, you can have a drink at the bar and see a hidden button used to warn that cops were on the grounds from the time when the castle was actually home to a speakeasy and casino run by Cornelius J. Dwyer. (4069 W Lake Road, Geneva)
Story topics: Out & About