If there’s one word that can describe the ethereal beauty and warm ambiance of the South, it’s charming. And what better way to celebrate this corner of the United States than by reveling in a little bit of history during your visit? These mansions — most of them dating back to the 1800s — represent the epitome of Southern charm. So pack your bags and head for the Mason-Dixon Line: It’s time for some proper front porch sittin’.
1. The Inn at Palmetto Bluff
Bluffton, South Carolina
The River House on this sprawling estate offers a classic Southern mansion setting, complete with a two story porch, gabled roof, and off-white wood siding. Sitting in front of this gorgeous building are the ruins of an actual, historic mansion -- the Wilson Plantation House -- which was built around 1910 but burnt to the ground in 1929. The whole property, tucked into the hauntingly beautiful Carolina Lowcountry, feels stuck in a time when life was paced wonderfully slow.
2. Mansion on Forsyth Park, Autograph Collection
Historic District, Savannah, Georgia
The Mansion on Forsyth Park is arguably one of the best -- and most special -- hotels in Savannah, with a wonderful art collection, a great cooking school, a solid spa, an outdoor relaxation pool and a popular restaurant on-site. Housed in a beautifully resorted Victorian mansion in the city's historic district, guests will enjoy spacious rooms that meld the building's classic architecture with eclectic designer-level decor, vintage furnishings and contemporary touches, plus deep soaking tubs, high-tech amenities, and original artwork on the walls.
3. Hotel Ella
Central Austin, Austin, Texas
The upscale Hotel Ella oozes atmosphere and history. Housed in the Goodall Wooten House -- dating to 1900 and listed in the National Register of Historic Places -- the hotel combines old-fashioned charm with modern comforts. The mansion -- with its columned facade and wide veranda -- looks like it should belong on a plantation rather than a residential street southwest of the University of Texas.
4. The Jasmine House Inn
Historic Downtown, Charleston, South Carolina
Housed in a beautifully renovated mansion dating to 1843, the Jasmine House Inn has all the charm of a B&B and the comfort of an upscale hotel, plus a central location in downtown Charleston. Each room has its own characters, with fireplaces, hardwood floors, 15-foot ceilings, and patterned textiles. The charming courtyard offers a tranquil place to sip on sweet tea surrounded by ornate fountains and lush plants.
5. Morehead Inn
Dilworth, Charlotte, North Carolina
This Colonial revival mansion located in an historic neighborhood is charming and romantic. Even though all rooms at the inn differ, they each have something to offer: The Cleveland Suite sports a comfy four-poster bed, and the Solarium Suite is roomy with plenty of natural light. The large porch overlooking the hotel's pretty grounds and the southern hospitality help give the place the feel of a grand manor.
6. The Duke Mansion
Myers Park, Charlotte, North Carolina
The Duke Mansion, a quaint 20-room bed and breakfast, is a decidedly regal southern experience -- as you'd expect from an authentic southern mansion. The rooms are elegant and individually furnished with original artwork housed in ornate frames, oak furniture, and large porches. Unlike other historic hotels, the bathrooms are surprisingly spacious and modern, the ceilings are high, and there's a working elevator. The mansion's location in the upscale Myers Park neighborhood is also a plus, with shops and restaurants within walking distance.
7. Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek
Uptown, Dallas, Texas
The Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek feels like a Tuscan villa -- the hotel is pink stucco, the roof is terra cotta, and beautiful fountains, tile mosaics, and trellis plants surround the pool. The property is lavish, with a grand lobby and large, upscale rooms with patios. The original estate was built in 1908 by a Civil War veteran turned cotton and oil tycoon. The hotel would see many changes over the years, hosting dignitaries and celebrities like FDR and Tennessee Williams during its history.