There are plenty of places around the country steeped in U.S. history-- but there’s only a handful that let you stay overnight to truly take a step into the past.
Here are five historic properties-turned-vacation rentals available through HomeAway, that each played their own special role in our nation’s history.
1. President Johnson’s Estate - Austin, Texas
Live like a president in this former estate home of President Lyndon Baines Johnson and his wife Lady Bird Johnson. The Lake Austin home in Austin, Texas offers six bedrooms, eight bathrooms, a large pool with hot tub, two full kitchens and an outdoor kitchen. Other fun amenities include a fireplace, pool table, tennis court and basketball court. In her oral history book, Lady Bird Johnson says the home “was a happy part of our lives for a good many years.” You can rent this presidential pad starting at about $2,700 night.
2. Fisk Estate - Isle La Motte, Vermont
Make this quaint 1700s cottage, which was visited by storied figures like Presidents William McKinley and Teddy Roosevelt, your home base in Vermont. Then vice-president Roosevelt was visiting the mansion that once stood on the estate when he learned that McKinley had been shot.
Part of the Fisk Estate, a 24-acre farm overlooking Lake Champlain with views of the Adirondack Mountains to the west, the Stone Cottage is a quiet New England getaway for up to four guests. Inside, there's a queen-sized bed in the loft bedroom along with a queen sleeper sofa, fireplace, cathedral ceilings and eat-in kitchen. You can stay overnight in the cottage for around $130.
3. Where Pocahontas Roamed - Spring Grove, Virginia
Imagine Pocahontas roaming free on this vast Virginia property as our country was in its infancy. Set on 100 acres of land gifted to Pocahontas and John Rolfe by Chief Powhatan, the late 1700s estate known as Lightwood House is a grand property that also served as the home of a Revolutionary War soldier and his family. The vacation rental is fully refurbished, but features antique furniture, 300-year-old grandfather clocks, five bedrooms, multiple fireplaces and a back porch.
Just a few miles from historic Jamestown and Williamsburg, it’s a convenient location not just for exploring, but really living American history. Miles of trails filled with wildlife like turkeys, foxes and bald eagles wind through the meadows of the estate. You can stay in the home for $400 per night through HomeAway.com.
4. Civil War Infirmary Building - Montpelier, Vermont
Many a Civil War soldier made his way to this historic building that once served as an infirmary. The building originally sat on the campus of Vermont College, but was rolled down the street and fully updated in the 1860s. Guests can stay in multiple apartments inside the building, including a 1200-square-foot second-floor apartment with three bedrooms for around $170 night.
With backyard views of Camel’s Hump, a peak in the Green Mountains, and Montpelier’s downtown, the property is also close to Vermont College’s campus. The sunny apartments feature hardwood floors, eat-in kitchens, books and toys for visiting kids, and sporting equipment on loan for enjoying the area’s plentiful outdoor activities.
5. Former Federal Courthouse - Lincoln, Nebraska
In the heart of downtown Lincoln, Neb., you can lay your head where some of the state’s most prominent citizens visited at this former federal courthouse and U.S. Post Office built in 1904. “The Grand Manse,” which means the great house, features marble, terrazzo, oak and maple materials, reflecting the elegance of its time.
Visitors can stay in the 6,600-square-foot penthouse suite with deluxe appointments within six bedrooms and four bathrooms. Dine outdoors in the open-air private rooftop terrace with hot tub, snuggle up by the three-sided fireplace, and then head up the grand staircase to your bedroom of choice for a memorable overnight, starting at $2,100 per evening.
Lyn Mettler is an Indianapolis, Ind.-based travel writer. She is the author of The Step-by-Step Guide to Earning Your Southwest Companion Pass. You can find her at www.GotoTravelGal.com or on Twitter at @GotoTravelGal.