Stay at a historical landmark
Celebrate Women’s History Month in March with a stay at Philadelphia’s new Guild House Hotel. This 1855 rowhouse and National Historic Landmark was once owned by a 19th-century working women’s advocacy and support group known as the New Century Guild, whose ranks included notable abolitionists, suffragists, activists, poets and artists. The boutique hotel opened in September with 12 rooms and suites named after former Guild members—among them, Eliza Sproat Turner, a teacher, writer and New Century Guild founder; Florence Kelley, a founding member of the NAACP; and Emily Sartain, artist and director of the Philadelphia School of Design for Women (now Moore College of Art and Design).
In the Guild’s former library, the Eliza junior suite (aka “The Founder’s Suite”) gives a nod to Turner’s love of the Pennsylvania countryside with a palette of lush greens, botanical prints and a pastoral mural. The cozy Ruby Suite—named for a ruby butterfly pin once worn by guild members—repurposes a former billiards room with soft velvets, original blush-pink wainscoting and an Art Nouveau chandelier.
Upon arrival, guests gain building and room access with pin codes provided in a confirmation email (there is no front desk). Enjoy creature comforts such as afternoon cookies, handmade chocolates and curated products sourced from female entrepreneurs around the country, including Sip & Sonder coffee and bath-and-body products by Fork & Melon. Outside the hotel, you’ll find many of the city’s prominent attractions within walking distance (or a short transit ride away), from the Avenue of the Arts to popular Walnut Street shopping—plus charming Old City, home to the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and more. Rates begin at $239.
Guild House Hotel, 1307 Locust St., Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 855-484-5333, guildhousehotel.com
Fun at the bay
Maryland’s Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park reopened in April 2021 with a new, nearly $1 million museum-wide permanent exhibition, Our Changing Waterfront. The exhibits offer a variety of immersive and interactive ways to learn about the Chesapeake Bay’s history, ecosystems and oyster economy. Highlights include an oral history narrated by a holographic Chesapeake Bay waterman, a virtual reality boating experience, and two 500-gallon aquariums that compare the health of the Chesapeake Bay in the 1700s to today. An animated Harry Potter-style book examines the Bay’s watershed, while a touch-screen table game allows players to weigh the pros and cons of various oyster harvesting methods.
After learning about the bay, set sail aboard the Wilma Lee, a refurbished 1940 Chesapeake Bay skipjack (one of only 20-some skipjacks still plying the bay’s waters today). The 75-foot boat offers two-hour heritage, sunset and Wednesday Night Sailboat Race watch cruises.
Admission is $7; $5 for seniors, military and kids 3-12; free for children younger than 3. Skipjack tours begin at $40 and must be booked separately.
Annapolis Maritime Museum & Park, 723 Second St., Annapolis, Maryland, 410-295-0104, amaritime.org
Located outside Charlottesville, Virginia, amid rolling hills and wineries at the foot of the Blue Ridge Mountains, luxury resort Keswick Hall reopened last fall after a multimillion-dollar renovation. Notable additions to the 1912 property include a new guest wing, infinity pool, red clay tennis courts and a rustic-chic restaurant, Marigold, helmed by acclaimed chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten. A new spa is slated to open this summer.
At Marigold, diners can enjoy picturesque mountain views and menus built on organic ingredients sourced from local farms—including produce from nearby Oakdale Farm, which is owned by Molly and Robert Hardie, who also own Keswick Hall. Enjoy a pre-dinner cocktail and a game of boules (similar to bocce) on the Pétanque court, surrounded by fragrant beds of herbs and flowers.
The hotel’s 80 guest rooms and suites are appointed with premium mattresses, Frette sheets and a UV-light air purification system that targets airborne pathogens. Custom bath products feature Keswick’s signature scent, “Dawn Meadow,” a bright, floral blend of the grass, herbs and flowers native to the resort grounds. Each room’s unique lighting system allows you to choose from three levels of brightness, and an underbed night-light comes on whenever your feet hit the floor.
Relax indoors in the plush Snooker Room, which features a vintage pool table and tabletop shuffleboard, or in the adjacent library, where guests can borrow from the wide selection of books tucked into floor-to-ceiling shelves. Both rooms have fireplaces and cozy seating nooks.
Outdoor pursuits at Keswick include nature trails, an award-winning 18-hole golf course, an 80-foot heated infinity pool, and a tennis facility that brings the first European sub-irrigated red clay courts to the mid-Atlantic. Rates begin at $495.
Keswick Hall, 701 Club Drive, Keswick, Virginia, 434-979-3440, keswick.com