Out-of-the-ordinary historical vacations for President’s Day weekend

by Allie on January 19, 2011

What adjective would you use to describe your perfect weekend getaway? Literary? Refreshing? How about groovy? Try out these cool historical trips for an out-of-the ordinary vacation.

San Francisco:

If you were part of the counter culture during the Summer of Love, then you undoubtedly feel the calling to visit Haight-Ashbury. Even if you weren’t a flower child, there is so much to do and see near the intersection of these famous streets.

View of the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, one sight to see on your groovy vacay

Do: Embrace your inner Flower Child and tour The Haight

Take the Flower Power Walking Tour or be your own guide. Be sure to see the residences of The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, and Janis Joplin. Stroll the side streets of Haight Ashbury and Cole Valley where Victorian homes are plentiful. The Haight has a wide variety of cafes and restaurants—why not end the day with Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia?

Stay: Laurel Inn

A free glass of wine awaits you at Swank cocktail club next to the Laurel Inn

With free lemonade and fresh baked cookies, a free glass of wine at the cocktail lounge next door called Swank, and free continental breakfast in the morning, what more could you want? The location is prime for visiting The Haight and the Golden Gate Park.

New York City:

New York City is the publishing capital of the world. Bask in the literary glory and plan a trip to fit the bill. The New York Public Library is a great start, but there is much more fun to be had in this storied city.

The New York Public Library is a must-see on your New York vacation

Do: Lose yourself in a book (tour) in Greenwich Village

Visit the historic New York Public Library for their free one-hour walking tours Tuesday through Saturday at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.—even though Carrie Bradshaw didn’t end up getting married there, it is still an architectural landmark and a premier research library. Next, try the Greenwich Village Literary Pub Crawl which features authors who hung out, drank, and wrote in some of the bars such as Dylan Thomas, Edgar Allen Poe, Louisa May Alcott, and Allen Ginsberg. Last, see a real show like The Merchant of Venice or Driving Miss Daisy.

Stay: Algonquin Hotel

The Round Table Room at the Algonquin Hotel

The birth-place of The New Yorker magazine, the Algonquin Hotel is a very fitting stay for literature buffs. Everyone from Maya Angelou to William Faulkner has spent the night, and the Algonquin’s restaurant, The Oak Room, is a delightful supper club that launched singers like Harry Connick Jr. and Jamie Cullum. In the Round Table restaurant, where the original Round Table of young writers and critics first gathered in 1919 to exchange opinions and ideas was held, you can get Dorothy Parker sliders and the Hemmingway martini. Also check out the Library Hotel—a block from The New York Public Library, complete with a reading room and Dewy-Decimal themed floors.


Remember that elementary school history lesson on the Revolutionary War? I didn’t think so. Refresh your memory and your palate with a trip to Boston.  Visit the Paul Revere House and Old North Church along the Freedom Trail, but first grab a beer.

Visit Beer Works brewery, across from Fenway Park

Do: Visit the Cheers bar and tour popular breweries

While the Freedom Trail will give you a great overview of the historical sights of Boston, try these stops to enjoy a little relaxation and another thing Boston is famous for: Beer! Visit 84 Beacon St, formerly known as Bull & Finch Pub, where exterior shots of the show Cheers were filmed. For a more authentic Boston experience, take a tour of the Boston Beer Company’s Samuel Adams Brewery. Also in Boston, the Harpoon Brewery is famous for its Harpoon IPA.  Make a day of visiting breweries and end your trip with a Bunker Hill Blueberry beer at Beer Works across from Fenway Park.

Stay: Liberty Hotel

The drunk tank in the Liberty Hotel, also known as Alibi bar, has a historical atmosphere bar none

To continue the historical theme of your trip, have a drink in the Liberty Hotel’s bar Alibi—located in the renovated jail’s former drunk tank. The hotel, located in the Beacon Hill neighborhood is a five minute drive to the Boston Common, two blocks from the Charles River, and within 15 minutes drive of the breweries listed above.

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