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Checking In With History

• Ampthill Plantation, Cartersville, Va. Thomas Jefferson not only slept at the circa-1735 Ampthill Plantation, he also designed the manor house's front wing. T.J. came up with the columned brick addition at the request of Ampthill's tobacco baron owner Randolph Harrison, who was Jefferson's first cousin. "You seem to require six rooms, neither more nor less, and a good entrance or passage of communication," Jefferson wrote. The Monticelloesque structure was added in 1847.

Today, wannabe landed gentry bunk in the Jefferson Wing's Magnolia Suite, the folk-art filled chambers in the 1735 house or the original outbuildings like a weaver's cottage. Antiques such as Victorian bedsteads and a 1602 Swedish mirror give Ampthill a storied yet comfortable look. "We've got museum-quality pieces, but we encourage people to use them," says innkeeper George Costen.

The General Warren Inne near Valley Forge, Pa. (David Campli - General Warren Inne)

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Eight rooms with private baths; $120-$175. 501 Ampthill Rd., 804-375-3539, www.innvirginia.com.

• Glasgow Inn, Cambridge, Md. The original front door of this 1760 plantation house faces away from the Choptank River on Maryland's Eastern Shore. "High-class folks didn't like to look at the water, since tradesmen and fishermen worked there," says owner Louiselee Roche. Scottish immigrant William Murray Ward purchased this tract of land before the Revolution, naming it after his home town.

Thick brick walls, Palladian windows and skinny blue shutters give the classic Georgian manor a crisp feel. Inside, the mood leans to bright and nautical, with whitewashed wood floors, Queen Anne furniture and a tree hung with Chesapeake oyster shells. Guest rooms include a former "home chapel" with paneled closet confessional and top-floor aeries with water views. Roche serves homey breakfasts (biscuits, egg casseroles) in an aqua-walled dining room that vaguely recalls Mount Vernon.

Seven rooms with shared or private baths; $100-$150. 1500 Hambrooks Blvd., 800-225-0575, www.glasgowinncambridge.com.

• Georgian House 1747 Bed and Breakfast, Annapolis.Two early American men's groups -- the Tuesday Club and the Forensic Club -- met in this 1747 two-story, five-bay brick house on Annapolis's Duke of Gloucester Street. Folks who gathered here to discuss philosophy or current affairs included a veritable Who's Who in the Colonies: Benjamin Franklin, painter Charles Willson Peale, William Paca.

Today, these Founding Fathers might recognize the black-shuttered exterior, deep fireplaces and wide floorboards. But many touches summon other times and places: swanky Victorian-style furniture, feng shui color schemes (a golden yellow dining room, a coral guest chamber with a beamed ceiling) and comforts like high-thread-count sheets.

Four rooms with private baths; $150-$195. 170 Duke of Gloucester St., 800-557-2068, www.georgianhouse.com.

• The Inn at Millrace Pond, Hope, N.J. In 1769, Moravians used chunks of gray limestone to construct a grist mill in the idyllic town of Hope. Today, the steep-roofed structure that once ground flour for Washington's troops serves as a surprisingly luxurious inn. Timber ceilings and Colonial-yet-minimalist furnishings -- pencil post beds, Windsor chairs -- decorate rooms inside the mill; guests can also stay in a 19th-century mill keeper's house or an aged stone cottage.

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