The Corridor’s historic bars,
restaurants and hotels marry
time-honored pasts with
| BY ELIZABETH JOHNSON
Top: The front entrance of the Hotel
Viking in Newport, R. I. Above: The
Hotel Viking lobby. Opposite page:
I don’t remember what I ordered the night I stood at the
bar at the American Hotel in Sag Harbor, N. Y., nearly
a decade ago. But I remember what the white-haired
woman sitting in front of the fireplace was sipping:
Lillet, the French aperitif that tastes of oranges and herbs.
Her image stays with me because of my state of mind that
evening: I was captivated by my surroundings. That wooden
mantle above the fireplace. The brasserie-style chairs, paired
with white-clothed tables. The Tiffany-style lamps on the bar
and the brass rail at my feet.
Something about the room spoke of an era of elegance—
one long gone, but one that I, for the price of a cocktail, could
indulge in for at least a night.
It’s the sort of feeling that keeps people going back to such
places as the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel in Manhattan, even though Dorothy Parker downed her last martini and
uttered her last words of wit there decades ago. Somewhere
in between all the hours we spend planning and securing our
future, we want to go back to the past.
And we’re looking for a sense of place, says Thierry Roche,
the executive director of Historic Hotels of America, which
is a program of the National Trust for Historic Preservation.
According to a study by the Travel Institute of America and
Smithsonian magazine, more than 81 percent of U.S. adults
(or 118.1 million) who traveled in the past year are considered
to be historical and cultural travelers.