400 Hermitage Rd., Charlotte
COST: $150–250 per night
This formidable Colonial Revival home in Myers Park wasn’t always known as Duke Mansion. The home was originally built in 1915 for the Taylor family, who lived in the home until James Buchanan Duke purchased it in 1919. The founder of Duke University, Duke Energy, and the Duke Endowment moved into the home and tripled its original size.
The home changed hands several times but remained a private residence. In 1976, the home was willed to the Duke Endowment after its last owner, Henry Lineberger, died. The home was listed on the National Register of Historic Places but initial efforts to preserve the home as a historic meeting center failed and it was sold to developers in 1978, who renovated the mansion to accommodate five condominiums.
A decade later there were plans to add a sixth condominium and subdivide the land into four parcels. Rick and Dee Ray, owners of a sports media company, decided to purchase the entire house and set out restoring it to its original grandeur.
Today, the 20-room inn ($179–279 d) is just as picturesque as it was when Duke roamed its halls. Period details like sleeping porches, antique bathroom fixtures, the chandelier in the dining room that Lineberger gave to his wife as a Christmas gift in 1957, and the fountains that Duke designed to experiment with hydroelectric power all remain in the home. The rooms also have modern amenities like luxe bedding and flat-screen TVs.
In 1996 the Lynnwood Foundation was established to oversee the operation of the inn as a nonprofit organization. Lodging fees are used to preserve its heritage.