Virtual school can’t compete with these educational family road trips

If the virtual classroom just isn’t cutting it for your kids, it’s time to hit the road. New York is just a few hours from historic, educational — and even luxurious — destinations the whole family can enjoy this holiday season.

Consider making the four-hour drive to our nation’s capital and checking in at the Rosewood Washington, DC (rooms from $499). It recently launched six townhouse accommodations (starting at $995) in the heart of leafy and historic Georgetown.

Live like a local in these historic homes, but don’t shy away from acting like a tourist: in-the-know concierges can secure time-stamped tickets to the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian and the International Spy Museum — and will tell you the best times to walk the Mall and the Hirshhorn Sculpture Garden.

Over in Penn Quarter, right by the National Portrait Gallery (home to many notably faces) and Ford’s Theater (the site of President Abraham Lincoln’s assassination), is Riggs Washington DC, which offers more economic accommodations (from $170)

The hotel occupies a former 1891 bank that also happens to be one of the last intact examples of Romanesque Revival architecture in the city. Book one of the four First Ladies’ Suites, which reflect the style of lesser-known occupants of the East Wing: the Louisa Adams Suite lets guests tickle the ivory or pluck some strings, just as President John Quincy Adams’ wife’s favorite artists did in the White House from 1825-1829.

Rosewood's historic Georgetown townhouses
Live like a local in one of Rosewood’s historic Georgetown townhouses.
Rosewood Washington, D.C.

If a 90-minute drive to Philly is more your family’s speed, than it’s got to be the new Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia at Comcast Center (from $553), which opened last summer in the tallest building in the city, designed by starchitect Lord Norman Foster. Just don’t confuse it with Four Seasons Total Landscaping.

Recognizing that school has been disrupted due to the coronavirus pandemic, the 60-story hotel is offering a “Limitless Learning: Your Classroom Redefined” program for families looking to elevate their “work from home” setting — think secluded study lounges, cooking classes and custom itineraries that might include a Constitutional Walking Tour to the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall.

The Inn at Hastings Park
You can practically hear the gunshots from Paul Revere’s historic Midnight Ride at the Inn at Hastings Park.
The Inn at Hastings Park

Of course, there’s always a lot to learn in Boston — a 3½-hour drive from NYC. Nearby Lexington, Mass., is considered the birthplace of American liberty and the Relais & Chateaux’s The Inn at Hastings Park (from $245) stands just steps from Paul Revere’s Midnight Ride, the Battle Green (where “the shot heard round the world” set off the first battle of the Revolution) and the Munroe Tavern (where the British Redcoats began their retreat from Boston).

Though the historic inn will surely appeal to parents, little ones can take home some bounty through the Pint-Sized Patriots Package, which includes a tricorne hat, a book about the Revolution and free breakfast for four.

Interior shot of The Newbury.
Designer Alexandra Champalimaud has redone Boston’s one-time Ritz Carlton into The Newbury, opening in February.
Durston Saylor

Back in Beantown, plot a future visit to The Newbury (from $569), whose opening has been delayed until February due to COVID (sigh). Set on iconic Newbury Street in the shopping hub of the Back Bay, the hotel is a remake of what was once a Ritz-Carlton. Now designer Alexandra Champalimaud has redone the 286-room icon, along with Jeffrey Beers and Major Food Group, whose rooftop restaurant will provide sweeping views of the Boston Commons.

Colonial Williamsburg
Drive down to Colonial Williamsburg for tours with docents in period costume.
Colonial Williamsburg

Check out the hotel’s in-house library, curated by the Boston Public Library, and grab a copy of “Make Way For Ducklings,” which is set in the nearby Boston Public Garden.

Should you prefer your tours led by costumed docents, there’s always Colonial Williamsburg, Va. — a 6½-hour drive from the Big Apple, which just debuted the Williamsburg Lodge, an Autograph Collection hotel (rooms from $156).

It blends 18th-century details with modern amenities, and sits steps from the living museum, where gunsmiths and printers are masked and safely distanced from visitors. A holiday package includes room, breakfast and tickets for the duration of your stay. If you can snag an authentic Colonial House or Tavern Room (from $179), go for it, stat! They stand right in the heart of the action. The holidays are festive here, with fireworks, craft shops, and re-enactments of early American government, military and social activities.

How can a classroom compete with that?

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