Plan your next U.S. road trip around these stunning historical homes, which are sure to incite more than a little house envy. But remember, no trespassing—they're all privately-owned!
Steamboat Houses, New Orleans, LA
Though they're located in the Lower Ninth Ward, Hurricane Katrina hardly left its mark on the twin "Steamboat Houses" that boast some of the most fanciful architectural details in New Orleans. The lower floors are covered entirely in ceramic for waterproofing — it makes sense, given that flooding was commonplace in the early 20th century when the homes were built by a riverboat pilot captain named Milton P. Doullut. Their design is said to have been inspired in part by the Japanese pavilion at the 1904 World's Fair, as well as by the steamboats that Doullut drove along the Mississippi River.
Edward DeRose Windmill Cottage, East Hampton, NY
While we can't confirm the
Ravenel House, Charleston, SC
The Wedding Cake House, Kennebunk, ME
This pastel confection has been enchanting visitors to Southern Maine for nearly two centuries. But the beloved Kennebunk landmark wasn't always this fancy—its signature cake-like "frosting" was added a few decades after the home's original construction in 1825. It is said that the Gothic buttresses were inspired by the styling on the Duomo di Milano that the original owner, a shipbuilder, fell in love with during his travels to Italy.
The Pink Lady, Eureka, CA
This bright pink house in Eureka, California, is notable for its elaborate Queen Anne styling, its signature shade, and its adjacency to the celebrated William Carson Mansion—arguably America's grandest Victorian home (The Pink Lady was built as a wedding gift from Carson to his son). They might not build 'em like this anymore, but thanks to Airbnb, you can still experience a taste of yesteryear—the iconic home is now available as a vacation rental.
Gingerbread Cottages, Oak Bluffs, MA
We've fawned over these homes before, but we just can't seem to get enough of the 318 Victorian cottages that make up the "gingerbread village" in Oak Bluffs on Martha's Vineyard. The homes are dressed in the whimsical Carpenter Gothic style that was popular when the majority of them were built in the 1860s and 1870s. The district has been designated a National Historic Landmark, but that doesn't mean it's out of reach; most of the homes are privately owned, and many are available as vacation rentals.
Postcard Row, San Francisco, CA
No list of enviable private homes would be complete without mention of San Francisco's Painted Ladies (a.k.a. "The Seven Sisters") which line Steiner Street on the east side of Alamo Square. Featured in more television programs and ads than we could feasibly count (Hey, '90s kids, remember Full House?) they're especially photo-worthy in the early
Rose Cottage, Nantucket, MA
There are few homes we don't
Armour-Stiner House, Irvington, NY
For an all-too-brief period in the 1850s and 1860s, octagon houses were all the rage in America. A handful
Jenne Farm, Reading, VT
Photographers can't seem to get enough of one of the most picturesque homes in America—especially in the
Morey Mansion, Redlands, CA
It is said that the ghosts of the David and Sarah Morey, the original owners of this circa 1890 Victorian estate in Redlands, California, still haunt its corridors. (In all fairness, if we had the opportunity to live in such a place, we'd never want to leave, either.) Boasting a mansard roof, onion dome, and nearly 5,000