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Classic New England Inns

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The phrase “New England summer” brings many images to mind. Some might envision a canoe paddle dipping into a still lake, while others may imagine surfcasting on a deserted stretch of beach, hiking through cedar-scented woods or dousing a fresh-caught steamed lobster with drawn butter.

Happily, the northeastern states offer summertime riches both coastal and pastoral. As with any coveted warm-weather destination, there is an array of accommodations: Cape Cod alone has more midcentury seaside motels, bed-and-breakfasts and log cabins than you can shake a fishing rod at. But for those who want to do New England in classic style, only a handful of properties will do.

Many of these are historic inns, whose elegant dining rooms and sweeping porches have hosted summer guests for hundreds of years. The White Barn Inn, for example, has entertained visitors to Kennebunkport, Maine, since the Civil War. Its refurbished barns from the early 1800s now house a fabulous restaurant.

The places built during this century are no less refined. The Mayflower Inn & Spa in Washington, Connecticut, which opened in 2006, offers indulgent treatments and private yoga classes. (Access to local flower and produce farms and hiking and kayaking in five local state parks is also available.) And the Wauwinet in Nantucket, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year, ferries guests to and from Nantucket Town via the most scenic transport available: a private water taxi.

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