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12 terrific New England inns

On the sea, in the mountains, or somewhere in between, each features a range of amenities — and a distinct vibe.

Blair Hill Inn.
Blair Hill Inn. Jumping Rocks Photography


Bethlehem, New Hampshire

Forget Victorian froufrou: This is luxury in a log cabin. Rooms feature rustic, nature-themed decor. Some have fireplaces, two-person whirlpools, and steam showers. Situated in the heart of the White Mountains, this romantic retreat is for outdoor enthusiasts, with hiking, skiing, snowmobiling, and even dog sledding available nearby. Soak your tired muscles in the outdoor hot tub or enjoy time around the fire pit. Some rooms offer glorious views of Mount Washington. 3249 Main Street, 603-869-2189, bearmountainlodge.net

Birchwood Inn
Birchwood Inn Christian Giannelli


Lenox, Massachusetts

Guests checking in late afternoon will likely be greeted by the aroma of something sweet baking in the oven for afternoon tea, which, depending on the time of year, is served on the wide and inviting front porch or in the library before a roaring fire. The Birchwood is acclaimed for its breakfasts, and each morning begins with gourmet dishes made from fresh local ingredients. Less than a mile from Tanglewood and in close proximity to several arts festivals, this is a great home base in the summer. 7 Hubbard Street, 413-637-2600, birchwood-inn.com



Greenville, Maine

Jumping Rocks Photography

If you truly want to get far, far away from it all, Blair Hill is the place to go. High on a hill overlooking Moosehead Lake, the inn offers take-your-breath-away beauty and sumptuous guest rooms decorated in a tranquil palette. After a hearty breakfast featuring regional offerings such as Spicy Maine Crab Cakes “Eggs Benedict” With Lemon Aioli, you’ll be fortified for a guided Moose Safari canoe adventure, a mountain hike, or cruise on the lake. In-room spa services are available. Visit in the spring, summer, or fall — the whole area hunkers down and hibernates in winter. 351 Lily Bay Road, 207-695-0224, blairhill.com

Innkeepers Rick Litchfield and Bev Davis of Captain Lord Mansion in Kennebunkport.
Innkeepers Rick Litchfield and Bev Davis of Captain Lord Mansion in Kennebunkport. Winky Lewis


Kennebunkport, Maine

After 37 years of innkeeping, Bev Davis and Rick Litchfield know exactly how to take care of their guests. Every room at the Captain Lord has a fireplace, and the bathrooms feature heated marble floors. There’s even an on-site spa if you need a little more pampering. With beaches just minutes away, historic sites, great restaurants, shopping, and the occasional Bush Sr. sighting, the inn is only 1½ hours from Boston but a vacation world away. Perhaps the best recommendation can be found in the inn’s Memory Garden, where guests who have stayed 10 or more times have had their names engraved on pavers. There are more than 800! 6 Pleasant Street, 207-967-3141, captainlord.com



Newport, Rhode Island

Enter a world of Victorian elegance in this restored 1876 mansion, steps away from the famed oceanside Cliff Walk that offers a backyard glimpse of the ritzy mansions of the Gilded Age. Opulent guest rooms all have fireplaces, half have whirlpool tubs, and one, St. George’s Suite, features a Carrara marble bathroom with spa shower. In former resident artist Beatrice Turner’s room, her hand-painted flowers and butterflies still adorn the door. Mixed Berry Cheesecake French Toast is a fittingly decadent breakfast, and the wine and hors d’oeuvres reception offered daily in the formal drawing room is a refined and lovely touch. 2 Seaview Avenue, 401-847-1811, cliffsideinn.com


West Barnstable, Massachusetts

.Zig Guzikowski

Escape to this laid-back Cape Cod inn and you’ll feel like it’s your own beach house. Innkeepers Nancy Hunter-Young and Rick Kowarek provide everything you could want for a day at Sandy Neck Beach (less than 2 miles away), from boogie boards and coolers to beach chairs and umbrellas. Enjoy a soak in the outdoor hot tub, sip coffee in the early morning quiet on the big screened porch, or relax with a good book in an Adirondack chair next to a beautiful hydrangea. The inn has five rooms, including a suite, all with private baths and oversize marble showers. 591 Main Street, 508-362-8418, honeysucklehill.com



Manchester Center, Vermont

Timothy Palmer-Benson

History buffs will appreciate this inn, which was once the home of Edward Isham, law partner of Robert Todd Lincoln (son of President Lincoln). In fact, you can see Robert Lincoln’s signature in the inn’s guestbook. Modern-day activities such as shopping, skiing, and enjoying the arts are among the area’s attractions. All of the inn’s rooms have whirlpool tubs for two, and most feature fireplaces. Beautiful outdoor areas, including gardens and a gazebo, invite guests to sit with a glass of wine or cup of coffee and just breathe. 1842 Main Street, 802-362-1163, ormsbyhill.com


Weston, Vermont

Matthew Lovette
Matthew Lovette

The wonderful thing about the Inn at Weston . . . actually, it’s hard to pick just one. This beautiful old home’s rooms are furnished with antiques, and several have fireplaces and whirlpool tubs. Local art hangs on the walls; the gourmet dinners change seasonally and are served in a dining room where a charming piano man takes requests. The delicious breakfasts that innkeeper Linda Aldrich makes are filled with local ingredients. Man’s best friend is welcome here, too. In fact, dog host Lexi greets everyone with a friendly wag. 630 Main Street, Route 100, 802-824-6789, innweston.com



Seekonk, Massachusetts

Scott Erb

The relaxing begins at Jacob Hill Inn the moment you check in and are greeted with a glass of wine. The exquisite rooms of this former hunt club offer guests the kind of pampering its elite members of the past — Vanderbilts, Firestones, Grosvenors — might have been accustomed to. If you’re in the Water Fire Grand Suite, with its wood-burning fireplace, two-person whirlpool tub, and glassed-in sitting area, you may not want to leave your room, but you should. On the grounds you’ll find a pool and tennis courts, and you’re just 10 minutes from the center of Providence, with its shops, restaurants, galleries, and shows. 120 Jacob Street, 508-336-9165, inn-providence-ri.com


Portsmouth, New Hampshire

A pleasing study in contrasts awaits guests at Martin Hill. Gardens with more than 25 varieties of perennials encircle the inn, with paths that meander and sweet spots to stop and smell the roses. Yet a short walk takes you to the seaport city’s hip downtown, where there’s always plenty going on. Likewise, the rooms preserve the antique appointments appropriate to their 200-year-old heritage, but modern amenities like refrigerators and high-definition televisions are cleverly concealed within. Breakfast favorites include the Tomato Pesto Strata and the Teacup Mousse. 404 Islington Street, 603-436-2287, martinhillinn.com



Lower Waterford, Vermont

This 18th-century inn has lots of history and lots of stories. Ask innkeeper Leslie Mulcahy to tell you about the rooms named Mary’s Wish and Molly’s Promise. Many of the rooms have working fireplaces and spa showers, and the common areas are cozy, comfortable, and stocked with habit-forming Stave puzzles. Kingdom Trails is close by for mountain bikers and — in the winter — cross-country skiers. 48 Lower Waterford Road, 802-748-5168, rabbithillinn.com


Mystic, Connecticut

Pat Piasecki

You might think you’re staying on your own private boat at this dockside bed-and-breakfast. Steamboat boasts Mystic’s only waterfront accommodations; all but one room has a river view, and several have wood-burning fireplaces. Step out the front door and right into quaint downtown Mystic, with its myriad shops, restaurants, and galleries. The famed Mystic Seaport museum is also a short walk away. Summer is prime time here, but each season has something to offer. After Thanksgiving, Mystic dons its holiday finery and you can enjoy a Christmas stroll and boat parade. 73 Steamboat Wharf, 860-536-8300, steamboatinnmystic.com

Susan Sulich is the author of “50 Great Bed & Breakfasts and Inns: New England.” Send comments to magazine@globe.com.