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The Big Six: New England Inns

Relax in style at these paradigms of sophisticated country chic

Mayflower Inn, Connecticut

The Mayflower is a paradigm of sophisticated country chic for those who prefer their inns with a touch of luxury. The 30 rooms, done out in blue and white, are scattered throughout the main inn and three cottages. Being less than two hours' drive from New York, the inn is favoured by city slickers, who come as much for the surroundings as the spa, where there are treatments and activities like pilates, yoga, and hiking.

The Mayflower Inn, 118 Woodbury Road, Washington, Connecticut (001 860 868 9466; mayflowerinn.com ). Doubles from $581 (£353), room only.

The Wauwinet, Massachusetts

The Wauwinet's rates may say more five-star hotel than inn, but this Nantucket institution is the closest most will get to pretending they are among the well-heeled homeowners on this slice of seaside Americana. Nine miles beyond the bustle of town and with views over Nantucket Bay, the inn is built in the signature shingle style found on the island. Stroll along a deserted Atlantic Beach or cycle one of the complimentary bikes to the pretty town of 'Sconset.

The Wauwinet, Wauwinet Road, Nantucket Island, Massachusetts (001 508 228 0145; wauwinet.com ). Doubles start at $417 (£253), including breakfast; closed mid-October to May.

Black Point Inn, Maine

Prout's Neck is a rugged crag jutting into the Atlantic south of Portland. The Black Point Inn, which has sea views from three sides, has perched here since 1878 and its 25 rooms are decked out in traditional country style, but that's part of its cosy appeal.

Black Point Inn, 510 Black Point Road, Prout's Neck, Maine (001 207 883 2500; blackpointinn.com ). Doubles from $500 (£333.30), with breakfast.

The Inn at Castle Hill, Massachusetts

Owned by The Trustees of Reservations, a Massachusetts-wide organisation along the lines of The National Trust, The Inn at Castle Hill is set in the grounds of the expansive Crane Estate that served as a summer retreat for the wealthy Chicagoan family during the early 20th century. The 10 antique-scattered rooms of this porch-wrapped clapboard classic are the essence of historic New England style. The absence of telephones and televisions adds to the tranquillity.

The Inn at Castle Hill on The Crane Estate, 280 Argilla Road, Ipswich, Massachusetts (001 978 412 2555; craneestate.org ). Doubles start at $135 (£90), including breakfast.

The Inn at Shelburne Farms, Vermont

Close to the scenic shores of Lake Champlain, Shelburne Farms was established as a model agricultural estate in 1886. It became an educational farm in 1972 and the house now serves as a 24-bedroom inn with four cottages.

The Inn at Shelburne Farms, 1611 Harbor Road, Shelburne, Vermont (001 802 985 8498; shelburnefarms.org ). Double rooms start at $164 (£109), including breakfast.

The Manor on Golden Pond, New Hampshire

Squam Lake was made famous as the location for the film "On Golden Pond". From the unapologetically chintzy rooms of this cosy inn, there are views of the lake and the White Mountains beyond.

The Manor on Golden Pond, Holderness, New Hampshire (001 603 968 3348; manorongoldenpond.com ). Doubles start at $239 (£159), with breakfast and afternoon tea.