The Big Six: New England retreats

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The Manor on Golden Pond, New Hampshire

Canterbury, Cambridge, Coventry ... not English cities, but stylish suites at this hill-top manor house in New Hampshire. Built in 1904 by a wealthy Englishman, it was later owned by an American photographer, before being converted into an inn during the Fifties. Today, it pays homage to its heritage, with the Three Cocks Pub, traditional "chambers", daily afternoon tea and an elegant wood-panelled dining room. In front, the shimmering Lake Squam is the spot for boat tours, kayaking and fishing.

The Manor on Golden Pond, 31 Manor Drive, Holderness, New Hampshire (001 603 968 3348; Doubles start at $327 (£218), including breakfast.

Winvian, Connecticut

Eighteen cottages stand around a romantic clapboard house in the lush Litchfield Hills region of north-west Connecticut. They range from a 1920s "artist's bungalow" – complete with a studio, blank canvases, oil paints and acrylics – to a modern "music lodge" with a sleek, sculptural exterior, wind chimes and piano mosaics.

Winvian, 155 Alain White Rd, Morris, Connecticut (001 860 567 9600; Doubles from $650 (£433), including breakfast.

Topnotch, Vermont

Raised on a mountain road above Stowe, Topnotch lives up to its lofty name with 68 bedrooms, 30 treatment rooms, 10 tennis courts, three pools and two restaurants. Seasonal activities include canoeing on crystal-clear waters, ambling through bursts of autumn colour and snowshoeing on Mount Mansfield in winter.

Topnotch, 4000 Mountain Road, Stowe, Vermont (001 802 253 8585; Doubles from $195 (£130), room only.

Porches, Massachusetts

Carved from a row of Victorian houses, this quirky, retro-themed hotel has 47 pastel-hued rooms, linked by a veranda. At the back, there's a pool and hot tub, a woodland gazebo and a bonfire pit. Located in the arty enclave of North Adams, it's a short stroll from the largest modern art gallery in the US, the MASS MoCA, and a longer leap to The Berkshire Hills.

Porches, 231 River St, North Adams, Mass (001 413 664 0400; Doubles $130 (£87), B&B.

Vanderbilt Grace, Rhode Island

The Vanderbilt Grace stands amid a slew of 17th-century colonial mansions in the summer resort of Newport. Built in 1909 by the prominent East Coast family of the same name, it has recently been turned into a resort by the Grace Hotels group and has 33 elegant rooms with Penhaligon toiletries, a spa, gym and restaurant by Jonathan Cartwright. This summer, the roof terrace is showing classic American films, with Vertigo and The Great Gatsby on the bill.

Vanderbilt Grace, 41 Mary Street, Newport, Rhode Island (001 401 846 6200; Doubles from $311 (£207), B&B.

Marston House, Maine

This small B&B is sequestered behind an antiques shop in the tiny town of Wiscasset. Run by architect Paul Mrozinski and his wife Sharon, it has two cosy rooms with French-style furniture, fresh-cut flowers and open fireplaces. Breakfast is delivered each morning to the rooms or the pretty garden outside. A short boat ride from the town's harbour transports you to the wilds of Maine's coastal islands, where razorbills and Atlantic puffins await.

Marston House, 101 Main Street, Wiscasset, Maine (001 207 882 6010; Doubles from $135 (£90), including breakfast.

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