New England Road Trip - Best Inns to Stay At | ICONIC LIFE

Luxury in
Your Inbox

The “Shore” Things | Fine New England Inns Small in Size but Big on Style


Sara Winter / Shutterstock

New England is back “inn” style. Check out these luxe spots on a New England road trip that are the toast of the East Coast.

One thing we missed last year was the all-out July 4th weekend experience. However, what if you could make up for lost time by planning an extended summer vacation in the place where it—the history and the holiday—all began? Some of New England’s boutique inns not only make it possible to experience an all-American summer, but also do it in a grand style integrating time-honored traditions, innovative amenities and history in equal measure.

2021 is going to be the year where consumers regain confidence with travel, although many travelers, whether restrictions permit or not, are hesitant to travel overseas.

Ocean's Edge New England Summer travel

Ocean's Edge Resort & Golf Club

There are plenty of reasons why New England is particularly alluring this year. Our country celebrates its 245th birthday this year, and the northern leg of the Eastern Seaboard not only promises a dramatic change of scenery but also a much milder climate. However, some of the inns’ managers have an inside track on what makes the place of the U.S.’s origin worth discovering this year, especially with a road-trip itinerary.

“2021 is going to be the year where consumers regain confidence with travel, although many travelers, whether restrictions permit or not, are hesitant to travel overseas,” explains John Bottino, general manager of the Nantucket Resort Collection.

“Regaining this confidence starts with regional and domestic trips, and while we can’t get to Europe at the moment, a New England road trip is a nice alternative. If there were to be one region in the United States that could be compared to Europe, it would be New England. While at a different capacity, we have the storied towns, expansive history, verdant foliage, and train and a ferry system akin to some found in Europe.”

New England travel to Bay Point Inn

Bob Manley / Bay Point at Mill Falls

John Sallinen, General Manager of Mill Falls at the Lake, has observed that while travelers often look beyond domestic destinations and more towards international destinations in normal times, they often overlook incredible destinations available in their own backyards.

“This is the year for people to really discover the magic of New England,” he affirms. “Whether it be boating and hiking in the summer months or skiing at Gunstock Mountain or ice skating on our lake in the winter, we have so much to offer travelers at Mill Falls.”

Given that a mix of old-country appeal and modern sensibilities are in plentiful supply in this part of America, here are a few inns (and private home rentals) sure to provide inspiration for your own ultimate New England road-trip experience.

Our biggest challenge is definitely finding the right balance between old and new.

Bay Point New England road trip in New Hampshire

Bay Point at Mill Falls

LAKE WINNIPESAUKEE | Meredith, New Hampshire
Meredith is the epitome of a small-town feel, offering classic New Hampshire lake and mountain appeal in the state’s popular Lakes Region. Mill Falls at the Lake, along Lake Winnipesaukee’s western shores, is made up of four distinctive lodgings (Church Landing, Bay Point, Chase House and The Inn at Mill Falls) that embody different aspects of the region’s personality.

Church Landing is conceptualized as a “luxury lakefront lodge” through its rustic elegance via the use of locally sourced, authentic materials used in its construction and décor. Bay Point meanwhile, takes on a contemporary nautical vibe in its ambiance, exuding warm-chic take on minimalism. Chase House rethinks the romantic cottage retreat vibe with an interestingly curated mix of furnishings and colors, while the management at Inn at Mill Falls describes its look as “Farmhouse Americana,” which is trending right now yet forever timeless.

Chase House New Hampshire road trip

Chase House

“Our biggest challenge is definitely finding the right balance between old and new, making sure to maintain the integrity of the properties’ history while ensuring the experience meets the demands of the modern traveler,” says general manager Sallinen.

“We accomplish this by embracing the local community and a uniquely New England nature-focused setting, while also ensuring we provide visitors with all of the comforts of home and modern amenities that they might be looking for in a stay on a road trip itinerary.”

Like the architecture and interior design of this resort cluster, its dining venues offer different takes on the New England palate, from cozy comfort food at camp to a creative maritime seafood dining experience at the Lakehouse to rustic Italian cuisine at Lago. A more recently opened, award-winning spa features utterly private and customized outdoor, open-air treatment options by the lake, providing a fresh alternative to the more familiar indoor spa experience.


Bob Manley / Church Landing

Beyond such typically New England cool weather hallmarks such as autumn leaves and skiing destinations, the area around Mill Falls offers an exquisite mix of summertime activities, running the gamut from antiquing among local dealers to speed boat rides, pontoon boat charters, paddle boarding, kayaking, visits to local wineries and hiking. Nearby shopping at The Mill Falls Marketplace includes such boutique shops as Lee’s Candy Kitchen, the Innisfree Bookshop, Voila Salon, the Great Northern Trading Company and more.


The Veranda House best Summer road trip

Nantucket Resort Collection

NANTUCKET ISLAND | Massachusetts
The three buildings making up the Nantucket Resort Collection reflects what can go right when skilled architects, designers and artisans team up to revitalize historic buildings and settings with modern accents that play up the qualities that has allowed them to endure for generations and reflect a Massachusetts pride of place.

As the name suggests, the Veranda House‘s 18 rooms and suites are distinguished with their own personal verandas overlooking the garden and harbor-side address. The soon-to-reopen Regatta Inn is situated in a historic federal-style building with six added guestrooms and has a classic New England bed-and-breakfast feel. The Chapman House, meanwhile, offers a trendy, minimalist-style slant on Massachusetts inn traditions with its crisp and vibrant beach house design.

Michael E Rynes / Nantucket Resort Collection

“The secret to our success is constantly updating and uplifting historic buildings that make up our hotel,” says Bottino. “When guests come to the hotel, they are checking into a 17th-Century-built property with up-to-date, forefront accommodations. As we want to be that perfect balance of old and new beyond check-in, we are especially cognizant that we stay mindful of the property’s centuries-old history…and this requires special attention a lot of the time. Our behind-the-scenes team always makes sure the inns are up-to-date and in accordance with the high standards we’ve become known for among discerning travelers.”

Bottino affirms that he’s looking forward to all of the possibilities of the summer 2021 season, especially as he came on board as management in the middle of the 2020 season and is now fully prepared to ensure a guest’s New England road trip experience rolls along smoothly.

“Between getting my bearings and working with the headwinds of the pandemic, we successfully pulled off a great season, and I project 2021 will be even better,” he continues.

luxury stay at the Nantucket Resort Collection

Michael E Rynes / Nantucket Resort Collection

“We’ve upgraded our heating and cooling system to offer every room individual climate control through ductless units and are excited to introduce a robust wellness program with complimentary outdoor classes for guests, personal training sessions, and impactful demonstrations and discussions. Our expansive property also offers multiple outdoor areas to enjoy a game of bocce ball, cornhole and horseshoes.”

All three inns are steps from the ferry landing in the heart of old town Nantucket, and a short distance from beaches, boutiques, restaurants, golf, tennis, fishing, sailing, historic tours, nature hikes and more. However, the resort has several exclusives, such as a new Covid-safe grab-and-go breakfast offering and summer programming features pop-up receptions including champagne and oysters, Cisco craft beer tastings and unique collaborations with local brands.

Guests looking to arrive to dinner in style may take advantage of The Electric Grey Lady, which Bottino describes as, “a cool, environmentally friendly transportation option.”

New England road trip to Ocean's Edge Resort Cape Cod

Ocean's Edge Resort & Golf Club

BREWSTER | Cape Cod, Massachusetts
While the AAA Four-Diamond, 400-acre Ocean Edge Resort & Golf Club is regarded as one of the crown jewels of the Massachusetts Coast, what sets it apart is that there are two unique New England experiences on one stretch of land. What makes it even better is a recent $40 million investment that included the renovation of guest rooms by Torrance, CA interior design firm Linda Snyder Associates, Inc., a Members Sport Club in 2012, Cape Cod’s only Nicklaus Design golf course, and Ocean Terrace bar and restaurant in the back of The Mansion with views of Cape Cod Bay.

Ocean's Edge Cape Code Summer road trip

Ocean's Edge Resort & Golf Club

The Mansion, a grand 1890s Victorian-style building listed on the prestigious National Register of Historic Places, encompasses The Presidential Bay Collection, a group of refined 1,000 to 1,600 square-foot villas outfitted with bedding, artwork and accents that are at once contemporary while providing a nod to Cape Cod inn tradition. Refined rooms, meanwhile, include gracious seating areas, flat-screen TVs, and balconies or patios. Suites are outfitted with such extras as home-y fireplaces, whirlpool tubs and kitchenettes.

Some of The Mansion’s desirable amenities include an astute concierge service, access to the resort’s private beach, five pools, nine tennis courts, five restaurants and the area’s only Nicklaus Design golf course. It is also a short drive to the scenic wonders of Nickerson State Park (1.3 miles), the Cape Cod Museum of Natural History (3.7 miles) and several stately homes and small village centers that are essential for every New England road trip.

Ocean's Edge luxury resort and golf

Ocean's Edge Resort & Golf Club

“The Presidential Bay Collection on the Mansion side combines the best of modern elegance with our legendary historic setting behind the Mansion,” said Robert J. Newman, President of Corcoran Jennison Hospitality, which owned and managed Ocean Edge when the renovation was completed.

“This landmark renovation, together with recent investments in a host of resort amenities, enables us to attract guests from all over the world to the natural beauty and spirit that defines Ocean Edge, the town of Brewster, and Cape Cod.”

The Villages, a collection of cozy villas with their own self-contained “inn” settings, are tailored for families and groups looking for a lush, more private experience of Brewster and Cape Cod’s beaches. There are one, two and three-bedroom lodging options, some (the two- and three-bedroom Edinborough and Endicott selections) with access to the property’s private beach.


Champlin's Marina & Resort Rhode Island

Champlin's Marina & Resort

RHODE ISLAND | Champlin’s Marina & Resort
Champlin’s Marina & Resort is situated on Block Island’s beautiful Great Salt Pond and 12 miles off the coast of Rhode Island’s mainland, was also undergoing major renovations and upgrades at press time. The location has that small town New England feel recalling a more innocent era. However, Giovanna Lucy of New England-based Giovanna Lucy Design and East Coast-located David Ashen of Dash Design, engineered a newly refreshed look for the property that’s a nod to the old hotel’s traditions, but brightened with modern, up-to-date furnishings, accessories, art and appointments that underscore Block Island’s distinctions as a destination.

“I’ve always been amazed by the colors of the sea in New England,” said Lucy, reflecting on her vision for Champlin’s. “I returned from my first visit to Champlin’s with certainty that I wanted the renovation design to be reflective of what the water surrounding Block Island looks like. With this in mind, we added many pops of blue such as indigo, royal blue and teal, among other shades, into the property.”

Summer road trip to Champlin's Marina & Resort

Champlin's Marina & Resort

In addition to a new design, renovations are being made to the existing 46 rooms and suites, pool, and gardens. The marina will feature a revised docking blueprint and pier-side bar, as well as café-boutique, ice cream parlor, and outdoor plaza built out from transformed buildings on the old waterfront.

“As the new managers of Champlin’s, we are committed to showcasing the culture, spirit, and beauty of Block Island, while continuing to operate and implement improvements for the resort on the foundation of our commitment to the local community. We want to help protect and preserve The Great Salt Pond while concurrently creating an unforgettable Champlin’s experience for our guests,” said General Manager, Michael Hartman.

“We are excited to share our plans to further integrate and elevate Champlin’s into and within the locale while maintaining that spirit of authenticity that has defined the property for generations.”


CJ Larsen / Shutterstock

The island features scenic natural landscapes with stone wall-lined rolling hills, pristine beaches and breathtaking bluffs, and plenty to do including outdoor activities, art, music, a vibrant dining scene and more. The family-friendly and self-contained resort also houses a destination restaurant, 150-slip marina and banquet space.

Built in 1901, the property now known as The Shore House already led a fascinating life, from serving as the private Narragansett residence for magnate R. James Sullivan to a short-term morph into a speakeasy during the 1920s to its many years as a favorite stop on a New England road trip, thanks in part to its Victorian-era flavor.

New England road trip to The Shore House in Rhode Island

The Shore House

In May 2021, it reopens to a new generation of travelers with a pulse on both history and modern luxury, with 31 luxuriously appointed suites and rooms, a new restaurant overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and white-sand beaches and common areas that touch on its history and the high expectations of 21st Century guests. Under the direction of David Ashen of Dash Design, the interior design is airy and bright, with playful pops of color and modern furnishings.

Drawing inspiration from Narragansett and the shore, Ashen provides a clean framework for the guestrooms, with light woods, both as floor material, and in unique form as a surfboard hanging above beds. Forging a connection between past and present, he adds in reworked vintage furniture pieces and whimsical backdrop of quirky wallpaper, colorful walls and bed frames.

The Shore House Summer road trip destination

The Shore House

You May Also Like

Iconic Life Black Horizontal Logo

Get The Latest!
Luxury in Your Inbox

Iconic Life Black Horizontal Logo

Subscribe to Stay Up to Date on Our Sustainable Showhouse

Get Net Zero ICONIC Home news in your inbox as we build this home step by step. Learn about the exciting brands involved, find out how to achieve a healthy living environment and get tips on how to bring sustainability into your own home and be alerted to awesome giveaways.