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Strategic Retreats


Home Port
Peconic, N.Y.

If you're looking for fishermen who really know the local waters, stay with Jack and Pat Combs at the North Fork's Homeport. Jack's forefathers were fishing Long Island's waters as early as 1640, and the tradition continues today with his saltwater-fly-fishing-guide service. The Combses' 1876 Victorian home has bright, pretty guest rooms (one with private bath, two sharing). Common areas include the Teddy Roosevelt Room, filled with antique fishing and hunting paraphernalia; a sitting room with an abundance of period treasures; and an inviting porch and deck. Free tennis courts are in the adjacent park, and the beach is nearby. Even better are the ten wineries within a five-minute drive; favorites include Gristina Vineyards, Pugliese Vineyards, Bedell Cellars, and Osprey's Dominion. For a casual meal, we like the Seafood Barge on Main Road in Southold, overlooking Peconic Bay. For an elegant dinner, try Coeur des Vignes in Southold. Traveling from Westchester or Connecticut? Take the ferry from Bridgeport to Port Jefferson or from New London to Orient Point.

INFO Home Port B&B, 2500 Peconic Lane, 631-765-1435;; $120-$130; three guest rooms; no credit cards.

The Inn on 23rd
New York, N.Y.

If you live outside the city, try letting someone else mow the lawn, and come into town for a great weekend. The Inn on 23rd is a nineteenth-century commercial building restored in 1999 by the Fisherman family. In the heart of Chelsea, the spacious guest rooms are furnished with individual flair, from the quiet charm of the Bamboo Room to the Art Moderne style of the Forties Room. Innkeeper Annette Fisherman previously owned an art gallery, and her eclectic collection is part of the décor. The inn has a large living-dining area, and rates include continental breakfast.

INFO The Inn on 23rd, 131 West 23rd Street, 877-387-2323; $150-$350; eleven guest rooms.

WhistleWood Farm
Rhinebeck, N.Y.

If you've overdosed on Victorian-style B&B's, ride up the Hudson to Rhinebeck, where you'll find WhistleWood, Maggie Myer's contemporary ranch home decorated with antique quilts, Navajo blankets, and primitive farm tools. Guests relax by the fire, in the solarium, or on the deck, but most often they can be found hanging out in Maggie's kitchen, sampling buttermilk pancakes, French toast, or scrambled eggs and bacon or sausage, all set out on the 1904 Gold Coin cookstove. In the afternoon, homemade fruit pie and chocolate-chip coffee cake with iced tea or lemonade will tempt even the strongest-willed. Guest rooms vary in size and price, from the Juniper Room in the main house, with an antique cherry queen-size four-poster and private deck, to the newly renovated barn suites. The Northwind has a stone fireplace facing the queen-size bed and a private patio overlooking the horse pastures. Area activities include the Old Rhinebeck Aerodrome -- watch an air show or ride in an open-cockpit biplane. Head north to Hudson to visit the Moorish Olana, home of painter Frederick Church, or south to Hyde Park, home of Franklin Roosevelt and the Culinary Institute of America. Top area restaurants include the Beekman Arms, Le Petit Bistro, and the Cripple Creek Café.

INFO WhistleWood Farm B&B, 52 Pells Road, 914-876-6838;; $95-$325; six guest rooms.

Veranda House
Rhinebeck, N.Y.

Just three blocks from Rhinebeck's shops, restaurants, and galleries, Veranda House is owned by friendly, knowledgeable innkeepers Linda and Ward Stanley. Linda's breakfasts look as good as they taste and are thoughtfully served until 10 a.m. on Saturdays, 11 a.m. on Sundays. We were delighted with the Rose Room and its queen-size pencil-post bed with fishnet canopy; the bathroom was small but new and well designed.

INFO Veranda House B&B, 6487 Montgomery Street, 914-876-4133;; $100-$150; five guest rooms.

Inn at Cooperstown
Cooperstown, N.Y.

Sports fanatics and -phobics alike will enjoy a visit to this little town in upstate New York. In addition to the famous Baseball Hall of Fame, the new National Soccer Hall of Fame awaits in nearby Oneonta. And the location of the Inn at Cooperstown -- less than two blocks from the Hall of Fame -- would be reason enough for many travelers to stay there. Built as a hotel in 1874 in the Second Empire style, the inn has been painstakingly restored by longtime owner Michael Jerome. Immaculate guest rooms are simply furnished with period reproductions; some have three twin beds, a good choice for families. A classic front porch is the perfect spot to relax on a rocking chair with a cool drink. The helpful staff offers refreshingly honest restaurant recommendations. And Cooperstown's not just for sports nuts. Culture seekers will be pleased with the Fenimore Art Museum, the Farmers' Museum, and, in July and August, the Glimmerglass Opera. There's good beer at the Ommegang Brewery, and fine food can be found at Gabriella's on the Square, the Hoffman Lane Bistro, the Hawkeye Bar & Grill at the Otesaga Hotel, and Blue Mingo overlooking Otsego Lake. There's boating and fishing, and rolling country roads for bicycling.

INFO The Inn at Cooperstown, 16 Chestnut Street, 607-547-5756;; $98-$155; seventeen guest rooms.

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