Instead of battling the traffic to the Hamptons, take a one-hour ride north to the Inn at National Hall, a restored 1873 Italianate brick building set on the Saugatuck River in the heart of Westport. Fifteen individually themed guest rooms are furnished with antiques and four-poster beds. But the real draw is the new restaurant, Miramar, chef Todd English presiding. The elegant contemporary room, accented by floor-to-ceiling shimmering green panels of translucent fabric, with an additional outdoor dining area overlooking the river, is an ideal setting for Todd's complex, bold-flavored Mediterranean cuisine. Directly across the river is Main Street, an elegant shopping center, and if you fancy a swim, the inn will provide passes for Compo Beach (once frequented by Zelda and Scott Fitzgerald). There are antiques shops on Riverside Avenue and Post Road West, as well as along Route 7 North in nearby Wilton. On the weekend of April 23, there's the Southport-Westport Antiques Show, but this weekend it's the Greenfield Hill Dogwood Festival, when, if all goes right, the plentiful dogwood trees in that handsome neighborhood will be in full pink-and-white blossom.
DETAILS The Inn at National Hall (203-221-1351; rooms start at $250, suites at $450); Miramar (203-222-2267; entrées, $20 to $28); Greenfield Hill Dogwood Festival (May 811; 203-259-5596); Southport-Westport Antiques Show (April 2325; 203-319-1347); Westport tourist info (203-227-9234).