This picturesque, sophisticated New England coastal village at the mouth of Connecticut's Five Mile River is straight out of a Norman Rockwell illustration. No wonder Rowayton, with its clapboard and shingle homes perched along its rocky shorelines, has lured artists for centuries.
In fact, many New Englanders don't even know this gem, making it all the more dear for those 4,000 or so who call it home. But art—and beauty—does come at a price. It's one of the most expensive spots in the state (as well as the nation). And yet this village has a low-key sensibility, with pizza joints, ice-cream parlors, and a volunteer fire department.
Where to stay: The family-owned Norwalk Inn on the Norwalk River offers 72 rooms and verdant grounds a 10-minute drive from Rowayton. Rates start at $99;