It's here! Our annual list of the top 10 spots to live in bliss by the sea. Discover the winners!
By Tracey Minkin
Would Taylor Swift steer you wrong? The pop legend picked this Rhode Island village for her home away from home in 2012 when she paid $17 million for a local mansion. But elegantly low-key Watch Hill, with its sprawling Victorian "cottages" (in the understated parlance here), has taken it all in stride.
With a tiny population—just about 200 year-round residents—Watch Hill exudes a relaxed feel that makes it an enviable escape for any lucky visitor. Set on a peninsula in Westerly, Rhode Island, this tiny community boasts three beaches, but the centerpiece is Napatree Point. The two-mile spit of New England sand is backed by gentle dunes and arcs gracefully into the Atlantic. A favorite spot for yachts to anchor, Napatree is full of hustle and bustle at its origin, but empties out to blissful solitude for those beach lovers who invest in a good walk along its length.
Watch Hill's quaint downtown is pure New England summer pleasure. Families return each season to ride the chain-hung steeds and compete to grab the brass ring on the Flying Horse Carousel, one of the nation's oldest. And the historic Olympia Tea Room, known for its old-fashioned Yankee fare (and swan-shaped cream puffs, in honor of the feathered residents), has updated to a locavore's hangout with an extensive wine list, artisan cocktails, and "complimentary sunsets."
Where to Stay: An impeccably renovated Victorian seaside hotel, Ocean House is a prime New England coastal destination with broad verandas, exquisite amenities, excellent restaurants, and an award-winning spa. Rates start at $390; 888-552-2588 or oceanhouseri.com.