During the summer all New York City roads seem to end in the Hamptons. But with few decent hotels, the best way to spend the night has usually been renting ($200,000 for the season is not unheard of) or houseguesting (invariably a hellish proposition). So the Ivy, a gem of a bed-and-breakfast on Southampton's historic North Main Street, is especially welcome. Recently renovated and surrounded by the proverbial white picket fence, the rambling good-morning yellow Colonial, circa 1860, now offers five handsome guest rooms with spacious private baths, a tree-filled garden, and a serene pool. Breakfast is delicious-the smell of baking bread summons guests to the dining room. And the owners provide exceptional concierge services-they can even obtain dinner reservations on a Saturday night in August. But for real bliss, check in during the off-season, when the summer people are nowhere to be seen and the deserted beach is poetry.
THE IVY, 244 N. Main St., Southampton; 516/283-3233; doubles from $165.