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Inn of the Month: The Ivy, Southampton, NY

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.

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