Boutique Shelter Island Hotel a Stone's Throw from Crescent Beach
There's not a single traffic light on Shelter Island. It's a sign of the leisurely pace that prevails across this 27-square-mile stretch of land, which is situated on the east end of Long Island. Where the streets end, you'll find Mashomack Preserve, which acts as a sprawling refuge for hundreds of bird species. There are miles of quiet beaches here, too; they're all sparsely populated by anglers and sunbathers. La Maison Blanche is located steps from Crescent Beach, and the hotel makes it easy for you to enjoy this peaceful natural setting.
After arrival, guests are free to take out complimentary bicycles from the concierge. You can use the bikes to meander past historical estates on secluded side streets, or pedal into town to check out antique shops and art galleries. Once you're back at La Maison Blanche, you can lounge on a covered, wraparound porch, play bocce ball on the hotel's two courts, or take a nap poolside. In cooler weather, cozy up by the fire with a glass of wine.
The hotel's eight guest rooms overlook meticulously maintained flower gardens. When New York Times travel correspondent Donna Paul stayed in the king-size room, she lauded its 165-square-foot bathroom as "like being in a grand private home."
In the morning, you can gather around the hotel's wood fireplace or on the porch to enjoy French-style pastries that were baked on the premises. La Maison Blanche also houses a brasserie-style restaurant, where Chef Charles Le Tous uses local organic ingredients to enhance traditional French dishes such as duck confit ($28) and moules marinieres ($16).
Shelter Island, New York: Coastal Wilderness Refuge and Victorian-Style Houses
Shelter Island is located on the east end of Long Island, New York. Nearly one-third of Shelter Island is set aside as Mashomack Preserve, which has 2,100 acres of meadows, salt marshes, and oak forest. You can pass through the preserve only on foot, but it's fine to take it slow here—you might spot ospreys or snowy egrets that often roost along the refuge's 10 miles of pristine coastline.
Meanwhile, walking through Shelter Island Heights—located 4 miles away on the island's west end—can feel like stepping into an idyllic past. Queen Anne– and Victorian-style houses and storefronts line the quiet streets, and historical residences such as Havens House feature period furnishings and antique fishing equipment. After exploring the town, step into a harbor bar, where you can dine on freshly caught lobster, scallops, or striped bass.