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Even within a specific locale, Yankees defend their favorite haunts. Nowhere is this more true than Nantucket, where many a fine summer evening has been wasted arguing about the relative merits of, say, Squam versus 'Sconset (debates fueled, it most be said, by a few too many stiff drinks). We have two things to say about this: One, you're lucky to be at the beach at all, so stop bickering; and, two, Squam really is better.
Here is the home you think of when your thoughts turn to Nantucket: a wood-shingled house turned a silvery gray, sitting up on a high, breezy point with scrubby coastal vegetation all around and sweeping views of the ocean. (Bonus points if there's a lighthouse visible out at least one window.) This gracious compound has all of the above and more, notably a separate guest cottage with two bedrooms, two bathrooms (plus one half-bath) and a kitchen, living room with cathedral ceilings and an upstairs deck. In the main house there are an additional four bedrooms, including a master suite with a sitting area and a private deck. As for our bonus points, thank you very much, the property has fine views of the Sankaty Head lighthouse. It is listed with Marybeth Gibson of Congdon & Coleman in Nantucket (508-325-5000).
Newport, Rhode Islan
Ah, Newport. It is jaw-droppingly wealthy, but also a little quirky, rather like a Gilded-Age grande dame that drinks gin and wears red lipstick. It's steeped in history but also thoroughly modern, with loads of sailing and cultural events crowding the calendar from May through Labor Day. And, despite its air of refined gentility, the coastline has the raw power of nature unleashed, with its soaring cliffs and rocky bluffs. This summer, the town is abuzz with news of the two properties listed here.