Spring Lake Inn
104 Salem Avenue
Number of rooms: 17
Before the summer rush, this quiet beach town is particularly charming. Visitors can stroll the hushed, two-mile non-commercial boardwalk, enjoy public tennis and basketball courts, or visit Divine Park for fishing or a saunter across one of the footbridges, which cross the town’s sixteen-acre lake and connect to more than 60 downtown shops and BYO restaurants. All this can be enjoyed within walking distance of the Spring Lake Inn.
The atmosphere of this late-19th century mansion—just one block from the ocean—is genteel but never precious. The exterior is decidedly Victorian, but the manor’s seventeen guest rooms are an interesting fusion of that era’s baroque aesthetic with touches of contemporary minimalism. Sharp angles, eccentric window shapes, and primary colors abound, especially on the third floor.
Common areas include a first-floor parlor replete with a big-screen plasma TV, shelves of books, board games, and DVDs, and a cozy fireplace for chilly spring evenings. There’s also a gorgeous, 80-foot, wraparound Victorian porch, where visitors can sip a glass of wine while basking in the setting sun.
Innkeepers Andrew Seaman and his wife, Barbara, treat guests to daily breakfasts that can range from crème brulée French toast to the inn’s popular spinach pie. An exceptional variety of teas, fresh fruit, and cookies are also available throughout the afternoon. From May 1 to October 31, rates range from $199 to $599 a night, prices drop thereafter.