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Sure, Andre Balasz's Sunset Beach hotel makes for a convenient East End getaway, but there's no harm in adding a new, sophisticated locale to your Shelter Island repertoire.

This summer, we suggest a stay at the just-opened La Maison Blanche, a 19th-century Victorian home turned Cote d'Azur-style crash pad, complete with a petanque court, gazebo and French bakery on the premises.

There are limited accommodations at this charming boutique hotel ($225 to $525 a night), so you won't have to worry about noisy guests or big crowds. This said, you'll want to book fast since each of the eight rooms--we like suite four for its oversized bathroom and garden view--is sure to fill up quickly.

With an on-site brasserie helmed by Bistro Vendôme's Charles Le Tous and a hot address on Crescent Beach (Shelter Island's top stretch of sand), there's really no reason to leave. But should area attractions call, you can borrow one of the hotel's complimentary bikes.

Make reservations now for July 14, Bastille Day, when the hotel will host a petanque tournament. Plus, as a Maison guest, you can book preferential rates for a Sound Aircraft-chartered flight from the city--provided gridlock traffic doesn't appeal.

Your next vacation could be a seaplane hop away.

La Maison Blanche, 11 Stearns Point Rd., Shelter Island Heights; 631-749-1633 or

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