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Location: Little Compton, R.I.
The Skinny: Set at the edge of the sea on the end of a windswept promontory in Rhode Island, Southwinds pretty much epitomizes a certain kind of New England oceanfront home: the stolid, solidly built bulwark against the wind and salt air, a sturdy wooden box with spectacular views of rocky shoals and lighthouses, a safe haven where the waves pounding against the rugged shoreline are the aural backdrop to nights spent nursing rum punch in front of the fireplace. And sure, that's a romantic take on it, but during its run as a summer rental the compound has inspired guests such as Rufus Wainwright, who worked on his opera Prima Donna there and, in a recent WSJ piece, applauded its "good vibes." The house, which was built in 1905, has been in the same family for almost 70 years, and it definitely has the air of a homey, unpretentious family retreat (though with seven bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms, those holiday gatherings must have been an intense exercise in morning bathroom scheduling). The owners are asking $2.995M for the 3,96-square-foot home, which also comes with a wraparound porch, five fireplaces, and a freshwater shower on the lawn.