On Connecticut's scenic coast, not far from New Haven, the town of Madison is a true gem. The downtown is walkable and chock full of contemporary works of art, like this sculpture. (Pick up a self-guided brochure at the visitor's center and try to find all the public works of art.) In addition, it’s a short stroll from main street to three public beaches and an easy bike ride to a fourth. Among the must-dos: sipping a glass of wine at Bar Bouchee, a French bistro with a large selection of wines by the glass; browsing the numerous staff recommended titles at R.J. Julia Booksellers, a large independent bookstore; and enjoying a lunch of crab cakes or mac and cheese at the low-key Elizabeth's Cafe.