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Chester is a short drive off Route 103 and has the feel of a moneyed summer colony somewhere on the New England coast back in the roaring '20s. In any case, the town was first settled in 1759 by immigrants from New England and Great Britain, and today it has a population of about 1,600. The village is noted for its regal homes and quiet streets, along with the numerous islands offshore. The atmosphere here is uncrowded, untrammeled, lazy, and slow -- the way life used to be in summer resorts throughout the world. Change may be on the horizon: Canadian actors and authors have apparently discovered the place and are snapping up waterfront homes in town and on the islands as private retreats, giving a bit of cultural edge to the lazy feel of the spot. There's not really a public beach here, but the views and boat rides are more than enough to compensate.

The Chester Visitor Information Centre (tel. 902/275-4616; www.chesterns.com) is inside the old train station on Route 3, on the south side of town. It's open daily from 9am to 7pm.