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Steals for the season

It's now dark at 5 p.m., and the chill has returned. It is, after all, November in Massachusetts, and there's nothing we can do about it.

But there are perks that come with the arrival of the cold season: The tourists have gone home or, at the very least, found a ski slope to call their own. Those who spent the summer flocking to Cape Cod and other waterside spots have departed. Even the leaf-peepers have, for the most part, retreated.

For you, that means there are deals to be had, especially where there's water. During peak season, shoreline hotels can charge hundreds per night. But starting today, many of those same hotels have droped their rates under the $100 mark. Here's a short list of places to get away on the cheap this season:

Anchor In 1 South St., Hyannis, 508-775-0357.

"Off-peak is kind of a subjective term, I suppose," says Skip Simpson, owner of the Anchor In in Hyannis. Simpson, who has kept his hotel open year-round since 1988, says he has plenty of winter guests, and that more come each year.

"The Cape has evolved into more of a year-round place," Simpsons says. "The spring starts a bit earlier every year. The fall lasts longer every year."

He has devised ways to make the seaside spot friendly for fall and winter guests. Lately, he's been showing off a collection of over size pumpkins, including a 600-pounder.

But the main attraction at the In is the reduced room rate. In the summer, Simpson charges about $180 a night. This week, you can get a room for about $99. The Anchor also gives you coupons for meals at the Roadhouse Cafe, nearby on South Street.

"We slow down quite a bit," says Lisa Hurley of the Roadhouse, "but during the winter we have nice fireplaces. It's cozy."

Tuck Inn Bed and Breakfast 17 High St., Rockport, 978-546-7260.

When Rockport ceased to be a dry town two years ago, its businesses decided there was more tourist potential during winter.

"More restaurants will extend their seasons this year because of the liquor," says Scott Wood, owner of the Tuck.

That means it's not as lonely in the Cape Ann town once the winter season hits, and you can actually find places to eat when you visit the Tuck. As of this week, the bed and breakfast began offering its winter special: two nights for two people for $175 a room. That's less than half of summer's peak rate.

"It's very, very quiet in the winter," Wood says. "People come up here because they want to get away. They want to look at the ocean because it's rugged. It's kind of wild."

The Tuck is about a block from the ocean and restaurants such as the Greenery, which boasts a drink menu along with its food.

Crowne Point Historic Inn & Spa 82 Bradford St., Provincetown, 508-487-6767.

The Crowne Point, which aims to be a year-round spot where couples can escape for romantic getaways (the Inn never allows children under 16), drops its rates significantly when the temperature drops. Rates at this Provincetown hideaway drop from about $249 for a basic room to $120 from October through December.

The Crowne Point also has a "Cape Escape" package that starts this month and continues through April. For $599, you can get a room for two for two nights, a romantic dinner, a hot breakfast, a wine-and-cheese reception hour, and two treatments at the Shui Spa in the hotel.

Compared to summer rates, that's a savings of about $300. A steal, right?

"Very much so," says guest agent Michelle Gouveia. "It's just pure relaxation. It's time to get away."

blue 20 Fordham Way, Newbury, 617-465-7171.

This relatively new inn, modeled after waterfront hotels in Miami, is the only commercial spot to stay on Plum Island, a Bay State haven that is so small, it pretty much just has one of everything.

The inn is meant to be luxurious and caters to the elite and trendy (can't you tell by the lower-case lettering of its name? ), but in the winter, you can get a moderate break -- $100 off any room. Winter rates range from $200 for a basic room to $895 for blue's two-level, kitchen-equipped condo on the water. And as of next week, the hotel will also start offering massage packages for travelers.

"It's very romantic to watch a nice ocean storm, to sit in front of the fireplace," says hotel manager Diane Beaudry.

It's best to visit on weekends. That's when businesses, including the Plum Island Grill (one of the island's only restaurants), are open.

John Carver Inn 25 Summer St., Plymouth, 508-746-7100.

This cozy Plymouth spot offers a special package for winter travelers during what it calls "the quiet season."

The inn charges about $150 a night for its "Fire and Ice" package, depending on what day of the week and month you check in. The special, which starts today and runs through April, includes a coupon toward dinner at the hotel, a bottle of champagne, and a box of chocolates to get you in the mood.

The main attraction at the John Carver is its indoor pool, a replica of the Mayflower designed by a former Disney artist. The set up features a faux Plymouth Rock and an 80-foot water slide. Nothing says winter getaway quite like that.

Have you found good deals by the water during the winter? Share your travel secrets at

Meredith Goldstein's column on going out now runs on Wednesdays. She can be reached at