Now fully vaccinated, I am eager to start exploring again. After a year of cancelled trips, postponed events and social restrictions, I was thinking of a quick escape. A place with sun, sea and scenery. Somewhere close to home- but not too far. An overnight trip to Westerly, Rhode Island turned out to be perfectly suited for my first post-vaccination vacation.
Westerly is located in the southwestern -most corner of Rhode Island. It is one of New England’s appealingly lesser known seaside destinations and is just a short hop down I-95 from Boston. The short jog at the end, along Rhode Island’s Route 1A, is absolutely charming; taking in peeks of coastline and farmland bordered by stone walls and quirky roadside stands.
How wonderful, I thought as my husband and I came upon the Weekapaug Inn. The graceful, weathered cedar- shingled manse was surrounded by sea grass and cattails that whispered softly in the breeze of a sheltered inlet.
In terms of a reintroduction to travel, the Weekapaug Inn ticks a lot of boxes- with just 33 rooms it is tailor made for social distancing. There are well-spaced Adirondack chairs facing a dock on a crescent of perfectly manicured lawn, a private beach, a large lap pool, two on-site restaurants as well as several seasonal al fresco dining options. The Weekapaug Inn’s social distancing protocols and enhanced cleaning practices meant that I felt completely comfortable that the property was taking every possible measure to ensure all guest’s health and safety.
Weekapaug Inn is an historic inn, a remnant of the Gilded Age, having first welcomed guests in 1899. The original inn, which was destroyed in the Great New England Hurricane 1938, was rebuilt in 1939 and has been reimagined in recent years to offer everything one would want for an upscale, quintessential New England near-the-sea vacation.
The lobby sets the laidback, but luxurious tone with a wood burning fireplace (well-tended by the young bar staff), a collection of Audubon prints and original Stickley furniture. I love a good vignette- and there are so many details here; a telescope for viewing the stars, a sweet writing desk to pen a postcard, as well as stacks of books and fresh flowers all about.
Weekapaug Inn is all about light-filled space with plenty of modern touches. There’s a whimsical beach scene mural in the lobby stairwell and a well-stocked borrowing closet of Hunter boots and outerwear. The color palette of white, creams and muted greens harkens the surrounding natural setting. Throughout the inn, windows look out to Quonochontaug Pond, called Quonnie by locals, with views to the Atlantic that is just beyond.
At check in we were offered a glass of sparkling- always a good start! Our room was cozy and charming with an eclectic beach house chic theme. A feather top bed was supremely comfortable and was dressed in Matouk sheets. The marble bathroom was posh (a heated towel rack) and featured both a freestanding soaking tub and a separate oversized walk-in rain shower. It was a room that you want to linger in.
On the nightstand: a Sibley’s & binoculars…clearly I am among my people!
During our overnight stay we enjoyed an ample dose of curated activities that tap into the mind and body. You can opt for a cooking class, a boating excursion or yoga session. No matter what you do during the day, definitely plan to cozy up to the fire pit on the lawn for nightly seaside s’mores.
Captain Teddy, Weekapaug’s Inn on-site naturalist, leads tide pool walks, birding and star-gazing excursions. He will also point you to just the right beach, bike route or fishing hole. Teddy was our guide for both an afternoon beach walk and a sunset jeep tour to Watch Hill to see the lighthouse. Along the way we saw Misquamicut State Beach, the Flying Horse Carousel (which dates from 1878) and the Westerly historic district. The highlight for me? Seeing Taylor Swift’s cottage/mansion perched on a bluff overlooking Watch Hill (and texted a photo of it to my four millennial kids as proof!)
The inn’s main restaurant evokes a warm clubby feel with picture windows that frame the water view. At lunch we shared the meze box with all our favorite nibbles- olives, tomatoes, cucumbers, flat bread, feta and some seriously good homemade hummus. My main was an easy choice. The Rhode Island lobster roll of course- my first of the season. Is there really nothing better? I think not.
For dinner we dressed up and headed to Weekapaug Inn’s highly-acclaimed Brasserie which features a menu of New England and Rhode Island-centric dishes accompanied by a deep wine list. I kicked off the evening with a flute of champagne which paired perfectly with the native oysters. I then had the upscale, yet down home, grilled Berkshire pork chop with bacon onion jam and apples. For dessert we settled on splitting an artful chocolate mousseline. Lingering over our coffees as the light faded and the fog rolled in, we reflected on the possibilities of a post-Covid world. Suddenly traveling feels in reach again. With its intimate rooms, impeccable service and expansive space, the Weekapaug Inn, is an ideal destination to make up for some lost time.
Note: Many thanks to the Weekapaug Inn for hosting my stay.