Updated: Apr 29, 2019
When my best friend of 20 years told me she didn’t want to celebrate her birthday this year, I couldn’t take “no” for an answer. As a Mom of 2 toddlers, I knew it might be tricky to convince her to commit to a weekend away. But I also knew that if it worked out, it would be just the retreat that Jordan deserved.
Thankfully the stars aligned and I was able to bring Jordan along for a much anticipated stay at The La Farge Perry House in Newport, RI.
The city holds special meaning for both of us; Jordan and her husband were married there, and I’ve shared many special visits with friends and family over the years (including Jordan’s wedding). The most memorable of these was when I spent my birthday in the harbor beneath a full moon the summer that I sailed down the East Coast on my 27’ Pearson Renegade. If you haven't been to Newport before, it is a quintessential coastal New England city, filled with nautical charm and home to renowned sailing regattas.
We arrived in the coastal town just before our hotel check-in, so we decided to kick off our festivities immediately with lunch downtown. Much to our surprise it was the beginning of restaurant week in Newport! We enjoyed lunch at the Midtown Oyster Bar.
When we made it to the La Farge Perry House, it immediately felt like home away from home. It is one of the most comfortable, low key yet upscale Inns that I’ve visited. We were greeted by Paula, the InnKeeper, who is such a warm and friendly host. She was eager to share a tour of the property and answer any questions we had about the historic home. The details in each room were noticeably cared for and many have been restored to their former glory by the present owners, including a fireplace and a second floor banister which were both hidden behind walls at the time of purchase.
The house dates to 1853 and was owned shortly thereafter by the renowned painter, John La Farge. The Inn itself is named after him, and many of the guest rooms have been named in honor of his family members. Jordan and I were lucky enough to stay in the Oliver Perry Suite, which is finished in nautical decor meant to resemble a naval commodore's quarters.
Jordan and I made ourselves at home, enjoying the couch and gas fireplace in our Suite. I took a shower while Jordan enjoyed some rare alone time, which she used to catch up on some reading.
In the early evening, Paula hosts a complimentary wine and cheese hour in the parlor which is the ideal time to take advantage of her knowledge of the surrounding area and ask for recommendations. Jordan and I really enjoyed chatting with Paula and took her suggestion to enjoy a drink at their sister hotel, The Chanler. She was even kind enough to set up a tour of the property for us.
The Chanler is the first building on the popular cliff walk in Newport, with outstanding views of the ocean. It is the former "cottage" of Congressman John Winthrop Chanler, dating to the 1870s. The charm of the gilded age is alive and well on this property, which we were able to enjoy right as the sun was setting. Jordan and I shared a drink in the lounge before heading downtown for dinner.
Restaurant week in Newport can be hectic, but we were lucky enough to find seats at the bar of The Mooring Restaurant. I had one of the most enjoyable meals I've had in awhile - Braised lamb with sweet potato gnocchi, shallot confit, brussels sprouts, and goat cheese. It was the perfect comfort food for a chilly Autumn evening.
We ordered dessert to-go and brought it back to The La Farge Perry House so that we could savor the moments in our suite. We turned on the television, browsed Instagram, and laughed a lot. These relaxed moments are what makes traveling with a close friend so special - we could fully unwind without pressure to fulfill any obligations.
The next morning we enjoyed a lovely breakfast prepared by Paula in the dining room. I opted for french toast with coffee and orange juice. The early morning light flooded the room which is surround by oil painted murals dating to the early 1900s. Paula was very attentive and enjoyed helping us plan our afternoon.
We spent our day driving along Bellevue Avenue to admire the mansions. We continued along Ocean Drive, which reminded both Jordan and I of Rye, NH, close to our hometown. We drove with the windows down, sipped coffee, and stopped for a walk on the rocky beach; A pretty perfect way to end a special weekend away with one of my closest friends.
Our trip was drawing to a close, so we said our goodbyes to Paula, who was kind enough to offer us continued parking and use of the common washroom throughout the day if we wished to explore Newport beyond our check-out. This level of hospitality is a rarity these days and really made a difference to our travel experience. A huge thank you to John, Paula, and the entire team at the La Farge Parry House for hosting us. Our weekend was one for the memory books!
Questions about our stay? Feel free to send me a message. I'd love to hear from you.