For New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day/New Year’s Weekend- I had wanted to do something extravagant and decadent since I intended to (violently) shove 2020 out the door and ring in 2021 on my own- all while still being safe, masked, and socially distanced to protect both myself and others. While simply ordering takeout and staying in my apartment was an option- and admittedly probably the safest one- some of my neighbors had been having company for the holidays in recent weeks. Wanting to avoid the noise and any potential risks that having strangers loitering around the halls and within my building posed- I opted to head out of town for a few days until I could be sure that I was able to return safely.
I’ve spent New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day in a lot of different places around the East Coast- Boston, of course- as well as NYC, Hampton Beach, Nantucket, Salem, Vermont, so on and so forth. As I was researching viable options to kick off the new year this time around, however- it dawned on me that I had never celebrated in one of my favorite coastal, ritzy cities in New England- Newport, Rhode Island.
Newport has long been one of my favorite destinations- typically for day trips- for as far back as I can remember. It has incredible restaurants, chic and unique boutiques, beautiful views of the ocean- and an eclectic mix of small, historic, colonial-style homes- and over-the-top grandeur in the form of the famous mansions/museums that line Bellevue Avenue. I’ve always been drawn to the sprawling, palace-inspired homes of the Vanderbilts (a palm reader once told me in my teens that I had been royalty or an aristocrat in Eastern Europe in a past life- so maybe my expensive taste can be attributed to that. You never know!)– so spending a few days living lavishly around a place I know well and love seemed ideal.
I booked the Chesterfield Suite at the Hydrangea House Inn– an exquisite bed and breakfast renowned for their amenities and food- on Bellevue Avenue and just a short stroll away from The Elms and The Breakers. My room included a huge bed and shower (with a steam/sauna option,) a hot tub and a fireplace- already making it the perfect place for some rest and relaxation. The room was spotless and thoroughly disinfected- which made me feel more at ease as I settled in- and the staff were so unbelievably kind and accommodating.
Shortly after my arrival, I was provided with a complimentary glass of wine and a cheese and fruit plate as I prepared for a special New Year’s Eve dinner they were offering to guests after they had spaced out their dining room/living room to safely socially distance. The meal- six courses with plenty of wine and champagne- was one of the most incredible dining experiences I’ve had in a very, very long time. Looking around the dining area at other guests who were also participating- I wasn’t the only one who had been completely blown away by the time and thought put into it. Everything was amazing- and I’ve already been scouring the web for a comparable recipe for their mushroom strudel since I returned home to the Pioneer Valley over the weekend.
At midnight, I was flooded with calls/texts from friends and family- most of whom were watching the unusual NYE celebration in Times Square from their homes (for the record, Anderson Cooper and Andy Cohen getting fall-down drunk and giggly is my favorite New Year’s tradition) and were just as glad to be rid of 2020 as I was before I blew a kiss to the sky- and to Kelsey- made a wish for the coming year ahead and turned in for the night.
I had thought my New Year’s Eve dinner couldn’t be topped- but the staff at Hydrangea House made sure my breakfasts (both on New Year’s Day and January 2nd- my last day in town before I eventually returned home) were memorable, too- also with multiple courses and as much coffee as I wanted. I couldn’t help but snap photos of everything because it was all so divine. I felt so pampered- and full!- by the time I headed back to my apartment.
When I wasn’t eating or soaking in my hot tub- I was out stretching my legs- walking around the grounds of The Elms and on the gorgeous Cliff Walk that extends along the coast and wraps around some of Newport’s most famous mansions for just over three miles. I also did some shopping- picking up new clothes and accessories I’ll be sharing in an upcoming OOTD post.
And when I needed to refuel- I turned to some of the local cafes like Empire Tea & Coffee and Picnic Newport (right next to where I was staying!) for my much-needed latte fixes.
I also treated myself to my second incredible dinner in Newport at The White Horse Tavern while I was in town- but I’m going to be talking about that experience a little later on this week!
It goes without saying that overall, my New Year’s Weekend was an indulgent, worth-every-penny solo adventure that I will never forget. I had an amazing, totally Zen time that I feel was the perfect way to distance myself from what had been a turbulent, trying year and usher in a new one filled with new hopes/dreams and possibilities. I love Newport and I cannot wait to visit again!
I hope that all of you reading this also had a relaxing, relieving New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day. I know 2021 will undoubtedly be tough since we’re all still reeling from events that transpired in 2020- but I’m trying to remain hopeful and optimistic- and do everything in my power to make it better year.