I visit Newport a lot with my family. We have a tradition of traveling there every 4th of July and have spent countless summer vacations in my favorite beach town. That being said, I’ve always been a tourist and a visitor. This week, Boots and I drove up for a short trip to visit Jess and stay at the dog-friendly Vanderbilt Grace Hotel. Jess and her boyfriend Craig (both Newport born and raised) took me to some of their favorite spots and I have a whole new love for the place.
After a stressful morning on Tuesday and a traffic-packed drive with an impatient puppy, I was feeling pretty anxious and tired when I arrived. After 20 minutes of walking on the other side of the Cliff Walk, I was calm and at peace. Something about that sea breeze makes all the difference. In the past, I’ve always entered the Cliff Walk at 1st beach and turned around after a short jaunt. This time, we entered halfway through and it was a completely different experience. We walked through tunnels, climbed on rocks, and our dogs were even able to swim!
Fun fact, it was the first time I’ve seen the puppy swim (scroll down for pics) and watching his joy in the cool salty ocean on a hot day made my heart burst. Yes, I’m that kind of dog mom these days…
After the walk, we changed and headed over to dinner with Loren at my favorite favorite favorite ever spot in Newport and maybe New England just because it brings back memories of the night before my wedding and other fun adventures, Clarke Cooke House, for oysters and cocktails. After two very generous pours of wine and probably not enough carbs, I was quite tipsy. It felt good to let loose with to friends and talk about everything from gun control to fertility to blogging. That kind of night is good for a person’s soul, you know?
The next morning, Jess and I, both total lightweights, woke up with mild hangovers that we were determined to crush. I picked up a matcha latte at Empire Coffee (it was surprisingly amazing!) to wake up, a protein nut smoothie and green juice from The Power of Juice for nutrients, and a spinach feta croissant from Sweet Berry Farm (a new favorite) to settle my stomach. The hangover was almost gone. Then Jess, a true island gal, realized that all we needed was a swim.
Instead of heading over to the tourist-packed beach, she took me to Fort Adams, where we climbed down some rocks to take a dip with a view of the bridge and sail boats passing by. Hangover, see you never! Again, the sea breeze and salt water cured us.
With sun-kissed skin and salt-washed hair, we headed back to the hotel for the main event of the trip… Yappy hour. Aka happy hour for dogs. The Vanderbilt hosts this from 1-2pm daily in their gorgeous ivy-lined garden with a full menu for pups! Cutest idea ever? I think yes. Boots and Jess’s dog Nora enjoyed bowls of chicken, rice and apples made by the hotel staff (photo below). They were treated like royalty and loved every second of it. If you have a dog and are in the area, you have to stop by, it’s pretty fabulous.
The day and a half I spent in Newport was therapeutic and perfect. It’s rare that I’ll take off a day or two in the middle of the week but this trip made me realize that life is too short to be behind my computer on the most beautiful of days. That’s why I work for myself right? I’d rather stay up later getting my work done while I enjoy the days. Thank you to Jess for teaching me that lesson. Pretty sure it’s about to be a great summer because of it!
Thank you to The Vanderbilt Grace for hosting us! Photos by Craig MacKay.
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