The closing of the curtain at the end of our Thrill of Contact performance at the Boston Opera House on Sunday marked the end of an incredible 2014/2015 season with the Boston Ballet. For me in particular, this was a huge triumph considering I had been out all of last season due to an injury. Successfully completing a full season was such a tremendous joy for me. Being back on the Boston Opera House stage, dancing among and for some of my very best friends made all the struggles of the past year and a half worth it. Of course, the focus and attention this took prevented me from paying as much attention as I would have liked to my blog, but with ten weeks of summer vacation and travel ahead..that is all about to change:)
I started off straight away with a day trip to Newport, RI. Just over an hour drive from Boston, it is a perfect spot to spend a day out of the city.
Downtown Newport is fairly touristy, with your usual 'Island living' souvenir shops, fudge and kitschy jewelry. I would recommend instead to organize your day around the Cliff Walk and a reservation at Castle Hill Inn.
The Cliff Walk is a wonderful way to see the eastern shoreline of RI and to experience some of the most opulent and elaborate mansions from the Gilded Age. Purchase a ticket to one, two or all of the mansions, or simply stroll along the path that hugs the cliffs for beautiful views of the ocean and a great vantage point to the houses themselves. We opted for a look inside the Vanderbilt's' mansion - the Breakers. With 17 bedrooms and many more hidden doorways, the wealth this family enjoyed is almost unfathomable. My favorite part of the house was the kitchen, with incredible stoves, ovens and elegant copper ware.
After building up an appetite on your Cliff walk, head to Castle Hill Inn for a range of experiences just waiting to be had. For drinks, snacks and sunsets, snag a chair on The Lawn. Castle Hill Inn boasts one of the top viewing spots on the coast for boat watching.
The Guilty pineapple is a delight of smoky mezcal, jalapeno and pineapple - it goes down a treat with their cheese platter too:)
When you are ready for something a little more substantial, head inside where you can enjoy the views from their dining room. Chef Karsten Hart leads the team in a beautifully honest and artful approach to New England cuisine. Showcasing a variety of menus, from three courses to a Chef's Tasting menu, the evening will proceed with friendly, but very professional service.
Seafood is naturally highlighted, starting with a glass of Sancerre and a dozen oysters is something I would recommend. The seared Georges Bank sea scallops were absolutely delicious and expertly paired with a dry Riesling from the Finger Lakes region.
The second course included more substantial options like their bacon wrapped wild boar loin with grits...
Or perhaps you wish to stay in the seafood realm and choose to enjoy the cast-iron seared Yellowfin Tuna. The Maine lobster risotto which I saw being brought to other happy guests also looked exquisite.
To end your meal, desserts are fun and rich. The cookie dough souffle takes an additional 15 minutes, but you most likely will have no problem stretching your stay here as much as possible...and it's well worth the wait. My personal favorite was their chocolate blackberry tart on a bed of crispy cocoa-almond sable.
From start to finish, Castle Hill Inn is a superb experience. They have a recipe for success both within the kitchen and throughout their property. Their view of the water and the Victorian architecture of the main building bring character and charm, as does their staff and a trip to Newport without a visit to Castle Hill Inn would be incomplete.