Sometimes I can really confuse myself…like earlier this summer…
One of the very sweet readers here wrote to tell me about her dreamy trip to New England. She said one of the highlights of her vacation was sitting outside Castle Hill Inn in Newport and watching the sailboats go by.
You need to do a post on the beach cottages there, she told me.
And I said, Oh yes! I am already planning on writing about them later this summer.
You see, I had previously researched the inn, and I had researched the architectural firm of Carpenter and MacNeille where I learned they had renovated The Inn at Castle Hill. That is where I got confused. The names are sooo similar, I thought they were the same inn…but no…The Inn at Castle Hill is in Ipswich, Massachusetts, and Castle Hill Inn is in Rhode Island. Got that straight? Today we are taking a look at the Rhode Island inn.
Before we look at the precious beach cottages, I want you to know about the inn itself.
Castle Hill Inn was once the home of Alexander Emmanuel Agassiz. He was born in Switzerland, came to the United States with his father, had a great interest in biology, (especially marine biology) and studied at Harvard. (His father founded the museum of natural history at Harvard.) Alexander became well known around the world for his work as a scientist. Through a friend of his sister’s husband, he became interested in the copper mines in Calumet, Michigan and eventually made his fortune through them. In 1874, he and his brother-in-law had summer homes built in Maine and shipped to Newport. (Can you imagine shipping houses of that size??) They were sited on a peninsula along Narragansett Bay, and the Agassiz family moved in during the summer of 1875. Unfortunately, his sister and brother-in-law’s home burned to the ground in 1880 before anyone even lived in it.
In 1890, Mr. Agassiz deeded a portion of his property on the bay to the U.S. Government, (for $1) and the Castle Hill Lighthouse was built there.
The Agassiz summer home served as a base and officer’s quarters during World War II, and then later it was used as a summer hotel. In the 1950’s Grace Kelly loved a portion of the rocky shore so much that it became known as Grace Kelly Beach. (They even built the wooden steps that lead down to the beach for her.)
In 2003, a major restoration project was undertaken with Northeast Collaborative Architects. Siding, chimneys, and windows were replaced. Much of the first floor was reconfigured. A new copper roof was added, and the tower was replicated.
So now that you have had your history lesson, let’s take a look inside the beautifully renovated inn.
The lobby area seems dark and masculine. (Don’t go thinking the whole place is like this…you are going to be surprised.)
Here is one of the four dining rooms with wonderful views of the water.
The terrace dining area…
You can even be served while relaxing in one of their waterfront adirondack chairs.
Would you like to see some of the rooms in which you can stay? (You’re thinking …Finally… aren’t you?) Alright. Long long ago I came across a photo of their Turret Room. I was smitten with it…thinking it to be the most romantic room I had ever seen. In fact it was what led me to my researching the inn. Yes, it is dark, but I would call it tall, dark, and handsome.
It is a two level suite, and the second level sitting room has amazing 320 degree views of the water.
There are eight other rooms in the main inn including the Mrs. Agassiz Room which was renovated in 2011.
And there is more. If you follow a path from the inn towards the harbor, you will come upon the Harbor Houses.
These overlook the area of the rocky shore where Grace Kelly loved to swim. Here is a look inside one of the houses.
And there is more.
There are beach houses about 250 yards from the main inn as well…
with these incredible views.
Of course, I saved my very favorite for last…the Beach Cottages.
These rooms do not have one speck of darkness in them. They are light, bright, and fresh.
The walls make them look rustic to me, but they are anything but rustic. You will find a variety of amenities (which vary from cottage to cottage) including fireplaces, heated floors, and whirlpool tubs.
So do you have a favorite? These are obviously not accomodations for staying within a budget. Any of these luxury spaces would have to be for a major celebration trip for us to even consider..but who knows? Maybe one day we will be celebrating something big sitting in that green rattan chair up there looking out at the Atlantic.
I hope your weekend is a good one…whether you are celebrating something big or just relaxing at home.
Until next time…