Summer is winding down, and again, I feel frustrated I’ve missed it’s blissful abandon. Not a single nap in the hammock on a Sunday afternoon, nor have I dragged a chair to the beach, just to gaze out to sea, dreaming the day away.
Does anyone feel fully rested anymore? Summer is our time to repair, restore and regain our youthful vigor and playfulness. Oh how I want to!
We’ve fled to Ocean House in Rhode Island for an impromptu respite. I was longing to
relax in a beachy place where bare feet are de rigeur, picnic hampers are replete with a chilled bottle of wine and local cheese, and floppy hats cover wind tousled hair.
Ocean House is a grand hotel on a hillside overlooking the sea. Though it only just reopened in 2010 after a long renovation, it has captured the feel of a comfy old dowager, with deep porches, rocking chairs, a croquet lawn, and the Atlantic Ocean breaking on the glorious beach below.
The original hotel was built in 1868, shortly after the Civil War as a place for the well to do to escape the summer heat and tedium of the city. It’s ocean breezes, gentle surf and lovely lodgings made it a popular destination for more than a century. Eventually, though steeped in nostalgia and an historical treasure overlooking Watch Hill, the hotel had not kept abreast of timely renovations, and was seriously not up to code and safety regulations. In its last few years, the upper floors were closed due to safety concerns.
Fortunately, Charles Royce, a long time summer resident, recognized the need for a great hotel on the Atlantic coast. He bought the property and respectfully rebuilt it, restoring her dignity and old world grandeur, while instilling a comfort and luxury on par with the best resorts.
The spirit of the original hotel lives on in this new place. All 247 windows were positioned exactly as they were in her heyday, and thousands of embellishments were saved before the building was razed.
The staff are excellent and focused, and go out of their way to fulfill any request. The maids feel like they were trained at Downton Abbey. Efficient, discreet, invisible.
I found a small piece of what I thought I had lost. Summer lives on in Watch Hill.