Archive for June, 2014
When the completely renovated Paradise Farmhouse at Norman Bird Sanctuary was revealed this spring, it was clear an extraordinary new chapter in this historic home’s book had arrived. It is the oldest structure on the 325-acre NBS property, dating back to the early 1700s when it was a mere shack for tenant farmers. Newport County has no shortage of fellow properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places, but most don’t invite you to functionally have an awesome, unplugged slumber party there!
I recently had the opportunity to experience what the intention of the renovation has been all along: to enjoy an educational, out of the ordinary, unplugged retreat complete with gentle meditation, yoga, gourmet food, friendship and more.
After being welcomed with chilled, spiced almond milk (amazing!) and cookies, then settling into the home which can accommodate overnight accommodations for up to 16 people with 6/7 bedrooms, it was off to the studio cottage just footsteps from the main home. Here, Innerlight Yoga instructor Jen Myers led a restorative meditation and yoga session that quieted the mind and set the tone for the weekend. Myself and a handful of other guests were also preparing for the Norman Bird Sanctuary 5K run the next morning.
Next, it was time to gather around the farmhouse table for a healthy but hearty spread prepared by culinary superstar and private chef Jessica Gorman which accommodated carnivores, vegetarians and the resident vegan. (The vegan set the tone for a laughter-filled dinner ahead when he asked: Do you know how you can tell if a person is a vegan? They’ll tell you within 5 minutes of meeting them.)
Note the last menu item. Never had Avocado Chocolate Mousse? I don’t think most people have but this unbelievably creamy delight, served in a flaky phyllo cup and topped with edible “robin eggs” left quite the impression.
Flowing wine and lively conversation followed around the table until it was time to retire for the night and for me, to start my first summer beach read. (It was hard to remember that downtown Newport, which was likely hopping as tis’ the season, was just about 5 minutes away.)
Upon entering our bedrooms, we were all greeted with Aveda toiletries from Natural Creations salon in Newport:
And the bathroom was stocked with indulgent Farmaesthetics soaps and gels:
The next morning we awoke to the smell of fresh coffee brewing and a spread of homemade granola, fruit and toast with homemade jams. Just steps from the 5K starting line, we all enjoyed the exceptionally scenic route which included 180-degree view of second and Third Beaches. NBS’s fabulous Leslie Muir said is was the most participants the race had ever seen at nearly 500 and it was no surprise this beautiful, sunny morning drew even the most novice runner out of bed!
After the race we headed back to the studio for apres race blueberry and chia smoothies and a restorative yoga session. Showers and a little R&R were followed by a full lunch spread which included cauliflower soup, strawberry and spinach salad, and grilled flat-bread pizzas with sliced pears and asiago cheese. The rest of the day was our to explore the trails, hit the beach or choose our own adventure.
I had a commitment Sunday so I missed the morning guided bird walk and after brunch hike to Hanging Rock which is the cornerstone of all Paradise Farmhouse retreats. I’ll be headed out to experience those this summer. Though the calendar year, there will be opportunities to experience a retreat here, or your company, group or extended family can custom craft a stay at this extraordinary property. For more information, visit: http://normanbirdsanctuary.org/farmhouse/
For another unforgettable experience, buy tickets now for 2nd Annual Norman Bord Sanctuary Bake on the Beach July 19 for a classic New England clambake on the shores of Third Beach!
A special thank you to the unstoppable Lisel Woods, Norman Bird Sanctuary’s Director of Marketing for organizing this experience.
All photos except for the last of the living room are property of Newport Stylephile and must be used with permission.
Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP), especially in and around Newport, is a beautiful way to fit in a great workout. I was able to get out on the water bright and early with Jacki Lane from Pulse and Bellevue Barre a while back and it was almost easy to forget how much cardio we were doing because it was so breathtaking. Almost. If you’ve never tried SUP, classes are offered through Rhody Surf and Island Surf & Sport in Middletown (which offers a free SUP demo every Monday night at 5pm on Third Beach). You can also find traditional full and spring wetsuits at Island S&S.
Whether it’s SUP or surfing, check out these fabulous uber-retro colorblock wetsuits by designer Cynthia Rowley for J. Crew. It comes in two different colorblock styles and is perfect for summer adventures with full coverage on top and shorts on the bottom. The neoprene suit is available online exclusively and retails for $210.00.
The first time I was introduced to the contemporary handbag designs of RISD-student-turned-professor Andrea Valentini was at one of the first StyleWeek events in Providence. Her “bump” textiles, composed of foam and durable fabrics molded into a lightweight sculptural material, were fashioned into handbags and accessories with refreshingly modern with sleek lines and sculptural silhouettes. Today, Valentini’s eponymous line, which is manufactured in Providence, has expanded to furniture, lighting, and interiors.
See the art of “the bump” here:
I’ve been testing out a piece from Valentini’s newly introduced Candy Bump line, specifically tailored wristlets, tablet and laptop sleeves that protects from the inside out. It’s unique thermal textured foam keeps your fragile tablet/laptop safe and cool while the UV outer layer shields itself from the everyday elements. This was especially handy when I took my “Midtown” 13″ laptop sleeve in peppermint to Second Beach (see above) and Nantucket, which had enough room for my laptop and a few other accessories. This has been the perfect solution as in the past haphazardly, I’ve been guilty of tossing my unprotected laptop into my handbag and hauled from here to there without a proper sheilding cover. In short, it’s equally fashionable and functional. Select pieces from Andrea Valentini can be found at Laura Jean Denim.
Learn more about the line and see it in its entirety by clicking here.
Andrea Valentini supplied me with a sample piece from the tech Candy Bump collection. all opinions are independent and my own.
Now in it’s third year, the wildly talented team behind StyleWeek Northeast and beloved Newport County social service agency, Child & Family, have been working tirelessly to present what might just be the most stylish event of the summer season. Au Courant, an evening including cocktails by the sea; an accessories, handbags and clothing showcase with a variety of one-of-a-kind collections; and music and dancing punctuated by an extraordinary runway show, celebrates and promotes the enviable creative talents of some of the finest designers in the northeast.
Unfolding at the uber-chic Belle Mer on Friday, June 20, Au Courant 2014 will feature the original, creative and cutting-edge fashion of a half dozen talented women’s wear designers: “Project Runway” alum Jonathan Joseph Peters, Jess Abernethy, Sarah Prost of Yellow Clover, Boston-based Luke Aaron, Avni Trivedi of Avni Fashion and Nick Pini. You can see the talents of some of thee lauded designer from the 2013 event by WATCHING THIS VIDEO.
The party will continue with an exciting fundraising auction including Lunch for four in NYC with Project Runway Host and fashion guru, Tim Gunn, a 14 day luxury cruise for 2 from your choice of international ports with Azamara Club Cruises, as well as overnight getaways and an exclusive dinner at Gray Craig Mansion.
Tickets will go fast, so act now to be sure you experience a night to remember!
TICKETS: $100 per person. PURCHASE ONLINE: www.childandfamilyri.comor call 401-849-2300
For more event and designer details go to www.childandfamilyri.com.