True confession: Until recently, I hadn’t gone past Fogland Beach on the Sakonnet Peninsula in years. YEARS. Sure, as the crow flies, Tiverton and Little Compton are minutes away, right across the water from Newport basically, but to get there is a nearly hour-long, upside down “u” shaped drive, most of which are on slow, two-lane roads. It’s peak Rhode Island. Here’s the thing though: the drive is a mindset switch. It eases you gently from the hurried nature of real life into a purposeful slower pace. It’s, dare I say, part of the experience.
I recently interviewed a kick ass fisherwoman for Newport Life Magazine who makes that drive from Portsmouth to the very tip of Sakonnet Point at dawn every morning during fishing season, and she told me other than being on the water, it’s one of her most favorite parts of the day. The rolling green lawns, undisturbed farmland, centuries-old hand built stone walls and the faded wooden gates…it’s hard to imagine the Boom Boom Room is right across the water (RIP).
While I’m a city girl through and through who loves to feel the pulse of a community, the drive helped me see the allure of this peaceful country setting, and though I’m not in the right tax bracket to have my own country house retreat, my recent trip to the Stone House made me feel like I do, and I can’t wait to do it again.
As I pulled off Sakonnet Point Road, my first thought was, ‘Why in God’s name have you waited so long to come here?’ The 19th-century stone mansion sits majestically on a nearly three-acre perch overlooking the sea, and when I stepped foot on the sprawling lawn that extends to the beach, I couldn’t help but exhale. My shoulders dropped, releasing the built-up go-go-go tension, and I closed my eyes to fully appreciate the blanket of warm, salty air. I went during a week bookended by big deadlines, yet I was able to tuck those away, if only for a few hours, and pause, and be present – as Eat, Pray, Love as that sounds (never finished that book and I’m good with that).
And when I walked through the door to the first floor to check in, I was instantly delighted to discover that the interior design celebrates the soul of this former home (on the National Register of Historic Places) while embracing an appealing modern-day aesthetic. It’s a challenging balance to pull off, but Stone House does it seamlessly.
Locals might recall the Stone House has served different purposes through the years, and when I posted photos of my recent experience here on IG, multiple people told me they had their wedding here, attended a wedding, or enjoyed grand parties and fanciful dinners here. In 2015, The Newport Experience, the well known hospitality company best known for OceanCliff, Regatta Place and Schooner Aurora in Newport, acquired the Stone House. In recent years, town ordinances have prevented large-scale events, though it’d be nice to see such events return. However, you can still have some smaller events here.
So, for whom is the Stone House ideal? Think of it as your own country house without having to do the upkeep (or pay the taxes!). With 16 spacious rooms and suites, it’s perfect for a girlfriends getaway (can personally recommend – especially with ghost stories, s’mores, jammies and and a little wine around the fire pit), corporate/board/executive retreats, a family reunion weekend, an organized yoga/wellness retreat, a couples getaway, and more. What it’s not about: swimming pools, a big restaurant, a daily activities sheet. What it is about: a picnic on the beach, taking the on-site bike cruisers out for a spin down to the nearby marina or over to Goosewing Beach, spending quality time together, lawn games, digital detoxing, decompressing and unwinding on the Adirondack chairs peppered throughout the lawn. The lovely staff is also happy to arrange a spa treatment in advance.
I know corporate groups choose Stone House for midweek retreats and meetings, utilizing the expansive event space in the renovated barn for meetings, and since they are the only guests onsite with full estate buyouts, they have smaller breakout meetings on the porch, patio and lawn.
One of the coolest aspects of Stone House is that each room is unique, as is the nature of this original four-story building constructed in 1854 as a private residence. My room, named Henry, was an amazing two-room suite. I walked into a kitchenette with a small refrigerator, sink and coffee station (they know me too well!), followed by a sitting room with a couch (which we used for late night girl talk) giving subtle nautical vibes with its restored original millwork and wainscoting, then I entered the sun-drenched bedroom with a modern, well-
appointed king bed wrapped in lux linens, coastal-inspired art, a big flat screen, and ocean views. As I turned the corner, I realized the soaking tubs I heard about were not an exaggeration – the tub was huge, and the entire bathroom space was contemporary. On my next stay, I have “Lantern” in my sights – a suite encompassing the entire fourth floor of the historic inn which includes a private restored rooftop cupola boasting 360-degree views of Little Compton, Cuttyhunk, Martha’s Vineyard and the Sakonnet Lighthouse accessible by a beautiful spiral staircase.
During my stay, we enjoyed a pre-organized dining experience in The Tap Room, tucked privately in the basement. It’s easy to see why this cozy space – think low ceilings, rich wood work, and the kind of bar that you know stocks good bourbon – was a speakeasy during Prohibition. But I have some breaking news: ownership tells me that coming this summer, in-house guests will be able to enjoy dinner in The Tap Room! Circle back and check the website/social media for updates on when that launches (potentially July or August).
Stone House also currently serves late afternoon light bites, and in the morning, a continental breakfast (yogurt, cereal, hard boiled eggs, coffee, tea, juice, etc.) to get your day off to a bright start.
That’s the thing about Stone House; you can make it what you want to be, whether that’s bringing in a chef for a custom-designed menu, having catered boxed lunches delivered for a daytime power meeting, or finding what works for you. Groups can work with the events team for culinary options using in-house services whether that’s something as casual as a cookout on the lawn or a four-course dinner.
For heartier meals, head to neighboring Tiverton (Red Dory, The Boat House, Four Corners Grille, or Groundswell for breakfast and lunch) or Westport (Westport Sea Farms – the oysters are unbelieveable!, The Back Eddy, or Little Barn) or trek over to the hidden gem known as Padanaram, a lesser-known little coastal village in South Dartmouth. Dine at Little Moss, Black Bass Grille, Farm & Coast or Scuttlebutt).
As I drove back to Newport with a coffee in hand, I watched the sun rise minute by minute, casting it’s golden light across the awakening farms, illuminating Four Corners, and leading the way until I returned home to the southern tip of Aquidneck Island, and I can’t wait to return to my country house, I mean Stone House, soon.
Amy Davis says
Oooo I love it there! I am one of those weddings 🙂 And so good to hear about the Tap Room !