Best Casual Luxury and Boutique Hotels in NS, PEI, and Maine
My mother Georgi, Jim and I packed our bags for a ten-day road trip to Nova Scotia. It was a reunion of sorts; my parents spent summers on Canada’s Northumberland Strait to escape the heat and stay connected to my father’s family heritage. Scenes filled with country life and ocean views spoke of a simpler time.
The drive to Antigonish, Nova Scotia took eleven hours by car from our home south of Boston. There are quicker ways to get there. There’s the high-speed ferry (the CAT) from Portland Maine to Yarmouth, Nova Scotia and another from St. John, New Brunswick. And, a flight from Boston to Halifax only takes about two hours.
However, driving offered an opportunity to more thoroughly enjoy the journey through two countries and four provinces. So many picturesque places materialized as stopping points along the way during our road trip to Nova Scotia and back.
In a tranquil Cape Cod neighborhood steps from the Atlantic Ocean, you’ll find a casual beach resort with comforts of home. Here, a footpath perfumed by beach roses and gentle seagrass invites you to a private beach. Adirondack and lounge chairs wait beside the fixings for a campfire on the beach. You’ll take in panoramic views of Nantucket Sound and Monomoy National Wildlife Preserve. Sound good? Welcome to Chatham Tides where I spent a restorative waterfront weekend in Chatham, Massachusetts.
Along with Brewster and Harwich, Chatham is part of the “Lower Cape.” Cape Cod is shaped a bit like an arm and Chatham Tides is near the “elbow.” Located off Route 124 in a residential neighborhood between downtown Chatham and Harwich Port, Chatham Tides offers beachfront and waterview guest rooms, suites, and townhouses.
I had the pleasure of staying in a two-bedroom suite at Chatham Tides Inn. Room #7 above the reception office proved to be my second story Cape Cod getaway.
This waterfront weekend in Chatham gave me an opportunity to explore the southeastern tip of Cape Cod and meet up with girlfriends (we call ourselves “The Bunco Babes”) at a family cottage in Harwich Port; I seized the opportunity to combine work and pleasure. Read more
After exploring the Tuscan hill town of Fiesole on foot then catching the best sunset over Florence, my friend Mary and I had worked up an appetite. We headed back down Via San Francesco in search of Tuscan comfort food in Fiesole.
We first came upon an Irish pub. Like many restaurants in Italy, J.J. Hill closed between 4:00 and 7:30 pm. We peered in to find what you would expect of a cozy Irish pub: dark woodwork, draught beer at the polished bar, Irish artifacts. While a juicy pub burger and a cold drink sounded good, we decided against it given the authentic Tuscan cuisine that surrounded us.
Next, we considered two restaurants along the same block: Blu Bar and Ristorante Villa Aurora. Both offered garden seating with panoramic views of the Tuscan valley below. Neither piqued our interest. We declined the hostess’ invitation to wait upon the formal divans of the Hotel Villa Aurora. We’d already caught a spectacular sunset and felt underdressed for elegant dining.
Then, beneath the glowing bell tower of San Romolo, we spotted Il Fiesolano Ristorante. Here, we discovered the quintessential Tuscan comfort food in Fiesole. Read more
I couldn’t have been happier with the accommodations at this adorable two-bedroom cottage located on East Sandwich beach just steps from the ocean. Owners Tom and Ellen went out of their way to make sure I had everything I needed for an off-season weekend stay at their property, which has breathtaking views of the ocean. This space offers comfort, peace, and privacy, and is ideal as a beachy getaway for 1 to 6 people on- or off-season.