When I was a little girl, Sunday afternoons in summer were generally reserved for cocktails with friends and family at Castle Hill. Mom would dress my sister and I in matching sundresses (I have a particularly fond memory of a navy gingham midi-length pair with sailboats sewn on), hop into some Lilly pants, and pile us into the Volvo. Sun-streaked from a day at the beach but freshly spruced up, we’d depart from Easton’s Point for the exotic wilds of the other side of the island. There, after slurping down our Shirley Temples, we’d flip off our shoes and race to the rocks to explore, while the big people would continue to have a tipple or two on the lawn.
Those blithesome days left their mark on my heart; I still feel like a little piece of that shoreline belongs to me — maybe it was the freedom we had to roam the rocky coast, or the chance to investigate a patch of the island that was so similar and yet so distinct from our stretch between First and Second beaches.
Whatever it was, I’m always happy for an excuse to get back to Castle Hill to tuck into some of the best food in town (or anywhere), show off the views to out-of-town-guests, or enjoy a sunset with my own young family. Now, I’ve got one more draw: The Retreat at Castle Hill by Farmaesthetics. After a pop-up spa last spring proved to be a success, the Relais & Chateau property and the sustainable beauty brand — which is based here in Newport — decided to make their union official. Having transformed two ocean-view suites into serene treatment rooms, the on-site spa offers facials, massages, and saltwater soaks in luxuriously large tubs. All treatments use Farmaesthetics products, of course, which are made with organically grown herbs and flowers and organic oils and lotions.
Tempted? There’s no need to wait for your summer guests to arrive before you indulge. This spring, The Retreat is offering a Friday Night Respite & Renewal staycation package, as well as a Wellness Weekend April 10–12, when head chef Karsten Hart and Farmaesthetics founder Brenda Brock will give guests hands-on lessons on farm-to-table cooking and sustainable beauty.
Naturally, I’m longing for cocktails The Lawn as much as the next Newporter. But until the wind dies down and the sun’s a little closer to our hemisphere, I won’t mind creating some new winsome memories inside that cozy mansion.