Essex Street Inn, Newburyport, MA
“The heart, like the mind, has a memory.
And in it are kept the most precious keepsakes.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
As I get older and begin inching toward 60 years young, I find it’s the simplest things in life I value the most. It’s the qualities of kindness, friendliness, warmth, and compassion that touch my heart. Recently, I had the pleasure and honor to spend a week experiencing homespun hospitality at it’s finest with a stay at a New England gem, the Essex Street Inn in Newburyport, Massachusetts – an Inn that’s so much more than an Inn – it’s a memory to last a lifetime!
Newburyport is a world unto itself. It’s like rolling back the decades, or the century, into a time where the pace is a little slower and everything feels a little brighter. My stay in Newburyport began at The Essex Street Inn, a charming Inn that looks deceptively tiny on the outside with 37 expansive, distinctive and charming rooms on the inside. Alexander Thompson is the General Manager, who’s ready and waiting to personally greet and welcome every guest who crosses his threshold. His enthusiasm is contagious and his natural warmth and kind-hearted personality will win over just about anyone! I can’t say enough good things about this young man and how passionately he immerses himself in his craft!
I’d flown in from LA and drove about an hour and a half outside of Boston to the coastal community, arriving a bit jet lagged and ready to cozy up at the Inn. Alexander couldn’t wait to give me and my photog/business manager the grand tour of the hotel, sharing some of the town’s folklore and the rich history of the Inn itself. Originally started as a boarding house in the 1800’s, it’s loaded with charm at every turn. The warm and welcoming decor makes you want to cozy up in the comfy beds with the most modern of luxuries, including oversized jacuzzi tubs, kitchens and living rooms in many of the suites. The decor is richly appointed and beautifully updated while maintaining the original New England flavor of Newburyport itself.
Located a few steps away is the bustling downtown area filled with boutiques, restaurants, shopping galore, and a gorgeous waterfront to boot. Alexander was quite the tour director, taking us up on the rooftop deck overseeing the town and pointing out the local hotspots that couldn’t be missed like The Grog. (My photog ate there 4 times! Oh the chowda!) Everything had a story and a history. With the assistance of the hotel staff ready and waiting, we made our way to our two beautiful suites. I had to laugh as Alexander ushered my photog into the lovely bridal suite! We were there to film a couple of editions of The Forever Fierce Show; one with a notable resident of Newburyport, Cheryl Richardson, a woman I’ve followed for decades and considered an important mentor and role model on the spiritual path I’ve chosen. My other guest was an incredible find! Tracy Chadwell, founder, and CEO of 1843 Capital came up from Greenwich, CT and you won’t want to miss her show … she makes financial security and investing sexy! The bridal suite was the perfect location for the shows with a lovely, old fireplace in the center of the living room with a giant loft and an updated kitchen to boot.
I don’t know that it’s possible to do justice to the way Alexander and the owners of the hotel treat their guests. It’s beyond anything I’ve ever seen. It’s not your typical hotel stay. It’s an experience in out of this world kindness and caring that seems to be all the more rare these days. My photog and I were in need of a couple of wingback chairs for the interviews and, as the hotel was built in the 1800’s, it’s impossible to bring the chairs up the narrow staircase and doorways. That didn’t stop Alexander from being creative as he had his crew haul them up on top of the roof and through the windows to create the perfect film set! Now, that is beyond customer service!
Alexander took us over to another building as the Inn encompasses 3 separate buildings on the property. My room was equally lovely with a fabulous kitchen when you walk in and a beautiful living room, including a charming fireplace. As it was the heat of summer, I was delighted that their air conditioning was pumping away and the blazing temperatures outside were anything but evident within. Upstairs, was a beautiful bedroom, the comfiest mattress and another oversized bathroom and a gorgeous jacuzzi. It’s clear this hotel places comfort and relaxation at the top of the list. Each room had a personality of its own as Alexander gave us a little tour to give us a taste of the variety of rooms available. There was even a rooftop deck off of each of our suites, overlooking the charming town and waterfront.
There’s something different about Newburyport. It simply feels unlike anything else. It’s like the locals swallowed a happiness pill as they would walk by you and look you in the eye and ask how you were. Everyone seemed to genuinely care about you and offer their assistance to make sure you were enjoying your time away. It was a bit like walking through a modern day Mayberry, RFD as I fully expected Aunt Bee to pop out of a doorway any moment with a freshly baked pie on the ready! It’s a vastly different energy and pace than LA and was the perfect place to recharge and rejuvenate.
There’s something about a small town where everyone seems to care about one another. It was like one giant family that actually got along! I could see why Cheryl Richardson writes so lovingly about this town. I’m already planning my return to Newburyport and The Essex Street Inn. Alexander won us over in an instant. In my next blog post, I’ll be sharing my adventures in Newburyport. With Main Street (of course, there’s a Main Street!) a hop, skip and jump away, shops, restaurants, pubs and the waterfront, it was a stay I’ll treasure forever. And, I can’t wait to share my daily favorites with the most delicious smoothie bar (got my health fix!), fresh out of the oven banana chocolate chip muffins and the unusual combination of french fries, homemade clam chowder, slathered in melted cheese, it was a Food Network lover’s dream getaway. Thank God for the workout room conveniently located down the stairs from my room! They do think of absolutely everything.
Alexander and The Essex Street Inn, you truly set a high bar and share an experience and memory that will live in our hearts forever. Thank you for turning back time and basically packaging kindness! I cannot wait to return for more! Thanks so much to my guest Tracy Chadwell, The Founder of 1843 Capital, and a woman who will only invest in companies with a female founder at the helm. My show with Cheryl Richardson, which was a dream come true to meet one of the kindest and warmest women I’ve had the honor to interview, will be airing soon! Her wisdom in her latest book, “Waking Up In Winter: In Search of What Really Matters At Midlife,” is pure joy through its raw vulnerability in opening Cheryl’s personal journal as a woman at Midlife for all to see.
Cheers Beauties! Have you added Newburyport and The Essex Street Inn to your bucket list? I’ll see ya there!