Can you believe it’s April? I have to admit as soon as the flowers begin to bloom and the warm weather starts to roll in my mind skips right over spring and has me yearning for the sweet summers of New England. Just the thought of warm weather along our scenic coast gets me excited! That may be why for my inaugural post on Kasie’s Column I chose to take us all to the ocean!
There is nothing quite like the soft glow from the sun against the water as the backdrop to your event. When planning a celebration, one of the most common criteria for many people is a venue by the water. So, today we are going up the coast of New England as I share with you our favorite venues by the sea.
Our journey begins in Newport, Rhode Island at OceanCliff Hotel & Resort.
OceanCliff is a historic estate that was built in 1864 as a summer home for a family from New York. To this day the ambiance surrounding this venue is that of an elegant summer retreat. In fact, Susanne Day, Sales Manager at OceanCliff, says that is one of the reasons her clients fall in love with the property so easily. They love hosting an event in a space that feels like home!
This venue is incredibly popular for social gatherings and we know why! Sitting on ten acres of impeccable landscape, the property overlooks the coast of Narragansett Bay.
This venue has it all! There is a restaurant on site called the Safari Room that is open from Thursday to Sunday for lunch and dinner. If any of your guests happen to arrive early then they can cozy up by the bar in the restaurant while they wait for the fun to start!
Additionally, the Safari Room is available after the main event for a private after party. As Susanne says, it is really a great way to extend your celebration without having to make your guests travel downtown and search for parking. This option is especially convenient if you are staying in one of OceanCliff’s twenty four onsite hotel rooms!
When it comes to OceanCliff, I can really go on and on, but my absolute favorite part of this venue is their Grand Ballroom. This is one of the larger historic estate ballrooms you will find with a maximum capacity of 225 people for dinner and dancing. The back wall of the room is entirely made up of windows overlooking the calming waters of the bay.
The site is absolutely breathtaking and it can be enjoyed all year round! On a warm summer’s day OceanCliff will host ceremonies and cocktail receptions on the lawn in front of the water with seated dinners and dancing inside the Grand Ballroom.
However, if you have inclement weather or are planning your event in the colder months of the year then your entire event will be indoors where the ballroom windows still allow you to take advantage of the venue’s spectacular views!
As a planner, I cannot tell you how important it is to have a solid rain plan and the fact that OceanCliff’s strategy is so seamless… well that is absolutely priceless!
The next seaside venue on our list is The Chanler at Cliff Walk.
It is another historic mansion in Newport, RI but this time with a European flair. We love this site for the more intimate affairs.
They can accommodate up to 90 people for dinner and dancing on their back terrace overlooking the scenic coast. Kate Wood, the sales and catering manager at The Chanler, agrees that this stunning ocean view is what initially captures the interest of all her clients.
However, there is so much more to The Chanler than just the view. It is truly the perfect location for any weekend retreat! They have a fine dining restaurant, open seven days a week, where the menu offers a unique take on classic New England cuisine. That, coupled with their twenty hotel rooms, make this property a truly special location for any occasion. Kate says that their most popular events are weddings. She says, wedding couples love being able to buy out the entire property giving them and their guests the sentiment of staying in their own private chateau.
Kate pointed out that the location of the venue is a huge draw for many of her clients as well. Situated just one mile from Newport’s bustling downtown area, there is so much for you and your guests to do! There are tons of shops and restaurants to explore and if that is not enough then you can visit the beach located directly next to the venue itself.
In summary, The Chanler at Ocean Cliff , offers a truly unique event opportunity. From the scenic ocean views to the historic mansion itself, this venue delivers an experience that is quintessentially Newport!
Moving up the coast of New England, we make a stop in Boston, where the next venue on our list is the Boston Harbor Hotel. This property is undoubtedly one of our absolute favorite places to plan a celebration!
The hotel was built 27 years ago on Rowes Wharf Harbor and as Michael Boivin, the Catering Sales Manager at the venue, pointed out, the architect who designed this property did so while keeping the concept of events in mind. The Boston Harbor Hotel has 20,000 square feet of event space accommodating anywhere from 40 to 260 people. The impressive part is that every single room, reserved for events, has a stunning waterfront view!
However, our favorite room is the Wharf Room which is the largest space they offer. This room is set on its own little peninsula, projecting out into the harbor, allowing for the space to be almost completely surrounded by water. The windows that cover all three waterfront sides make for the most unbelievably breathtaking backdrop for any event!
If that is not enough, they also host cocktail receptions on the terrace adjacent to the water. This particular location provides the most spectacular setting for hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and photos on a warm summer’s day.
The event space that this venue offers in incredibly unique for any hotel. As Michael Boivin says, their function rooms don’t have that typical “hotel ballroom feel”. That is why we love this space so much! It is a venue where you can have the best of both worlds! At the Boston Harbor Hotel you will have a stunning and unique event space as well as impeccable service that only a true Five-Star hotel can provide. The level of customer service that is present when working with the Boston Harbor Hotel is truly unmatched. Michael says the reason for this is because of their commitment to making every event a personalized experience for each of their clients. I can say from my own experience that this event team is extremely flexible. From playing around with the menu to customizing a floor plan they will do whatever it takes to make you happy!
Just up the road and along the harbor is the New England Aquarium, a Boston icon that has been open to the public since 1969.
They have been hosting events for over a decade. Abigail Stephens, a catering manager at the aquarium, says they host well over 200 events a year. From corporate meetings to social gatherings, this property can accommodate any event ranging from 10 people to 2,000. They offer several different locations to set up an event on the property but our favorite space has to be the tented area, behind the main building, looking over the Boston Harbor.
Their Harbor Terrace Tent goes up in April and remains in place until October. The tent itself is gorgeous. Complete with a natural stone tile floor and transparent walls. It can hold up to 225 people for a plated dinner with room for dancing.
However, aside from a coastal scenic view, the New England Aquarium is really like no other venue on our list. Abigail says that most of her clients come to their property because they are looking for something different. After the aquarium closes to the public for the day, they allow you to host a private event next to the penguins and the giant ocean tank.
The massive tank that is set in the center of the property follows you up a ramp through the second, third & fourth floor of the building, each of which can be set for a cocktail style reception.
Abigail tells us that this tank is filled with a tropical fish gallery that includes hundreds of different sea life species. The most famous occupant of the tank is Myrtle the Turtle. Myrtle has been with the aquarium since it’s opening. According to the New England Aquarium website, “she is approximately 80 years old, weighs over 500 pounds and eats lettuce, cabbage, squids and brussel sprouts”.
It is animals, like Myrtle the Turtle, that will benefit from all of the events at the New England Aquarium. Abigail pointed out, one of coolest things about hosting an event at this venue is that all of the proceeds from your outing will go back into the property. The New England Aquarium is a nonprofit organization. As Abigail said, the events department is really like an in house fundraising team, earning revenue to help keep the aquarium alive. By hosting an event at the New England aquarium you are supporting a local institution!
As we move further up the coast, we reach the final property on our list. Tupper Manor is located in Beverly, Massachusetts and is the site of TWO award winning EFD Creative weddings! So, it is safe to say that we share the same enthusiasm about this space as Colby Magliaro, Felicia Ricker and Lauren Woodside, members of the Tupper Manor catering & sales team.
Tupper Manor at the Wylie Inn and Conference Center has so much to offer! It is an event space with its own onsite catering team as well a ninety room inn. However, it is the overall experience at Tupper Manor that will have you coming back for more! The moment you enter the property and drive by their magnificent water fountain you know this is going to be something special!
Colby, Felicia & Lauren, told me that they host over 200 social events a year with 40% of those being weddings. Most wedding couples choose to have their wedding ceremony on the front lawn in front of the fountain bringing their guests in the mansion for cocktails, dinner and dancing.
Beyond the front doors of the mansion is a gorgeous marble foyer which takes you through the ballroom and into the conservatory. Colby, Felicia & Lauren agree that the conservatory is the room that really gets their clients excited. It is located at the back of the house and is fully enclosed with windows looking out to the luscious greens and ocean view. Regardless of the elements outside, the conservatory at Tupper Manor is open year round allowing you and your guests to enjoy the feel of the outdoors in any weather.
If the weather is in your favor then you and your guests can stroll down a path to mansion’s own private beach.
When it is time for dinner, you will head back up to the conservatory where they can fit 186 people for a seated dinner. You and your guests will enjoy a delicious meal in the back wing of the house followed by dancing under the sparkling chandelier in the ballroom.
It is this gorgeous chandelier, the marble foyer, the impeccable woodwork and the magnificent water fountain that sets this property apart. The detail that went into the architectural design is really something special.
Built in 1901, by the same architect who designed Boston’s Museum of Fine Arts, the mansion itself is truly a masterpiece!
That concludes our trip up the New England Coast. We are so lucky to have so many fantastic waterfront venues in our region. I hope this brief break down was helpful as there is so much to consider when looking for an event space. Thank you for coming on this journey with me!
Feature Image: Person + Killian Photography
OceanCliff Hotel & Resort: Allegro Photography, Allie Fackler Photography
The Chanler at Cliff Walk: Grazier Photography
Boston Harbor Hotel: Life Fusion Photography, Person + Killian Photography, Allegro Photography
New England Aquarium: Allegro Photography
Tupper Manor: Life Fusion Photography, Allegro Photography