As we turned into the driveway for the Margin Street Inn, it felt like we were driving right into a storybook or a fairy tale. The green lawn sprawled out around us and the beautiful trees loomed large overhead. We spent a few minutes marveling over the property’s beauty as we walked to the door before Innkeeper Sarah Goff Cooper welcomed us (my partner and I) in. We walked in and my jaw dropped. The decor was breathtaking! Every single piece of furniture, fixture and decoration had its place and added to the beauty and charm of the place.
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The history of the property is really interesting as well: Thomas Perry (a relative of Admiral Oliver Hazard Perry) and his descendants played a major role in the development of Westerly as a business and shipping center in the 19th and 20th centuries. In 1849 Charles Perry, Sr., Thomas Perry’s son, built a large Greek Revival style house at 4 Margin Street—the oldest surviving dwelling in the district to be constructed by a member of the Perry family. With a prominent role in the communities civic activities, it was here he hosted anti-slavery speakers such as Fredrick Douglas. Later, a horse barn, hen house and ice house were clustered to the rear of the property and are still standing today.
Upon Charles Perry, Sr.’s death, Charles Jr. reworked the Greek Revival style in the Colonial and Classic Revival styles—first in the 1890’s and again in 1906. The interior was also renovated with the addition of a large sweeping staircase with a Palladian window at the mid-level landing as well as numerous Colonial style fireplaces and mantels. In 1850, a second Greek Revival House was built next door by Captain Daniel F. Larkin at 8 Margin Street and in 1911 Charles, Jr. acquired it for use by his son.
The house was moved to be in alignment with 4 Margin Street and renovated in a manner similar to the Charles Perry house. Today the Charles Perry House and neighboring Larkin-Lewis-Perry house make up to the 10-bedroom Margin Street Inn.
Anyways, back to our stay. My favorite room of the first-floor living area was the sunroom in the front of the house. It feels like you’re outside because there are so many windows. And from the windows, you can see the Pawcatuck River across Margin Street, the Mechanic Street mill complex across the river and also the beautiful sweeping property of the Inn itself. This is also the room where Sarah hosts a little happy hour with wine/beer and snacks like cheese and soupy (!!!) and crackers every evening at 5 p.m. for her guests.
Our room was amazing as well. From the beautiful paintings on the walls to the view of the property from our bedroom windows to the delicate lounging couch in the corner – it’s the kind of room that makes you decide not to go get drinks after dinner so you can go back and enjoy relaxing in your room longer.
Before dinner, we took a walk around the property to see all the different buildings (horse barn, hen house and ice house) and features that Sarah had mentioned in telling us about the Inn’s history. The weather the day we arrived was perfect – one of those perfect spring days that you want to last forever, especially when it comes after a cold, wet winter. We sat in some Adirondack chairs on the lawn and soaked into the sunshine, warmth and beauty of the place we were. We went inside to enjoy the happy hour in the front sunroom for a few minutes before heading to dinner and met some a couple of the other guests who were staying there that night as well.
We had a reservation at Ella’s for dinner so we headed there. We’d only ever eaten at the bar at Ella’s so it was nice to experience their dining room. It’s always hard to choose at Ella’s…everything sounds so amazing and you know it’s going to be because the owner and chef Jeanie Roland, who beat Bobbie Flay on the Food Network, is so talented. She recently put out an amazing cookbook called Butter Cream & Love.
Anyways, back to dinner, we started with the Wild Fog starter, which comes with Humboldt Fog goats cheese, wild berry-fig-red wine jam, local honeycomb, grilled French bread and lemon scented frisee. I had a glass of wine and my partner had their Dirty Laundry cocktail, which has Dorothy Parker Gin, olives, serrano chili, caper berry, dirty juice, served up.
After our starter, we decided to share the Momma’s Chicken, which is Buttermilk soaked & duck fat fried chicken, yellow corn Antebellum grits with cheddar cheese, kale & sweet corn butter and the halibut special, which included all kinds of bright and fresh spring vegetables like pea and asparagus. Oh yes and we also got a side of Brussel sprouts with bacon. Can you say YUM?!
Everything was so delicious….and the perfect portion size. And the service is amazing. So we were already stuffed and then we decided to look at the dessert menu and we decided to split not one, but two desserts: Creme brulee and the apple tart special. Both were unreal but then I realized I was quite possibly more full than I’d ever been before. I’d planned to save room for an after-dinner cocktail but there’s no way that was happening.
We left Ella’s, headed to downtown Westerly for a walk to digest before heading back to the hotel. We had a quiet night, socialized with some of the other guests, had a glass of wine and watched Friends re-runs.
The next morning, we awoke to the smell of bacon as our room was pretty close to the kitchen – I mean, what better way to wake up? We headed down to the dining room for breakfast, which was also amazing and all made fresh that morning by Sarah: tomato, sausage quiche, bacon, cinnamon roll muffins, granola and yogurt, fruit salad. We also met her husband, who was also so kind and welcoming to us.
After breakfast, we checked out of our room and got ready to leave. On our way out the door, Sarah handed us fresh made chocolate chip cookies for the road! All in all, our stay was fantastic and Sarah was so incredibly gracious and kind. Can’t wait for another chance to stay at the Margin Street Inn, voted best in Rhode Island by New England Today.