Hotel Maria and Maria’s Seaside Cafe are a breath of fresh air in Misquamicut. Don’t get me wrong, there are lots of fun places to get drinks, eat dinner and stay at on Atlantic Avenue but nothing feels quite as welcoming and peaceful as Hotel Maria.
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The whole experience was one of the most relaxing vacation experiences I’ve ever had. My partner and I arrived for check in around 4:30 p.m. and were happily surprised to get a room with a water view! From our second-floor balcony, we could see the waves crashing just across the street at the beach.
The room was beautifully decorated; it had a little 1960s vibe to it, which we both loved. The old photographs on the walls were a lovely touch – I imagine old family photos from the owners, the Bellone family. If you haven’t heard the beautiful story of how Maria’s Seaside Cafe and Hotel Maria came to be, let me fill you in.
John Bellone, owner and son of Maria, tells it like this:
“In 1964, Maria took a Pan Am Jet to Kennedy Airport where her husband picked her up in his yellow convertible Pontiac Catalina, and went to start their life together in Pawcatuck, Connecticut. Pawcatuck was a nice place to live except for one thing, it was too far away from the ocean for Maria and she felt homesick when she was away from it. So, it was goodbye Pawcatuck and hello Misquamicut Beach. Eventually, the couple bought the Breezeway Motel and went into the hospitality business.
Many years later, Maria took a walk along the beach as she normally would. This time she came back with more than just shells and sea glass. The property that was home to Dino’s Seafood House was for sale and she wanted to buy it. On July 8, 1994, Maria’s Seaside Cafe and the five upstairs suites opened for business. In October of 2012, Maria was on vacation in Sicily when Superstorm Sandy ripped through Misquamicut, devastating the restaurant and many of our friends and neighbors homes and businesses. Rebuilding was easy; losing, Maria, who passed away on October 11, 2014, was not.”
What a beautiful story! And the rebuild is even better than ever! Our room and balcony were lovely but it was so nice outside that we decided to go for a walk on the beach before dinner. After our walk, we were both starving and headed into the cafe.
We decided on the eggplant timbale for an appetizer, which is essentially baked eggplant stuffed with mozzarella, ricotta, fresh basil, parmigiana cheese and plum tomato sauce. Soooo good!
For dinner, we got the Bolognese, which is ground beef, prosciutto, fresh vegetables, marsala wine and tomato sauce over pasta and the pan-seared Stonington sea scallops with lobster couscous and spring veggies. I asked for the Bolognese to be made with their housemade papperdelle pasta, which was to die for!!! It was all so delicious.
For dessert, we got banana Napoleon – not something I’d ever gotten before but was incredibly pleased with it. It’s essentially layers of bananas, almond cream, caramel/chocolate sauce in between layers of puff pastry. So delicious. Wow, we were stuffed!
We headed out for another walk after dinner to catch the sunset. We walked to the end of Atlantic Avenue, where it dumps out onto a sandy pathway to the beach. We watch the sunset over Maschaug Pond…it was beautiful! It was a clear evening so we could also see the Ocean House and Watch Hill Point as we looked down the beach towards Watch Hill. It was perfect for pictures and truly felt like a perfect late-spring evening.
After we got back to Hotel Maria, we grabbed a drink and headed up to the sunset deck on the fourth floor to continue watching the sunset and to listen to the waves crashing across the street. It was such a peaceful way to end the night.
The next morning, we got up, borrowed two of the cruiser bikes that the hotel offers to guests and biked down to the Cooked Goose for breakfast. Again, another perfect late-spring day. On our way back, we took a quick detour through Avondale before heading back. We checked out of the hotel and were on our way. All in all, a fabulous experience. I’d highly recommend to anyone wanting to experience a stay on the beach in Misquamicut.