TPP Guide to My Hometown!

As you all likely know by now, Kevin and I have been spending the summer in our coastal hometown of Stonington, CT. Whenever I share something about the Stonington area, like downtown Mystic or the nearby Rhode Island beaches, I am flooded with questions about where to eat, what to do, and places to visit in the area. So I’ve wrapped up all of my hometown favorites into one blog post that includes our favorite local spots to eat, drink, shop, and visit in the area. While Mystic itself is amazing and cute, some of our favorites are in other parts of town (no more than a 15 minute drive), so those are included as well! Let’s dive into the hometown tour!


Places to Eat/Drink:

Okay, this needs to be said right off the bat. And by said I mean screamed from the rooftops. If you eat at Mystic Pizza, you might as well be wearing a fanny pack and using a selfie stick because you are the tourist of all tourists. I say this with love: don’t do it. The food is mediocre at best, the vibe is not great, and the movie wasn’t even shot there. Do yourself many favors and eat literally anywhere else in town. There are some killer spots in the area and this is…not one of them. 

Now, let’s really get into it…

Engine Room – one of our all time favorite spots in town! Engine Room is known for its craft beers, yummy cocktails, and pickleback shots. Okay, maybe they’re not known for the last one, but I sure do enjoy them. Their menu is full of delicious comfort foods and you really can’t go wrong with anything you choose. This is where we had our rehearsal dinner, so we definitely have a soft spot for it!


Ford’s Lobster – a local’s dream. Ford’s doesn’t look like much, just a lobster shack on the water, but the food is outstanding and the view is unmatched. BYOB and highly recommend the lobster BLT!


Sift Bakeshop – if you’ve heard of Mystic, you’ve likely heard of Sift. It is home to some of the most amazing pastries I’ve ever had. The giant chocolate chop cookies, macarons, and croissants are my favorites!

Mix at Sift – Mix is the new rooftop bar at Sift! Delicious cocktails, bites to eat, and a gorgeous rooftop view


Red36 – if you are looking for a great spot on the water, Red36 is it! The vibe is nautical, the oysters are great, and the froze is even better. I would say their food realistically is a 6/10, but we definitely frequent this place for the dockside vibe. 


Rise – an awesome breakfast place in Mystic. They have the classics and also their own twists on things like breakfast sandwiches and pancakes! 

Pizzetta – if you insist on eating pizza while in the area, Pizetta is one of our favorites! They have a great outdoor patio on the river and live music each week too.

Deviant Donuts – weekly rotating specialty donuts the size of your head. That’s pretty much it. Check out the menu beforehand (they only do donuts Thursday-Sunday), and get there early, as they usually sell out! The Samoa donut is my favorite of all time.


Breakwater – located in the Stonington Borough, Breakwater has one of the best ocean views in town. Their happy hour is killer and the back deck is sure to provide a gorgeous sunset.

Zest – my favorite stop for savory scones and coconut butterscotch cookies (truly to die for). This is the bakery we got our wedding cookies and cake from and they are just the best! Zest is located in the Velvet Mill, where you’ll find Beer’d brewery, so stop and grab a treat while you’re there!

Dogwatch – honestly, this recommendation is mostly for drinks and a ~*vibe*~, but Dogwatch is right in a marina on the water, so their sunsets are fantastic. If it is open, head back to the “dogpound” for a drink during golden hour!


Water Street Cafe – a small, local spot with some of the best food in town. Their menu rotates daily, but their steak-frites staple is to die for.

Milagro Cafe – another small, local restaurant with the world’s best margaritas. They’re so fresh and so big, so brace yourself if you order a second round. My go-to order is a mango marg and fish tacos!

The Malted Barley – located in downtown Westerly, RI, The Malted Barley is one of our spots for great nightlife and even better pretzel sandwiches. Weekends they usually have a DJ, but stop by midday or in the evening for homemade pretzels or sammies and a craft beer. 

Mystic Drawbridge Ice Cream – local ice cream in the heart of Downtown Mystic. Prepare for a bit of a line during the summer, but it’s worth it for the waffle cone.


Things to Do:

Visit a winery – there are three in town and all within 15 minutes of each other. Each vineyard has its own vibe, but I like them all! 

  • Jonathan Edwards Winery – where Kev and I got married, so it definitely holds a special place in my heart. The rose is my favorite of all time. 
  • Stonington Vineyards – where I worked for the summer! A very chill spot with music on Friday nights in the summer. Bring your own blanket or chairs and chill for the day or evening.
  • Saltwater Farm Vineyards – the building is an old airplane hangar, so it’s a very industrial, cool vibe. We got engaged here!

Visit a brewery – Beer’d Brewery or Grey Sail Brewery are two awesome ones in town!

Shop and walk around in Downtown Mystic – there are lots of cute stores to walk through (Rochelle’s is my favorite for clothes!) and lots to see. At twenty of the hour, the drawbridge will go up to let boats pass and it’s actually pretty fun to see! 

Kayak or Paddle Board on the Mystic River – there are a few local places that rent by the hour. It’s a fun way to see the river and the beautiful homes and boats along the shore. 


Visit the Mystic Aquarium – if you have kids, or just like sea life and want to feel like a local on an elementary school field trip, visit the aquarium! 

Visit the Mystic Seaport – honestly, hear me out. As a kid, I wish I was more interested in the history that the town has to offer and I actually think the Seaport is pretty cool! The planetarium is my favorite!

Walk through the Stonington Borough – this is one of my favorite parts of the entire town. The borough is a quaint little fishing village, home of one of the last operating fishing and lobstering fleets in the state and to many adorable historic homes. Visit the town docks to check out the boats or walk to the very end to DuBois Beach to see a panoramic ocean view where you can spot RI, NY, and CT from one spot! 

Hit the beach or grab ice cream in Watch Hill, RI – one of the biggest perks of my hometown is that it’s a short ride to some of Rhode Island’s best beaches. My favorite is Napatree Point in Watch Hill! But if you don’t feel like hitting the beach or you’re visiting in the off-season, you could simply walk through Watch Hill and grab a lobster roll or ice cream at St. Clair Annex, a drink at the Ocean House, or wander past Taylor Swift’s house (it’s okay, we’ve all done it). 

Visit Clyde’s Cider Mill – we all know fall is my favorite season, and there’s nothing that says fall at home than a visit to Clyde’s! It’s exactly what you’d think: the best cider, warm cinnamon-sugar donuts, and all the feels. 


Well, I think that about sums it up! Honestly, if you are looking for a weekend getaway or to spend a few days in a quaint, New England town, Stonington is the place for you! It really does have it all. Although summer is coming to a close, we’ll be back…at some point likely forever. 

If you visit, please reach out and let me know where you go and if you need any other recs or ideas, I’m your girl! Enjoy my home! 

Honeymoon Guide: The Basics

Hi friends! In case you missed it over on Instagram, Kevin and I returned from our honeymoon about two weeks ago!  Upon return, I found my inbox flooded with questions about our trip. Rather than answer them repeatedly and individually, I figured it would be easier to compile them all in one place for you to check out. To keep things manageable for readers, in true Primary Party fashion (aka I tend to ramble), this is going to be a multi-part blog. In this first part, I am going to answer some of the questions that I got asked by many of you and give you an overview of our trip. In parts two and three, I will be giving you more info on Greece and Paris, respectively. Let’s dive in with a little Q&A!




How did you plan what to do and where to stay/did you use a travel agent?

The answer to this question is, yes, we did use a travel agent and that is how we planned out what to do! After we decided where we want to go, Kevin took on the task of planning the honeymoon, so he contacted an agent that a friend had used. They chatted on the phone about budget, where we wanted to go, what we wanted to do, etc. and she gave him some suggestions and ideas, then she sent an itinerary our way. We looked it over, changed and cut things that we didn’t love or that we felt would be too much (we wanted a good mix of relaxation and some planned things to do), and went from there! Honestly, we could have likely done it ourselves, but I personally had all too much going on at the time of wedding planning to tackle a trip too. Another perk of using an agent was that we ran into a few unexpected hiccups along the way, (like a 24-hour ferry strike in Greece) and it was great to have the peace of mind and someone to communicate with to take the stress out of the situations. Whether or not you choose to use a travel agent is totally up to you – I think planning can be done just as well either way!


How did you budget/save for a honeymoon AND a wedding?

This was a question I got asked quite a few times, not surprisingly, as weddings and honeymoons are expensive! I wish I had some magical trick to share about how we did it, but truthfully, I don’t. But here is what I can share…As far as the wedding itself went, we were very fortunate to have parents that were generous enough to help us in many ways. We took the budgets that they offered and figured out what types of wedding expenses they could cover (photographer, DJ, venue fee, etc.) and what we would need to contribute ourselves. From there, we saved and saved. Kevin is very good with saving, so he started both a honeymoon fund through an app called Qapital and a high-interest wedding savings account through Ally bank. I took some of each paycheck and direct deposited it into our wedding account, along with my Teachers Pay Teachers earnings from each month and any other outside income from tutoring, babysitting, etc. We were able to save up enough to cover what we needed to in about the twenty months that we were engaged. Then, we took some of our wedding gifts as spending money for the trip itself! Like I said, I have no secret tip or trick for you, just lots of saving…sorry!



How long did you travel for? How long did you spend in each place?

We travelled for two weeks total! The other two parts of this post will have specifics, but here is the basic breakdown of our trip:

Overnight flight Boston to Athens

One night in Athens

Ferry (ended up being a flight, more on that in part 2) Athens to Naxos

Three nights in Naxos

Ferry Naxos to Santorini

Four nights in Santorini

Flight Santorini to Paris

Four nights in Paris

Flight Paris to Boston


Were the hotels you stayed at all-inclusive? / How did you choose where to eat?

To answer the first question, no we did not stay anywhere all-inclusive for this vacation. Kev and I love to adventure and explore when we eat, so we stayed at places that only had breakfast included. Then, we ventured into the towns to try out local restaurants! To figure out where to eat, we asked the hotel or tour guides for recommendations, chatted with people we met on excursions about where they ate and loved, looked things up on Yelp or Google, or just popped into places that looked like a spot we may enjoy. We tried to avoid places near tourist spots (like the Eiffel Tower or right on the main pedestrian path in Oia) and venture to more authentic, off the beaten path spots. Our friend told us never to go anywhere with pictures on the menu or an English-only menu, because that often means it is a tourist trap, so we usually followed that rule! I think of all the spots we tried, we disliked two or three, and two of those were definitely sneaky tourist spots. Hey, we’re not perfect. 😉



How did you pack for your honeymoon?

The first thing you need to know about me is that I am a chronic over-packer. I will pack an outfit for every day and then 5 extras, just in case. In an attempt to avoid too much over-packing, here is what I did. First, I created an outline/itinerary of every day of the trip, both day and night. For each day, I asked myself: where will we be going? What will we be doing? Should my outfit be cute or functional (hopefully both!)? What type of shoes will I need? Any extra accessories for this day (like a cute hat?), and other questions along those lines. From there, I planned a specific outfit for that day and wrote it down on the itinerary I created. Now, I know you are probably thinking I am crazy, and you’re right, I am. But, this worked! It helped me to avoid the “maybe I will wear this…or maybe I’ll wear that…eh, I’ll just bring both!” situation that usually occurs when I pack. Once my daily outfits were planned, I made a list of other extras, like pajamas and bathing suits, that I would need and wrote those down too. As I packed, I checked things off the list to make sure I had it all. Oh, and don’t forget your adapters!

PS: one of the best things I registered for was a luggage scale from Amazon…we used it at home once we were all packed and then moved things around (okay, from my suitcase to Kev’s), so that we wouldn’t need to open them back up in the airport! You can shop my luggage and honeymoon essentials in my Amazon storefront!



Okay, I think that covers all of the basic questions I got. If you are reading and find that you have unanswered questions, feel free to drop a comment below or send it my way via email or Instagram and I will try my best to get that answered! But now that you have some general information, let’s head to Greece!