VISITING SIMON PEARCE IN VERMONT

Our final stop in Vermont a couple weeks ago was the Simon Pearce flagship store and restaurant in Quechee. My parents had visited years and years ago and my mom convinced me we absolutely had to visit. I love Simon Pearce glassware (like this bowl and these candlesticks we received as wedding presents) and was excited to see where the magic happens!

smythe white duchess blazer and stubbs & wootton black velvet mules

simon pearce restaurant quechee vt on design darling

simon pearce flagship quechee vt on design darling

First we had lunch overlooking the waterfall and covered bridge and then we made our way downstairs for a glassblowing demonstration. I had never seen glass blown in person before and I was truly mesmerized watching an employee create a wine glass before our eyes. I could have stayed and watched all day and was even more eager to make a purchase upstairs after seeing all the attention to detail that goes into every piece. We came home with two of these hurricanes which are now a happy reminder of a wonderful weekend getaway!

smythe white duchess blazer and mark and graham bamboo elisabetta slouch handbag

stubbs & wootton insecure women mule in black velvet

quechee vt on design darling

I changed out of my less-than-clean sneakers from our morning adventure and into my favorite white blazer, a navy silk blouse, and my new black velvet mules from Stubbs & Wootton. I love the look of navy and black together and this pair is just so comfy! You can use code MACKENZIE to take 10% off any Stubbs & Wootton order. I’m tempted to order a bespoke pair for Will!

smythe white duchess blazer

mark and graham bamboo elisabetta slouch handbag and stubbs & wootton black velvet mules

Smythe blazer (similar for less)  //  Polo Ralph Lauren silk blouse  //  Frame jeans

Celine sunglasses (similar for less)  //  Mark & Graham bamboo slouch bag  //  Stubbs & Wootton velvet mules c/o

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AN AFTERNOON IN STOWE, VERMONT

After our drive to Vermont and our morning in Woodstock, we drove 90 minutes north to Stowe in search of more changing leaves. Sadly the foliage was still pretty green during our visit but Stowe was beautiful nonetheless! We stopped at the Ben and Jerry’s factory in Waterbury then made our way to the Von Trapp Family Lodge. There was a big Oktoberfest celebration happening in the Bierhall, a chill in the air, and cows grazing on the lawn of the hotel so even though it still looked like summer, it definitely felt like fall!

blackwatch plaid scarf green sweater and j.crew macalister wedge boots

von trapp family lodge stowe vt

j.crew macalister wedge boots

I wore this green mockneck sweater from & Other Stories, a new-to-me site that I saw my friend Stephanie recommend on her Instagram stories. It looks like the green is now sold out (this one is similar) but the same sweater is available in gray and tan here and for $49, I feel like you can’t go wrong. A couple of the sweaters I ordered (including this and this which I wanted to love!) were a little itchy so I returned those, but this one is super soft as is this scarf that I now want in every color. I’d say & Other Stories is definitely worth a shot if you’re looking for cute pieces on a budget!

blackwatch plaid scarf on design darling

von trapp family lodge stowe vt on design darling

l.l. bean boat and tote open top size XL

A few other fall basics… a blackwatch scarf I’ve had forever (found a similar one here) and the J.Crew MacAlister wedge boots that I’ve had my eye on for years. I had a pair of Madewell desert boots that I wore into the ground a few years ago and I’m so happy to have this even comfier pair to carry me through fall and winter. And I rarely travel without my XL boat and tote bag from L.L. Bean — it’s just so easy for carrying my camera, lenses, laptop, etc. But I am on the hunt for a camera bag/backpack if you have one you’d recommend!

l.l. bean boat and tote size XL on design darling

design darling stowe vermont

j.crew macalister wedge boots and l.l. bean boat and tote size XL

& Other Stories sweater (more colors here, similar here)  //  Frame jeans

Celine sunglasses (similar for less)  //  Lands End blackwatch scarf (old, similar here)

L.L. Bean boat and tote (size XL)  //  J.Crew MacAlister wedge boots

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OUR FIRST DAY IN VERMONT

Will and I had a really fun weekend exploring Vermont this past weekend and definitely want to make this an annual trip going forward! Next year we’ll try to go a little later in the season to catch more foliage (it seems like mid-October would be ideal) but this was one of our only free weekends this fall so we went for it anyways. There weren’t many changing leaves yet but it was definitely chilly (low 40s in the morning but up to 65 degrees mid-day) and got us in the mood for all things fall. Here’s what we did on day one!

j.crew downtown field jacket and j.crew leather riding boots with white jeans

the equinox manchester vt on design darling

It was a three-and-a-half hour drive from Greenwich to Manchester, Vermont, and we had a hot mess of a morning involving getting Rory to the groomer and dropping off a massive chair to be reupholstered because it was “on the way” (sorry, Will). When we finally got to Vermont we stopped for a late lunch at Marsh Tavern inside the Equinox hotel. It was pretty overcast outside so we had a leisurely lunch inside complete with an insane cheese plate and a glass of rosé (which I insist on drinking year-round because I’m basic and the worst). A couple of our friends said it was a must-stop along our route and a ton of you recommended it as well and it wound up being the perfect way to break up the drive between home and our hotel in Woodstock. The Equinox was absolutely stunning and surrounded by the most beautiful flowers. I can only imagine how incredible it is once the leaves start to change!

j.crew downtown field jacket and polo ralph lauren lennox vachetta wide belt

design darling vermont the equinox hotel manchester vt

After lunch we drove ten minutes to nearby Dorset, a quaint little town with a town green and pretty fall decorations at every door. The clouds magically parted when we pulled up and all of a sudden it looked like a picture-perfect blue sky day so this was a favorite quick stop on our trip. We stopped for coffee from the Dorset Union Store and I snapped a photo of all the pumpkins across the street at the Dorset Inn. So festive!

fall outfit with white jeans and j.crew leather riding boots

the equinox hotel manchester vt in september

With coffee in hand, we drove the remaining hour and a half to the Woodstock Inn and checked in to our room. The hotel was even more beautiful than it looks in pictures with huge lawns in the front and back and a roaring fire in the lobby. The leaves were just barely starting to change and again I can only imagine how magical it must be once there’s full-blown foliage (or a fresh blanket of snow!).

fall outfit with white jeans and polo ralph lauren lennox vachetta wide belt

dorset union store in vermont

We drove a half hour to Hanover, New Hampshire, for dinner at Pine, a spot that several of you had recommended and that totally lived up to the hype. There were so many places we wanted to try from all your recommendations it was hard to narrow it down, so we’ll have to check out more of them on our next visit. Stay tuned for more from days two and three!

j.crew leather riding boots with white jeans on design darling

dorset inn vermont

J.Crew field jacket (similar for less)  //  Polo Ralph Lauren cable-knit cashmere sweater

Celine sunglasses (similar for less)  //  Polo Ralph Lauren leather belt (similar for less)  //  Tory Burch satchel

J Brand jeans  //  J.Crew riding boots

P.S. Shopbop is offering 20-25% off sitewide right now! Shop all my picks here.

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VERMONT RECOMMENDATIONS?

Will and I are heading to Vermont this weekend and I’ve been researching non-stop. I haven’t been to Vermont since a family ski trip there probably fifteen years ago and my Texan husband has never been so we’re both looking forward to exploring and hopefully spotting some early fall foliage (fingers crossed!). We’re staying at the Woodstock Inn and know we want to eat at the Simon Pearce restaurant (where you can also watch them blow glass in person — I definitely want to pick up a souvenir or two for our house!). Besides that I’ve bookmarked a bunch of picturesque little towns, covered bridges, and restaurants but I’d LOVE your two cents if you have any must-see favorites in the Green Mountain state. As of now we’re planning on taking a scenic route through Manchester on our way north and road tripping to Waitsfield and Warren at some point before our drive home but again I’m all ears!

It’s going to be around 60-65 degrees during our visit and I’m so excited to embrace sweater weather in full force. I recently added this twist-front style to my closet and it’s so cute with high-waisted jeans… I wish I’d had a dark wash pair like these to style it with for these photos so those may be my next purchase. I’m also tempted to try it backwards with the crewneck in the front and the v-neck and twist in the back but I wore it the “right” way so you could see this pretty little disc necklace from the Moon & Meadow collection at Bloomingdale’s (so many pretty and timeless pieces — I love this and this). And I’ve been living in these Tretorn sneakers — they’re true to size and seriously feel like walking on a cloud.

sage the label hold you close twist-front sweater and tretorn women's nylite plus lace up sneakers in white and green

sage the label hold you close twist-front sweater

sage the label hold you close twist-front sweater and moon & meadow 14k yellow gold disc pendant necklace

sage the label hold you close twist-front sweater and tretorn nylite plus sneakers in green and white

sage the label hold you close twist-front sweater and moon & meadow 14k yellow gold disc pendant necklace on design darling

sage the label hold you close twist-front sweater with moon & meadow 14k yellow gold disc pendant necklace

design darling tretorn sneakers

Sage the Label twist-front sweater (also love this, this, and this)  //  Moon & Meadow necklace

Ray-Ban clubmasters  //  J.Crew jeans (similar)  //  Tretorn sneakers

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*This post is sponsored by Bloomingdale’s. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Design Darling!

FRIDAY Q&A: DEALING WITH MOM GUILT, WHAT I’M EXCITED TO SHOW TEDDY ON NANTUCKET, WHAT I MISS ABOUT LIVING IN NEW YORK, AND MORE

Happy Friday! We are still in the throes of sleep training over here and it’s been a bit of a mixed bag this week. We’ve had some really successful longer stretches at night but also some super fussy nap-less days and I’m hoping we’ll be in a better all-around rhythm soon because I am tired. But we kicked off construction on the loft above our garage and the mudroom this week (more on both those projects here!) and I feel like they’re making great progress so far so that’s been a major bright spot in the week. This weekend I’m heading into the city to meet my cousin’s new baby boy and I could not be more excited to see them both! I hope you all have a great one!

1. What’s your favorite destination in New England besides Nantucket?

I’d love to spend more time in Rhode Island, Boston, and Maine! I’ve really enjoyed weekend trips to Newport, Watch Hill, and Vermont and would love to do a road trip through Maine in the fall.

2. Do you ever wonder what you’d be doing as a career if blogging didn’t work out?

I worked in PR doing social media for brands very briefly before going full-time with my blog and the e-commerce site I ran for five years so my hunch is I’d be in the same industry but on the other side of it! 

3. I’m looking to create a self-care package for a mom-to-be. What would you recommend?

Aww I love this idea! I think a favorite candle, an ice roller, a sheet mask or two, and/or a gift certificate for a quick service like a mani/pedi or a blowout would be so thoughtful! 

4. What are you most excited to show Teddy on Nantucket?

I’m probably most excited to take him to the beach! We’re planning to start swim lessons with him in a couple months and I can’t wait to get him in the ocean this summer. And I can’t wait to take him to run (probably crawl?) around at Sankaty (some of my favorite childhood memories!) and watch him experience the outdoor shower for the first time. And I’m not sure when he’ll be able to have ice cream for the first time but I’m sure he will love Juice Bar as much as I do! 

5. Is there anything you miss about living in NYC?

That was such a fun time in my life! I loved the energy, the restaurants (I feel like we would go on date nights like three times a week?!), weekend hangs in Central Park, and living so close to so many of our friends (many of whom have since moved away). I don’t have a desire to live there at this stage in our lives but it’s something I’ll always be happy I experienced! 

6. What were your must-haves in approaching your kitchen renovation? 

I talked all about our appliances, cabinetry, countertops, and more in this post earlier this week! 

7. How did you manage friends and family visiting you and Teddy in the first month?

Not well, haha. I wrote a little about this in this post about our first month with Teddy, but looking back I wish I’d been a little more selfish in carving out time for myself to start the physical healing process and wrap my head around our new reality. I should have been icing and doing sitz baths rather than trying to visit with everyone and it’s something I plan to do differently when we have a second! 

8. How do you deal with mom guilt? It’s so hard!

I feel you on this. Any waking moment that I’m not giving Teddy my full attention makes me feel horribly guilty and it’s definitely something I need to work on for my own sanity. I feel most guilty when he’s resisting a nap and I’m trying to get work done, so I try to remind myself in those moments that I’m working to provide for his future, that my mom working set a strong example for me and my siblings growing up, and that feeling guilty is consuming energy that I would otherwise be devoting to him later on. I obviously have an easier time working once he’s sleeping or when I know my husband or my parents are watching / entertaining him, but I waste a lot of time feeling guilty and it’s tough. 

9. Could you share pros and cons on Darien vs. Greenwich? Thank you!

We loved our three years in Greenwich but always had a feeling we would return to my hometown to buy a house and start a family. For us the pros of Greenwich would be the faster commute to the city for Will, amazing restaurants, a much livelier downtown area, proximity to a great hospital, and proximity to friends who live in town. Pros of Darien (again for us personally) were more affordable real estate, smaller class size in public schools, proximity to my parents, and more of a small town feel. Darien is about to embark on a major downtown revitalization effort that I’m hopeful will bring some more restaurants to town, but other than that it really is a great place to raise a family. I would spend some time in each to see how you feel as it’s really a question of personal preference (I have Greenwich friends who would never live in Darien and vice versa!).

10. What fashion purchases are you making for spring?

We don’t have a ton of travel plans this year as we embark on renovating our house and spring still feels pretty far off in Connecticut, but I rounded up 20 things I’m loving for spring in this post! I’ve only ordered this top so far but I’m planning on revamping my denim assortment as I feel like a high waist has become my best friend postpartum. I’ve been living in this pair but any other suggestions welcome!