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: WHY WE’RE NOT HIRING AN INTERIOR DESIGNER, WHAT WE LOOKED FOR IN A FIXER UPPER, AND MORE

Happy Friday! We are in town today and Sunday and planning to chip away at more house projects (mostly finishing painting the living room and doing some unpacking). Tomorrow we’re headed to Rhode Island for the day for our annual family reunion on my dad’s side — it’s always a good time with all five siblings and their significant others, siblings and cousins, a diving contest, a talent show, and lots of good food. I hope you all have a great one!

design darling friday q&a

1. We are house hunting in Darien too! Any advice on picking a good house to renovate?

So exciting! We’re so new to the world of fixing up an old home that I don’t feel qualified to give advice just yet, but I’d be happy to share more on our thought process! We decided we felt more comfortable taking on an old home where projects could be tackled room by room than a house that needed a massive addition or complete gut job that would require us living elsewhere for several months. I shared our first round of house projects in this post, but we’ve already put a lot of thought into what rounds two, three, and four will look like! Everything in this house is liveable as is, so it was a question of what on our wishlist to prioritize financially as opposed to absolutely needing to do this or that before we could live in it. We were drawn to the high ceilings, relatively open layout, what we could see of the original hardwood floors — I guess I would say the house had good bones that we could see ourselves being able to breathe new life into over time. 

2. What are the first five or so things you’re doing to your new home before moving in?

You can read our first round of projects for the house in this post! I’ve also shared updates on what we accomplished in our first week and our second week.

3. Will you hire a decorator for your new house?

No way! I thoroughly enjoy decorating and am excited to take my time in making this house feel like ours. We will of course hire an architect/contractor when we take on bigger projects like our kitchen next year, but the interior design will be all me (with input from my husband and mom!).

4. How do you store statement earrings?

You can see a peek at my jewelry storage system in this post! I use several of these linen trays (the 12 grid size for statement earrings and the 24 grid size for necklaces, rings, studs, etc.) which are pretty enough to keep on display.

5. Going to an October wedding that is “CT casual.” Is this Tuckernuck dress too dressy with heels/earrings? 

Wedding dress codes can be so confusing but I think you’re spot on! It’s always best to err on the side of being too dressed up rather than too casual, especially for a wedding. I wore the same dress to an event a few weeks ago with espadrilles and this wicker bag (now on sale!), but for a wedding I’d dress it up with a big statement earring like these or these. 

6. Favorite day-to-day sandals during pregnancy?

Jack Rogers for sure! Anything I can slide into and not have to bend over and tie is a major win right now. 

7. Before pregnancy, what was your favorite white jean brand and fit?

These J Brand jeans have been my go-to white jeans for several years. I can’t recommend them more highly if you’re on the shorter side!

8. Do you have a sunscreen rec that doesn’t make your hair gross? I have a good face one but would love something for ears/neck/body.

Have you tried the Supergoop Unseen sunscreen? It’s more like a gel than a thick cream — I like it a lot for my face, ears, and neck. I’m less picky about what I use on my body — just the higher SPF, the better!

9. Go-to lip products? Favorite gloss, color, etc.

I’m honestly most comfortable with a dab of Aquaphor and that’s it! If I am wearing lipstick, it’s almost always Nars Roman Holiday — the perfect pink and the color I wore on our wedding day!

10. Any good recommendations for fall in Vermont? We’re going to Woodstock!

You will love Woodstock! We went last year at the end of September and I wish we’d gone a few weeks later to experience the fall foliage in all its glory. We did a fair amount of driving so we could experience multiple towns, but I’d say the highlights were the Simon Pearce factory and restaurant in Quechee, dinner at the Pitcher Inn in Warren, exploring the Quechee Gorgelunch at the Equinox in Manchester, and riding bikes around Woodstock.