Beach Staycation

Julia Dzafic in Madison CT

Anel and I travel a lot, but it’s rare that we get to bring with the puppy, so we jump at any chance we get. This weekend, we were invited (with Boots!) to the Madison Beach Hotel in Madison, CT, a cute little beach town only an hour away from where we live. We had no expectations as we had never heard of it, but were blown away with the area and the hotel itself.

I’m always getting questions about where to travel in Connecticut, so I put together a little guide to Madison if you ever find yourself there. We got a ton of recommendations for restaurants and shopping so made our itinerary based on those and were not disappointed!

Guide to Madison, Connecticut:

Madison Beach Hotel– The hotel itself was lovely. It was recently remodeled so everything felt new, fresh, and clean. It wasn’t too fancy or pretentious but it was definitely upscale and gorgeous. Our room had a view of the water so we had nightly cocktails on the balcony (see below!). They’re incredibly dog friendly so Boots made a few friends which was fun.

The only downside of the trip was when he got sprayed by a skunk on Friday night. We were taking him for one last walk before bed when BAM! right to the side of his head. I have never smelled anything so intense… The staff was incredible, running around to get us buckets, towels, tomato juice, vinegar, and hydrogen peroxide. I have to give a shout out to Ryan, Jeremy, and Courntey who saved us that night. I hope that hotel management somehow reads this and gives them all promotions! With their help, Anel and I were able to get the smell (mostly) out in a matter of an hour.

The bar delivers food and drinks to the beach and you definitely don’t want to miss the beach fries (made in duck fat with truffle aioli) and tuna tartare with homemade kettle chips.

Christy’s– Everyone told us we had to get the pancakes at Christy’s, but we’re not big pancake people so we weren’t too excited about this stop. Boy were we proven wrong! The pancakes were gigantic, fluffy, and insanely good. They had over 20 flavors (we went with blueberry banana crunch) and some amazing egg dishes as well. I loved the California Benedict too.

Elizabeth Café– We ended up here by default on Friday night, and were so happy that we did! I had maybe the best swordfish I’ve ever had in my life, and Anel’s linguine alle vongole was fantastic too.

Bar Bouchée– From what I could tell, this is the “fanciest” restaurant in town. That being said, I wore white jeans and sandals so it was the perfect amount of fanciness for me. The mussels were out of this world and we also enjoyed the fois gras burger (how could you not?) and the butter lettuce salad. Our server was really helpful and gave us wine pairing suggestions for our meal.

RJ Julia’s Bookstore– I finished my copy of The Girls on our first night (highly recommend if you haven’t read it yet), and had been told that this bookstore was famous on the Connecticut coast, so we made a stop there to pick up a new one. The store itself is adorable with a ton of great books but also cute gifts and trinkets. The staff was really friendly and one woman recommended I’m Thinking of Ending Things, a terrifying psychological thriller that I’m still not sure if I loved or hated.

Ashley’s Ice Cream– Every person that we spoke to about Madison told us that we had to go here. It won best ice cream in Connecticut so we were pretty stoked to try it. This was the only spot on our trip that disappointed. The space itself smelled chemically and the ice cream was nothing notable. Next time, I’d order dessert at the two restaurants mentioned above.

Yesterday we were sad to leave this peaceful beach town, but had to come home so that I could unpack, do some work, and repack for my trip to Kennebunkport with my sister today. If you have any recs there, let me know!

Madison Beach Hotel

Striped Sweater at the Beach

New England Beach Hotel

Aperol Spritz

Lemon Stripes at Sunset

Dog Friendly Hotel in Connecticut

Cotton Candy Sky

Sandy Toes

Sunset Beach Walk

Thank you to the Madison Beach Hotel for comping our stay!

Striped sweaters (all on sale!)


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  1. Ashley F said:

    That beach looks so cool! All the shells, wow! Always a great vacation when you get to bring the pup


    7.25.16 · Reply
  2. Jenn Lake said:

    So fun! Looks like you guys had a wonderful time! Have a great week ahead!

    7.25.16 · Reply
  3. Katie said:

    Sounds like such a fun little weekend trip! I love your top too!


    7.25.16 · Reply
  4. So fun! Always looking for dog-friendly getaways and sounds like this was the perfect beach escape!


    7.25.16 · Reply
  5. Dana Mannarino said:

    Love this classic summertime look!

    Pink Champagne Problems

    7.25.16 · Reply
  6. Maggie said:

    What a lovely and relaxing weekend!

    7.25.16 · Reply
  7. These photos are lovely! I always jump at the chance to bring my pup along, too! It just isn’t the same without them!

    7.25.16 · Reply
  8. mckenzie fussell said:

    Such pretty photos!!!! Looks like you had a lovely weekend.
    McKenzie //

    7.26.16 · Reply
  9. Kelly said:

    Are they kid friendly? Love the recommendation!

    7.27.16 · Reply
    • Yes! There were a ton of kids there. The water was pretty calm so it was good for swimming with kiddos.

      7.28.16 · Reply
  10. Connecticut have so many hidden gems! These photos are stunning!
    xox Tess | Sequins are the New Black

    8.1.16 · Reply
  11. Colby said:

    That’s my town! Next time you’re up this way I have some other great suggestions for you!

    3.31.17 · Reply
  12. Kim said:

    How fun to hear about Connecticut from a blogger! I just toured the Madison Beach Hotel as a wedding venue the other month. It was beautiful but we ended up not wanting to deal with the impracticality of a beach wedding. Didn’t realize they allowed pets inside! I’ll have to check out Ashley’s Ice Cream. I live so close to Madison anyways.

    Simply Lovebirds

    5.25.17 · Reply