How to Squeeze a Honeymoon into 72 Hours
Inside one couple's romantic jaunt to Portugal, and everything that it entailed.
Published Jun 7, 2017 12:55 PM
Domino has been tagging along every step in the Fortunato sisters’ wedding journey, from bridal shower to wedding. The identical twin sisters are founders of accessories line Lizzie Fortunato, and just so happened to plan their weddings two months apart. Lizzie will be married in August, while Kathryn said “I do” in May. Here, Kathryn dishes on her incredible mini-moon in Portugal.
Nick and I met 10 years ago through friends at a house party in the city. He was about to enter graduate school at Columbia, and I was working on Wall Street at the time. Our first date was on the Upper East Side, where he grew up, at Bar & Books. I still make fun of him for taking me there for our first date.
We got married in Portugal—a place we only visited for the first time last summer but immediately fell in love with. The design scene, food, hospitality, diversity of landscapes, and topography (in a relatively close proximity), affordability and amazing weather (July only has a 2 percent chance of rain) made us fall for this small European country—which happens to be the furthest point west in continental Europe, making it a mere six hours from NYC.
We got engaged the day we returned home from our first trip to Portugal last summer. It was a Sunday, and we had spent the day unpacking and watering our plants. As we were about to sit down to my favorite meal he makes—I call it “magic pasta”—he ducked into the bathroom where the ring must have been hidden (it’s by Irene Neuwirth; she’s a friend and mentor of Lizzie’s and mine). He got down on one knee in the middle of our kitchen and proposed over a home-cooked meal and red wine in our apartment.
We decided to return to Portugal for our nuptials, marrying at the Sublime Comporta, an incredibly well-designed hotel that feels at-home amongst the sandy dunes and rows of pine and cork trees in the coastal town of Comporta, about an hour south of Lisbon.
Above: I’m wearing our Spring ’17 Flora and Fauna Necklace and carrying the Folk Safari Clutch.
After the wedding, we wanted to decompress for a few days and revel in the magic of our three days of celebrating with 100 family members and friends. So we drove our rental car about two hours due east, almost to the Spanish border, to the beautiful and small town of Monsaraz (population 782) in Portugal’s Alentejo region.
Outside of Monsaraz is the newly opened, Sao Lourenco do Barrocal, a farm estate, vineyard, and retreat that has been in the same family for over 200 years. The property is picturesque, relaxing, green, thoughtfully designed, and both luxurious and understated—the perfect place for our 72 hour mini moon.
I tried to pack light for this part of the trip, including only the essentials: a bunch of Marysia bathing suits, my new Le Spec sunglasses, a Gigi Burris straw hat that I’ve been living in, and some easy Demylee dress cover-ups. We snapped this selfie when we arrived, feeling relaxed and happy.
I fell in love with the interiors of Barrocal. The aesthetic was very clean—whitewashed walls, excellent light fixtures, and gorgeous rugs. The eastern Alentejo region is known for their handmade, wool rugs which were originally used by shepherds during cold weather. Just miles from Barrocal, we were able to visit one of the few remaining mills where the wool rugs are made by hand on wool looms (a select few will be available this summer on Fortune Finds).
The food at Barrocal was phenomenal, with an emphasis on seasonal and local cuisine. We were blown away by how fresh and inventive all of our meals were—from the homemade honey at breakfast (made on the farm), the Barrocal’s own olive oils and wines, the incredibly fresh gazpacho and salads—we could see the beds of lettuce where the ingredients came from—and the delicious meats, which are quintessential of Alentejo.
Before dinner we enjoyed tequila negronis on these adirondack chairs while watching the sunset and enjoying the fire pit in the cool May evening.
We visited in mid-May and the days would start out cool and then the sun would come out to reveal bright blue sky days—perfect for hiking or biking around the property, lounging by the beautiful pool (with a glass of the house white wine in-hand), or exploring the historic castles of the hilltop town of Monsaraz, which date back over 1,000 years. I love this image of Barrocal’s simple whitewashed facade; the rooms are all accessible only via the outdoor cobblestone courtyard, giving them each their own feeling of uniqueness and privacy.
The pool at the Barrocal was surrounded by green fields, roaming horses, extensive gardens, and vineyards, and it was stocked with plenty of vino verde and yummy prosciutto and fresh goat cheese sandwiches. They tasted nothing like what you get in America. It was the perfect place to relax after a morning of exploring the surrounding countryside. This photo shows my travel essentials: a straw hat and a rope belt that I layered over everything to easily dress up my look.
The evenings in Altentejo were beautiful. In May, the sun sets at close to 9:00 p.m. so the “magic hour” of dusk was endless and gorgeous. The sky seemed to cover all shades of blue before a blanket of stars was revealed.