Get Smart

Above: Ocean House, Watch Hill

Educational travel isn’t just for the backpack-carrying, school-bus-riding set. The Ocean House Management Collection of luxury hotels has an eclectic group of experts—a naturalist, art curator and food forager—who are ready to ensure you leave your vacation with a little esoteric knowledge. Do you fancy mastering the art of braising? Perhaps you’ve been keen to add to your art collection or try your hand at true nature-to-table cuisine. You’re in luck. The educators are available to guests staying at any four of the OHM Collection properties: Ocean House (Watch Hill), Spicer Mansion (Mystic), Weekapaug Inn and Watch Hill Inn.

Individually, they are educators, but together they make a powerful team and can pair up to create unique programs that play off of one another’s talents and expertise. For example, the food forager and naturalist can teach a culinary lesson based on local wildlife and produce. The art curator and food forager can create a class focusing on “the art of plating,” a hot new trend in the culinary realm. To customize a program during your stay, call 855-678-0364, or to check out preset programs visit

Ocean House owners Chuck and Deborah Royce have taken their commitment to art to the next level with the appointment of a resident curator who heads up a variety of immersive art experiences. Ocean House claims the largest privately owned collection of Ludwig Bemelmans, most well-known for his Madeline picture books. The collection includes the original Goodbye to the Ritz, which was commissioned by Town & Country to commemorate the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in New York when it was demolished in 1951. Additionally, the hotel is home to a rotating collection from local galleries. Curator Jeanne Potter is on hand to help guests learn more about the hotel’s extensive assemblage of art, add to their own collection or join one of the series of classes.

Chuck and Deborah Royce

Mark Bullinger is the resident naturalist based at the Weekapaug Inn but can enrich a stay at any of the Ocean House Collection properties. Mark grew up in the Weekapaug community, digging clams and catching crabs in the local waters. He leads organized activities and is on hand to create customized experiences. The complimentary seasonal daily classes include guided beach walks, kayak paddles, fly-fishing workshops and more.

Mark Bullinger

Paul McComiskey is both food forager (that’s an actual title and skill) and director of culinary education. Paul has created relationships with local purveyors, seeking out the freshest local flavors, and teaches his food and cooking philosophies in the resort’s new Center for Wine & Culinary Arts. Guests can join classes such as Vine to Wine and Culinary Boot Camp, or Paul can be commissioned for a private experience.

Paul McComiskey



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