TRAVEL DIARY - NEWPORT, RHODE ISLAND
I don’t travel nearly as much as I’d like, hello work, kids, husband, oh, and finances, but every once in a blue moon the stars align. Last week was a blue moon! My husband had to travel on TDY orders to Newport, Rhode Island and my mom was already scheduled to have the kids for a few nights, what?! Like I said, the stars aligned! My mom so graciously rearranged her work schedule to keep my kiddos longer than originally planned and I was able to tag along!
We decided to make the drive from Maryland on Sunday. The drive was supposed to take around 7 hours, but between traffic and a few short stops, it ended up being 10 hours, womp, womp! I was thanking my lucky stars my kiddos weren’t in the back seat asking, “are we there yet?”. Thank you LORD!
We arrived around 8:40pm and got the hotel in time to just find a close restaurant and hit the sack. My hubs would be working within walking distance to the hotel, which meant I would have the car during the day to explore, and explore is what I did!
Day One - Monday
I got up and went to the closest grocery store to grab some food for my husband to have for lunch during the week since I’d have the car. Then I met him for lunch and went exploring. I parked at the visitors center parking garage near Thames Street and ended up doing a mix of souvenir shopping and taking side streets to photograph the gorgeous homes and inns. I totally fell in love!
That evening, we headed for a quick bite and then went to Easton’s Beach (often referred to as First Beach) and hung out on a blanket for a bit, enjoying the sunset.
Day Two - Tuesday
After a rough night sleep - the beds at the hotel were very firm, which is not my preference, I got a later start. After getting up and going, I decided to make this day my mansion tour day. I had already done my research and knew that most people don’t suggest doing more than two mansion tours in a day. I was undecided if I was going to do any. I started out by driving up to the Salve Regina campus and quickly found free street parking. (Side note: all the mansions offer free parking at each location, but since I wasn’t sure where I would end up, I got close to The Breakers and just parked on the street to walk.)
I began by just walking the grounds of The Breakers - For those who aren’t familiar with the mansions area of Newport, this was a very well known summer home location for the wealthy elite during the Gilded Age. These mansions were “summer cottages” that belonged to such names as the Vanderbilt’s, the Berwind’s and Herman Oelrichs. These cottages were only used from about July - September every year and most of these homes employed about 40 servants.
After I toured the mansions, I went back to the hotel and my husband and I dined at The Black Pearl. It’s located in Bowen’s Wharf and it was delish! My husband never raves about food and he said his balsamic chicken was mouthwatering!
FUN FACT - THIS IS WHERE THE GREAT GATSBY WAS FILMED,
BUT IT’S NOW MOSTLY USED AS A WEDDING VENUE.
Day Three - Wednesday
I’m a beach lover and well, my husband is not so this was the perfect time for me to soak up the sun without worrying if he was bored and ready to go! I had already seen Easton’s Beach and knew that there was a ton of red algae so I decided to check out a little less touristy beach, Second Beach. Second Beach is not far from Easton’s. I got there around 10 am and it was not crowded at all, as you can see from the photos. It was beautiful! I loved the white sand! I will warn those who are not used to it, the sand in Newport (can’t speak for the whole New England coast) is VERY fine! I was not used to this and the reality is that fine sand is very challenging to remove. Other than that, it was beautiful, very family friendly and the waves weren’t rough, which made for the perfect beach day! (Fair Warning - parking is rather expensive, $20 on weekdays and $25 on weekends, I would say it’s worth it though!)
Later, after we finished dinner, we headed to Cliff Walk to view the mansions along the water. It was a beautiful night and the ocean breeze is perfect when it’s humid! If the humidity is low, I’d recommend bringing a light jacket or sweatshirt in case you get chilly!
Day Four- Thursday
My last day in Newport was spent as another beach day, hey, what can I say, I love the beach! Before I headed back to Second Beach, I took a detour to Fort Adams. It’s definitely a cool place to visit if you have time! I didn’t tour the fort since I wanted to get to the beach, but I did walk along the water and the fort. It’s free to enter the park and no charge for parking as well.
Our last evening, we decided to head up to have dessert at Castle Hill along Ocean Drive. The homes are incredible everywhere and this was no exception. Fair warning, this is a valet only hotel and dining experience and they don’t seat you for dessert only. We ended up getting seats at the bar and I ordered a glass of Moscato and the “Brookie” (brownie cookie served warm in a skillet with ice cream - YUM!) The views from the lawn and the property in general are breathtaking! Insider’s tip - it feels like it’s 20 degrees colder up there with the wind so dress accordingly. I had a dress on and a jean jacket and I was freezing and my poor hubs was in a short sleeve shirt and shorts and he was frozen as well. It did appear that they have blankets for their dining guests if requested though.
Day Five - Friday
I had to catch my flight home so I didn’t have time to do anything else, but I’m sure I could have filled up plenty more days! The Providence airport is only about a 30 minute drive, which was truly convenient, so I just grabbed an Uber since my husband was still working. He ended up driving back Friday afternoon/evening and swore he would never do the drive again, lol!
I can safely say that I adore this small town. Everyone was so friendly and considerate, a nice change from the rush pace of the DC life. If you are looking for the perfect family or romantic vacation spot, definitely consider Newport. The only things I would caution you on are - 1. The town seems to wind down early and most things closed between 9-10pm. 2. Prepare to fall in love with it’s charm! I can’t wait to visit again!
If you enjoyed this Newport, Rhode Island travel diary, let me know! I’d love to hear your favorite sites around Newport or another destination you’d recommend!
All photos are my own, no use without written permission.