Rhode Island – WOW!!! When I started telling people I was going to Rhode Island for a week, some said, “WHY?” Others told me I was going to love it! Well……I DID love it!!! When I first thought about a possible trip to Rhode Island, I had a few ideas, but wasn’t sure exactly where I wanted to stay or what all I wanted to do until I started researching it.
I originally considered staying in Providence and exploring from there. I ended up deciding on Newport as my base location…..and, I am sooooo glad I did! Newport is such a sweet town with tons of great things to see and do.
I flew into Boston and drove to Newport – about an hour and a half – longer than I thought it would take, but I made it! I rented a Kia K5 – nice car!!! I ended up putting 572 miles on the rental car in the three days I was there (actually five – Monday was a travel day, I had Tuesday-Thursday to do stuff, and Friday was my return travel day).
I found a lovely Bed & Breakfast called the Artful Lodger on Spring Street in Newport – GREAT location – right downtown and close to just about everything. My host – Heidi – was a sweetheart – very friendly, fun, and helpful with recommendations and information.
My room was large, clean, beautifully decorated, and very comfortable…..and, it had a huge Jacuzzi, which I took full advantage of!!!
Breakfast was served in the Conservatory on the third floor – a beautiful, sunny room with views of the harbor and outdoor seating available if the weather permits – it was a tad chilly for that while I was there. Breakfast was DELICIOUS!!!
Two mornings I had the Azores Sweet Bread French Toast — once with sausage and once with bacon — YUM!!! So good!!! (that’s why I had it two days in a row) On the third day, I had eggs, bacon, and toast. The fourth morning, I had to leave for the airport before breakfast was served…..boo hoo!!!
Me and Heidi — the host of the Artful Lodger
I arrived my first day after dark and a stressful drive from Boston Logan Airport, so I just got settled in, watched some TV, and got an amazing night’s sleep – I slept like a baby every night. Then, my second day, I focused on finding my way around Newport and sight-seeing. I drove around…..not an easy task, at first – Newport is a maze of one-way streets that are very narrow, but I soon got the hang of it and was zipping around the town like an old pro!
Here are some of the sights from my puttering around in the morning:
I visited with the pastor of the United Baptist Church of Newport – the second oldest Baptist church in America. I met with him and took photos for an article I wanted to write for my church newsletter…..I did a separate post on the churches I visited for the article – scroll down after you’re done with this post to read it.
Also included in the next post is America’s First Synagogue, established in 1763.
And, the first Seventh Day Baptist Meeting House, established 1730. Be sure to scrolled down to the next post – lots of history of all these amazing churches that represent the pioneers of religious freedoms in America.
The Redwood Library and Athenaeum – a hybrid library, museum, rare book repository, and research center. First purpose-built library structure in America that has been in continuous use since opening in 1750. It is also the nation’s oldest Neo-classical building and a National Historic Landmark.
AND……it has a big rocking chair in the side yard…..a piece of art work, or so I was told! I REALLY wanted to get up in that chair……but……I was a good girl (but, only because it was so high and I am so short – hehehe)
This is the Newport Tower…….also known as the Old Stone Mill, is a round stone tower located in Touro Park in Newport, Rhode Island, the remains of a windmill built in the mid-17th century. But – several theories add to the mystery of the tower — including claims that it was built by Vikings or the Knights Templar, Freemasons, Native Americans, Chinese explorers, and Celts. Recent investigations conclude all materials are from the mid-17th century and the windmill story is most likely.
I did some walking around downtown – especially Thames Street – a lovely brick and cobblestone street full of wonderful shops and restaurants.
Then, in the afternoon, I took a three hour trolley tour all around the city that ended with a tour of one of the Gilded Age Mansions that Newport is famous for.
Our guide was awesome…..so fun and knowledgeable. He was from Brazil and was a real cutie-patooty!!!
During the mid-19th century, some of the wealthiest families in America came to Newport to build lavish mansions to be used as “summer cottages”. These mansions were summer homes to Vanderbilt’s, Astor’s, Carnegie’s, and many others….including one owned by Jacqueline Bouvier’s step father – Hammersmith Farms – the location of her wedding reception when she married John F. Kennedy. President Eisenhower also had his “summer white house” in Newport, as did John F. Kennedy. Some of the homes are still private homes, but some have been opened to the public for tours. Imagine……building something this massive and grand and only living in it a couple months out of the year!!!
This is the Breakers — a tour was included in our Trolley Tour. It was quite elaborate!
Eisenhower’s Summer White House is located at Fort Adams
Hammersmith Farms – home of Jackie Bouvier and location of her wedding reception when she married JFK
After the tour, I went to The Mooring for dinner……amazing!!!
I had the baked lobster stuffed with shrimp and scallops and a Limoncello cake for dessert!
I walked off my dinner with a stroll around Bannister’s Wharf
Wednesday was another amazing day!!! Started out with a delicious breakfast….then I went across the bridge to Jamestown to visit Beavertail Lighthouse…..then walked a ways on the Cliff Walk (it’s a 7 mile round trip walk, so definitely didn’t do the whole thing)…..then I went to St Mary’s Parish – the church JFK and Jackie were married in, but found they only do tours on Tuesday…….then I found the mansion that the 1960’s TV show Dark Shadows was filmed at – they used it for the exterior shots of Collinwood Mansion – it is a private residence and mostly obscured by heavy bushes, but I found a spot I could get my phone through for a picture!!!! I was careful not to trespass, but I GOT THE SHOT!!!
Beavertail Lighthouse is the site of America’s Third Oldest Lighthouse – established in 1749
The harbor leaving Jamestown…..and a huge, beautiful building on the corner just before I got back on the bridge.
This is the bridge to Jamestown from the Jamestown side……it was a stunning bridge! Obviously, I couldn’t get photos while I was on the bridge, but it really was an impressive drive.
The next few photos are from the Cliff Walk – a 7 mile round trip walk along the harbor with beautiful views. I only went a ways down – too far for me to do the whole round trip and I also had to get back to the wharf for a sail on a schooner I had booked and I still had a couple stops I wanted to make before then.
St. Mary’s Parish — church where John F. Kennedy and Jackie Bouvier were married on September 12, 1953. They have tours that take you through the church and the day of the wedding, but only on Tuesdays — I wish I had known that – I could have swapped my plans around so I could do the tour, but……that’s OK! Another time, maybe!
I was really excited when I found the mansion that was used for the exterior shots of Collinwood Mansion in the 1960’s TV show, Dark Shadows!!! I loved that show…..I rushed home from school to see it!!! This is the home of Barnabus Collins in the show. It is a private home that I was told recently sold for $29 million!!! Best photo I could get through the bushes and the hole in the chain link fence…..it’s a private residence marked “No Trespassing”!!!! I didn’t go on the property…..I was standing outside the bushes and fence…..but I got the shot!!! LOL
In the afternoon, I went sailing on the Madeleine Schooner – WOW – it was a gorgeous day for it! We set sail and spent an hour and a half on the water with the sails up! AMAZING!!! It was an all-girl crew with Captain Annie at the helm and two young ladies working the sails. Captain Annie is the first female captain for this schooner in its 30-some years in operation!
This looks old and impressive — it’s actually a replica that is only about 8 years old…..but, it sure is pretty!
House on an island…..it was built by the original owners, who abandoned it after a severe hurricane a long time ago – before they started naming hurricanes — sorry, can’t remember the specific details……then, it was purchased not too long ago by a guy who came along and asked the city how much they wanted for it – they were so happy that someone wanted it, they sold it to him for the back taxes – about $8000!!! It is a fully self-sufficient home powered by renewable energy.
Rose Hill Lighthouse under the bridge to Jamestown…….Rose Hill Lighthouse is now operated as a 6 room inn that you can stay at…..it is reported to be haunted….just might be my choice for lodging next time….although, I may have to split my time so I could stay at the Artful Lodger, again!
One of the passengers brought their dog – Olivia – a Jack Russell Terrier……here, Captain Annie is giving some love to Olivia! She was a sweetheart!!! She loved being on the boat and visiting with all the other passengers.
Then, I had an early dinner at the Lobster Bar after I got off the Madeleine. I had the Lobster Roll with fries and it was incredible!!!
I wandered around Thames Street for some window shopping (and a little actual shopping)…..picked up a “Grandma’s Carrot Cake” cupcake at Cupcake Charlie’s and then settled in for the night and enjoyed my cupcake!!!
I originally planned to take the ferry over to Block Island, but people I talked to said it really wasn’t the right time of year for that and I found so many other wonderful things to do that I decided not to spend an entire day doing something like that. I was then planning to visit some of the other coastal towns near Newport. But, in my infinite wisdom, I decided I wanted to see Cape Cod!!!
I started out making a quick photo stop at the harbor in Newport and then went to Providence, before heading to Cape Cod — I had to visit the First American Baptist Church in America — again, that is included in the blog post you’ll find after this one. What little I saw of Providence, I was so glad I chose Newport as my base…. Providence was just a big city. I’m glad I went to the church, but other than that, I’m not sure I would have enjoyed being there any more than I was.
French General Rochambeau who joined forces with General Washington on the Hudson River and on to a successful march on Yorktown.
This plaque says “I Welcome the new of your arrival. A new mark of friendship. From his most Christian Majest, George Washington.” I thought that was cool!
The First American Baptist Church in America – Providence, RI
And, off to Cape Cod I went……in hindsight, I wish I had taken the day to visit the other RI coastal towns, but it was a nice drive. But, I spent most of the day in the car on highways and saw very little coastal views. It was taking so long that I decided not to go all the way up to Provincetown (the tip of Cape Cod) and stopped in Chatham, explored the town a little, stopped at the Chatham Lighthouse, and headed back. Chatham was a lovely town with some quaint shops.
I guess I was a tad disappointed cause I expected it to be like the Outer Banks in NC — all coastal roads with water and stunning views on each side……it wasn’t…..maybe if I had gone further up, it would have been, but it was getting late and I was looking at about two and a half hours back from where I was…..and Provincetown was at least another hour or so up…….it made for a very long day. But, it wasn’t a total loss – I did enjoy the drive and my stop in Chatham…..AND…..I did get to scratch off the landmark “Cape Cod National Seashore” on my chart!!! 🙂
When I got back to Rhode Island, I decided I was going to go to at least one coastal town, after all…..I decided to go to Westerly for dinner and hoped to see a nice sunset while eating. Traffic made me miss the sunset, but I did have a wonderful dinner at the Olympia Tea Room right on the water and got to see a bit of Westerly!
I had the pork chop with a loganberry demi glaze, mashed potatoes and broccoli…..sp good!!!!
I got back to the Artful Lodger about 9:00, packed up my things, and went to bed so that I could get up and head to the airport in the morning. It was a wonderful adventure…….I hope to return, someday, and do the things I didn’t get to and maybe re-do some things I really enjoyed!!!