When my husband and I were discussing family trips for the Summer I told him I really wanted to take the kids to New England. I recently lost my dad and some of my fondest memories of him are when my brother & I went on vacations with our Dad, Uncle and our cousins. I wanted to have a new experience with my family along with giving them a little feel of the New England charm. Newport, Rhode Island was the perfect place for this.
I hate to admit that I had little knowledge of Newport, except that Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis grew up there. I have always heard stories of flight attendants & pilots going there on Providence (PVD) overnights. The town exceeded my expectations. I can’t believe I have been flying for over 15 years and never rented a car on an overnight to go here.
We didn’t land until close to 6pm. By the time we got our rental car and drove the 30 minute drive to Newport we were ready for dinner. The Red Parrot was directly across from our hotel The Mills Street Inn. The kids meals were huge and a hit with both. I had the lobster nachos and my husband had the swordfish topped with crab & scallops. We were all happy with our meals. We ended up here another night for their delicious ice cream sundaes. There is also a Stop & Shop grocery store nearby if you want to load up on any groceries.
Our first full day we went down to Easton Beach which the locals call First Beach. We took a walk on the gorgeous Cliff Walk.
There are beautiful hotels overlooking Easton Beach. I think if my husband and I go back there just the two of us we will stay at one of these below.
photo cred: Trip Advisor
he walk is absolutely STUNNING! You can venture off the sidewalk if you choose and get some great photos on the rocks. My husband & stepdaughter did a few times, but our son was only 4 so he and I only went down to the rocks at the bottom of the Forty Steps stairs to take a few pictures and take in the scenery.
**We paid for meter street parking just before the beach lot. The beach lot is $10 and meter was $4 for 3 hours, they take credit cards or change. We realized later we could have parked on the side streets (Narragansett Ave & Webster Ave) for free, these would put you right at the Forty Steps.**
I loved seeing a few artist sitting on the cliff painting/sketching the amazing view. If they weren’t deep in thought I would have asked for a business card to buy a piece of art.
The mansions along the walk are well hidden with privacy hedges and stone walls, but you can sneak a little peak in a few spots and get a glimpse of how grand and beautiful they are. My son kept asking me to read what the memorial signs said on each bench. Most were “In memory of…” but a few had quotes and below is a pic of one of my favorites. “Walk the cliff, smell the sea, share the view, forever with me” – Adams
After walking the Cliff Walk we went back to the hotel to freshen up & then grabbed some New York style pizza at Via Via. You can buy by the slice or an entire pie if you’d like. My husband is from NY and was pleased with this pizza. They have some fried sea food on the menu as well. They only accept cash.
We went back down to the beach since I had read about Save the Bay’s Exploration Center & Aquarium. This place was a lot of fun for the kids! It is small, but very hands on and the kids loved it. Here is a little note from their website.
*Whether you’re a local or just visiting the Newport area, our beachfront Exploration Center & Aquarium is the perfect family destination any time of year! Our interactive marine science center is home to more than 40 species from Narragansett Bay, often including rare lobsters, crabs, seahorses, sea robins, terrapins and more. Three touch tanks allow you to get up close and personal with little skates, urchins, spider crabs, sea stars, dogfish sharks and more – all from local waters. And, with Newport’s only ocean-facing beach just outside our front door, you can continue the beachcombing experience after your visit.
The staff was educated and friendly. Most were interns and a lot of them are in school studying Marine Biology. One of the girls told me she is going to school for Environmental Science. They all seemed so passionate about what they do and had an abundance of patience with the kids asking a ton of questions or wanting to hold a certain sea animal over and over.
This night we ate at the Brick Alley Pub. When doing research on Newport I had seen a few great reviews on this restaurant and thankfully it was kid friendly. I read that this is where you go if you want to get a lobster roll in Newport. The Brick Alley Pub didn’t disappoint. The hostess greeted us and instantly said she had a great seat for us. She put us in a round booth with plenty of room. We usually go to a restaurant with a Captain America backpack full of hot wheels and whatever other entertainment our 4 1/2 yr old needs. The kids got burgers with no complaints. My husband got the lobster roll and even though it was on a small hot dog bun he was still pleased with his meal. I got the corned beef reuben and it was delicious. My husband finished it and enjoyed it as well. It’s hard to find a good reuben in Florida and they’re usually pastrami, so this was a nice change. The decor and atmosphere at the Brick Alley Pub were perfect.
The next day we booked a boat tour Sailing Adventures aboard Madeleine. We had researched a lot of boat tours and were actually hoping for a hands on lobster fishing tour with the kids, but most places were still on their Spring schedule, so after looking at our options we opted for Schooner Madeleine and we were happy we did. The staff was very educated on the history of Newport. Anytime we asked a question about a home or boat we saw they had an answer. Once we pulled off the dock and they were putting the sails up they asked my stepdaughter to assist, she was more than happy to help them. I think that was her highlight of the entire trip. There are many sailing excursions. You can find info HERE
One of the first things we saw was Fort Adams, which was named after President John Adams who was in office when the Fort was established. Tours of the Fort are given between May & September. We did not take a tour, but also learned that Fort Adams is where Newport holds their annual Folk & Jazz festivals. In 2012 it was the official venue for America’s Cup World Series in Newport. We also saw Clingstone, which is known as The House on the Rock to most. Here is a link on wikipedia for info on this home. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clingstone
All in all we loved Newport and definitely plan to go back there again. Maybe just a weekend adult get away next time. If we go back without kids I have made a list of things I will definitely be doing.
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