June 12, 2012
June 12, 2012
- Here, There & Everywhere
- Rainforest Revelry and Relaxation in Puerto Rico
- Discover Newport Rhode Island
- Hyatt Regency Mission Bay Spa & Marina
- Preferred Family Website Now Live!
- Wyndham Oceanside Pier Resort
- Myrtle Beach: More Than Just a Beach
- But Wait, There's More!
- Great Travel Finds: Pepto To Go
By: Joyce Shulman
One of the great things about having kids is seeing experiences through their eyes. Revisiting places you've visited before having kids is no exception.
My family recently spent a weekend in Newport, Rhode Island. I hadn't been to Newport for almost 20 years. Has it changed? I really have no idea, because visiting Newport as a family was an entirely different experience than my last visit with a college boyfriend.
Let me begin at the beginning. We visited during graduation weekend and rooms were scarce. So we found ourselves reserving two rooms at the Marriott Courtyard in Middleton, less than ten minutes from downtown Newport. The hotel was a complete surprise. Tucked in an office park behind a large, gray General Dynamics office building, and just down the way from an endless stream of strip malls, the hotel was totally renovated and totally groovy. The kids loved the uber-contemporary lobby with great seating and loads of snacks from the in-house Starbucks and the tiny "marketplace." A heated pool let them swim from inside the hotel to outside. What kid doesn't love that?
We had two connecting rooms that were big enough to support a full game of hide and seek and complimentary coffee flowed all morning. So, while there are many, many lodging options in Newport, many with amazing history and architecture, the Marriott Courtyard in Middletown gets my vote.
But enough about the surprise hotel and on to the weekend. Friday night found my husband and 11-year-old-son off on a walking Ghost Tour that delivered a mix of history and histrionics. At each stop, the guide explained the historical significance of the location along with the ghastly tale of mayhem or murder that led to the haunting. The White Horse Inn where George Washington met with other revolutionaries ... a murder took place on the second floor. The old state capital and statue ... the site of public hangings. And so on. The tour was fun and our son loved it. Since this is a nighttime tour focused on deaths and ghosts, we'd recommend for ages 10 and up, but use your parental judgment.
Saturday morning, the four of us got the lay of the land with the Viking Trolley whose 90-minute ride takes you through downtown and up to the mansion district. Along the way, the driver points out historical sites and describes the mansions and the families that built them. Newport is so rich with history the driver barely has time to take a breath as the coach moves down the road. While a little bit long for the kids, it was a great way to give us a sense of Newport and help us identify the places we wanted to go back to.
Lunch in town and a bit of shopping and soon we were all aboard the Adirondack II an, 80-foot schooner that took us, and about a dozen others, out into the harbor for a two-hour cruise. The kids loved watching the sails go up, ducking to avoid the boom as we came about and “racing” the other boats in the harbor (okay, so no one knew we were racing but us).
Late afternoon found us back in the mansion district, exploring houses unlike anything we’d seen this side of Downton Abbey. A variety of tours, both guided and self-guided are available at several of the larger mansions. When the kids tired of marble staircases and ballrooms, it was time for cartwheels on the manicured lawns and a stroll along the Cliff Walk, a 3.5 mile path in the cliffs beside the Atlantic.
A quick dinner, and a swim at the hotel and Saturday was a wrap.
On Sunday morning, the kids polished their tree climbing skills before heading to Thames Glass for the highlight of the weekend: a glass blowing lesson where each of us had the chance to create a glass ornament. This incredible experience is best shared by video.
My last visit to Newport was all about BBQs and margaritas. This time? Ice cream, long walks, cupcakes and kids. We had a blast.
Tons of info can be found on the Discover Newport website at www.gonewport.com.
The writer and her family were guests of the Newport Visitors bureau for two days for the purposes of this review.
© 2013 Macaroni Kid, LLC