Friday, May 30, 2014

Love Newport Style! Chapter 2

Trains...check! Helicopters...check! Trucks...check! happy you came back for the continuing saga of my anniversary adventures in Newport.

And now please allow me to pick up where I left off...

Friday of our big weekend arrived. It's weird but I felt so excited, the kind of buzz I always feel on day 1 of a big vacation...the butterflies in the stomach just thinking about boarding an airplane to fun! Except this time, we were boarding hubby's pickup truck to travel a mere 45 miles from home.

Hubby and I packed up our suitcases and hauled them out to our pickup. We gave our dogs a cuddle and bid them adieu. (Probably the only downer part of the whole weekend...we just hate leaving them behind - and even worse knowing the hotel we were going to is "dog friendly" so any other time we could have taken them.) We pointed the truck south and headed off down the highway to the city by the sea...on Aquidneck Island...Newport!

We found our hotel easy enough. The Hyatt Regency. On Goat Island. A part of Newport we had never visited before, though you can catch a glimpse of it from the towering Claiborne Pell bridge.

A warm welcome greeted us when we entered the cozy, inviting lobby and checked-in. The desk agent provided us with our Winter Festival buttons which would allow us to partake in all kinds of fun events throughout the weekend at either discounted prices or no cost at all.

After dropping off our luggage in our spacious room with a promised view of Narragansett Bay (the fog kind of got in the way, but I'm sure the sun would come out tomorrow...), we decided to take a quick tour of the hotel and the island it sat on. Eventually, we found our way to the outdoor Pineapple Bar. We were expecting a bar made of ice...unfortunately, due to the rise in temps, the bar had melted and crashed to the ground. Not to be deterred, the staff just kept serving, but out of the little wooden bar. Of course, we bought a few of their house specialty pineapple vodka drinks and headed back in (since we couldn't really see anything, see "fog").

Next, we headed to the hotel restaurant and had the most scrumptious anniversary dinner. We ordered a bottle of wine and toasted to our 33 years of togetherness.

We didn't dawdle too long over dinner because the night was still young and there was so many things we wanted to do!

First up: a comedy show! Right at the hotel! Our Winter Festival button got us discounted tickets to the show. We were entertained by 2 very funny female comedians.

Once the show was over, we grabbed our coats and went outside to take the hotel shuttle to downtown Newport. From there we strolled to a local music club, One Pelham, to listen to a local rock band. Turned out it wasn't the band that was advertised but since we didn't have to pay a cover to get in (thanks to our Winter Festival button!), we didn't really care. They actually were pretty good! A couple of drinks later, we decided to head back to the hotel and finish off that bottle of wine from dinner!

Next morning, we awoke to a bright sunny day. And NOW we could glimpse a patch of blue ocean water from our hotel window. We just knew it was going to be a great day!

We loved the (included!) breakfast brunch. So filling and yummy!

Instead of the shuttle we decided to use our truck for the day's outing away from the hotel. We had quite the itinerary ahead of us.
A short ride off the island we parked at the train depot and climbed aboard The Newport Dinner Train (aka just a daytime train without the dinner) for a nice ride along the waterfront. We listened to a narration of the history of the area. We definitely will return with the grandkids for the ice cream sundae train ride; think they'd like that.
While on board we heard someone give an out-of-towner a recommendation on a great place for local, no frills, low-cost seafood and, since it was on the way to our next destination, we decided to heed their advice. After the train ride, we found Anthony's Seafood in Middletown and gobbled down some mouth-watering seafood sandwiches. Highly endorse this place! Will definitely be on our "must do" list next time we're back this way.

A five minute drive took us to the next item on our itinerary: the Newport airport and Bird's Eye View Helicopters!

Hubby and I hopped up into a shiny red helicopter and were taken on a flight around Newport. It was magical! The sky was clear and cloud-free. The ocean below us, crystal blue. My finger never left the trigger of my camera as I clicked and clicked picture after picture while the pilot expertly and smoothly maneuvered the flying machine over the Island.

The view was breathtaking. We actually got to fly over the mighty Claiborne Pell Bridge and then on over our own hotel! Flying around the curve of the land as it skirted around the magnificent mansions, the pilot pointed out over the ocean and said "Look, we can see Martha's Vineyard. It's a rare sighting because the island is 30 miles away!"

We just couldn't have picked a better day to fly over the spectacular gilded city by the sea. "America's First Resort".

We spied the cliff-walk, Breton Point, the Naval Station, and Fort Adams, home to the famed Newport Jazz and Folk Festivals.

Sadly, the flight came to an end way too soon. I wanted to go up again! And again!

As part of our discounted purchase of the helicopter tour (thanks again button!), we were given tickets to go to a wine tasting and vineyard tour next door at the Newport Vineyards! What a treat! We're wine lovers (mostly whites and rieslings), but we had never done anything like this and really looked forward to our first wine tasting. It was so interesting to hear the back-story on how wine is made and see it all up close and personal. I'd definitely recommend it as a fun activity for couple-friends or even an all-girl's event. We ended up leaving with a couple of bottles of new favorites!

It was amazing that we had done so many fantastic things and yet the day wasn't over yet. We were only at the half-way point. We drove back to the hotel and dressed for dinner. This time we were headed to the oldest tavern in the United States: The White Horse Tavern. Est. 1673. A restaurant we had always wanted to check out. We boarded the hotel shuttle and got off in downtown to do a bit of shopping before we went to dinner. Unfortunately, being off-season, most of the stores turned out the lights at 5:00. We got bored with window shopping and decided to just get going to the Tavern.

One word: Magnificent. Everything we heard, all the compliments, all the raves. ALL TRUE. We were graciously welcomed and shown to a small table on the second floor, next to a window. Our food was wonderful. The service exemplary. We sat there wishing the walls could talk. Wonder what they'd say?

We left the Tavern very satisfied, and very stuffed. OMG! The walk back to the hotel was much needed. The air was crisp and cool, but not mind-numbingly cold like it had been all winter. How did we get so lucky this weekend? It had been a long time since hubby and I had taken a romantic moon-lit stroll, so this was quite a nice extra feature of our weekend.

We got back in time to dress up for the next and final event of the day: a performance of The Cast of Beatlemania. Best thing about the show? It was going to be in the hotel, too! Hubby had gotten us VIP seats. Right up front. Included drinks. Oh yeah!! I mean "she loves him yeah yeah yeah"!! We bopped and danced in our chairs along with our friendly table-mates who hailed from New Jersey and California. Our ears were still ringing and we were still singing Beatles tunes as we turned in for the night.

Another bright sunny day greeted us the next morning. We filled up again at the breakfast buffet and decided to take a stroll around the hotel grounds, now that we could see the beautiful view without the pea-soup fog.

Though we were checking out of the hotel, we weren't done with Newport. Oh no, not yet!

Remember those mansion tickets I mentioned, somewhere back in Chapter 1? Well, now was the time to use them. We decided to take a tour of The Elms on Bellevue Avenue. It differed from my last 2 mansion tours. Those were self-guided using headphones. For The Elms, we had a tour guide who took us and about 10 others through the magnificent summer home of the Berwinds. Just beautiful. So much history. Completed in 1901, it was another summer home for a wealthy family but a bit smaller than the other mansions in the area (but still MUCH bigger than the average American home of the working man). My only regret about this visit is that the massive gardens were not in bloom.

Ah, we'll just save that for another time!

About an hour later, tour completed, we drove down Bellevue Avenue to the Redwood Library. Founded in 1747. The first lending library in the country. We were given a tour of the historic building and learned of its fascinating history. Believe it or not, the Harrison Room, contains the original books that stood on the shelves when the library first opened. Historical works of art adorn the walls of all the rooms.

Tour completed, we headed across the street to the last stop of the Winterfest weekend. Newport Aromatherapy. A quaint little shop on Bellevue. The proprietor greeted us and offered to assist me with making my own perfume! She directed me to a counter where dozens of vials were lined up ready for my nose. I sniffed at each one, nodding at the ones that I liked, and turning my nose up at others. I ended up with about 3 vials that really struck a chord with me. She mixed them up and handed me a vial of my very own scent! And it smelled heavenly! I couldn't believe it. It was ME. Hubby bought a beautiful crystal cut decanter for me from the shop and we poured the concoction into it.

What a perfect way to end the day! What a perfect way to end the weekend!

Though our days were full, I never felt stressed and overwhelmed. The weekend went by at a nice leisurely pace. Just right for two stressed and overwhelmed people like hubby and me. We really needed alone time...away time...and this was just the ticket!

And next time (if there IS a next time), I will NOT doubt hubby again. He came up with a fabulous idea and itinerary to celebrate our anniversary. Gee...wonder what he's going to plan for an encore?

Honey? Oh sweetie....

1 comment:

  1. This sounded like a fabulous time! So many things to do in Newport! What a perfect weekend. I am glad you had fun! You needed it and deserve it!


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