We arrived at our hotel-the Providence Marriott Downtown around 4:00 just in time for Happy Hour by the pool! I’d chosen the hotel because it had free parking, complimentary shuttle service to WaterFire, and late checkout the next morning. The staff was great and we enjoyed sampling the local beer, “You Thirsty?”, a tasty New England IPA brewed by Revival Brewing Company in Cranston, RI, before we headed out to our main event.
That Saturday night was a basin lighting, which includes the circle of twenty-two braziers in the Waterplace Park Basin and the twelve braziers leading up to the Providence Place mall. The boats began to circle at dusk to the sound of Yo-Yo Ma. It was everything i’d imagined. This will give you a taste of what to expect:
We couldn’t leave Providence without tasting the pizza. We stumbled upon a tiny place, the Pizza Gourmet. Fabulous wood-fired pizza! And very reasonable.
Next stop was Newport, where we set up our site at the Melville Family Campground. The weather was drizzly so we decided to take a 90-minute Viking Trolley Tour. It was the smartest thing we did. Since we were only there for a few days, it both oriented and helped us decide what we really wanted to spend our time doing.
Our guide was full of historical tidbits and tips about how to get the most out of our Rhode Island experience.
Here’s what we did, based on her expert guidance and our own inquisitive natures:
Flew our new kites at Brenton Point State Park (so much fun!)
Strolled the Cliff Walk behind the mansions (wear good shoes)
Sunbathed at Gooseberry Beach (free off-season)
Visited the Green Animals Topiary Garden (be sure to check out the dahlias too)
Breakfasted at the Blue Plate Diner (sit in Marcia’s section and try the homemade corned beef hash!)
Had a drink at the oldest watering hole in town, The White Horse Tavern (circa 1673)
Watched the sunset at Fort Adams State Park (bring your own chairs)
As you can see, it’s an eclectic slate of activities! As usual, we enjoyed ourselves, despite the torrential thunderstorm on Tuesday night that left inches of rain in our canopy and our entire campsite damp and dripping.
Like any touristy area, Newport is expensive and parking can be horrendous. The people we met were either extremely nice-or not. On the drive home we both agreed that, though we were glad to do a deep dive into the tiny state, if we ever went back we’d visit when there was a bigger event to plan our trip around-like the Newport Jazz Festival or the Newport International Boat Show.