Hello friends! It’s been a while since we’ve written. Thanks for hanging in! Rough times when our hearts yearn for travel, but we have been making the most of it here at home. New York is one of the states now with the lowest COVID infection rates so things are on the upswing here. Much of the US is seeing rises in cases and even domestic travel, while allowed, comes with some restrictions. Despite this, we did manage to get some travel in! Read on to learn about our trip to Newport, RI.
Since our trip to Eastern Europe in July had to be cancelled due to COVID, we decided to book another trip closer to home and domestically, since at that time, all/most international borders were closed to Americans (*some countries have since re-opened to Americans, but if you do intend to travel, check online for the latest updates where we can travel and what is needed to enter. Kayak.com has an updated list of which countries are accepting Americans right now). This was our anniversary trip so we didn’t just not want to go anywhere. We decided on Newport because it was in a state where New Yorkers could go and not have to quarantine and it was only 3 hours away, so no flights needed!
We ended up staying in Providence, RI rather than Newport for 2 reasons: 1) it was way cheaper and 2) we did not have to adhere to the minimum nights most hotels in Newport had. Since it was a holiday weekend, most hotels wanted 3 nights, which meant we would have had to stay Thursday night as well. We ended up leaving Friday AM, doing Friday night, & Saturday night and came home Sunday. It worked out great and was the perfect amount of time there. We stayed at the Courtyard Marriott Downtown Providence and we paid $100 for 2 nights. Many Newport hotels wanted well beyond $300. Providence is approximately 40 minutes from Newport and staying in Providence is a great choice to save money, if you don’t mind making a bit of a drive.
After checking into the Marriott in Providence, we walked around for a bit and grabbed lunch at an amazing place called Dune Brothers. This was a cute little outdoor spot kind of like a food truck, but it had picnic tables set up in the sand. We ordered the lobster roll, crab cakes, french fries, a bottle of water and birch beer. Everything was super delicious and Sam said it was the best seafood he ever had!
For those of you unfamiliar with Birch Beer (prior to this, we never had it ourselves either), it is a carbonated soft drink made from herbal extracts and birch bark. This particular version was clear in color, reminiscent of seltzer or club soda, but it comes in a variety of colors which is dependent on the species of birch tree the sap comes from. This drink is most popular in the Northeastern US & Canada.
We were very pleased with the food and service at Dune Brothers & highly recommend it!
After lunch, we walked around some more, into Federal Hill; around Waterplace Park and down by the Capitol. Admittedly, while Providence is such an adorable city, we found it to be somewhat empty and not a whole lot to do. Locals may have taken the opportunity to go to Newport or elsewhere for the holiday weekend – but despite this, we did have a nice day! Federal Hill was pretty cool and similar to NYC’s ‘Little Italy’ but on a much smaller scale. We did not eat there but there was a nice array of Italian restaurants that had tables set up outside for dining. Waterplace Park was really beautiful as well. Had it not been COVID, we were told there is Waterfire, which is a light & fire show and sometimes the park has concerts as well. Sadly it’s cancelled for all of 2020, but again we enjoyed our time in the city and hope to come back to catch the show another time.
We concluded our first day at Jacky’s Restaurant, where we enjoyed delicious Asian food, overlooking the water at Waterplace Park.
Day 2 had us up and headed to Newport! It was a 40 minute drive from our hotel. As you cross the bridge onto the island, the scenery along the way is absolutely beautiful! No wonder why it is called ‘The Ocean State’ … just beautiful blue gorgeous water donning both sides of the bridge. We couldn’t believe how amazing it was!
When we got into Newport, we found a great lunch spot called Flo’s Clam Shack. Sam had oysters and I had a lobster roll and clam chowder. New England has some awesome seafood and Flo’s was no exception!
After Flo’s, we had plans to do Cliff Walk. It’s a 3.5mile walk along the shoreline, with gorgeous views and amazing, beautiful mansions! We almost walked the whole thing but we could not find parking at the start, so we ended up parking by the 40 steps area, which is the 2nd ‘stop’ along the trail. The parking can be a bit tough and mostly metered (they accept credit card), but we were able to get parking near 40 steps, along Narragansett Avenue. The start of the trail is at the beach, so you can park in the beach parking lot and pay, but it had been full when were there so we were advised 40 steps is a good place as well. Make sure you bring water and comfortable shoes to walk in! There are not any place to get water or go to the bathroom along the walk, so something to keep in mind. Also, if you do not want to walk, there is a trolley that makes stops along the way.
We were blown away by the beauty here!
After Cliff Walk, we drove over to the wharf area where we were going to have dinner. This area is beautiful as well and it had restaurants, shops, piers and marinas. A lot of people had boats. As we were walking, 2 people in a dinghy pulled up to the dock. We asked them if there was a place to rent boats around the area. They did not know, but they did offer us a ride on their boat! They were a lovely couple in their 60’s who were native to the Newport area. The boat ride was awesome and they pointed out a lot of sights along the way and told us the stories and history behind them.
Fun fact about this bridge: It’s called the Verrazano, like the one in New York. 🙂
After our boat ride, we headed to dinner at The Red Parrot. The restaurants here were at 50% capacity due to COVID so it was hard to get a reservation even the day before. We suggest either making a reservation far in advance or going early and taking your chances. We went around 5-5:30 and had no wait. The staff and food at The Red Parrot was amazing and even the couple on the boat told us the food is great. It wasn’t super fancy, but we were very pleased with our meals. One thing of note: the restaurant is NOT on the water but we were at a table facing the street looking out toward the pier so we had a pretty good view.
After dinner, of course – ICE CREAM at one of the many ice cream shops on the pier and Sam went shopping and bought a new pair of sandals. We didn’t stay for sunset but we were able to see it on the ride back to Providence. The best place to see it, we are told, is from Ann Street Pier.
When we got back from Newport, there were some fireworks going on. They were not from Providence, as those were cancelled, but were able to see from the hotel room going on in neighboring areas. The Capitol was lit up with red, white and blue as well.
The last day of our trip we headed back to Newport to do the 10 mile drive along the ocean. This is a drive along a scenic road where there are beautiful mansions, country clubs, yacht clubs and even a private beach you can pull over and go in the water. Just follow the signs from Newport – the drive brings you in a circle starting from Newport and then back into Newport. We then headed home from there.
We had a great time in Newport and recommend this trip for anyone looking for a quick getaway!
Where we stayed:
32 Exchange Terrace, at Memorial Blvd Providence, RI 02903
The hotel took all COVID precautions and we felt safe staying here, as well as in Newport. Masks are required entering and exiting the hotel and all restaurants.
Have you traveled anywhere during COVID? If so, we’d love to hear about it!
… Until we travel again!