This summer is really starting to look like a Tour of New England. In the past month we have been to New York City – I know, I know… that’s not a part of New England –, hiked up mountains in Vermont and New Hampshire and spent a day wandering in Harvard Yard and Boston. We also went paddle boarding on Lake Winnipesaukee, drove to Cape Cod and the Massachusetts coast and paid a visit to Rhode Island, the US’s smallest state. Right now, when this post is published, we are spending a week camping on the Maine coast.
The two cities we visited in Rhode Island were Newport and Providence. It really wasn’t more than just a stop on the way to Westport, Massachusetts though. Caroline had injured her foot on one of our previous hikes, so we weren’t able to explore a lot. Because it ended up raining a lot, we didn’t feel too bad about missing out on activities.
Mansions in Newport
In Newport it’s all about the mansions – think the Great Gatsby – that line Bellevue Avenue. We visited The Breakers, which used to be the summerhouse of the Vanderbilt family. Let me just say that that was incredible – as in actually unbelievable, as in ‘no way, this can’t be a house’. The interior was by far the fanciest I have ever seen in my entire life. Too bad you weren’t allowed to take photos, but it was totally worth the visit.
Another highlight of Newport is the Ocean Drive, a road that runs past the mansions and enormous houses that line the shoreline. Newport really is where the rich come to play and spend their money. It’s almost decadent.
University and History in Providence
We spent a rainy night in Bristol and headed towards Providence, the state’s capital, the next morning. It was another day of pouring rain, but we decided to try and see some of this surprisingly nice – I didn’t know what to expect – city. It is the home of Brown University, one of the prestigious Ivy League colleges, the campus of which is a gorgeous National Historic Landmark.
We walked around for a while, saw some of the historic houses on Benefit Street and strolled (or, in Caroline’s case, limped) past the oldest mall in the United States and therefore also in the oldest in the world, I assume.
In the end we really, really liked everything we saw in Rhode Island. It was just too bad that we couldn’t do more; the dreadful weather and that injured foot didn’t allow us to.
But hey, all the more reason for another visit to Rhode Island when conditions are more favorable!