My husband and I just spent a long weekend in Rhode Island. It was our first “real” vacation in a while, and it may seem an odd choice for a getaway, but it has so many things that we both enjoy: history, art, old city streets, scenic views, good food, and (for me, at least) a little bit of shopping.
As you can see, the weather was just right: still breezy, but bright and clear.
Even things that don’t normally interest me, like sports, can draw me in when they have historical settings. I don’t play tennis, but if I’d belonged to Newport society at the turn of the last century, I would have happily gone to watch a match in the courts designed by architects McKim, Mead and White.
We took a few tours of the grand Gilded Age mansions built by families like the Vanderbilts in the 1890s and 1900s, but my favorite historic house in Newport is the Isaac Bell house, also designed by McKim, Mead and White. It dates to 1882-83, and I don’t really think you can improve upon its “Shingle Style” design.
In addition to all the landmarks that I studied years ago in architectural history seminars, there were many funny little details to discover along the narrow Newport streets. We both loved this “Colonial Fix-It Shop,” which advertises services from antique lamp repair to knife sharpening to “shipping & parcel service.”
And what about this Doll Hospital, with its slightly creepy display of a glamourous mannequin and a few dangling, headless doll bodies?
We ate some wonderful traditional pub-style food in Newport: clam chowder at the White Horse Tavern, burgers and beers at the Black Pearl. We indulged our Francophile side at a little bakery-cafe called La Maison de Coco, which sells handmade chocolates enhanced with exotic teas. I had a “La Vie en Rose” chocolate infused with rose-flavored tea and topped with rose petals.
The natural skincare company Farmaesthetics is based in Rhode Island, and I was happy to come across its boutique on Bellevue Avenue in Newport. I should eventually write some reviews of the products I purchased!
We also spent a day or two in Providence, Rhode Island; I’ll be writing a follow-up post soon!
Images: all photos by Tinsel Creation.