Newport, Rhode Island. Located just 90 minutes from Boston, Newport is a once-thriving seaport, yachting capital and summer vacation home to famous tycoons of the Gilded Age. While the sand, surf and sun of the warmer months bring the majority of visitors, the holiday season affords numerous opportunities to enjoy this “city-by-the-sea.” Here are five can’t miss events:
1. A Holiday Meet & Greet with Frosty. Head down to Bowen’s Wharf, located off of America’s Cup Avenue, a main road running through downtown. Lined with shops and boutiques, plan for holiday shopping and a visit from Frosty the Snowman when he makes an appearance on 12/6. Stay for caroling, the lighting of the tree, and the arrival of Santa and Mrs. Claus by boat.
2. The Nutcracker. The Island Moving Company performs the holiday classic, The Nutcracker, at iconic Rosecliff Manor throughout November and December. Performances are held inside the famous ballroom of the mansion, which allows patrons to check out other parts of the 1902 estate before or after the performance.
3. Christmas in the Newport Mansions. In addition to Rosecliff Manor, there are several well-known mansions along Bellevue Avenue that get “dressed up” for the holiday season. The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House, all landmarks on the National Registry of Historic Places, are open to the public for tours throughout the holiday season. Each mansion hosts Santa for photos with children on Sundays in December.
4. A Day at Blithewold. A 45-room English-style manor mansion, Blithewold is well-known for its arboretum and gardens, which are open to the public. From Thanksgiving through early January, the mansion welcomes visitors to come for afternoon tea, Santa sing-alongs, holiday story time and the very popular “Sparkle,” an evening of marshmallow roasting and caroling throughout the gardens.
5. Family Cliff Walk. Take a stroll along the Cliff Walk, a three and a half mile trail along the seashore. The trail starts at First Beach and hugs the coastline all the way to Bailey’s Beach. There are great views of the mansions and several spots to exit early if needed. At some spots, there are sharp (75 feet!) drops down to the rocky beaches and shoreline. Make sure to wear walking shoes, as some parts of the trail are unsteady.
Many resorts, boutique hotels and bed and breakfasts offer off-peak discounts during the holiday season. Take advantage of the smaller crowds, great deals and beautiful views, and get into the holiday spirit.
Jenn Record, a high school English teacher in Fairfield County, Connecticut, enjoys exploring the country with her husband, and two young children. On their bucket list is to see all 30 baseball parks in the country, and to date, they have visited 20 ballparks.
Photo Credit: Andrew