Great – a family vacation getaway to…………not Disney World, not a Cruise, but…………..Rhode Island and Connecticut. Really?
It had been years since the four of us went on a family vacation other than to visit my sister in Boston, and at 28 and 24, my sister and I have been more apt to travel with friends and lovers than with our parents. We were overdue for a stress-free family bonding time. With scheduling conflicts between my crazy, random trips all summer long, my older sister’s job, and my parent’s family weddings they needed to attend, we found a weird semi-week of time to travel, and sadly a cruise wouldn’t fit. Instead, we decided to go to Newport, Rhode Island, and Foxwoods Casino in Connecticut – and actually had a great time! We aren’t beach people and fear the sun, so touring gorgeous mansions, gorging on amazing seafood, seeing an illusionist show, going outlet shopping, and winning a bit at the slot machines was actually a great time for us.
On our first night, we indulged in a decadent gourmet meal at Fluke Wine, Bar and Kitchen with some of the best foods I’ve ever tasted – including bacon wrapped dates, pork belly, fresh ahi tuna, duck farfalle, and lobster gnocchi (are you salivating yet??). After, with full bellies and no room for dessert, I dragged my family into this cheesy arcade (below) for a quick game of skeeball. Watching my mom’s little gloating jig when she came in 1st, and watching my poor dad come in last after trying to school us with his “expert technique” made for a very entertaining few minutes. After working up an appetite from that bit of exertion, we redeemed our arcade tickets for some mini chocolate bars.
We started off the next day with a hotel breakfast of DIY waffles before heading off to The Breakers – the Vanderbilt mansion in Newport.
We also fought over the Dessert sampler:
After the Breakers, we saw 4 more mansions in two days. No pictures were allowed inside of any of the Mansions – but they were gorgeous, and the detailed audio guides and tour guides gave a glimpse into the lives of those lucky few who resided here during the Gilded age and considered themselves American royalty. We also got to see the large network of secret servant rooms and hallways in the mansions that the staff would move about in and make things happen invisibly. Fascinating. I loved hearing the stories of everyone who lived in the mansions come to life.
On our final day, we had a delicious lunch at La Forge Restaurant – Crowley’s Pub, which had outdoor seating in the back overlooking a tennis court at the Tennis Hall of Fame next door. In many of the mansion tours, we learned about how the Vanderbilts and other Newport socialites would frequent the Tennis club during their summer holidays in Newport, and it was fun to watch the court happenings. Apparently, they also have the best Lobster salad in Newport – though my dad, who had to order it, would probably argue that every Lobster salad is the best Lobster salad to him.
You can learn more about all the mansions here: http://www.newportmansions.org/
But if you are a billionaire and would like to marry me, you can leave a down-payment at our stunning wedding venue, Rosecliff, the most romantic mansion in Newport, and featured in the classic Great Gatsby movie (not the Leonardo DiCaprio one):
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