The annual week in Newport, Rhode Island just before the official summer season commences when all the stores and restaurants are open, the weather is spectacular and the tourist crowds are thin is something we look forward to each year. Yet, the off-season, with cooler weather and even less throngs on the sidewalks makes for a quite comfy weekend escape.
A stop at Fort Adams to see whatever is going on is always worth it. This day we found the new replica of the Oliver Hazard Perry at dock in the icy winds. She is a beauty and must really fly across the water at full sail on a windy day. I am sure this will be worth a revisit on our return in June.
It was totally by coincidence that we made our arrangements during school vacation week. It was Winter Festival in Newport with all kinds of extra-added things to do and see. Colony House on Washington Square was holding a great event for foodies called Colonial Food For Thought. It was our very first stop upon arrival. We learned all about the tea trade and types of tea sipped by colonials. It was interesting to discover that the fine people of Newport often enjoyed tax-free tea which made it's way here via the black market. It paid to be a smaller port while Boston was heavily watched and regulated by the tax collectors.
We also learned a lot about the origins of chocolate which began as a quite spicy, dark, bitter drink, Aztec in origin and brought to the world by Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes. It would be decades before milk and sugar were added to resemble anything near what we have as a hot cocoa now.
We wandered, along Thames Street and in the smaller shops off the beaten path. Like the colonists we sought spices and other new ingredients, food and drink, the scent of the sea in the air.
As it also turned out, nature smiled upon us with unseasonably warm weather for February. As the mercury soared to near seventy degrees we saw a full parking lot at the beach and decided to pull in. Hundreds were strolling along the long shoreline.
And, yes, even the guys at Surfer's End at Second Beach, technically in Middletown took to the water. The waves were great this day!
It was a spectacular weekend all around and a great break from the hectic city pace that we can highly recommend. All just a short ninety minute ride from Boston.
If you choose to go here are some sites to check out:
@dscvrNewport on Twitter and Instagram
Newport Buzz (Great for what's happening now, especially nightlife events) @NewportBuzz on Twitter and Instagram
Hotel Viking for central, elegant accomodations
@hotelviking on twitter and instagram
@TheBostonFoodie For fun, food, travel and new ideas in and around Boston and New England
Our trip was sponsored in part by Hotel Viking without any editorial consideration provided. All opinions expressed are our own and not that of any sponsor.