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Trip Report A long weekend in Rhode Island

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Memorial Day marks the beginning of nice weather for the year and we planned the first trip of the year to Rhode Island. We did not have direct flights to Providence so reluctantly had to go for connecting flights – even though that’s somewhat of a hassle with a 1 year old and a 5 year old. Our flights are never smooth and as expected when we were waiting for the flight to depart we were informed about thunderstorms on the way and hence the flight was delayed. It kept getting delayed a half hour at a time till we were almost a couple hours behind schedule. We missed our connection and reached Providence close to 10pm instead of 7:30pm. However we were able to whisk through baggage claim and getting our rental car and were in our hotel room pretty fast.
Saturday, we planned to drive down the Scenic route 77S. The winding rural roads took us to our first stop – Tiverton Four Corners. We parked our car and strolled around the quaint shops. There was a Garden and Herb festival being held and we enjoyed exploring that. Wish we could bring back some of the plants. We went to the milk and honey bazaar to try some of their cheese. We also bought some goodies from their store. Our next stop – the Gray’s Ice-cream Shop. All of us tried different flavors of their ice-cream and I got addicted o the maple walnut flavor. I had it a couple more times during our trip.
We followed 77S down to the very end – Sakonnet Point, Little Compton which is a wild rugged coastal area at the end of the. The views at Sakonnet Point were breathtakingly beautiful. There were people fishing in the waters. After that we drove up to the Sakonnet Vineyards where a variety of wines are offered for tasting. They also have a small café where we bought lunch and enjoyed it sitting on the picnic tables in the vineyard.
We went back to our hotel for our afternoon siesta. But when we woke up the skies had darkened and it was pouring outside. A popup thunderstorm but it continued well into the evening. We had planned to visit Downtown Providence, walk down Federal Hill as well as the waterfront and university areas. But that was impossible in this pouring rain. So we drove down to Providence Place (mall) and spent some time shopping and enjoying a cup of coffee. WaterFire was also scheduled for that evening but because of the weather we were not sure if it would be cancelled. The rains stopped but it was still gloomy and overcast and we could not find out whether WaterFire was still on. We debated on whether we should wait or leave the place. Then we decided to have dinner near the waterfront at Joe’s. It was a wonderful dinner and very prompt service even though the place was packed. After dinner we walked down to the Waterfront to see the crowds gathered there. They were just preparing to start the WaterFire. WaterFire is a wonderful piece of art and sculpture where hundreds of bonfires are lit on the rivers. There is music accompanying the waterfire and the fragrance of burning wood floating in the air. The reflections of the bonfires and the boats floating down the river carrying the torches, the reflections of the performers dancing with the torches – it was a wonderful experience. It was a great way to end our first day at Rhode Island.
Sunday we had a late breakfast and then drove down to Narragansett Point – Port Judith to board our ferry to Block Island. We took the fast ferry and it was a very bumpy ride all along – we could hardly walk around. Once in Block Island we tried renting a bike but with a 1 year old that proved to be difficult. So instead we hired a taxi to take us around the island. The taxi took us to the northern most point – near Settlers Rock. We then went around the island by the Salt Pond and hundreds of other ponds, the million dollar mansions, the cemetery, the Painted Rock, Statue of Rebecca. We stopped at the Mohegan Bluffs to enjoy the beautiful views. Lunch was at the harbor Hotel followed by an ice cream break next to the restaurant. We took the traditional ferry (meaning this is a slower ferry and there was hardly any turbulence this time) back to Port Judith. The rest of the day we spent relaxing at the hotel and by the hotel pool.
On our final day at Rhode Island, we drove down to Newport. Our first stop was the Bannister Wharf and Bowen’s Wharf area. This is Newport’s shopping and dining destination. We walked along the cobblestone streets and browsed the various shops and cafes. After some shopping and snacks we drove down the streets of Newport onto Ocean Avenue. We stopped at various points along the drive to enjoy the wonderful views of the ocean – in some places rugged and at other places along sandy beaches. Our next stop was the Brenton State Park. There were various groups of people picnicking, flying kites etc. We also bought a kite and then spent some time trying to figure out how to fly a kite.
It was close to lunchtime and we went back to the Thames Street area for lunch. We had lunch at a small Thai place called Thai cuisine. It was a small place but the food was good. Even the kids enjoyed their lunch. After lunch we drove down to the Easton Beach. It was very crowded but we spent some time there just relaxing. Easton Beach is also the start of the famous Cliffwalk in Newport. The cliff walk is a public walkway along the shoreline with rugged ocean views on one side and a view of the wonderful mansions on the other. We explored sections of the Cliffwalk walking for some time and then driving down to the next access point. Our last stop for the day was at the Breakers mansion- which was built as the Newport summer home of Cornelius Vandebuilt II. We took a tour of this mansion and were awestruck by the architecture, the opulence and the furnishings.

We went back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the evening. The next morning we packed up our bags and were off to the airport.

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