July 29, 2020

Sightseeing in Newport, RI

Like just about everyone else in the world, I was hoping to live out my plans for this summer (wishful thinking, I know). I was especially looking forward to my three-month mission trip across Europe in collaboration with GEM; a trip I had been anticipating for the past two years. But, it goes without saying that everything drastically changed due to the unexpected coronavirus pandemic.

Still, I can clearly see God’s hand in having me return home after graduating from college (officially a Liberty University alumnus!) rather than flying thousands of miles away. It’s been refreshing to reconnect with everyone in my hometown and take in all the familiar places and gems of my childhood. I’d say the most rewarding thing about being home is all the surprising opportunities I’ve had to evangelize to my friends and family; opportunities that I couldn't have seized if I was practically across the globe. As always, I’m grateful that God’s plans prevail over my own.

Although I didn’t get to take in the sights of Europe this summer, I did get to embark on a fun four-day trip with my sisters and friends to Newport, Rhode Island. My youngest sister has been to Newport before so she planned a full itinerary for us, knowing which tourist attractions would be worth our time. Take a look at the map below to see where we visited.

Trip map created with Wanderlog, the best trip planner app on iOS and Android


We spent our first morning touring the Breakers, a magnificent Vanderbilt mansion. It was constructed between 1893 and 1895 with an Italian Renaissance architectural style.

Because I have already toured several mansions in my life, I was not expecting to be so impressed by the Breakers' interior design. But boy, was I wrong! The great hall alone was enough to make my jaw drop; its size and extravagance even reminded me of my tour inside Buckingham Palace.

Made out of one piece of marble! And the other two faucets were for salt water. What a dream bathroom!

I was surprised to learn that the mansion was simply designed as a summer home for the Vanderbilt family. The man who commissioned its construction, Cornelius Vanderbilt II, had made his profit off of business in steamships and railroads. He must have made a handsome sum to fund such a grand architectural project!

There was a lovely patch of blue and purple hydrangeas at the back of the property which matched my blue denim dress, so I simply had to take a picture in front of them.

My sister, Kenna

Every night of our trip, we’d go inside the arcade, the Ryan Family Amusement Center, in downtown and play some games. Using their tickets, my friends bought a large, fluffy penguin and my sister bought a mini pool table and ping pong set. 

Next to the arcade was Kilwins, a heavenly-smelling chocolate fudge, caramel, toffee and ice cream store. We’d stop there to get caramel apples almost every night as a midnight treat. The one night I didn't get a caramel apple was when we all stopped at Ben & Jerry's for vegan ice cream.


The next morning, we toured another noteworthy mansion in Newport, the Elms. Although it was not as extravagant as the Breakers, it was still a stunning house inside and out. My favorite room inside the Elms was a bedroom on the second floor which exuded gold with all of its golden-colored furniture, drapes and bedding. The grounds were lovely as well with some hidden gardens and courtyards. 


We couldn't properly experience Newport without experiencing its famous cliff walk. It was peaceful to see and hear the waves breaking over the rocks as we followed along the green-colored gating.

Except for a few hours of mist and cloudiness, the total of our four days in Rhode Island were bright and sunny. As for the beaches (because who could properly vacation anywhere in Rhode Island without relaxing at one of their beaches?), we set up camp at First Beach one day and King’s Park the other. I’d say I preferred King’s Park because there wasn’t a ton of sulfur-smelling red algae like there was at First Beach. Let me tell you folks, this algae really gives off the stink of sulfur. I was even motivated to wear my mask when I didn’t have to just because of the overpowering smell. That’s one thing I certainly won’t miss about our trip!

First Beach (can you spot the red algae?)
King's Park


On our last day, we drove around the Ocean Drive Historic District, admiring the different mansions and soaking in the coastline views. The sailboats in the distance made the ocean look that much more serene. We parked by one of the beaches and climbed on the rocks to observe the waves crashing all around us. The water would swish, bubble up and foam every few seconds. I put my instant camera to good use, producing some quality polaroids of the blue-shaded scene.

Before we started our 4 hr drive home, we gave a brief visit to Prescott Farm. It's a quaint, colonial farm site with a few gardens, a couple bridges leading into the woods, and a huge windmill to top it off. It was a fun pitstop before we committed to our journey back home.

Ironically, the same day we had planned to drive all the way home was the same day Taylor Swift decided to surprise the world with her new folklore album. One of its songs, "the last great american dynasty" describes the legacy of her Rhode Island mansion and its former owner, Rebekah Harkness. Although Taylor Swift's mansion was not on our Rhode Island itinerary, it was still a funny coincidence that we happened to be in the state when she released the particular song. I naturally listened to her new album a couple of times over during the ride back. "Invisible string", "cardigan" and "my tears ricochet" are my top three favorites.

It was rejuvenating to spend a few days with my friends in a seaside city. The trip satisfied my need to get away from it all for a while, if ya know what I mean. I hope you all have been able to find that kind of respite during these times as well.

Have you ever been to Rhode Island? What were your favorite parts of your trip? Let me know in the comments below!


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