Earlier this summer, we traveled to Newport, RI, to visit several of Ty’s family members (brother/wife/kids and brother/new wife we hadn’t yet met/kids). Since Jack is an only child and the youngest of most of his cousins, I always love an opportunity for him to experience extended family. I had never been to Newport, but given a lottery windfall, could absolutely imagine us spending the summer months there. I dare say that I could even become someone who uses the word summer as a verb (e.g., thrown nonchalantly into conversation at any opportunity, “Well, you know we summer in Newport…we love getting away from the tourists, humidity, and gnats on Tybee.”). If it’s good enough for Family Guy, it’s good enough for me!
For some crazy reason whereby we try to recreate experiences from our own childhoods in case Jack doesn’t have enough reason for therapy later in life, we decided to drive from Tybee to Newport. Family road trip! What could be more timeless and memorable? 1000 miles? 15 hours? Sign me up! We left around 6 pm and it only took about an hour before we got a call from the pet-sitter that our Houdini dog had escaped from the yard in the pouring rain. Yay!
However, the rest of the trip went smoothly. Here is a re-counting of our trip via various photos…I double dog dare you not to want to make some summer memories of your own there!
Of course, we had to make a stop at South of the Border. They closed at 10 and we got there at about 9:52 pm. Enough time for a quick potty break and hurried purchase of a wooden yo-yo and giant sombrero for Jack. I loved that a scene from East Bound and Down was filmed at SOTB!
Yo-yo pictured below:
We drove through the night (read: Tyler drove while Jack and I slept) and by the time we were in NY, it was my turn to drive, which explains why we have a picture of the NYC skyline that Ty was able to take.
I even drove us across the George Washington Bridge (GWB for those of us who’re NY natives) and got us through the bumper-to-bumper traffic. Thank God for the lower bridge level as I would’ve seriously had a heart attack driving over the upper level due to my fear of heights. Most obvious takeaway of the interstate system there vs. in the south: the ratio of toll roads to horrible road conditions was crazy…what are they doing with those funds? Obviously just paying workers to close lanes with orange cones but not actually fix any potholes. Hat tip to the best bumper sticker spotted in traffic: B.O. Stinks!
We finally rolled into town in the afternoon and decided to stop for a late lunch before meeting up with the family. Tyler is the world’s best navigator…basically if he has been some place one time, he will know his way around there for the rest of his life, and Newport was no exception. He expertly steered us to the charming downtown, where our dining consensus was Panera. Tyler ordered the lobster roll (which, incidentally, is NOT on the menu at Savannah area Paneras; when in Rome, I guess) and it was a thing of beauty!
Just look at that whole claw!!
The dressing was light and lemony, not laden in mayo. I could maybe even learn to eat lobster rolls whilst summering here forever more.
We passed a kiosk selling Black Dog wares and decided to replace the adorable souvenir shirt Jack had from our trip to Martha’s Vineyard when he was a toddler (maybe it makes more sense to say that he was adorable in it rather than that a grey t-shirt was adorable?!). His tastes are more sophisticated these days, so naturally he went right for the spiral tie-dye. This picture below was taken later in our trip, and you can see perhaps the only time that Maddy the dog was tuckered out.
Once we were all settled into Tyler’s brother and sister-in-law’s beautifully quintessential Newport home, complete with the perfect front porch for enjoying the perfect weather, we visited and caught up for a bit before heading out to dinner with Jack’s three adult cousins (Ryan, Dylan, and Jordan) in tow, who couldn’t have been sweeter to him. We had an amazing dinner at a favorite place of our hosts and Jack couldn’t wait to ride home separately with his cousins and learn some of their skateboarding tips.
Unfortunately for Jack, he inherited his mother’s sense of balance and utter lack of grace.
We adults took the scenic route home, stopping to take in the beautiful view.
You never know when you’ll need your purse while out climbing sea rocks!
See, Jill’s showing off her purse, too!
Shane is really a nice guy even though it appears he is letting Jill slide down the rocks unassisted…
We arrived home to Dylan saying, “Mom, don’t be mad…” and Ryan jumping in with “He needs to go to the ER!” Apparently, Dylan took a pretty sweet spill on the skate board and busted his head open. Although he demurred any need for medical attention, Shane insisted and Dylan ended up with 12 staples in his head! Good teachable moment for Jack: always wear your helmet!
After that excitement, we crashed hard and fell into a wonderfully soft bed, lulled to sleep by a combination of sheer exhaustion and being able to sleep with the windows open-heavenly!
The next day dawned beautiful, cool, and most importantly, humidity-free. Here is a pic of the rarely-seen-in-nature-with-her-hair-down creature known as me (note the boy still carrying around his yo-yo!):
We were up and at ’em, making our way towards downtown on foot to work up an appetite for the Hungry Monkey. As a fan of monkeys in general, this place definitely got my stamp of approval and the waitress was duly impressed with Jack’s manners and ability to order breakfast like the confident boss he is. Bonus points awarded by Jack for the bathroom air freshener:
We continued our trek to the waterfront and booked passage on a fabulous schooner, the Madeleine. We had about 30 minutes to kill before sailing, so Tyler, Shane, and I stopped at an al fresco pub for a pre-noon beer because, why not? Aunt Jill took Jack to a nearby arcade, where he proceeded to win enough tickets to win pink fuzzy dice like in Regular Show.
Tyler is very good at composing pix!
Seeing Newport by water was amazing and the crew of three were wonderfully informative and attentive. One of the deckhands even spent time teaching Jack to tie several types of nautical rope knots once we were underway.
Of course, Jack being a boy and all, he needed to check out the “head” below deck.
The famous Newport Jazz Festival was going on, so we even got to enjoy some of the music floating over the water as we passed the sold-out crowd.
I am a sucker for any kind of old-timey cut out were you stick your head in and get your picture taken and there was no shortage of opportunities for us to do so in and around Newport.
This one had a little donation box on the back for Seaman’s Bethel.
This was at a restaurant on the water–we didn’t actually eat there but I couldn’t resist the photo opp…I tried to make it look like Jack is shaking Tyler the lobster’s claw in the 2nd pic. Who knows how much longer he will continue to humor me?
Then it was back to the house for more porch time and an amazing dinner of smoked pulled pork, chicken wings, and more. Tyler’s other brother Tiger and his wife and kids joined us for the fun. So neat to see nieces and nephews becoming adults!
The next day we went out to lunch at a local dive called Flo’s Clam Shack where we enjoyed the view from the 2nd floor and came across yet another photo opp:
They even had fabulous lobster-shaped pagers!! Side note, I will endeavor to pronounce it “lob-stah” if my dream of summering in Newport becomes a reality.
Then we walked off our lunch at Brenton State Park, where lots of people fly kites on the bluff. What a beautiful site! Plus, there’s a Del’s frozen lemonade truck there, so you know we had to enjoy some of their frozen, slushy deliciousness! Jack loved climbing over the giant rocks and helping Aunt Jill look for bits of sea glass. This time I was smart enough to leave my purse in the car. Ty even donned a long sleeve shirt–unheard of for July back home on Tybee!
All in all, it was a fabulous trip, full of fun and relaxation just like a vacation should be. I think next summer, we’ll fly instead, and maybe leave Jack behind for a week of “cousins camp.” It’s never too early to get him used to the idea of visiting us at our summer home there.