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Visiting #Newport #RI ~ #CliffWalk Mansions #Travel #RhodeIsland

My best friend and I have many adventures (or misadventures?) together, and this past weekend was no different.  Although we live 8 states apart, we manage to see each other several times a year.  We've been friends since freshman year of high school, and we've had countless crazy adventures together...seems there's always some sort of bizarre mishap when we're together, too (see the Zip Line fiasco), and our mini-vacation in Newport was no exception.

My friend used some airline miles to book a ticket into Providence, Rhode Island, and I used some of our Marriott points to get us an overnight stay at their Newport hotel right on the water.  Since it was a Thursday night, we asked for--and were given--an upgrade to a harbor view, and it was so breathtakingly beautiful from our balcony, we set an alarm to ensure we actually left the room to experience some of the Newport restaurants and bars!

The view of the marina from our balcony...we could have sat there all night!

It was Restaurant Week, too, but instead of taking advantage of one large meal at one location, we instead ate small plates and had a drink at several places so we could see more.  We went to The Mooring, The Speakeasy, and Buskers before calling it a night.

Even more stunning in the daylight!

The view was no less beautiful in the morning.  But we had things to do before a cold front came in, so we started our day walking over to the popular breakfast spot, The Corner Cafe, before heading over to the famous Cliff Walk.  If you've never been, it's truly something to see...as its name suggests, it is in fact a walk along a cliff, but it's so much more. 


The back of The Breakers, Italian Renaissance style, built 1895 for
Central Railroad President Cornelius Vanderbilt.  138,00 square feet. 

This 3.5 mile National Recreation Trail winds its way along the eastern shore of Newport, offering breathtaking views of the ocean.  But along the other side, built to take advantage of these stunning views, are the backs of mansions built for extremely wealthy families during America's Gilded Age (late 19th century), for use during the summer months.  They were actually referred to as "cottages", but they are anything but...one of the mansions, The Breakers, built for the Vanderbilt family, boasts 70 rooms, 27 fireplaces, and bathtubs with fresh and salt water faucets.  Another mansion, Rosecliff, built for a silver heiress, has been used to film a number of movies, including The Great Gatsby, True Lies, and Amistad.


The start of the walk...I have the map!  ^^

All of this information came from a map I'd purchased in the past, and I was extremely proud I'd remembered it, as it had an informational blurb on each mansion along the walk.  I not only remembered to bring the map on the trip itself, I also remembered to bring it along with us that morning.  I was all set to educate us on each magnificent property along the way.

But, of course, we stopped to take a picture, and I set the map down on the stone wall preventing people from tumbling down into the ocean.  And then the wind blew the map off the wall and into the brush below.  It was somewhat funny, but also disappointing...we'd just started the walk!


The mysterious broken ladder that leads
nowhere...maybe inspiration for a new novel?
As we leaned over the wall to see if there was any way to retrieve it, we noticed a broken wooden ladder, propped up against the ocean side of the wall.  Why was it there?  There was absolutely nothing down there but a small shelf off rocks and brush that quickly dissolved to cliffs and water.  

But...it was there.  It seemed like a sign, even though one side was broken at the top and it looked a bit weathered and worse for the wear.  So, after some discussion about what we would do if it did not hold my weight and I couldn't get back up (not sure if we came to a conclusion on that), I hung off the top of the wall until my feet found the first rung, climbed down successfully, secured the map, and made it back up without breaking any rungs or bones.  Victory!  Was it a good idea?  Definitely not.  But I often do things that are ill-advised (see Exploring an Abandoned TB Hospital for example).  Anyway, it made a good story and we were able to continue our walk with our trusty map.  


I got a few looks from passersby...



Got it!
It was only later that we noticed a new installation...plaques with those square bar codes had been placed along the way, so walkers can scan it with their phone to get more information.  Oh well.  We had a lot of laughs both during and after the great map retrieval event, so there's that!

After completing the cliff walk, we walked around the front of the mansions and then back to the hotel, then ventured back out for lunch and shopping.  Overall, we logged in an incredible amount of steps--over 11 miles--in just a few hours, and we had a blast doing it.  We had to leave around 3:00 for the nearly 2 hour drive back to the Cape, because I don't like to drive in the dark.  When it comes to risky behavior, I only like to climb down cliff walls via mysterious rickety ladders to retrieve $3.00 maps, apparently ;)

Have you ever been to Newport?  Share your stories!  And if you haven't, it's a must-see!


The Forty Steps, one of the major landmarks along the Cliff Walk...
Originally built in 1830 out of wood and used by the Irish staff from
the mansions as a gathering spot
to play music and dance during their time off.





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Stop the excuses!
Fantomah, Daughter of the Pharaohs