Today's post is by Albert Vuoso, one of the talented interns we're delighted to be working with at Discover Newport this semester. Living in Newport while he attends Salve Regina University as a junior, Albert knows Newport and it's surrounding communities maintain a palpable energy throughout the winter months. Here he gives you the scoop on what makes our destination a place where visitors and local alike ask, "what's cabin fever?"
When you think of Newport, what do you think? Do you think of sunny days out on Second Beach, or dinner al fresco when you're just as red as the lobster you're about to eat? Do you think of early morning runs on Cliff Walk or all the different license plates you pass on Memorial Boulevard? If you think of summer, you wouldn't be alone. Newport has become synonymous with the ideal summer get away, packed with ice cream shops on Thames Street, endless beach days and a freshly-caught dinner to end the night. But if you ask any local, the real magic happens after the last leaf has fallen on Bellevue Avenue.
One time I was asked if it snowed in Newport. Realizing that it was a serious question, I found it revealing that people don't necessarily associate Newport with the winter months. But we don't want you to be that person; we want you to think like a local. The charm that keeps visitors coming back summer after summer to Newport is just as prevalent during the winter season. Let's face it, Johnny Mathis was right when he sang, it's the most wonderful time of the year. A statement true Newporters uphold. A 43-year tradition, Christmas in Newport is a month-long celebration of the joy surrounding such an intimate time of year. It's a community effort out here, where homes, shops, restaurants and wharves are transformed into romantic, winter wonderlands. Fall in love with Newport all over again as you walk amongst the wreath adorned store fronts, illuminated from the glow of a winter's candle.
The month-long affair will keep even your youngest toddler, or most skeptical friend, merrily content. Join the crowds for an annual tree lighting, Polar Express train ride, historical tour or a concert held in honor of the Victorian-era Christmas festivities. If you find yourself obsessed with the Colonial, Victorian or Gilded Age eras, you'll have exceptional ease in finding events to meet your interests. The Newport Mansions open their doors this season, proving to be as breathtaking as they are in the summer. Three majestic properties are turned into winter havens and host special events such as the Newport Nutcracker and Holiday Evenings at the Breakers featuring live music, holiday drinks, and the chance to mingle with extraordinary people.
In nearby Bristol, Christmas at Blithewold is equally stunning, there this year's theme, Family Traditions" celebrates the wealthy Van Wickle family's cultural interests and holiday traditions. Christmas at Blithewold begins November 29th, come and enjoy the elaborate decorations. Make a reservation for our fun and informal afternoon teas, the Santa-sing-alongs, the joyous musical performances, and the creative workshops for both children and adults!
Visit the Blithewold events page for a complete list of activities. If Newport's critically-acclaimed dining is what drew you here in the first place, don't worry; the winter will be just as impressive. Restaurants like Tallulah on Thames, recognized by Food & Wine magazine, will showcase the delicious and unique flavors that only come from the local farms on and near Aquidneck Island.
If you're nervous about a place to stay, have no fear. The colder weather means better deals on on lodging. Take advantage of the exciting opportunity to stay in prestigious boutique properties, cozy inns and BnBs, and familiar brand-name hotels. Go for a brisk walk along the Newport's cobblestone streets and find comfort by a fire as you rediscover those around you. Its an amazing time to be in Newport and we hope you'll come see why.
Photo credits: top, Billy Black; top left and bottom left, Sally Anne Santos; middle right, Thomas Palmer.