Thursday, February 28, 2013

A Rhody Minimoon: Dinner at the Tavern

After a long and active day flying over Newport and walking through the mansions, we were ready to get some food.  We decided to go over to a little restaurant that we heard had good food, but was also known for a specific drink - the Dark and Stormy.  We walked over to the restaurant from our bed and breakfast, and even though we didn't have a reservation, we were seated immediately at The White Horse Tavern.

I'm not sure if I have mentioned it before, but I'm not much of a drinker.  I'll have the occasional mixed drink, or a rare glass of wine, but most of the time, D does the drinking for me.  And because we were at the Tavern, and they are known for the Dark and Stormy, a rum-based drink, he ordered one.  

I tried it, and it was good, but it was too much rum for my liking, so I left that to him, and stuck with water.  

We each ordered entrees, but forgot to take pictures of them because we were so excited to eat them. And they were delicious, but I was so full from mine that I gave the rest to D to finish. 

And then we got the dessert menu. Wow! 

Here's a transcription:

White Horse Crème Brulée A crème brulée topped with a crunchy, caramelized sugar lid and fresh berries
Our Famous Bread Pudding Baked with currants, bourbon, and fresh vanilla bean, served warm with vanilla ice cream and bourbon butter sauce
White Horse Triple Silk A slice of chocolate heaven with smooth layers of creamy white, milk and dark chocolates, served with sauce Melba. A White Horse tradition for over 20 years
Local Apple-Berry Crisp Cinnamon and sugar tossed tart apples and Sweet Berry Farm Berries sprinkled with an oat crumble, baked crispy with vanilla gelato 
House Made Smores White and Dark Chocolate, House made toasted Marshmallows, honey graham crackers, and warm milk chocolate sauce 
Artisan Sorbets or Gelatos Chef’s selection of three of our seasonal artisan sorbets or gelatos crafted for us by Cold Fusion Gelato
Berries and Dark Chocolate Native macerated berries layered with chocolate sauce and chocolate whipped marscarpone, with dark chocolate shavings

Sounds absolutely delicious, right?

D went with the White Horse Crème Brulée.

And I went with the House Made Smores.

We tried each other's desserts, and they were both just as delicious as the other. 

White Horse Tavern is definitely a place we will visit again.  The food was delicious, and the service was excellent!

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A Rhody Minimoon: Mansions in the Rain

After we woke up from our little nap, we decided to walk up to Bellevue Avenue, which is where the Newport Mansions were.  We had each been to a few of the mansions before, but I hadn't been since I was in elementary school, and D hadn't been since middle school.  

We decided to check out two of the mansions, The Elms and The Breakers.  

The Elms is an absolutely beautiful house with gorgeous grounds, including a carriage house, and lush gardens.  Photographs of the interior of the houses are not allowed, but I did take some of the grounds.  

Front of The Elms / Personal Picture

Elm Tree / Personal Picture

D with the Elm Tree / Personal Picture

Delivery Entrance covered in vines and flowers to hide it from the house guests / Personal Picture

D sitting on a solid marble bench along the side of The Elms / Personal Picture

Me sitting on the bench along the side of The Elms / Personal Picture

View of the grounds from the back of The Elms / Personal Picture

The back of The Elms / Personal Picture

Tea House at the end of the grounds / Personal Picture

A marble and iron fountain on the property / Personal Picture

And a closeup, because we are so mature ;) / Personal Picture

After our tour of The Elms, we walked down Bellevue Avenue to The Breakers.  Like The Elms, photographs are not allowed of the interior, but we did take some pictures of the property.  The grounds weren't as extensive as those at The Elms, but the view was spectacular, despite it being another rainy and cloudy day.  The temperature outside here was colder though, being on the water, so we didn't spend as much time at this mansion as we did at the other.  

The back of The Breakers / Personal Picture

View of the Atlantic Ocean from the back patio / Personal Picture

An absolutely stunning view. Can you imagine living in one of these mansions? Life must have been so over-the-top back then.  

Sunday, February 24, 2013

A Rhody Minimoon: Flying over the Island

The next day, we woke up and decided to be adventurous and spontaneous. The weather wasn't that great, it was raining on and off and was really cloudy, but that didn't stop us from getting outside.

We talked at breakfast about what we wanted to do for the day, and after seeing a pamphlet by the office at The Clarkeston, I called and made us a reservation for a helicopter tour of Aquidneck Island, which is the island that Newport is on. We drove over the the airport, which is actually is Middletown, the next town over, and met with the staff of Bird's Eye View Helicopters.  We took a crash course, no pun intended, and we were taught what to do and what not to do, including some emergency situation protocols.

We met our pilot, Jeff, and he brought us out to the helicopter. We were the first clients of the day, so the three of us hopped in, and he started it up, letting it run for about five minutes before take-off so it had time to warm up.

Now, let me tell you something. This helicopter was so small. I'm talking two seats in the back, and two in the front, one of which was the pilot's seat.

Front seat of the helicopter / Personal Picture

Also? This was one of the freakiest things I have ever done. You have to understand something. I don't do roller coasters. They make me really queasy, and I get motion sick really easily. D, on the other hand, loves them. But even this made him kind of uneasy. The helicopter was so small that every slight movement was felt, even the lightest breeze.

But, the view was spectacular! And in between squeezing D's hand and clutching onto his arm while we were taking turns and changing altitudes, I was able to capture some great shots!

View of the Newport Bridge and the Jetty / Personal Picture

Newport Bridge - Newport on the Left, Jamestown on the Right / Personal Picture

Newport Bridge - Newport on the Left, Jamestown on the Right / Personal Picture

Newport's Ocean Drive / Personal Picture

Newport Country Club Golf Course / Personal Picture

I will say, I don't think I will ever ride in a helicopter again, at least not one that small. But, I don't regret taking that ride at all. In fact, I am so happy that we did, because it gave us the opportunity to see the island and the sis from a completely different point of view.

After we landed, we went back to the car, and as soon as I sat down, I felt the need to get back out. Everything felt like it was moving still, so we decided to walk around a little bit before heading out, that way we both got the chance to get our land legs and bearings back. Being in that helicopter really threw us for a loop.

I was still not feeling that great after the ride back to the inn, so instead of heading to our next destination immediately, we took a little nap, thinking that would help get rid of the motion sickness that we both ended up with.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

A Rhody Minimoon: Our Little Inn

When we decided that we were only going to spend a few days in Newport for our Minimoon, I wanted to find a cute bed and breakfast for us to stay in. I knew that Downtown Newport was going to be expensive, but knowing that, I decided that our vacation wouldn't start until Columbus Day so that the rates were lower since that was the very beginning of the off-season. I also scoured the internet for deals and promos that were happening with the different bed and breakfasts in the area.

I was able to find a group of five properties that were historical buildings which were restored into hotels. When I looked at the amenities online, there were some recently remodeled rooms that had built in jacuzzi tubs, instead of shared baths like some of the older rooms. I called up the hotel to ask some questions, and ended up booking with them. We would be staying at the Clarkeston Inn.

When we got there to check in. They had some last minute bookings, and moved our room to the third floor of the house, so we had some privacy from the other guests. The room was very quaint. It had a working wood fireplace, a queen size bed, a small tv, and a bathroom. This bathroom didn't have a jacuzzi tub, like advertised, but it did have a double shower.

For the two mornings that we were at the inn, we took advantage of the breakfast aspect, and went across the street to another one of the houses for a specially made meal. That was the best part of the inn, in my opinion. You could request anything for breakfast and they would make it for you on the spot.

It was a very cute room, and while it wasn't a five star hotel, it was good enough considering how little time we spent there. Next time we take a trip, however, I think I'd rather stay in an actual hotel rather than a bed and breakfast; less chance of the bed squeaking whenever D rolled over in the middle of the night.

Monday, February 18, 2013

A Rhody Minimoon: Sitting at the Beach

After we left the winery, we decided to take the scenic route back to Downtown Newport before we checked into our little inn.  We drove down by the water, and although it was cloudy and chilly outside,  it was still perfect.

The thing I missed about living in Indiana was the ocean, and the ability to just take the 20 minute drive to the water, and enjoy the sun, the sand, and the smell of the sea.

We decided to be brave though, and take our shoes off to walk in the sand. And although it was cold, it was great, because there was no one else on the beach, and we could just walk along without any bother.

When the rain started to come down, we decided to head back and check into our inn for the next few days, and when we got settled in, we popped open the complimentary bottle of wine from Newport Vineyards, and had a glass before bed.  

Next, I'll take you on the short little tour of our Bed and Breakfast in Downtown Newport, and then bring you along our only full day in Newport on our minimoon.

Friday, February 15, 2013

A Rhody Minimoon: Glassblowing and a Winery

The Monday after our wedding, we left our house around noon, ready to start our little getaway.  About a half hour later, we arrived in Newport, our destination for the next few days.  We planned to arrive just before our first activity of the day - glassblowing.

I have always been so intrigued by the art of making glass, and I figured that it would be a lot of fun to actually take a glassblowing lesson.  We arrived at the Thames Glass studio for our session, and it was so awesome!

We were taken back through the shop to the work area, and given a basic lesson on safety, i.e.: don't touch the glass.  Easy enough!

Our teacher told us that he would be helping us through the lesson - making glass ornaments.  The first thing we did was to choose the colors that we wanted our ornaments to be.  I decided to go with white, yellow, and orange, and D decided to go with white, teal, and purple.

I went first in our lesson, but you'll see pictures from both me and D in our lessons below.  With help from the glassblower, we took some glass out of the oven, which he said was at about 1200 degrees fahrenheit! So hot! We started rolling it to prepare it for being blown, then we would stick it back in the oven for about 30 seconds to keep it hot, and then take it back out and roll it some more.

We did this a few more times, except this time, we added color in between.  You can see in the picture below that there are trays on the shelf with different colors in them.  This is how you color your glass.  Colored glass shards are rolled into the glass you have on the blowing pipe, and then you heat the glass in the oven again for it to absorb the color.  

After the colors were added and heated into the glass, it was time to actually start blowing.  The glassblower helped out a lot in this step because the trick is to keep rotating the blowing pipe while you're blowing into the glass so that it doesn't end up warped and the ornament becomes an even ball instead of a lopsided one.

It was kind of difficult to get the air pocket started in the glass, but I think that's actually because I was afraid of blowing it too hard and popping it completely.  D said that he didn't have any problems at all, but I think he was just fibbing.

Once we had an air pocket formed in the middle of the glass, we had to stop blowing so that we could use some metal tools to help form the ornament.  We used a metal clamp to pinch slightly while still rotating the glass on the blowing pipe, just to get the ornament to form properly.

After the pinching, we got right back to blowing, getting the ornament to it's finished size.

Once we got the ornaments to their standard size, the glassblower had us go around the top again with the metal clamp, and then took the ornament away.

He held the blowing pipe vertically, with the ornament at the bottom, and gently placed the ornament on a bed of towels.  Then, he took the metal clamp, and struck the blowing pipe with it, and the ornament detached from the pipe, breaking the glass clean at the opening where the air pocket was created.  

He then went back over to the glass oven, took a small amount of glass out, and twisted it on the top of the ornament, sealing the hole shut, and making a strong loop so that the ornament could be hung.  

He took both of our ornaments and placed them in a different oven for the glass to cure, and said that we could pick them up in two days - perfect timing, because that's as long as we would be in town!

It really was such a cool lesson, and they offer different ones as well! You can take lessons on how to make paperweights, and even vases, which I can definitely see us doing in the future!

After we left Thames Glass, we headed over to a winery for a tasting, which we thought was a great way to relax for the afternoon.  

We decided to go to Newport Vineyards, and try their wines.  I've been trying more wines lately, in an attempt to find what I do and don't like, and it's been interesting, considering I don't really like alcohol, and the only fruit I eat is cantaloupe.  I know, I'm weird.  We'll go there some other time.  

The grounds of the winery were beautiful! They were done with tours for the day, but we were able to walk the grounds a bit ourselves, and it was so cool.  

When we went inside for the tasting, we were handed a tasting sheet, that listed and described all the different wines they had available.  

We each chose a different one, so that we were able to taste twice as many as possible, for a total of trying 15 different types of wines.  And, as part of the tasting, we were gifted our glasses, which have the Newport Vineyards logo on them.  

One of the wines that we tried towards the end was an Ice Wine, which is known as a dessert wine - must sweeter than regular whites.  

It was really good, but very sweet.  The logo on the wine label was so cool too!

We ended up buying a case of wine, 2 bottles in 6 different kinds that we really liked, and because we bought a full case, and got the membership, since we're so local, we also got a little bottle of their "house" wine.  

Our next stop was one of my favorites.

All Pictures Personal.  And taken using cell phone camera's. Sorry for the quality!
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