Get your bearings
Here is a little map to get your bearings. My village of Pawtuxet is just below the word "Providence" on the map. You can see why we have so many miles of coastline with all those inlets and islands all over the place. If you were flying in, you would land about 5 mi. south of Prov. and it would take approximately 3/4 of an hour to drive to Newport. CLICK on pic to increase size/readability
Always be prepared
Make sure to bring a good pair of walking shoes for touring the mansions. Most of them have marble floors and that can be hard on your feet and back. Also, make sure you have good flat shoes if you are going to walk the Cliff walk. There is a stretch where you will not be walking on paved paths, so you'll want to be prepared.
While you're at it, a good wind breaker or light rain jacket will come in handy too. With the breeze and rain potential, you'll be glad you had one with you. It goes without saying that you want to have plenty of film or digital storage for you camera and don't forget batteries. A handy umbrella is always a good idea.
Which Way to Go?
Zelda is a place we stopped in just to grab a quick bite before heading back to get ready for dinner.
It is presented in two distinct sides. The bar and then the dining room.
The bar where the main entrance is was jam packed. We made our way into the dining room and had to wait a few minutes for someone to come and seat us. But the service improved greatly, and the food was quite good. Liz had the Mesclum Greens Salad. It was loaded with pine nuts, roasted tomatoes and gorgonzola cheese. She loved it! I had the fried Calamari and a Newport Storm Ale. The calamari was very good and crispy. I like the pepperoncini they served on top for added spice.
This was just a snack for us but I did like the food and will eat here again even if I'm not in a rush to get another Newport Storm.
If you're in Newport, you have to hit up the beaches. They have the quintessential New England charm with sand dunes, rocky cliffs, and soft sand. I recommend 2nd beach which is actually in Middletown. From second beach you will have a perfect view of St. George's Cathedral tower and the cliff of Purgatory Chasm. Third beach is also an option which is a little further down the road on the bay side. Third beach is basically a salt water lake--no waves and the swimming area is roped in (which is nice if you have kids). Beware, at all the beaches there is a hefty parking fee, (something like $15 to $20) but in my opinion well worth a fun filled day.
The mansions are all fascinating in Newport but Rosecliff happens to be one of the most beautiful in my opinion. The beauty is only increased by the surrounding grounds.
This mansion has been home to many movies as well as many special occasions including many weddings. Special exhibits are also sometimes located within the mansion. When I was there, there was an exhibit on women's clothing.
The start of the Rosecliff experience begins with a tour of the ground floor lead by one of the very informative tour guides. Then after accending the heart shaped staircase one then goes on a self-guided tour of the second floor.
I reccomend on visiting the mansion website not only to learn about the mansion but also to learn about times and dates that Rosecliff is open, as the times change throughout the year. The website also has a good deal of background information on Rosecliff and the other mansion.
Also there is no picture taking in any of the mansions. Rosecliff is one of the only air-conditioned mansions (a plus in my book!). And there is an elevator for those individuals who cannot make the staircase, however I would at least take a glimpse at it as it is possitively breathtakiing.
* And as a side note to those bringing children...most of those with young children had trouble controlling them as the children were positively bored with the tour and the house, I suggest this attraction to those with older children.