Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Visit To Newport, Rhode Island

Ray and I had a nice weekend away. He took the day off on Friday so we had an early start on the weekend.
First we stopped in to see the grandgirls on Thursday evening:

Oh, Sophie was not a happy girl!

That's much better, Grandma! Forget the lullabies, just bring on the food!

I wanted a picture of the girls together, but Mia was a girl of action and not much in the mood for sitting still and posing.

Okay, onto the weekend. We spent the weekend in Newport, Rhode Island, and we took so many pictures so I will break the weekend up into different posts. Today I'll show you the hotel we stayed at and St. Mary's Church in Newport:

The Viking Hotel was built in the 1920's by the citizens of Newport (mostly ultra rich and ultra elite), it was built to accommodate their guests and visitors because most of the hotels in Newport were very small and could only house a few guests. It's a beautifully restored hotel right in the heart of Newport so it was very convenient for us.
We parked the car in a lot across the street from the hotel and walked everywhere, there is not much parking on the street, and in most areas you need a town sticker to park on the street.
We were able to stay in this hotel with some 'reward points' Ray had on his credit card. We usually save those for plane fare for the family on our trip to Disney, but we enjoyed driving down to Florida last year so much that we decided we'll drive again in the Fall.

This is the lobby across from the front desk:

And as we walked down the hall to our room we saw that there were a few lounges and private rooms to sit and relax in:

I liked this hotel a lot. It reminded me of the 'Old World' charm that the Michelangelo in Manhattan used to have (the Michelangelo was my favorite place to stay in the city until they redecorated, now it's lost all charm and in my opinion the Michelangelo now looks like it was decorated to resemble a brothel, all dark, with red velvet upholstered furniture, and heavy drapery, just not appealing to me at all. I think the one in Italy kept the old decor though. Lucky Italians.).

Our room wasn't exceptionally big, but it was pretty and it was comfortable:

(These pictures look a little dark, but the room was actually bright and airy.)

I like it when they leave the bed made up this way, sort of half-made, instead of having the covers all drawn up over the bed pillows. I think it looks more comfortable and inviting like this:

I thought it was strange not to have the sink inside the bathroom, it was in a little nook opposite the closet area:

There was plenty of room to fit a sink in the bathroom right in between the toilet and the bathtub (next to that towel rack there was a big empty space), but then I thought that it might have been designed like this to accommodate a wheelchair, and to make it easier for a disabled person to transfer:

The best thing about the bathroom though was this:

(I thought this was a great idea, I'm surprised more hotels don't do this!)

I loved the restaurant in the hotel and the food was delicious! We had breakfast there twice (the hotel offered a buffet type breakfast, but we opted to order off the menu and I'm glad we did ~ it was much cheaper and we both loved the blueberry pancakes and we came back a second time to enjoy them!), and we had dinner there the first night. We both had crab cakes as an appetizer, and I tried mahi mahi for the first time (which was served with sauteed spinach), and Ray had frutti de mare, and everything was amazing! 'Sorry we forgot to take photos of the meals but I did get photos of the restaurant:

(Here's the breakfast buffet set up in the bar area. This photo I found online, but the set up was exactly the same when we were there.)

Dinner was served in this pretty dining room:
(Internet picture...
...our pictures are so dark because we didn't want the flash to disturb other guests trying to enjoy their dinner.)

And breakfast was in this back room:
(I loved this room with the light pouring in, even on an overcast morning.)

We were seated at a table for two next to a window the first morning:

And the second morning we were seated at a table for two along the brick wall opposite the patio doors which were opened to let in the beautiful Spring air:

It felt so refreshing!

It was such a beautiful morning that they had the patio all set up to serve and I was sorry we didn't request a table here:

On Saturday evening we went to Mass at St. Mary's Church which was just a short walk from the hotel:

This is the church that Jack and Jackie Kennedy were married in:

We got to church very early before Mass started because I wanted to snap a few pictures, and I don't like treating church as a tourist attraction and being a distraction while other people are trying to quietly pray.

After Mass this sweet woman that is being greeted by the priest came over to us and told us to make sure we got a picture of the organ in the loft...

...so we did! Thank you, sweet lady!

I like these old churches, and even though so many of them are small, they were erected much like the style of great cathedrals, with the same attention to detail:

(Sorry that so many of the pictures are blurry but we didn't want to use the flash in church.)

The wood carving behind the altar is so detailed and so beautiful:

I was happy to see that the original steeple cross was kept on the grounds of St. Mary's. It hurts my heart a little when these things are just discarded, it's like throwing away a piece of history, I guess that's why I have such a hard time letting go of my 'things'.

Our hotel had a photo displayed in one of the lounges, it was of the Kennedys exiting Sunday Mass at St. Mary's. Jackie's childhood home at Newport (Hammersmith) was used by the First Family during the summers so much that it was known as the 'Summer Whitehouse', and the Kennedys used to dine at the Viking hotel often:

(I was never really captivated by this couple, I just thought they were so self-centered and all show, but as I got older I grew to admire Jackie very much, I think she was a wonderful mother):

My next post I'll show you the photos we took of so many historic and beautiful homes we saw while walking around the neighborhood the first day, and later I'll post about our 'Cliff Walk' along the ocean, and I'll also post about the mansions and the tour we took of the Vanderbilt summer "cottage" The Breakers, and I'll also post about the stories some of their servants told at another time. We packed a lot into two and half days!


  1. You packed a lot into this post too, Eileen! :) You must have had a great time.

    Cute little Sophie looks even more like Mia!


    oh such a lovely get away. Wow. I so enjoyed ALL the pictures. The hotel and the church, the Kennedy's. Fascinating. Thank you so much - I feel like I can tell people I was there :-)
    Love to you

  3. Little Sophie is sure looking like her big sister! I'm sure she will change as time goes on, but for now she looks like Mia's little clone!

    I really enjoy seeing the insides of hotel rooms. The way that one has the sink on the outside of the bathroom is how most of our hotels in Ca are (atleaset the ones I've been in). I thought that was just normal throughout the US, so it's interesting to learn otherwise.

    I've always liked Jackie Kennedy...so it was nice to see pictures of her again...especially the ones showing her as a real mother.

    Thank you for sharing with us that GORGEOUS church she was married in. I feel like now I have been there!

    Loved this post Eileen!!

  4. Forget to mention....this music is great! I keep it on while I'm thinking and typing and it's wonderful. You find the best music.

  5. It sounds Like you two had a few great days together Eileen. I would kill to have two days alone with my husband! Oh well I guess it's just not meant to be. Glad you two had so many interesting things to see. I can't wait to see the Mansions! Love Di ♥

  6. Hi Eileen, just stopped by to read your latest post and look at all the lovely photos! Congratulations on your new grand daughter. I loved the pictures of the hotel where you stayed, and the church where Jack and Jackie Kennedy were married. I love blueberry pancakes! And I think the shampoo, conditioner, and shower gel dispensers in the bath area are a neat idea!

    Just wanted to reconnect with you... it's been a while since I was here.

    Glad to know all is going well with you! I have missed your visits to my blog place, hope you can drop by again one of these days...


  7. What a beautiful place to visit! Have you been there before? The hotel is so attractive and very comfortable looking. The cathedral is beautiful - and I enjoyed the history you added to the post. I, too, admire Jackie O. She lived in a different society than U, but seems to have done a wonderful job raising her children.

    I look forward to seeing more pictures of your trip and am SO happy that you two are taking this time to be alone together :)