Travel with a Teen Boy to Providence and Newport by Robin Gorman Newman

For weeks I’ve been attempting to write this post.

So many I know, including myself, have felt slammed since summer ended.  It always feels somewhat abrupt, particularly when my community pool closes, and we continue to get weather in the 80s. But this year, for some reason, especially so.

A contributing factor may be that my son began high school, which is feeling bittersweet for me and a big transition for him.  I am told that high school flies by, yet to me, each school term has come ‘n gone speedily, though it doesn’t always feel like it during standardized test time.

So, here we are nearing October, and it’s back to business and life as usual….with gusto to spare!

But, when I think about our summer trip, it brings a smile to my face.

We were looking for a low key vacation — a short road trip — with activities offering ample teen boy appeal.

We found it in Rhode Island.

Just 3.5 hours from our home, it offers attractions and scenic beauty, combined with great seafood and quaint towns to explore.

We stayed four nights in Providence (Renaissance Providence Hotel), and two nights in Newport (Marriott).

Providence initially caught our eye due to their exhibition WaterFire.  WaterFire Providence is a non-profit arts organization whose mission is to inspire Providence and its visitors by revitalizing the urban experience, fostering community engagement and creatively transforming the city.

It is quite the spectacle!  Narrow, torch-lit vessels make their way down the river under the arched bridges, to light wood strategically placed throughout the river, and the night we were there, operatic music played, and there were many perched on steps along Waterplace Park to observe.  It had both a haunting and meditative vibe, bringing loosely to mind the great canals of Venice.

(Red Panda)

Next up in Providence was a lovely afternoon at the Roger Williams Park Zoo, a genuine highlight.

Roger Williams Park Zoo, one of the oldest in the nation, is Rhode Island’s number one outdoor family and tourist attraction and is also a leader in conservation efforts undertaken by a zoo of its size. The Zoo has received numerous awards for environmental education, and conservation work done locally and around the world, caring for species that without human intervention would face certain extinction.

We particularly loved seeing the adorable red panda…an animal you don’t get to see too often.

The zoo is hosting an annual Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular October 5 – November 5.  Guests will travel through time and visit with dinosaurs, explore the ice age, and peek into the ancient civilizations of Egypt and Rome.  As visitors wander the Wetlands Trail, they will discover the history of the Middle Ages and the New World, and check out inventions like cars, planes, space travel, and the computer… all on 5,000 intricately carved pumpkins.  Infused throughout will be the art and music associated with each era. New in 2017, there will be an opportunity to experience the Soaring Eagle Zip Ride and see the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular from 115 feet high.

(my son, the speed demon)

We also ventured outside Providence, given that my son is a huge go kart fan, and we had heard about RI Indoor Karting in Lincoln.  He had a blast!

To satisfy my desire to explore quaint towns, we drove to the arty town of Wakefield, a great place to walk around and shop and eat.  And, we visited Narragansett and took a beautiful stroll overlooking the beach.  Being in or near water has always been my happy place.

While we did not have a chance to check them out, other activities to explore in Providence are:

Base Station Virtual Reality Arcade Lounge

La Gondola

Foodwise…..We are big Peruvian food fans – I adore Cerviche – and we had read about Los Andes.  It lived up to the reviews.  The food was excellent (and large portions), and the atmosphere is lively.  Reservations are strongly advised because while it’s not in a busy section of Providence, clearly it is a local favorite, and for good reason.  If I lived in Providence, I’d be a regular here for sure.

We then continued on to Newport….a beautiful town, and I can see why for many it’s a vacation haven that they frequent.

The downtown is very walkable with lots of restaurants and a wide array of shops (I particularly liked the ones on Lower Thames).

The seaport area is a great place to chill, whether to crack open some lobster claws or watch the boats come ‘n go.

We had a super fun experience on a Lobstering Tour thru Fish ‘n Tales Adventures which departs from Bowens Wharf.  It was a 75 minute boat ride and offered so much more than we expected.  By the time the trip was done, we had learned not only how lobsters are caught but how they mate and how to discern the sex.  Who knew?!

While we did not do this, in the future, I’d check out the International Tennis Hall of Fame and Scooter World .

And, given my son’s interest in firefighting, it turned out our hotel was across the street from the local firehouse, and we had an opportunity to visit.  I was laughing to myself afterwards, because so many visit Newport to explore the famous mansions, and we wound up exploring a firehouse.

We celebrated my birthday the last day of our trip in Newport, and Castle Hill Inn did not disappoint.  I had read about it online, and it’s a stunning 19th century mansion now an upscale boutique hotel overlooking Narragansett Bay with an excellent restaurant (on the pricier side).  We ate brunch outdoors, and I thoroughly enjoyed an impressive, well-prepared stuffed lobster, along with the wonderful view.  You can dine without being a guest of the B&B, but reservations are strongly recommended.  Those in the know, know this is a must do Newport dining destination.

And, an excellent breakfast spot in Newport is Corner Cafe.

We drove back home with a pit stop in the quaint Mystic, CT, and all in all, it was a nice week long respite.  We hope to return to Newport one day soon.


Note: We were provided a press visit to Roger Williams Park Zoo and a Lobstering Tour, but our opinions are our own.

  1. 3 Responses to “Travel with a Teen Boy to Providence and Newport by Robin Gorman Newman”

  2. OMG! That lobster looks delish. Good for you. Travelling is a stress-buster.For us, it is not just a getaway, or to have some fun. It does something to us that’s uplifting and rejuvenating. Our family goes once or twice a year. We live far from beaches so a sun and sand vacation is always on our list. My teenage son and daughter love surfing and all kinds of water sports. They said it gave them natural high. I know, too bad we need to travel far and rent a place to enjoy those activities. We also like going to places where culture and the arts are rich. Because we like to feed our souls more than our eyes. But of course, there should be thrilling activities to feed the teen’s need for adventure.

    By Dawn on Sep 24, 2017

  3. I’m salivating at that lobster!

    By Anna on Sep 25, 2017

  4. You’re so right Dawn. Travel is great for bonding and making memories because daily life is often so busy that we get caught up in responsibility, deadlines, demands, etc….and I have found that especially true as my son has more homework, standardized tests, etc. We too love culture rich trips, and have often done staycations in NYC for that very reason.

    By Robin Gorman Newman on Sep 26, 2017