On my third and final day in Newport, we decided just to hang around the city, and to enjoy the beautiful sunny weather by exploring downtown. Our plan was to walk into downtown, since Jeff and Jessica live in a pretty convenient spot within the city. We had some ideas for lunch, for the afternoon and the evening, but overall, it was a “relax and spend time together” day.
We started the morning with me driving up to Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts to get breakfast while others were getting ready. Then we headed out – 3 + stroller – toward downtown. I wanted to stop at the White Horse Tavern, just to look around, so we headed that direction.
The White Horse Tavern is the oldest pub in the United States, and the 9th oldest still-running establishment in the world. The White Horse Tavern was built in 1652 as a home, but then turned into a tavern in 1673. For a time, it was the meeting house for the Rhode Island legislature, it served revolutionaries, and it is now a fine dining restaurant with two bars, one upstairs and one downstairs. When we came upon the building, there were some people seated outside, but the interior was almost empty. The hostess told us (Jess’ sister Kelly, and I) that we could look around. It definitely looked old, the wood floors looked original (though I doubt they are 350 years old), and the walls were adorned with old framed documents that each seemed relevant to the history of the building. There was a list with the oldest establishments in the world – the oldest, Sean’s Bar in Athlone, Ireland, began around 900.
A short stroll beyond the tavern took us to downtown, a neighborhood probably just like any other downtown in a popular, not-too-big town. There were coffee shops, spice shops, clothes shops, real estate offices, a park, and it was just a nice place to spend the afternoon. Lots of other people thought so, too. We came across a restaurant Jeff and Jessica like, which had a happy hour raw bar going. I forget what Jessica and Kelly ate, but Jeff and I shared 24 littleneck clams and 12 oysters. It was delicious! After lunch, I stopped by starbucks again, we walked into a seafood market, explored a boutique spice shop, and wandered through a clothing store’s clearance sale that was set up under a huge canopy. We walked back and it was time for the next adventure.
Since the cliff walk two days ago, some of us had been thinking about going for a swim in the ocean. I was hoping we’d be able to, because I hadn’t been in the ocean yet and it looked really fun when we saw others doing it. Jeff, Kelly, and I went back to the Cliff Walk where Narragansett Ave. meets it. There is a stairway known as Forty Steps, which goes down to the rocks. It’s not explicitly identified as a swimming spot or an ocean access point, but it seemed safe. So we went down there, I left my sandals and towel on the big rocks, and jumped in. We must have spent 30 minutes trading water, enjoying the waves, and just relaxing floating in the ocean. Lots of people were watching us and eventually another family arrived and joined us as we were getting ready to leave. The water was much warmer than what I am used to on the west coast. It wasn’t Gulf of Mexico warm, but it must have been at least 70. It was really, really fun to have that experience.
When we were out of the water and dried off, we drove back to the house and a nice evening of relaxation. We decided that Kelly and I could stay home for the evening and watch the twins while Jess and Jeff went out for a date night. Actually, it was her idea- I agreed to help, and she did most of the actual “taking care” of the twins. But once they were asleep and Jess and Jeff were out on the town, we ordered an (awesome!) pizza and watching Big Bang Theory reruns into the evening.
It was a completely relaxing weekend day. Unfortunately, tomorrow morning it will be time for me to take a long drive down to Maryland for my flight home.