I had a great weekend in Newport!
Me, Keri, Michele and their friend Melissa who I just met (very cool girl!) all left early Saturday morning for our overnight trip. We stopped off at a commuter parking lot and popped the cork on some champagne and made mimosas, courtesy of Keri. Then under the beautifu and warming sun, we were on our way, a group of hyper and giggling girls completely MAN (and for two, CHILD) free!! Once we reached our hotel it was still too early to check in, however, we were able to get a parking pass to at least leave Michele's jeep there so we could start strolling around town. We hit a couple of shops then decided it was time for lunch and some wine. The first restaurant that Keri wanted to take us too that she said had great martinis was unfortunately closed for renovations. So we then proceeded to the hotel restaurant, H20, and sat down for a long (our waitress sucked!) lunch, a few glasses of wine and a some pictures.
After lunch we were off to the mansions! We walked (and walked, and walked, LOL) to our first stop, Rosecliff, which was smaller than some of the others, but no less beautiful. I was thoroughly amazed at the grandeur of each room...the ballroom, the front sitting room...I tried to imagine myself years and years ago, dressed in a fancy gown, sitting on one of those antique couches, living the life of an aristocrat, with servants waiting on me hand and foot. Needless to say, it was hard to imagine! I loved listening to the stories the tour guide told us about the previous different owners, and also who stayed in each bedroom. Also this particular mansion's ballroom has been used in so many different movies, some of which included The Great Gatsby and True Lies (with Jamie Lee Curtis)....SO interesting and neat to see in person! After the tour, we went out to the back grounds where there was a gorgeous view of the ocean beyond the wall, but unfortunately we could not stay and sight-see long, as we already had made reservations to see a Behind-The-Scenes tour at another mansion, The Elms. We hustled back to The Elms (blisters forming on all of our feet!!) and were about 4 minutes late for the tour so we were quickly led out to where it began at the back entrance which was the "service driveway". The past owners (I'm sorry I can't remember their names) wanted all of their guests to feel like everything happened at this manion "like magic" so they were not able to see where servants came in, where food and supplies were brought in, etc. We toured the interior of the house where the servants did all their business: the "basement" (which was tiled in this sturdy white tile, that Keri called subway tile, that has lasted all this years with only minor chips and scratches. It was crazy to see this huge "basement" floor that was nicer than my house LOL) which included the laundry room, clothes drying room (since this particular mansion's past owners did not want their laundry outside and visible) with the old cast iron IRONS that they heated up to do the clothes with, also we saw the ice room where they stored a huge chunk of ice, the "refrigerator" room where it was like a big wooden walk-in fridge (that eventually became electric, as the years went by), the kitchen, the REAL basement with the coal furnaces (I don't know if that's what they are really called) and even we could see the beginning of the underground track and cart that they brought in the coal with, the prep rooms, the gigantic stove with copper cookware, the wine cellar, the root cellar and the back stairwells that led up to the servants quarters. The hallway was vast, with beautiful light hardwood floors and molding, and each room, which housed two servants as roomates, were not as tiny as I imagined they would be. It was surmised that they normlaly employed up to 24 servants at a time and for the basic servants, they were paid $25.00 a month. They had an excellent French chef though who was supposedly one of the best and he was paid much better...$10,000 a month! Just think, back then, that was a lot of money! Anyway, we saw the view from the roof top after that, and then headed back down outside.
After the sight-seeing, we headed back towards town and stopped at a totally hip and modern little bar for some wine and an appetizer. I tried another seafood dish! It was called Conch Fritters and even though the thought sounded gross,I tried them...holy yumminess batman! So after our conch and we wine, we went back to the hotel to check in and unpack and rest up a little bit before dinner. We took silly pictures in our room, admired the gorgeous ocean view, and then started getting ready for dinner out. The heels came out, the hairspray was sprayed and on went cute shirts and jewelry...and then we were off! We walked to the package store to get a bottle of wine (which we didn't end up needing cuz we were all exhausted at the end of the night) and I hobbled around in my heels, due to the blisters on both feet (ouch!) and back to the restaurant for dinner, The Red Parrot. We had a nice, relaxed dinner with wine and appetizers (I drew the line at trying the shark bites...they scared me!) and after a coffee liquor drink, we paid the bill and hobbled back across the street to our hotel. After much giggling and talking, we were all unconcious.
SUnday morning after showers and packing, we checked out and loaded up the jeep, then went off to get coffee and pastries at an adorable little coffee shop rihgt on the pier, that was run by one woman. I swear, it was jam packed, but we didn't wait any longer than you do at Starbucks where they have 3 people working at a time! And much better service at this coffee shop. We sat in the sun, sipped our java, and enjoyed the crisp morning air. Then it was off to shop! I didn't want to spend a ton of money since Daryl and I are still paying off the wedding (he told me not to get him a souveneir) but I couldn't go home empty-handed. I bought a really pretty red, white and blue sail boat Christmas tree ornament (I buy ornaments for our tree wherever I go! I have them from Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Florida, California, New York, etc.). I also got Daryl some of his favorite, fresh water taffey! Also got him two cute little lobster-shaped chocolates. And for the pups, I got them some delectible doggie treats shaped like little cupcakes with sprinkles on them!
After shopping, we ate lunch at a quaint and really cool Irish bar (I think it was called Bruskers?) for beer and burgers and some girlie bs'ing. Then it was off to take a quick driving tour through the rest of Newport and admire the sea line, the other mansions, the fabulous view, and then off for home! I'm thoroughly exhausted today (tossed and turned all night even though it was nice to be back in my own bed with my Big D) but feeling so relaxed and happy we went. I had a fantastic time! Below are some pics for your viewing pleasure!
The girls ready to go...on our way to Newport!
Keri, Melissa and Michele appreciating the view outside of our hotel
Fork it over, Melissa and April...we need more wine!
Pretty shoes for our night out for dinner and drinks! (can you guess which foot is Michele's, Keri or mine?????)
Melissa and Keri at The Red Parrot for dinner.
April and Keri at The Red Parrot for dinner.
A view of the Rosecliff Mansion
On the grounds of the Rosecliff
Here comes the BRIDE...or at least my boobs...
Lunch and wine in our hotel restaurant...
Keri and Michele posing outside of a gorgeous church
The view outside of our hotel balcony doors