Day 7: Plymouth Plantation Check out the first six days of our road trip here.
On our way to Newport we stopped in Plymouth, Massachusetts. This quaint little town is the site of the first Pilgrim settlement in 1620. The city center is packed with bakeries and shops, but our favorite part was the waterfront walking trail. You just download the city's free app and follow the path to learn about the Pilgrims and how they shaped our country. Plus, the views of the coast are pretty amazing too 😏
A short drive from the downtown is Plymouth's famous Plimoth Plantation. This living history museum replicates the original settlement of the colony established in the 17th century. The best part is, the recreation includes actors dressed as townspeople. Each have a unique story of their own, and stay in character no matter what. According to them it's 1627, and you're a visitor just passing through.
Everything you see from the timber-framed houses, to handmade kitchen-gadgets and furniture, is a recreation from that time. As you make your way through the village, the actors do more than just engage with you, they also complete daily tasks such as cooking, gardening, and sewing, all while dressed in authentic clothing from that period. It was such a unique and fun way to learn about American history.
After a day of hanging out with Pilgrims, Indians, and goats, we headed to Rhode Island, the smallest state in the US. Our destination was Newport, a beautiful waterfront town filled with mansions and more colonial homes in use, than any other city in the country. We dined at Stone Acre Brasserie, and topped the night with a walk admiring the city’s gorgeous architecture.
Day 8: Newport Mansions
There’s nothing quite like the sounds of waves crashing. Especially when you get to enjoy it from your 70-room mansion. Newport, Rhode Island was once a summer playground for America’s wealthiest families, including the Vanderbilt’s, Astor’s, and the Morgan’s. During the 19-century social elites summered here, usually for only six weeks.
After our morning ritual of coffee, and more coffee we slowly made our way to Cliff Walk. The name basically says it all. Imagine breathtaking ocean views, colossal mansions, and a rocky shoreline. The walk runs for 3.5 miles, mostly on a paved path. Towards the southern half of the walk, the trail gets pretty rocky, but the views more than make up for it. I recommend eating a hefty breakfast, and bringing a packed lunch (or just snacks) to enjoy on the trail.
Our main reason for visiting Newport was the famous Newport Mansions. Ten enormous, over the top mansions that people once actually lived in (which is difficult to imagine with Seattle's current housing market).
With a limited amount of time, we chose to visit only two of the mansions: The Breakers, and Marble House. Both are located directly on the Cliff Walk, and let you experience the type of extravagance that only too much money can buy. The Breakers is by far Newport's most popular mansion. Once called a 'cottage' it has 70 rooms, 300 windows, 750 door knobs, and is 138,300 square feet (nope, not a typo, I repeat 138,300 square feet). In a home that large, if something is lost, it's never going to 'just show up eventually' (usually right after you purchase a replacement). But then again, with 40 servants anything is possible!
The Marble House, was reported to have cost around $11 million to build (in 1890s dollars), of which $7 million was spent on marble (hence the name). The incredible dinning room is home to gilded bronze chairs that weigh from 70-100 pounds each (bet the servants had fun with those). The craziest part is, after millions of dollars, most of these families only used the homes for a few weeks a year. Even nowadays, there are still many modern day mansions perfectly located on the coast, yet they are used for only a few months each year. We were surprised to find, that about 30% of the homes have families who live in Newport year-long.
After visiting homes with sun rooms, breakfast rooms, and powder rooms, we continued our hike on Cliff Walk. About halfway through, we found a scenic spot right on the coast. The birds chirping, wind blowing, and waves crashing set the perfect ambience for some afternoon reading. We finished the remainder of the hike, then Ubered back to our hotel The Viking for some dinner.
Read about our next stop in Connecticut here 😊 If you haven’t yet, check out the rest of our blogs from this road trip here. And don't forget to follow us on social media through Instagram or Facebook.