The Weekender: Five things to do in Newport.

This past weekend, the fam and I hit up Newport, RI for a little Succot family road trip getaway. It was on my Fall to do list. I’ve always loved a good road trip, touted the merits of seeing my own country, loved the freedom of being about to hop back in my car and head home OR WHERE EVER when ever I felt like it. We drove the California coast with a two year old in the back seat of a convertible. We took mopeds on a three day trip around Bali. It was all so easy. So worthwhile. So fun. So adventurous.

Then, I had JoJo. This was his first vacation. Suffice to say: NEVER AGAIN? Let’s just say, he doesn’t travel well. The kid will stay awake for a 6 hour drive (during nap hours) and cry the whole time. He will vomit in car. He will make your life a living hell for every minute that he is even slightly uncomfortable. You should thank me in advance for never taking him on a plane.

He wakes up at 7 am and proceeds to tear apart the room rummaging for food like a bear. We would wake up and drowsily give the children cereal and milk in a box, before dozing off again… only to wake up to a hotel room littered with empty apple juice boxes and crushed fruit loops. The kid parties like a rock star.

Then lets not even get into his other endearing quality: DEATH WISH. We took the kids on a sailboat called the Madeline. Beautiful really…. Except for the fact that I barely looked up from the back of Jojos jeans, where I was white knuckled trying to keep him in the boat. He was actively trying to jump off, for the full two hours.

I thought he was going to vandalize The Breakers, the psychotically awesome gilded age mansion of Cornelius Vanderbilt.

You see, Kid Number One is a great traveler, sleeps in cars and on planes, acts like a lady at restaurants and generally can get along doing adult things mixed with kid things. It’s a blessing. But JoJo is what my MIL likes to call a  “Home Wrecker” then she modified that to “House Wrecker” when she realized what home wrecker meant. He’s not even hyper, he’s just like a cuddly sweet honey bear, who doesn’t know his own strength and leaves a path of destruction in his wake.

Anyway, on to the things we did in Newport, all under the guidance of Courtney of Holding Court, who grew up there.

And also, my pictures were not the best because I was so ridiculously busy/scared  I could barely take any. Most are iPhone pics.

1. Sailing

You must do this, I’ve never done it before. The culture of sailing is everywhere in Newport and it’s really a beautiful, genteel thing to do. Like that Grey Goose commercial come to life. With no engine, all you hear is the creaking of wood, lapping of waves, squawking of gulls, flapping of sails… and oh yea, my kid screaming. Oh boy how I needed a drink. I was shaking when we got off.

Look. I literally have white knuckles.

Wanna know what this is? I was in the bathroom inside the boat, when this little guy popped his head in through the port hole! Thank god it was just me!

2.  Check out The International Tennis Hall of Fame

Grass courts, tennis memorabilia, and one of only 50 Court Tennis (the original tennis of the kings) courts in the world, being practiced on! Learn more HERE.

Tennis shoes from the 20’s, they look JUST like Keds, don’t they?

3. Tour a Mansion: The Breakers

We had to limit to one mansion, because the kids couldnt really take much more of it. But there are 12 or 13 beautiful historic mansions to toured, interspersed with mansions still being occupied. Its a really elegant  and majestic neighborhood and the entire island has a very fine air about it. I love New Jersey, but its like NJ with   a more gorgeous terrain and a more refined flavor.

4. Visit a Boat Graveyard

Not really, its actually  Coronet, a boat launched in 1885, and its being restored by the International Yacht Restoration School, which is free and open to the public, HERE.

5. Check out a Farm

Newport has many farms by the side of the read, but we visited Manfredi Farms and petting zoo in Rhode Island.

We also drove around, took the kids to the arcade (think Belmar Playland, fellow NJ dwellers), saw a parade, visited a pumpkin patch, ate, walked around, tried to visit the Touro synagogue…lived. You know. Life. Travel. Family. Vacation.

Oh and I just couldn’t not post this: 

The most fabulous ivy I’ve ever seen.

There you have it. Newport:  Boats, Farms, Mansions. Vibe. It’s pretty great. I recommend going when it’s a bit warmer so you can enjoy the beaches, but  I couldn’t believe how crowded town was! JAMMED. The  Jersey shore has been deserted for weeks now, so I expected it to be quieter.

Is it already Thursday? Wow.


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  1. Lauren says:

    I admire you. You’ve done so many of things that you said you wanted to do this summer & fall. I’ve only done 1 item on my list. Also, I don’t recall my mom doing half the amount of stuff with me that you do with your children. They’re very lucky!

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      What number kid are you in your family? My parents did TONS of things like this with me and my brother as children, but with the last three….well things petered out.

      Also, there is a good chance my kids wont remember this. Just like you!

      I have a few more things left to go on the fall list. Next one is going to be The Glass House. I think I have to save Montauk for spring.

  2. So glad you had fun! We can plan Part 2 when you get the baby leash ;)

  3. Don’t forget about polo in the summer!

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      Ha! You just blew my mind with that one. Its like all my Jewish New York girl wasp-longing fantasies come true.

  4. SaraSue says:

    Geez, I didn’t realize you had a second child until I read this post!!! Where the hell have I been???!!! It sounds like a great trip and makes me want to pack my family in the car and GO!!! Thanks for sharing.

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      Ha! He is almost 2! Dont know how long youve been reading, but I was pregnant with him when my apartment was featured in Rue ;)
      You should, pack up and go! Its easy (ha) but fun!

  5. 1. I am still laughing from this post… after reading it twice!
    2. I love Jojo- that face, his destruction, all of it!
    3. iphone pics or not, I would hang at least three of these in a gallery/my apartment.
    4. Looks like a great weekend with the family, thanks for sharing! miss you…

  6. MMish says:

    so funny, your kids are so cute…my favorite shot by far is the donkey

    • Nicole Cohen says:

      I have a crystal clear photo of the donkey- where you can see right down his throat! It was so graphic I decided not to post.

  7. i would have had to change my underwear after that sailboat ride. the waves look like sinister pockets of death.
    your kids are adorable.

  8. There is nothing unusual about JoJo other than he’s a boy. I had the same thing – a delightful daughter who could fly on planes, sit in a high-chair at a restaurant and stay in the house even if the front door were open. I thought I was such a good mom. Ha. Then I had the first of two sons and the joke was on me. They aren’t different genders, they’re different species. My favorite was when my son (then about 2) went into my husband’s drawer in the bathroom and came out with my husband’s razor in his mouth. Mother of the year. Good luck!

  9. i skimmed the pics before, but just read the text- too funny. jojo sounds like a lil handful. how terrifying for you his jumping overboard wish, but funny for us to read. both cookie and jojo couldn’t be cuter, btw.

    ps- long car/plane rides = benadryl. you don’t get to be a 5 time uncle without learning a trick or two. ;-) plus it’s perfectly legal so child protective services can’t come after you.

    • comment of the day! bravo, M21.

      btw, next spring/summer we should organize a big decor dork trip up there. I’ll lead the way to the mansions and we can all snap pics to our heart’s content.