One of my favorite weekend getaway spots and favorite place to go for the Christmas season is Newport, RI! I have been to Newport too many times to count, and I always try to get there for Christmastime each year; it’s just magical.
The official opening of Christmas in Newport is December 1st where they light the Christmas tree in Washington Square, and there are just activities galore from that point on: lantern tours, concerts, candlelight tours of private homes, a doorway contest, a Medieval Christmas Pageant, visits with Santa, and a gingerbread lighthouse, just to name a few.
The great thing about going to Newport in December is that it is fairly quiet as far as tourists and traffic is concerned, and hotel rates are very decent. I prefer to stay at the Holiday Inn Express in Middletown. I’ve stayed at a few other hotels in the area, but this one is by far my favorite. It’s always clean, the staff is always friendly, and I get great rates there. If you book between December 12-20th, rates are $90 a night, but if you go during the week, you can get rates as low as $71-80. I honestly prefer to go to Newport between December and February because of the low hotel rates and the lack of crowds. If you’ve ever been there in the summer months, you know that, of course, you will be paying more for a hotel, but you will also be dealing with traffic and large crowds in a small town, so I truly enjoy myself more this time of year.
I had previously gone on the Newport Mansion Tours, but one year, I decided to the do the Holiday Evenings Christmas tours, and it was such an experience. I love anything that has to do with the Gilded Age, and I can only imagine how spectacular the Christmas parties were in the cottages back in the day. Today, the mansions: The Breakers, The Elms, and The Marble House, are beautifully decorated with Christmas decor, poinsettias, garland, trees, and wreaths, and as you walk through the mansions, you will find carolers singing in the ballrooms. The outside of the mansions are decorated as well; the large pine tree in front of the Marble House is strung with strands of glistening, white lights, and the Breakers wrought-iron double gates welcome you with two large wreaths and red bows. The event I haven’t seen, that I would love to go to, is the Newport Nutcracker at Rosecliff. It surely must be a site to see! (Fun fact: did you know that Rosecliff was used in the filming of The Great Gatsby, 27 Dresses, and other films?)
In downtown Newport, I love walking down the streets, at Bowen’s Wharf, and seeing all of the shops’ tasteful Christmas window decorations, which are brightly lit with twinkling lights and evergreen garland. There is even a little hut filled with lights (the North Pole) I also heard the ice skating rink is making a comeback this year, so if you’re in the mood to lace your skates up, head on down to the rink on Friday, December 11th for their grand re-opening.
I love going in back to the harbor to see the boats festively decorated with colored and white lights and Christmas decorations (I think I’ve even seen Santa waving to me from a boat)! If you want to really see this in action, you can go to the Newport Harbor Illuminated Boat Parade on November 28th, where contestants compete to win an award for the best decorated commercial boat, sailboat, powerboat, and much, much more!
If you go down Memorial Boulevard to Easton Beach, and look over to your left (when driving towards Middletown), the glow of lights galore might catch your eye. It caught mine and my husband’s, and we went and did some exploring. I’m a Christmas fanatic, so I had to see where all those lights were coming from! We finally found a house, decorated to the nines for Christmas! They even let you walk on their property to see their fascinating display. It is definitely worth a visit!
Lastly, don’t forget, the Polar Express comes to town too at the Newport & Narragansett Bay Railroad! These magical train rides are hosted between November 21st and December 20, 2015. You can find more information here.
Places Mentioned in Blog
Bowen’s Wharf | 13 Bowens Wharf | Newport, RI 02840
Holiday Inn Express | 855 W Main Rd | Middletown, RI 02842*
Newport Polar Express | At the intersection of Greene Lane and Burma Road in Middletown, RI
Newport Skating Center | 4 Commercial Wharf | Newport, RI 02840
Nutcracker at Rosecliff | 548 Bellevue Ave | Newport, RI 02840
Have you been to Newport at Christmas time? What is your favorite activity to date? Do you have an activity I haven’t mentioned that you would love to share with my readers? Please feel free to comment below!
The Holiday Inn Middletown/Newport, RI