Monday, May 30, 2016

Rhode Island The Ocean State

Mother's Day weekend on a whim, seriously Thursday night, we decided to head to Rhode Island for a day trip. It is literally and hour to the state line and 30 minutes to the capital, Providence. It has been raining nonstop here for the past month, not to mention in the high 50s low 60s if we are lucky (we've had a slight change in the weather this past week), and I am telling you we are about to go crazy being stuck inside 24/7. Where is SPRING? We decided that we were no longer going to let this nonsense weather put a damper into our exploration of the northeast (seriously we have been waiting for spring because everything shuts down up here from November until it gets warm, which apparently this weather is unusual, I'm not buying it). 

Rhode Island is tiny little state known as the Ocean state. Its the smallest state in the US, the state motto is "Hope," Providence is home to one of top Ivy League schools in the country, Brown University, and the list goes on and on. We set out first thing Saturday morning with our mission being to go to Providence and check out the Children's Museum. 

Our first stop though, was for brunch. Upon reading several blogs about family friendly restaurants I discovered that T's Restaurant in Cranston, RI was ranked as one of the top brunch spots in the state. Cranston is just right outside of Providence. T's did not let us down. The Mr. ordered his go to brunch item a breakfast burrito, which was the best thing that we ordered. I ordered a sampler meal, just so the dictator could have pancakes without having to spend additional money on a children's meal (they can be such a rip off). My meal came with two pancakes, cinnamon apples, an omelet, toast, and bacon (clearly we weren't going to starve). The best thing about T's was the coffee. They feature a seasonal coffee, endless, so the flavors are constantly changing. Apparently their pumpkin flavored coffee is the best but I will say the Maple French Toast coffee was really good. Plus it came in a cute little cup to drink out of. The Mr. ordered hot chocolate, and while it wasn't the best hot chocolate in the world it warmed you up. If you have been reading the blog you know by now that I love brunch, and am on mission to find quirky little brunch joints in New England, which seem to be few and far between (sorry IHOP doesn't count for me). T's hit the mark and didn't let me down. 

Maple French Toast Coffee

Eating all the whip cream off the hot chocolate

After brunch we headed in to Providence. I think we may end up going back to Providence at some point just because the one thing they are most famous for (Water Fire) was not occurring this past weekend. Providence is the state capital and home to Brown University. It is also home to the top thing on our agenda for the weekend, The Children's Muesem. We have been to a couple different children's museums before and while this one certainly was no comparison to the one we visited in Chicago it was a thousand times better than the highly recommended Kid City Museum here in Connecticut. Elin loved it! The one huge perk is that unlike the Chicago Children's Museum everything here was toddler friendly. Chicago has some strictly big kids area (still by far the best one we have been to). On top of all the fun we had at the museum it was Mother's Day weekend so moms got in free. 

Elin's top things at the Children's Muesem were the play area with a slide, pretend boat, and stuffed animals (she loves stuffed animals, I am sure they were full of germs, but oh well). She also loved the shape sorter wall. She has a little Melissa and Doug shape sorter toy at home so this wall was right up her alley. The highlight would be the pretend kitchen. Elin is obsessed with playing what she calls "kitchen." They have one at the library we go to, and I swear we literally go to the library a couple times a week just so she can play "kitchen." (On a side note, we do own a play kitchen but there is just something about toys that aren't at your home, they are just a thousand times better). 

We wrapped up the Children's Muesuem a little earlier than expected (if you go plan for a few hours not the whole day, its pretty small, and eventually you run out of things to do). I had planned on eating dinner in Providence but we were far from dinner time when we finished. We decided to do a drive thru tour of Brown University (when in Rome, plus you can never start to early discussing college with your kids, this is Elin's 3rd college tour in her short 2 years of life). If you look at the picture below you can clearly see that Brown is not in her future (she cried real tears), we still have a couple more on our list of college tours to take while we live in New England so maybe there is hope, my guess is Stamford would be her Ivy League of choice, its warmer there. 

Seriously crying real tears

After our tour of Brown we felt pretty confident we had seen everything there was to see in Providence, minus the Water Fire show. We had only planned to go to Providence but as we were leaving we decided Newport was only 30 minutes away and we had nothing else to do. Elin needed a nap, and we could explore the other area that Rhode Island is known for. We are so thankful that we decided to take this little excursion because it was well worth it. Newport was the highlight of the trip. Newport is known for the famous cliff walk full of beautiful mansions that sit on a cliff and overlook the ocean. It is very breathing taking and probably would have been even better had the weather cooperated. We were only able to do part of the cliff walk before heading back to the car, one because our meter was up, and two because it looked as if the skies would open at any moment. We did do a drive by of all the houses via car and I think it is necessary to do it both ways, you see the front and back of the homes. If you are really adventurous some of the homes are open for tours (we would have been pushing our kids to their limit so we decided against taking a tour). The drive by was pretty cool because on the opposite side of the street there are homes just as large and just as gorgeous, if not more gorgeous, as the ones sitting next to the ocean. Taylor Swift owns a home in this area so for all the Swifty fans out there don't make the mistake I did and miss that, the Mr. proceeded to tell me this info after we had left Rhode Island. 

We were also able to walk on the beach while we were there. The Mr. went a little to far and got soaking wet. Apparently the Atlantic is pretty cold right now, said the man who had to dry his socks out with car vents! It was nice though to smell the salt water and hear the sound of the waves crashing. 

Newport is pretty cool little town. The downtown area by the wharf is what you picture in your head when you think of a little New England town. There were lots of little shops and restaurants. We ate at Nickolas Pizza and I am pretty sure it ranks as one of the top pizza's that we have had since we moved up north. People in Connecticut go on and on about how amazing their pizza is, we have yet to have that amazing pizza, Rhode Island's pizza trumps Connecticut pizza currently, in fact Papa Johns still remains our go to pizza place. We are trying to find this amazing Connecticut pizza everyone talks about, yet can't tell us the name of the place to get it. Luckily we were able to catch the Derby race while here which we were very thankful for because we were both missing the KY this past weekend. Before heading back we stopped into a little fudge shop to get a little treat for the drive home.  

Overall Rhode Island was a great trip, probably one of the best ones thus far. If you are planning a New England visit don't plan to stay here long though. While Newport could be a whole day in itself if you wanted to do some serious shopping and walking, there isn't a whole lot to see in Providence. Other than if you are planning a beach vacation its probably just one of those states you swing through, enjoy for the day, and then head on because if your coming to New England you can cover a lot of ground in a short period, which is awesome. 

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