RI Travel Guide
Movie Set Travel / TV Travel / Dark Shadows / Castles / Historical Travel / Johnny Depp / → All Tags
This weekend's most anticipated movie is definitely Johnny Depp and Tim Burton's take on the 1970's soap opera Dark Shadows, about a vampire named Barnabas set free after being imprisoned for centuries. He returns to his ancestral home, where he meets his dysfunctional descendants.
The castle that Barnabas calls home acts like another character in the movie, and on occasion even comes alive. But, sadly, the house doesn't exist in real life. It was built for the movie at Pinewood Studios in the U.K, along with the town that surrounds it, Collinsport. After the movie wrapped last year, the fictional town of Collinsport was torn down, leaving nothing behind for would-be movie tourists.
If you've ever sat on a beach looking out at a lighthouse and wondered what it would be like to be to live there, now you can find out first-hand. Lighthouses across the country are now offering programs where you can stay, for a fee, in the keeper's house for a week and experience what it is like to both run the place and have run of the place.
Though lighthouses are no longer used to guide ships home, according to the The United States Lighthouse Society, "they remain symbols of our maritime heritage and should be preserved." Preserving the lighthouses has become increasingly difficult however, as there are fewer and fewer "manned" houses.
Some coastal communities have found a creative solution to this problem and are now seeking volunteers willing to stay at the lighthouse for a few days at a time and work on the grounds while getting the genuine experience of being a lighthouse keeper. Volunteer duties at the lighthouses usually include giving tours, working in a gift shop, landscaping or light maintenance.
Perpetually rained-on East Coast residents can be forgiven for not knowing that summer started this weekend, but showers or not, summer music season is officially in full gear.
Coming up this week, Rhode Island, a state that might not be first come to mind when you think of "rock and roll," gets its music on with Newport’s 12th Annual Nantucket Nectars Sunset Music Series. The Fest brings big-name acts to an awesome waterfront setting, starting this Thursday with Huey Lewis and the News, but don't worry, it gets more hip and less square later in the summer, with Los Lobos and Guster.
Also coming up in the Ocean State this summer, there's the annual Providence Sound Session, a quirky "genre-defying music festival" that brings up-and-coming DJs, hip-hop, jazz, and odder acts to downtown Providence from July 5 to 11.
And of course, RI's most famous music scene is the notorious George Wein’s Folk Festival 50, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the legendary fest with Pete Seeger and Joan Baez, both of whom performed here half a decade ago, now joining fresher acts like the Decemberists and Fleet Foxes at Fort Adams State Park. Is it ok to bring glow sticks to a folk festival? Just asking.
[Photo: Providence Sound Session]
Perched on a rocky island overlooking Narragansett Bay in Rhode Island is one of the most unique mansions you've ever seen. Clingstone, as it's aptly named, is 103 years old, but it looks like a million bucks.
This house, with the 360 degree views of the bay, cost a mere $36,982.99 when it was completed in 1905. Today, it offers a combination of grandiose opulence and rough beach house charm.
If you're a Steve Carell fan--and want to see a movie with him that's safe to take your kids to--check out this week's pick, Dan in Real Life. Dan (Carell) is a devoted father, and a widower who's also a newspaper columnist. After he meets Marie (Juliet Binoche) in a bookstore, he's head over heels until he realizes Marie's dating his own brother.
Of course there are the usual mix-ups and hijinks with the two sneaking around, and a bunch of poignant scenes with Dan and the kids. Hey, we warned you it's a family flick.
As this was shot in and around Rhode Island, we offer you some fun things to check out in The Ocean State--a very pretty place this time of year:
Where To Stay: Castle Hill Inn, Newport Perched right on the end of a 40 acre peninsula off Newport's famed Ocean Drive, Castle Hill Inn will make you feel like you own your very own ocean front manse--if you just close your eyes and block out all the other guests. The inn's premiere building, the Agassiz Masion, houses nine themed rooms with custom decor and views of the bay.
Where To Eat: Aunt Carrie's, Narragansett Family owned and operated for more than 85 years, Aunt Carrie's serves locals and travelers traditional R.I. beach grub: think steamers, clam chowder, lobster salad and fish & chips. Be prepped to wait a bit, folks line up early. Carrie's is the real thing, having earned an "America's Classic" award from the James Beard Foundation earlier this year.
What to See: Point Judith Lighthouse, Narragansett As featured in the film, check out this legendary lighthouse originally built in 1810. A family dynasty of lighthouse keepers spanned nearly 100 years here. Point Judith Lighthouse was refurbished in 2000 and offers a great view of the bay to the north and the sound and Block Island to the south.
This weekend gather your full skirts, vintage cardigans, and antique gems and head to see Evening, the film adaptation of Susan Minot's beautiful novel. It's the story of Ann Grant, a woman on her deathbed, who looks back on her life and tells her daughters about all her greatest moments, and memorable loves.
This one's full of tears and powerful leading ladies including Vanessa Redgrave, Meryl Streep, Natasha Richardson, and Glenn Close. The male leads are a little less memorable - Hugh Dancy and Patrick Wilson. We know, who?
Anyways, Evening was set amongst one of the most perfect summer backdrops ever - Newport, RI. In that vein, we offer you some cool things to do in Newport:
Where To Stay:
Castle Hill Inn
Set on a 42-acre peninsula overlooking the ocean at the end of tony Ocean Drive, Castle Hill was voted one of the top 500 in the world by T + L last year and offers charming beach houses and cottages, a chalet, and harbor house rooms decked out with cathedral ceilings, stone gas jet fireplaces, and stunning interiors. Bring your inheritance, it's not cheap - over $200 a night.
Where To Eat:
Flo's Clam Shack
Look for the peeling paint old boat in front and you'll find yourself at this local favorite. Snack on fried seafood, steamed clams, cold beer and the raw bar while you sit outside and enjoy live music (on Sundays). They don't take reservations or credit cards.
What to See:
One of the famous stunning mansions of Newport, Belcourt was originally designed as a summer cottage - to the tune of $3 million in the late 1800s. Rooms feature a vast collection of artwork, stained glass and carved woods.
Food / Hotels / → All Tags
A few years ago--and it pains us to admit this--we were a trifle obsessed with the McGriddle from McDonald's. We were only able to consume the product a single time--we blame our weak constitution and fear of fast food breakfasts--but the idea was enrapturing. Pancake dough with maple syrup as the bun for an egg or sausage McMuffin--you bet we were intrigued. It was quintessentially American--why not eat all different kinds of breakfast in a single sandwich?
As this photo from the menu at the Francis Malbone House proves, the McGriddle wields influence all over the country. The Malbone House--the estate dates to 1760--is a $400 a night B&B in Newport, Rhode Island. It was even cited by Gourmet Magazine as an "outstanding" example of the genre. Accolades or not, French toast stuffed with sausage sounds an awful lot like a McGriddle to us.
If you find yourself in Providence Rhode Island, and let's face it, some people do every once in a while, and are looking for a decent upscale dinner, you are going to have to think beyond Providence Place.
The long and the short of it is there aren't many options in P-town. So when we found ourselves in Providence, and were asked to check out L'Epicureo, we figured what the hell.
Once we found out that the cast of Laguna Beach had recently dined at L'Epicureo, while in town on some sort of tour, we were feeling better about things, after all, if it is good enough for Kristen, right?
The bite by bite details post click
Jesus. Santa Claus. Paris Hilton. Isn't that what Christmas is all about? Joe Moretti of Cranston, Rhode Island thinks so--instead of displaying a manger, or a plastic St. Nick, on his front lawn, he chose to put up several blown-up images of everybody's favorite publicity-whore, uh, we mean socialite. Neighbors, needless to say, are totally pissed...probably because it should really be Nicole Richie. Everybody knows she's the talented one.
[Publisher's Note: Remember, a Rhode Island man was the inspiration for Peter Griffin. More scary Paris Claus images here.]
· Naughty or Nice? Paris Hilton display upsets neighbors [CNN]
Remember being dragged along on that neverending historical tour when you were a kid? The only thing we can recall is finally getting to the gift shop and getting that classy keychain we promptly lost.
Well, it seems someone has finally caught on. The Breakers, the awe-inspiring 70-room summer home (well, isn't your summer home at least 50 rooms?!) of the Vanderbilts in Newport is now offering unique personalized tour packages guaranteed to keep everyone happy. They are run by the Preservation Society of Newport County and available at any of the city's 10 mega mansions.
For the kids there's a family tour peppered with relatable facts, for the adults there is an after-hours tour of The Elms, for the singles there's drinks at a 1920s speakeasy at the Astors' Beechwood Mansion and for the mother-in-laws there's a ladies who lunch terrace dining tour.
Admissions start at $18 to $25 and reservations are required. Oh, they do private tours too--so you can invite some friends, close your eyes and pretend that yes, you really do live there.
· Newport Mansions Offer Specialized Tours for Kids, Adults [CNN]
· Newport Mansions Offer Specialized Tours [Newport Mansions Official Site]