New England Charm: Nantucket & Rhode Island

New England Charm: Nantucket & Rhode Island

During the summer of 2019 our family ventured to New England to visit Rhode Island and Nantucket, Massachusetts.  The kids and I had not been to Rhode Island so it was exciting to explore another new state.  We coupled it with a trip to Nantucket as it had been a place on our short list for awhile.

Rhode Island

Where we stayed

Providence Marriott Downtown | 2 nights | Providence, R.I.

We stayed in Providence for two nights before venturing to Nantucket.  We then circled back to stay there again after coming back from Nantucket for the night before our flight home.  

The indoor/outdoor pool set up was nice and we even rented a cabana for a day.  However, the hotel was in need of an update.  Their website says that it has since been renovated.

The location was good for us as we were walking distance to Whole Foods so we could grab some items to keep in our room.  We also ate lunch in the Whole Foods cafe a few times.

When we traveled

We traveled in June of 2019.  The weather was lovely in Rhode Island at this time.

While in Rhode Island, we took a ferry from Providence to Newport for the day and explored this charming seaside town with a beautiful harbor full of sailboats and fishing boats.  We walked around the harbor area and enjoyed a picnic lunch in the shade. 

Leaving Providence, RI

From there, we took an Uber to visit The Breakers, one of the grandest of Newport’s seaside mansions.  It was built by Cornelius Vanderbilt and completed in 1885.  It continued to be a summer home for the family until 2018.  The “cottage”, as it is referred to by the Vanderbilt family, contains 70 rooms and sits on 14 acres sitting high on a cliff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. 

The exterior of The Breakers mansion

Upon entering the grounds of The Breakers we purchased our tickets at the welcome center.  We started our self-guided tour by first exploring the garden and massive lawn.  Exploring outside first is what we recommend.  That way, if traveling with kids, they can get their energy out first before heading indoors!

The Breaker’s backyard

We then headed inside for our self-guided audio tour.  The Italian Renaissance style mansion is very opulent and we slowly took in the grandeur as we explored room by room. 

The interior of The Breakers

We spent a couple of hours here and finished just in time for an early dinner.  We rounded out our day in Newport with a meal at The Red Parrot, a pub in the main part of town.  The food was delicious and the service excellent!

Nantucket, Massachusetts

Where we stayed

Nantucket Hotel | 3 nights | Nantucket, MA

We stayed at the lovely Nantucket Hotel, which is just a short jaunt from the harbor.  We had plenty of space for the five of us, including a bedroom, window bed, Murphy bed, and pull-out sofa.  The room was well-appointed and the staff wonderful.  There were many things to keep one busy at the hotel such as a game room, swimming pool, movies to borrow to watch in your room, books on loan, and nooks and crannies to explore.  This hotel was also centrally located for easy walking into town.

When we traveled  

We traveled to Nantucket in June of 2019.  The temps were pleasant for exploring but a bit cool for beach swimming.  It also rained heavily one day.  I think if we had been there in July it would have been better for swimming.  We still enjoyed our time and were happy to avoid the heavy summer crowds that were inevitable in the coming weeks. 

After a couple of days in Rhode Island it was time to venture to Nantucket.  Nantucket is an island, part of the state of Massachusetts, located about 30 miles off the coast of Cape Cod.  We took a shuttle van from Providence Station in Providence, R.I. to the ferry in New Bedford, MA.  The ferry ride was windy, bumpy, and foggy as we headed out into the Atlantic. 

Leaving foggy Bedford, MA on our way to Nantucket

The kids spent most of their time in the comfortable indoor seating while Mike and I enjoyed the ride outside from the highest level of the boats.  We cruised past other islands, such as Martha’s Vineyard, seaside mansions, and even came across a half sunk boat!  Thankfully, the Coast Guard was already there to help.  We were caught in more dense fog as we bobbed along the waves and finally saw Nantucket Island in sight!  Land Ho!

Arriving in charming Nantucket!

It took no time for us to all disembark and meet up with our complimentary pick up from the Nantucket Hotel.  The friendly driver was there waiting and soon we were on our way, just a short drive from the ferry dock.

The Nantucket Hotel is so charming.  It is located on Brant Point which is known for its lovely sea breezes.  The hotel prides itself on providing its guests with a “home away from home”.  The decor is in theme with Nantucket and its whaling past, which definitely set the ambiance here.

The lovely Nantucket Hotel 

After we settled in, it was close to dinner time so our only adventuring today was to B-ACK Yard BBQ.  We loved it!  The food was delicious and we enjoyed the window seat so we could people watch while dining.  

The next day we walked to town and rented bicycles from Nantucket Bike Shop.  They were very helpful in sizing everyone properly and overall had wonderful customer service.  We headed out of town, riding on the cobblestone streets.  While Nantucket does have vehicular traffic, the traffic is light heading out of town.  We continued riding on the street until we met up with a bike path.

Our first stop was Cisco Beach.  It was overcast and the waves were kicking up but we enjoyed just relaxing on the sand for a bit. 

Dodging the waves at Cisco Beach

We then hopped back on the bikes and continued on to Cisco Brewers. 

We loved biking from town to Cisco

Cisco Brewers was a blast!  There was a large area for people to park their bikes.  Adults 21+ get a certain stamp while under 21 get another.  We loved the ambiance of this rustic brewery! 

Entering Cisco Brewers

There were several food trucks and drink stations, clothing vendors, and live music.  It was a happening place full of families so we were really happy with our stop here. 

Fun at Cisco Brewers!

We even tried Lobster Rolls, which were delicious!  And this is coming from someone who doesn’t really like seafood!

After a few hours of trying some local brew, food, and sodas for the kids, we still had our four mile bike ride back to the hotel.  En route, the clouds parted and pouring rain ensued.  We biked back quickly while continually getting soaked.  We made our way back into town and returned our bikes.  From there we walked the short distance to our hotel.  This was a wet, yet FUN day!

Once we got back to the hotel we ordered pizza delivery for the kids.  We knew that they would appreciate dining in the room and watching a movie after our busy, wet day out.  Mike and I went down to an adults only dinner at Breeze, the restaurant that was in our hotel.  It was wonderful!  After dinner, we invited the kids down to the porch.  The Nantucket Hotel hosts nightly “Pinot on the Porch” with fire tables and comfy chairs on their expansive wrap around porch, with a wine cart with various offerings, notably Pinot, of course.  Cozy lights strung about complete the perfect evening ambiance.

A lovely setting for “Pinot on the Porch”

The next day we walked to a nearby stop for The Wave, which is public transportation on the island.  We rode the little shuttle all the way to the far east of Nantucket, to the little town of Siasconset (known as ‘Sconset to the locals). 

Siasconset (known as ‘Sconset to the locals)

We picked up some sandwiches and sought out an area of the beach to have a picnic and enjoy the sun.  Today’s sunny day was much appreciated compared to the rainy day the day before. 

A beautiful beach day!

While here we saw seals bobbing around in the water.  We love seeing wildlife in their natural environment so that was a real treat.

Watching a seal floating

After a few hours, we took The Wave back to town and walked back to the hotel from the shuttle stop.

I knew that I had wanted to get some photos at the Brant Point Lighthouse.  On our walk to the lighthouse, we noticed some large, ominous clouds rolling in.  While the sky was changing rapidly, I quickly snapped some shots of the kids.  But once we saw the local fishermen hurriedly packing up their gear we knew it was time to high tail it out of there!

Brant Point – pre storm pics!

Thankfully, Mike called an Uber while I was snapping pics.  The driver showed up, we hopped in, and within seconds a massive thunder and lightening storm ensued.  Thank goodness he was watching the sky more than I was!

We had the Uber drop us off at a restaurant called The Brotherhood of Thieves – an interesting name which is based on a pamphlet written in 1844 by Stephen S. Foster.  The pamphlet attacked those who continued to support slavery.  Nantucket prided itself on supporting strong character, independence, and unique backgrounds thus the name of the restaurant comprises these ideals.  We felt safe and cozy with the rustic brick and exposed beams while watching the storm from a basement window on this stormy night.  The food was also delicious!  We had to venture back out in to the wet night to catch our Uber for our last trip to Nantucket Hotel.  After we were back at the hotel, safe and dry, we packed up for our departure the next day, sad to leave awesome Nantucket behind.

Nantucket is so charming

The next day, our two hour trip back to the mainland was sunny and beautiful, a contrast to the rocky, foggy venture on our way out to Nantucket a few days before.  We were able to see Martha’s Vineyard and more lovely seaside homes along the way.

Beach time, biking, BBQ, and brews rounded out our trip to charming Nantucket.  The ambiance here exceeded our expectations and we cannot wait to go back again one day.

Dietary Notes

As always, everyone’s needs are different.  At press time my husband is grain-free and two of our kids are allergic to nuts and eggs.  Although we encompass a fair amount of dietary restrictions, we can only offer advice as to what pertains to our own family, as that is where our expertise lies!

In Providence, R.I., we were within walking distance to a Whole Foods.  We ended up eating lunch from their hot and cold bars as well as grabbed additional items to take back to our room such as fruit and snack items.  We also ordered pizza in and some food from the hotel’s restaurant. 

On Nantucket, we found a grocery store where we grabbed some items to have on hand – mostly snacks, produce, and breakfast items.  We also ate at B-ACK Yard BBQ and Brotherhood of Thieves restaurants, both which were able to accomodate our dietary restrictions.

For more on traveling with dietary restrictions, be sure to check out our guide:  On the Go with Allergies.


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