New Year’s in Portsmouth, Rhode Island

I am writing this as snow is starting to fall, keeping warm with the family inside. Of all places Portsmouth may seem like an odd place to be to start the new year, at least for us. We have no family, nor friends in the area, and the only connection of coincidence was going to a Wealth Mastery seminar in Newport in 1999. It is, however, our second year here for the new year and we are having a wonderfully quiet time at Carnegie Abbey when literally no one else seems to be around. More importantly, it is a time to disconnect from the work desk, the mail, the ‘to do’ list of home, and take a break even while still obviously connected to grid – connected enough, that is, to take a break, yes, a break, and write this.

So, if you do find yourself here at this time of year, what is there to do while enjoying an off season pause? Here are a few suggestions you may not run into without some help…

Go see the seals. What? Yes, the seals in Narragansett Bay from November through April are viewed from tours run by Save The Bay. They come here in search of warmer waters from Canada and Maine, and being free from natural predators in the bay it gives them a safe home away from home.

Get some Thomas Tew Rum. In 1872 the last rum distillery in Rhode Island closed down. It was not until 2007 when the Newport Distilling Company opened to revive the tradition. Last year the vintage I purchased was from barrel #11 and this year it is from barrel #20. I am glad enough people have not found it yet for it to be sold out!

Ever wanted to visit a battleship? BB-59, the USS Massachusetts, is docked at Battleship Cove and there is a surprising amount of the ship open to explore. Depending on your level of interest you could get lost in the maze of its belly for hours. Along with the big guns there is the submarine Lionfish, the destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., and several other things to see while there. (…and, yes, this is in Massachusetts, not Rhode Island but being 15 minutes away let us forget the state line)

Some of the mansions are open for tours this time of year as well. “Music, tours, and spectacular decorations highlight the celebration of Christmas at the Newport Mansions. We invite you to make holiday memories with your family by visiting The Breakers, The Elms and Marble House, all decked out for the holidays.” All decked out is a little misleading as it is impossible to completely prepare 65,000 sq. ft. in a single home for tourists during the holidays, never mind three large homes, yet it is still worth the visit.

Finally there is the food. For the places that are open during this quiet time it is easy to both get around and get in even in downtown Newport. See my Yelp reviews in Newport, Bristol, and Tiverton for the places we visited this year.

Happy New Year!