A Small Race and Enormous Mansions -Newport, Rhode Island

Shortly after we began our 50 state quest, Mike gave me a trip to Newport, Rhode Island as a birthday gift.  Although during the years we have been running we had previously run races in Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and South Caroline, we were now purposefully pursuing our quest. We chose a small 5K race in a town just outside of Newport that benefited Silveira Kindergarten and Nursery School.

We settled into our B & B, the Samuel Durfee House, late on a Friday night in March.  Our room was charming and comfortable.

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When we arrived at the race early the next morning, we savored the perks that come with running a small race: easy parking, no lines for the bathroom, and a true sense of community. The weather was dreary but the vibe among runners, spectators, and volunteers was upbeat. The slightly hilly course traveled through several quiet neighborhoods. Mike and I had been training at different paces so I urged him to run ahead instead of sticking with me.  It was a good plan because he ended up having a terrific time and placed second in his age group.  I had a more leisurely run.  In fact my pace was slow enough that I read a text that had come in from our house/pet sitter while I was running.  She informed me that there had been THREE mice in the dog food bag that was stored in the woodshed of our old farmhouse when she scooped up that morning’s food.  EEK!! Obviously something more daunting than a paper bag was going to be needed to thwart those determined little creatures from creating an all-you-can-eat buffet in Bentley’s dog food.

Mike ended up winning a $50 gift certificate to the Custom Coffee House, a local coffee shop.  Although we thought that it was terrific, we knew it was unlikely that we would return to the area soon enough to use it again, so we went on a mini-shopping spree before we left town, buying coffee, pastries, and assorted non-perishable treats. What a fun extravagance!

Our post race lunch was at Cafe Zelda.

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We loved the atmosphere.  It was Restaurant Week so we were able to enjoy a three course lunch for $16.00 apiece. It was a wonderful spot to recap our race experience and to plan the next part of our visit to Newport.

Since neither of us had ever been to Newport we were anxious to tour one of the fabled grand mansions.  We chose The Breakers.  We donned the headsets they provided at the entrance and wandered throughout the opulent rooms, stunned by features such as platinum-leafed panels.

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It truly was stunning but since I love to cook, my truly favorite spot was the enormous kitchen with copper pots hanging over a long wooden work table and a butler’s pantry with two floors of glass front cabinets filled with dishes and glassware.

We returned to our  B & B for some afternoon tea and cookies and a chatty visit with one of the innkeepers, followed by the decadent treat of a nap.

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Later that evening we continued to enjoy the benefits of Restaurant Week at the Gas Lamp Grille, which provided a delectable meal in a pub-type atmosphere.

The drizzly weather was gone the next morning and we eagerly headed to the Cliff Walk.  The views of the mansions and the ocean were breath-taking.

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We even indulged in a few shots that included us.

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We returned home to Maine later that afternoon having checked Rhode Island off of our quest list.  But more significantly, we had supported a small, local race that benefited a worthy cause and we had explored a new area that we had talked about visiting for years.  We are finding that these aspects are two of the benefits of our 50 state quest journey that we are particularly cherishing.

Date Run: March 31, 2012

State: Rhode Island

Quest Race #: 6

The Bottom Line:  Although this race does not appear to be run at this time, it was a perfect little race for our smallest state.

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