After months of staying put during the coronavirus pandemic, it was refreshing to journey out on a New England style road trip. To celebrate my boyfriend Aaron’s birthday, we planned a Thursday morning to Saturday night adventure that would take us to Connecticut, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island. We planned ahead, played it safe, and had the best time in a long time!
To start, we drove out to Orient Point, Long Island and boarded the Cross Sound Ferry. We enjoyed the 80-minute glide to New London, Connecticut playing Blackjack in our own little corner while splitting a bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich. Once we arrived, we went down to my car and drove 20 minutes to our first destination: Mohegan Sun.
Before the gambling began, we checked into the casino’s Sky Tower, a classy, clean hotel with everything you could possibly need for an overnight stay. After dropping off our luggage came the big decision: was I going to play Blackjack with my own precious money? I’m no gambler! Spoiler alert: I did.
Of course, there were strict rules in place at the casino. Masks were necessary and only three people were allowed at each table. After walking around checking out the Blackjack tables, Aaron took the last available seat we could find. Being quite new to the game, I watched, deciding in my mind what I would do with each hand he was dealt.
After the game was over, we explored the floor of slot machines. I was intrigued by the individual table game screens set up around a few dealers. So, once we spotted an open seat, I sat down and selected to join in on Blackjack. This setup was more inviting to me, since the minimum to play was $5 and I had my own space. I put $50 into the machine and by the end of it, I walked away with $152. Giddy with excitement, I put it towards our dinner at Michael Jordan’s Steak House.
With an upscale feel and sophisticated vibe, I recommend making reservations at Michael Jordan’s Steak House. But don’t let its intimate lighting fool you. As attentive and resourceful as our waiter was, he was also playful in conversation! After Aaron’s filet mignon, my salmon, and our side of asparagus, the waiter seemed just as excited as I was to plan Aaron’s surprise birthday dessert when he briefly left the table. Shortly after putting on my poker face (see what I did there?) when Aaron returned, we enjoyed a brownie sundae with a festive little candle in it.
Then we both gambled away some money. If you don’t lose, you can’t appreciate your victories, right?
Next up: Fall River, Massachusetts. With a fairly quick drive of an hour and 15 minutes from Mohegan Sun to Battleship Cove, we were ready to explore some ships. Both a museum and a war memorial, the location features the world’s largest collection of World War II naval vessels. Its fleet includes the battleship USS Massachusetts, the destroyer Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., and the submarine USS Lionfish.
Since Aaron is fascinated with history and ships, we spent six hours here. Walking and climbing through the submarine and ships was mind-blowing and a good workout. It was crazy to think so many people lived in the ships for extended periods of time, at the same time! Even in the submarine, there were bedrooms, cooking stations, and we even saw torpedoes!
After working up an appetite, we wandered to the wardroom-turned-cafeteria aboard the USS Massachusetts. The menu included burgers, hot dogs, sandwiches, sides, drinks, and snacks. Any history buff would love the fact that the food is prepared in the ship’s wardroom pantry where the officers had their meals cooked during World War II.
At the entrance to the museum, there was also a gift shop with cool little souvenirs.
After a day at the museum, we headed out to my favorite part of the trip: Rhode Island! Our first stop in the smallest state in the US was Providence. We chose to book a room in the La Quinta Inn at Warwick because we read it was haunted and were apparently in the mood for a good scare (I think we watched too many episodes of Unsolved Mysteries, which is on Netflix, by the way). Also, the Providence Biltmore had no rooms available when we were booking overnight stays (supposedly it’s one of the most haunted hotels in Rhode Island). La Quinta did the job and no, we didn’t see any ghosts!
That night, we explored Providence. It was quiet for a Friday, although people of all ages were riding e-scooters around the city, and this caught our attention. So, we found a lone scooter, downloaded the Spin app, and were hit with a frustrating notification that the e-scooter rental ended at 10:00 p.m. Bummer! We enjoyed the city’s old, historic architecture, though.
Then there was Newport! The next morning, we set out to explore this exciting new destination. I found this city classy, charming, touristy, and packed with activities (boat tours, parasailing, fishing trips, to name a few). It was crowded here and there was a strict mask-wearing rule enforced. There was even security around to be on the lookout for rule-breakers. With that being handled, we were free to wander along the water and down the sidewalks lined with restaurants, pubs, and shops.
For lunch, we dropped by an open-windowed place on the water called The Landing. We split a lobster roll, Aaron had a burger and a beer, and I ate fish and chips with a grapefruit vodka cocktail. The view was peaceful and the food hit the spot.
But we couldn’t sit around, we had a boat tour to catch! So, soon after, we hopped aboard the Rum Runner II, a motor yacht ready for good times. Our tour guide, Nora, was personable and entertaining and she told us all about the passing mansions and lighthouses. During the hour-and-15-minute tour, we traveled from the Newport Harbor into the Narragansett Bay, into the Atlantic Ocean, and back.
Overall, I adored Newport — the city by the sea — and would totally go back to explore further. After our tour, we drove an hour back to New London to catch the ferry home. As the sun set alongside our boat and the sky glimmered in yellows and pinks, I started thinking of all the adventures out in the world, waiting to be explored.