You know how they say Virginia is for lovers? Well, according to my 7-year-old daughter, Mara, Rhode Island is for grown-ups.
While I don’t necessarily think this is true of the entire state, I would agree that her impression of what we experienced during our 48 hours in the Ocean State was a pretty astute assessment.
In my defense, it was a trip I had always wanted to take. This year, we decided to take the whole family there in celebration of my birthday, which was earlier this month.
It was a change in scenery from how we’ve celebrated my birthday for the last three years — at a water park, which we did this year, too.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I think it’s safe to say that most 40-something women do not usually mark their birthdays by dragging their loved ones to an alpine lodge-themed indoor water oasis that caters to children. But that’s exactly what we’ve done.
So after our trip to the kids’ aquatic happy place, we surprised them with news that we would be going on another water adventure — a trip to see the Atlantic Ocean.
The kids were thrilled! They would get to fly in a plane —which meant unlimited tablet time and snacks — collect seashells on the beach and stay in a hotel with a pool. This side trip was really shaping up to be their kind of fun.
And it was — at first.
We arrived in Providence, checked into the room and then let the kids hit the pool for a bit. We then cleaned up and headed out to a delicious dinner capped with a s’mores brownie sundae for dessert that Mara says was the most delicious thing she has ever eaten. Day one was a total success.
It was the next day that things started to go wrong.
We took a ferry to the coast and spent a day exploring Newport. The beach was quiet and full of sea treasures. Thankfully, it was a cool, overcast day, so it made our trek down the Cliff Walk overlooking the water very pleasant. At least I thought so.
I guess I’m not 9 and 7 years old. Apparently, walking seven miles and exploring mansions isn’t as fun as hotel pools. And, according to my calculations, we still had a few miles to go. I mean, come on! Restored Gilded Age mansions? That’s a hit for everyone!
As my daughter lay splayed like a starfish on the palatial grounds of The Breakers — a Vanderbilt summer home — it dawned on me that maybe my husband was right. Perhaps we needed to cut things short and get a ride back into town.
After we caught a bus back to the wharf, we sat down for dinner and Mara let me know what she really thought of Rhode Island. Besides it being a place best suited for grown-ups, she did have this concession to make:
“There was a lot of walking — that wasn’t my favorite — but for the smallest state, they make a lot of good desserts.”
Molly Cavanaugh of Channel 94.1 FM’s “Big Party Show” in Omaha is a mom to two children living in Chicago. She writes weekly for Momaha.com.