Mystic, Newport, & the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular


Ever since we attended the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular at the Roger Williams Zoo in Providence, RI. (when Lewie was seven years old), I vowed we would have to go again...

Although, this time, our trip looked a little different. This time it included FRIENDS because when there's a teenager involved, there has to be friends for anything to be remotely cool. Thankfully, the strategy worked. Not only did Lewie and his friends have a GREAT TIME, but Lew, me, and our friend Sue had an awesome time, too.

On our way to the hotel, we first made a detour to Mystic, CT where we stopped at the Olde Mystic Village for a bite to eat and to visit a few shops. (One thing we learned early on about these boys during our trip to North Conway, NH, is that they like to shop, which makes me chuckle because, under any other circumstance, Lewie NEVER wants to go shopping.)

The boys' favorite stores included Ice Imports (they have real swords), Irish Eyes (real imports from Ireland), Munson's Chocolates, and Franklin's General Store (with sugar-coated nuts, candy, and other delectable treats). Of course, the biggest kid of them all is my husband, who made sure to buy himself a butterfly knife along with yummy sugar-coated pecans. (He spent the rest of the trip "dazzling" the boys [or trying to dazzle the boys] with his knife tricks.)

Ugh...the age of cell phones.

Having fun trying on caps at Irish Eyes.
After a fun day shopping, we drove another 30 minutes to our hotel where we relaxed before our visit to the Roger Williams Zoo. Lewie's two friends had never been to the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular before, and Lewie, disappointingly, didn't have any recollection of it either. They didn't really know what to expect, but they were happy to be hanging out overnight together.

When we arrived, the memories for Daddy Lew and I came rushing back. There were beautiful light displays as we drove through the zoo to park our car, including several fun ones in their lake. 
          "Remember these lights?" I squealed to Hubby. 
          "Yeah, I do."

We parked and were pleasantly surprised to see that there were no long obnoxious lines to greet us. Granted, we chose to go on a Sunday at 9 p.m. when most families are getting ready for bed, but we still expected some wait. In 2015, the line we were in had all of us walking through the venue shoulder to shoulder. We could try to jump out of the line to get a picture or two, but it felt like there was always someone else's head or body in the way. 

Today, post-Covid, was so different! We had to buy tickets for a timeslot in advance, and I wondered if that made all the difference. We entered the event seamlesslessly and took our time walking through the thousands of lit pumpkins as if we had the place to ourselves. Dont' get me wrong, there were plenty of folks there, but we could easily stop, take pictures, turn back, or do whatever we wanted without an unending sea of people pushing us forward. It was AMAZING!  Even the music they played (along with the 50 degree weather) made everything SPECTACULAR!

I had to take a pic of this pumpkin since Lewie loved trains for the first twelve years of his childhood.

These boys love each other like brothers.
The next day, our group decided to visit Newport, R.I. before going home. Part of me was hoping to go back to the zoo during the day (I love animals), but this crew wanted to shop more. We started our adventure by going on the 3.5 mile Cliff Walk, which boasts panoramic views of the ocean while walking past some of the beautiful summer mansions of the Guilded Age. (Lewie had a chance to visit them last year during our Christmas trip to Newport.)

The boys seemed to be impressed by some of the mansions but then Noah exclaimed, "I'm really only interested in seeing Taylor Swift's mansion." Sadly for him, Tay Tay's mansion is in Watch Hill--not Newport. Still, I kept him guessing.

My friend Sue on the stairs.

Salve Regina University - I won't lie. Part of me fantasizes about Lewie going to College here.

The boys turned back from the hike before we finished it, partly because they were hungry and partly because they wanted to shop. We went inside a few store favorites like Newport's Best T-Shirt Gift Shop or my favorite--Pleasant Surprise, and then we ate at the Brick Alley Pub & Restaurant before leaving. Granted, we could have spent the entire day shopping, but I guarantee we would have left all our money behind. We quit while we were ahead.

It was a short, one-night, two-day trip, but we made memories to last a lifetime. Lewie may not have remembered our visit to the Jack-O-Lantern Spectacular when he was seven, but I guarantee he will remember it now at age fifteen. If not, he'll have two other besties that will remember it for him.  What a glorious time.

1 comment:

  1. I may have to try the bring a friend trick! The pumpkins are so cool looking!


I love to read your comments. Please feel free to share.