The 23-room Architect’s Inn was constructed in 1873 as the private residence of Newport architect George Champlin Mason. Today, bed and breakfast is well known for its interactive murder-mystery events, during which guests dress up in costume and participate in two-day whodunits.
The five guest rooms feature private fireplaces and period furnishings, including four-poster canopy beds, embroidered linens, and floral wallpaper. A few rooms, such as the Redwood room and the Perry suite, even have Victorian claw-foot tubs. Modern touches include cable TV and DVD players, in addition to WiFi access.
Less than half a mile west of Architect's Inn is a collection of historical mansions commissioned at the turn of the 20th century for affluent American families, including the Vanderbilts. Explore the 80 acres of gardens and parks on guided tours that illuminate the pioneering architecture, interior design, and social history of 11 landmark properties.
Every Friday, the Firehouse Theater hosts a merry evening of witty improvisational comedy, performed by Newport’s The Bit Players. Watch the zany troupe as they drolly play off the suggestions of the audience and make off-the-cuff remarks in a series of short-form skits. Firehouse Theater is BYOB, so show-goers are obliged to bring beer, wine or a cask of aromatherapy bathtub gin. For teetotalers, free hot teas, cocoa, and cookies accompany every performance, helping audience members feel welcome, cozy, and primed for incessant giggling in the 49-seat theater.
New Bedford Festival Theatre is devoted to musicals. Since 1990, they have entertained over 200,000 audience members with Broadway-style shows that span the genre's past and present. Staples such as Cats and The Producers balance lesser-known works such as La Cage aux Folles and The Producers 2: Playbill of Revenge to enrich the cultural knowledge of the public. And their efforts have not gone in vain. The New England Theatre Conference awarded New Bedford Festival Theatre the Moss Hart Award for its performances of Les Misérables and Hairspray.
It’s the making of a hit movie. Young Jeff Allen of Providence—untrained in the world of movement, but driven by desire—starts attending social dances. It's there he learns dances such as the jitterbug, cha-cha, and lindy, and develops a taste for competition. Soon, he's winning every dance contest he enters, whether the genre is disco, ballroom, or argentine tango.
Channeling his penchant for victory into a teaching career, the self-taught hoofer transformed into an acclaimed teacher and coach, racking up more than 30 National Dance Council of America Top Teacher Awards, and holding membership credentials with the North American Dance Teachers Association. At his studio, he keeps a packed schedule, teaching west coast swing dancing, mambo, and even Dancing Dirty–style moves. For those who can't make their ways to Cranston, Jeff has produced a slew of instructional books and DVDs, including The Complete Idiots' Guide to Ballroom Dancing and The Complete Guide to Slow Dancing.
Named to TripAdvisor’s 2009 list of top American ghost tours, Providence Ghost Tour is the result of more than 300 hours of research that addresses tourists of the present with creepy slaps from the past. For about an hour-and-a-half, guests follow the light of the guide’s lantern through East Side streets, stopping outside various buildings to hear stories about “abnormal” deaths, suicides, murders, accidents, and re-murders. Tour-goers can document the haunted sites with photographs, which may show mysterious orbs or shadows that resemble Pat Boone. During the tour, no monsters, ghouls, or anything else jumps out to challenge you to a spell-off; the scary stories are enough to administer healthy amounts of fright. The tour covers steep and uneven ground, so comfortable shoes are recommended.
Inside the historic Lederer Theater Center, which was originally constructed in 1917, the Trinity Repertory Company stages exciting presentations in two different theaters. The musical Camelot will be showing at the Chace Theater, which can accommodate more than 520 attendees and four prize-winning racehorses. A stellar cast, featuring Stephen Thorne as King Arthur and Rebecca Gibel as Guenevere, graces the stage for two hours and 40 minutes to reenact the medieval tale of how the debonair Lancelot learns to speak remedial French so he can work in a Parisian bread factory. A Tony Award–winning theater, the Trinity Repertory Company keeps audiences chuckling, sobbing, and staring in rapturous joy with delightful performances. Call ahead to reserve your seat spot.