Newport Manners & Etiquette: May to December Romance, Travel Tipping Guide & 5 Best Proposal Spots

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


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May to December romance, tipping guide for travelers, five best spots to propose, and who to ask and not ask to your wedding, were all questions to Didi Lorillard at NewportManners this week 

May to December marriage

Q. My divorced father has fallen in love with an older woman and I'm having a very difficult time accepting the fact that they are actually getting married. I want to tell him that he might end up taking care of her and that he should date a woman his own age or younger who can take care of him. But I can't. She makes him happy, which my mother certainly didn't. What should I do?  PA, Boston


A.  The innovative industrialist Henry Ford was fond of saying that those "who stop learning are old, whether at twenty or eighty." Two people who are the same age can be as different as night and day just as easily as two people decades apart can be terrifically compatible. I know 70-year-olds who are more active than fifty-year-olds. 

Try not to judge your future stepmother too harshly. You say that she makes your father happy. Let it be.

  • A study by University of Notre Dame sociologist Elizabeth McClintock that analyzed 1,507 heterosexual couples found that we perpetuate the trophy wife notion by relying on our culturally ingrained biases. Think of your dad as a trophy husband.
  • Dr. McClintock's conclusion was that the majority of both men and women seek partners who are more similar to them than dissimilar. Whatever your father and his fiancée have found in common are interests that run deep.


Support your father in his quest for finding true love. Give them a chance as a couple. Consider the newly elected 39-year-old French president Emmanuel Macron, whose wife, Brigitte, is 25 years his senior. Coincidently, that's the same span in ages as between Mr. Trump and Melanie.

Whom to invite to my wedding

Q.  In trying to pare down our wedding invitation list I'm stressed about not inviting people who I work with and friends from college and high school whom I don't see any longer. Just because I went to a friend's wedding do I have to invite them to mine? What do I do about the people I see in the office five days a week?  Name Withheld

A.  As long as you gave a wedding present to that old friend whose wedding you celebrated, you have reciprocated that friend's invitation and you are not obligated to invite him or her. Should you run into one of these old friends and they want to know about your wedding, say that it is (or was) a small wedding and leave it at that. She knows you sent her a wedding gift.

Not all friends in your workplace would feel comfortable at your wedding where they won't know many of the other guests. Here's how to handle friends and coworkers not being invited to your wedding.

  • What you don't want to do is talk about your wedding plans. Especially don't look for advice. If you're asking one of your coworkers to go wedding dress shopping with you after work because she has an "in" at a bridal boutique, you're going to have to invite her. People who do favors might expect to be invited.
  • The word will get out that you're having a wedding and you'll have to tell those coworkers whom you're inviting that it is a small wedding and you could not invite everyone. Because you don't want any hurt feelings you're asking those invited to not discuss your wedding with anyone at your office.
  • When a coworker you haven't invited gives you a wedding gift, possibly because she wants an invitation, or more than likely because she is genuinely pleased for you, take her for lunch or coffee and explain that you can't invite everyone to your small wedding and that you hope she'll understand. Be sure to send her a sweet thank-you note.
  • Be careful of what you say over drinks after work. Don't go inviting coworkers to your wedding you know you don't have room for or whom you will regret having asked.


Tipping while traveling

Q.  On our June honeymoon we're traveling throughout Europe. We're slightly mystified as to how to tip. Guidebooks differ on when exactly tipping isn't necessary and how much to tip when we should tip. Not to be a cheapskate, but we're never going to see these people again so why tip?  And when we do have to tip, how much and to whom?  DR, Providence


A.  Basically, it is polite to show your appreciation by tipping those who have helped you or waited on you. Travel specialists suggest tipping directly to the individual rather than, for instance, leaving an envelope with cash at the front desk to be distributed to the hotel staff, which the people who helped you may never receive.

  • In hotels tip the people directly who wait on you and take care of your room: the equivalent of $5 a night to the housekeeper who makes your bed and cleans; $3 to $5 per bag to the bell people who deliver your bags to your room; $2 to the person who arranges a cab for you; to the concierge you would tip $5 to $10 dollars depending on how much s/he did for you by making a dinner reservation at the in restaurant, securing hard to obtain theatre or concert tickets, or recommending an English speaking tour guide.
  • When engaging an English-speaking tour guide or driver for the day, you would tip anywhere from $25 to $50. For a driver, $15 to $25 for half a day.
  • In restaurants the tip is usually included in the service, but for very good to excellent service, tip the waiter and sommelier directly at your discretion.
  • For hairdressers, beauticians, barbers, and other personal services when the tip is not included in the price, tip accordingly for good to excellent service, anywhere from $5 to $25 depending on the length of time and quality of the care.


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Top five marriage proposal spots

Q. She chose the ring, now I want to surprise my fiancée with the creative location to give it to her while I propose. Any ideas?  Name Withheld

A.  Marriage is a journey and starting that adventure in a splendid place that has a memorable backdrop will make the proposal a perfectly great beginning. Of course, I'm going to suggest Newport and our beautiful Aquidneck Island.

  • Norman Bird Sanctuary: Hike out to hanging rock and propose with the panoramic view of the Atlantic and its coastline. 
  • Horseback riding on Second Beach for the ultimate equine experience.
  • Sunset sail on a Twelve Meter or catamaran as the sun begins to set coloring the sky with red, pink and salmon hues.
  • Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge: Walk out to the farthest promontory while watching the birds fishing in the Atlantic Ocean.
  • Sky Bar at the Clarke Cooke House: Reserve a table overlooking the harbor. The most romantic restaurant I know.


Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.


Related Slideshow: 25 New England Spring Getaways for Under $150 - 2018

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Massage at Butter Day Spa

255 Hope Street, Providence RI 

Looking to pamper yourself on a budget? Spoil yourself with one of Butter's luxuriously therapeutic services and reinvigorate yourself.

The $84 Swedish Massage will bring you relaxation and get rid of any and all stress that you may have when you enter. 

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Boston Museum of Science 

1 Science Park, Boston Ma

Check out the super cool Boston Museum of Science and their coll dinosaur exhibit. 

You're guaranteed to be in the museum all day and likely never get bored. 

Admission prices are as follows for adults (12+):

Exhibit Halls - $25

Mugar Omni Theater - $10 

Charles Hayden Planetarium - $10 

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Boston Segway Tour

Taxi's, trains, cars, bikes and walking are all ways to get around the city of Boston, but, how about taking a Segway from Boston Segway Tours. 

A one hour tour cost $60 while a two-hour tour will cost you $90, and you will see Boston in a whole new way than ever before. 

You will still have money left over for a nice dinner afterward.  

Boston Segway tours is located at 364 Boylston street.

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Mystic Aquarium

Mystic, CT

For something completely different, Mystic Aquarium is a fun destination for a day trip that includes playing with starfish, a Sea Lion Show, seeing penguins and so much more. 

Aquarium admission is $31 for adults and $26 for kids ages 13-17. 

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Coastal Wine Trail 

Across Southern New England

The Coastal Wine Trail is a nonprofit group of 14 wineries that are spread throughout Southeastern New England. A tasting ticket costs $99 and gets you into each winery. 

Vineyards on the trail include Preston Ridge Vineyard in Preston Connecticut, Travessia Winery in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Westport Rivers Vineyard & Winery in Westport, Massachusetts and Coastal Vineyards in South Dartmouth, Massachusetts. 

The heart of the trail is less than three hours from New York City and 90 minutes from Boston. 

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Getaway to Block Island

Block Island, RI

It may be October but it is not too late to get over to Block Island and explore all that it has to offer. 

To make it easier to get around, rent a bike 

Block Island features 17 miles of pristine beaches, protected by lighthouses and spectacular bluffs, and surrounded by rolling roads and winding paths.

Ferry tickets from Point Judith are only $24 for same day round trip. 

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Ben & Jerry's Factory Tour

Waterbury, Vermont 

Take a 30 minute tour of Ben & Jerry's Ice Cream factory in Vermont and see where your favorite flavors of ice cream are made. It is just about ice cream season after all. 

The factory is open year round and admission is just $4 for adults, $3 for seniors and kids 12 and under are FREE.

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Fruitlands Museum 

Harvard, Massachusetts 

The Fruitlands Museum offers four galleries of New England history set on 200 acres of land with 2.5 miles of walking trails woven into it for folks to enjoy the scenery. 

Admission to the museum is $15 for adults. 

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Visit Newport Vineyards

Middletown RI

Newport Vineyards is in prime wine making season, making the fall one of the best times of year to go visit. 

Taste some great wine, and then grab lunch or dinner at Brix restaurant.

For $15, you can get a tasting, a tour and a souvenir glass.  

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Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art 

North Adams, MA 

The Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art features art exhibits such as "Here Comes the Sun,' "Free Roses" and so much more. 

The Museum is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Monday. 

Admission for adults is $20, while admission for kids ages 6-16 is $8.

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Vermont Teddy Bear Factory

Shelburne, Vermont

Who doesn't love Teddy Bears? Assuming that you do, plan a trip to Vermont and take a tour of the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory and see how the bears are made.

Tours run seven days a week and children under 12 are FREE. The tours take about an hour and 15 minutes. 

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Getaway to the L.L Bean Flagship Store

Freeport, Maine

Maybe you need to getaway from the every day stores you shop at and try something different, like the L.L. Bean Flagship Store for example. 

With $150 as your spending limit, you will come home with some good stuff. 

The store is open 365 days a year and 24 hours a day. 

In fact, the store took the locks off the doors in 1951.  

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Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame 

Springfield, Massachusetts 

See where the legends of the game are honored at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield. 

The Hall of Fame is open Wednesday to Friday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Admission for an adult is $24. 

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Visit Acadia National Park

People have been drawn to the rugged coast of Maine throughout history. Awed by its beauty and diversity, early 20th-century visionaries donated the land that became Acadia National Park.

The park is home to many plants and animals, and the tallest mountain on the U.S. Atlantic coast.

Visit Acadia and hike granite peaks, bike historic carriage roads, or relax and enjoy the scenery.

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CoCo Key Water Park Boston

Danvers, MA

CoCo Key in Boston is one of the largest indoor water parks in Massachusetts. Located at the DoubleTree Hotel in Boston, they offer a full day four pack for $150 - letting 4 people enjoy the park all day for a reasonable price. 

A regular day pass is just $45. 

Photo: Facebook

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The Cog Railway at Bretton Woods, Mt Washington

Passengers experience a sense of adventure and history on the Mount Washington CogRailway's 3-hour guided train tour to the highest peak in the Northeast. With approximately one hour to spend at the 6,288-foot summit, visitors can take in the spectacular panoramic view, spanning the mountains and valleys of New Hampshire, Maine and Vermont, north into Canada, and east to the Atlantic Ocean.

A 3 hour round trip for adults is $72. 

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Explore Martha's Vineyard

Hop the ferry and check out all Martha's Vineyard has to offer before the summer crush.

Cycling, hiking, golf, fishing, and boating are all available on the island.

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Old Sturbridge Village

Sturbridge, MA

Young and old are invited to celebrate spring with the arrival of baby animals and the prepping of the fields at Old Sturbridge Village. Meet the Village’s cuddly, heritage breed newborns up-close and experience first-hand the responsibilities of raising animals on a farm in 1830.

PHOTO: Facebook

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Take A Ferry and Explore Casco Bay Islands

The Casco Bay Islands are sometimes called The Calendar Islands as it is said you could explore a different island each day of the year. 

For a one-of-a-kind adventure, the Maine Island Trail Association (MITA) has mapped a route from the New Hampshire border to Machias Bay and their handy guide offers details on places to explore and wildlife to watch for along the islands of Casco Bay.

Tickets are just $12. 

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Catch a Red Sox Game at Fenway Park 

There is really nothing that says Spring like a baseball game and the Red Sox are back in action.  

With tickets starting at just $55, baseball fans can check out a game at Fenway this spring without breaking the bank. There's plenty of reasonably priced restaurants in Kenmore Square to grab a bite to eat before or after the game, if the ballpark food doesn't do it for you. 

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Plimoth Plantation

Plimoth, Massachusetts

The 17th-Century English Village at Plimoth Plantation is a re-creation of the small farming and maritime community built by the Pilgrims along the shore of Plymouth Harbor. The English Village brings colonial Plymouth vividly to life.

You will find modest timber-framed houses furnished with reproductions of the types of objects that the Pilgrims owned, aromatic kitchen gardens, and heritage breeds livestock. Engaging townspeople recreating our Pilgrim ancestors are eager to tell you about their new lives in Plymouth Colony.

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Foxwoods Resort & Casino

Mashantucket, CT

The 9 million sq. ft resort and casino gives you and your friends or significant other plenty to do on your getaway. Gamble, see a show, play golf (weather permtting) or just relax in the hotel and spa area.

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Tour Harpoon Brewery 

Boston, Massachusetts 

For just $5, you can take a tour of Harpoon Brewery, and see everything that goes into making beer. That $5 also includes beer tasting. 

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The Breakers

Newport, Rhode Island 

The Breakers is the grandest of Newport's summer "cottages," and is a national historic landmark.

The Breakers is a symbol of the Vanderbilt family's social and financial preeminence in turn of the century America.

Admission is $20

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Tour Sam Adams Brewery

Boston, Massachusetts 

Need your fix of Sam Adams Oktoberfest? 

Take a FREE tour of Sam Adams Brewery, and see where some of the best beer is made. Learn about the history of Sam Adams beer, how it's made, experience the entire craft brew process, and of course, try some samples.

The tour departs every 45 minutes and lasts about an hour.


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