Newport Manners & Etiquette: Valentine’s Alert + Engagement Etiquette + More
Wednesday, February 01, 2017
NewportManners this week.
Q. I am the mother-of-the-groom-to-be (once the engagement is announced) and I am writing to ask about engagement etiquette. The future bride and her mother want to announce the engagement in the "They're Engaged" section of a local magazine. My problem is that the date of the wedding hasn't been set yet. The bride-to-be chose the ring and my son plans to formally ask her to marry him over dinner on Valentine's Day. In the engagement announcements I've seen in the magazine a precise wedding date is identified for every couple. Shouldn't my son and his future wife follow protocol and set the date before announcing their engagement? Meddling MOG, Beverly Farms, MA
A. Your concern is valid about the breezy interpretation of engagement etiquette. There are affianced couples who don't have a ring to signify their commitment, and betrothed couples that have not named a wedding date. There are married couples who don't wear wedding bands.
In fact, there are no protocol rules of engagement carved in stone that dictate the presence of an engagement ring or the requirement of setting a wedding date in order to be properly engaged.
An engagement is an agreement between two people that is a promise to wed. Traditionally, the commitment is symbolized by the wearing of a ring to announce that the woman is no longer procurable. We humans thrive on our rituals that bequeath security, consistency, and responsibility. Perhaps, the wedding couple haven't figured out how to afford a wedding and need their families to come through with ideas and offer suggestions.
Q. Every Valentine's Day is the same: Should we bother to observe it? Should we celebrate by going out to dinner? A movie and take-home Chinese? We procrastinate until the last moment when our favorite restaurants are booked solid. Nobody wants to take a chance on Valentine's Day for a bad experience by going to a new, expensive restaurant, which is exactly what happened last year. It is as if we sabotaged Valentine's Day by accident but really on purpose, by not planning ahead. AJ, Seattle
A. Can you do something entirely different that will take you out of your rut? Or can you alternate the responsibility of planning Valentine's Day and start by taking charge this year and making a reservation now, today? Don't make a romantic holiday a metaphor for your relationship. Can you try cooking a delicious dinner together paired with your favorite wines?
Q. Don't chat me up to pick my brain. If you want my advice on your funding project, pay me for my advice. When a line is crossed between friendship and brain-picking how do I suggest that I need to be compensated, even by my existing clients? In particular, a former grad school classmate, who is not a client and a new client, who thinks I should be at his beck and call. Billable consulting services are available, you can't consult me for free! How to ask for a monetary reward when someone picks your brain? AB, NYC
A. Take charge by setting up a time to talk on the phone or to get together for a meeting. Make it clear that weekdays are for clients and weeknights and your weekends are for friends. If you don't want to suggest weekends or evenings, propose a Friday afternoon when most people are generally the least busy.
Should the person want to talk sooner or at a more convenient time for them, let him or her know they will have to pay for your time. When you're caught totally off-guard, offer the person a twenty minute phone conversation. A phone chat is invariably more amenable to being kept short. When scheduled for a brain-picking session do a bit of homework so you can share a few ideas. Make the phone appointment for "brain thinking time."
Help the person understand not to expect too much expertise unless they pay for it.
What's up, son?
Q. Our time with our son is too short and making conversation at breakfast, on the way to the bus stop, or at the end of the day is hard to get going. We don't know what's on his mind other than games on his Xbox. Talking with our son usually seems forced, but we're determined to encourage civilized conversations. What do you ask after "How was your day?" CB, Los Angeles
A. At breakfast or on the way to the bus stop, ask, "What are you going to do that is awesome today?" Then at supper, ask, "What was your favorite part of your day?" Or, "What did you do that was fun today?"
Didi Lorillard researches manners and etiquette at NewportManners.
Related Slideshow: 25 Things You Must Do in New England This Winter - 2017
Ice Skating at Newport Skating Center
Whether you are skating on a pond or at one of the many ice rinks across the region like the Newport Skating Center in the heart of Newport.
The skating center provides a full schedule of activities to carry you through the winter including adult and kids skating sessions as well as activities for the entire family.
Snowmobile at the Tall Timber Lodge
Pittsburg, New Hampshire
For snowmobiling enthusiasts, Pittsburg, New Hampshire might be the snowmobiling capital of New England with more than 200 trails, all filled with great adventures.
The Tall Timber Lodge offers a variety of packages that include rentals, dinners, lodging and much more. If you need a break from the trails, the lodge also consists of a spa.
PHOTO: Paul Williams
Dog Sled Tours at Ultimate Dog Sledding Experience
Embrace the call of the wind and go up to New England Dog Sledding for dog sled tours. Tours are pulled by trained and "friendly" Husky sled dogs and are offered throughout the area.
Ultimate Dog Sledding is located just 40 minutes from Portland.
PHOTO: NPS/ JACOB W. FRANK/ Flickr
Get Out of the Cold and Into the Water at CoCo Key Boston
Get out of the cold and into the water at CoCo Key's 65,000 sq. ft. indoor water park in Danvers.
The park includes multiple water slides, tube rides, pools and so much more to take your mind off of winter, at least for a little while.
For those who might need a break from the water, there is an arcade with games for all ages.
PHOTO: Coco Key Facebook
Sled Down Neutaconkanut Hill
Neutaconkanut Hill has some of the best slopes for sledding in the state.
Bundle up, hold on, and enjoy the ride.
In addition to the sledding slopes, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing are offered at this legendary Providence slope.
For more great places to sled, check out GoLocalProv's latest list.
Ice Climbing With Adventure Spirit
For the adventurous out there, Adventure Spirit in Vermont is your place for ice climbing. Choose from climbing at Bolton Quarry, Bristol Cliffs or even Smuggler's Notch to be lead by one of their experienced instructors.
Be prepared to spend your day strenuously climbing some of nature's frozen streams and flow offs. They also offer alpine climbing and outdoor rock climbing for those who wish to fully test their limits.
PHOTO: Adventure Spirit
Providence Restaurant Weeks will take place from January 14 to January 27, 2018, with nearly 100 restaurants participating. Enjoy three-course lunches at $16.95 and three-course dinners at $29.95 or $34.95, as well as two-for-one specials.
Restaurants include Capriccio, Milk Money and many more.
Jump Around at Launch Trampoline Park
RI, MA or CT
Need to get some energy out? or get the energy out of your kids? Head to Launch Trampoline Park. They have a park in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Connecticut.
With dodgeball, basketball, foam pits and more, indoor trampoline parks have something to offer people of all ages. Whether you want to bring a group of children for the day or sign up a group of adults for some "xtreme" dodgeball, trampoline parks can be a great change of pace and a fun way to try something new.
The 2017 Newport Winter Festival is set to be held from February 16-25.
The festival features live music, food, games, a chili cook-off and so much more over a span of nine days.
Indoor Rock Climbing
RI, MA or NH
Do you need a new challenge this winter? Try one of New England's indoor rock climbing gyms. Whether you choose Rock Spot Climbing in Rhode Island, Carabiner's in Massachusetts, or Vertical Dreams in New Hampshire, rock climbing is a fun and challenging way to get some exercise without running on treadmills.
Photo courtesy of Rock Spot Climbing
Merideth, New Hampshire
You have never seen hockey like this.
The 8th annual New England Pond Hockey Classic kicks off on February 2 with final team rosters due on January 20. Get your team together and head up to New Hampshire.
If you can't make it up, grab the skates and find your local pond and play hockey anyway. BE SAFE of course.
Curling at Ocean State Curling Club
You watch curling in the Olympics every year and you love it. So try it this winter.
The Ocean State Curling Club has your curling fix. Hosting events and tournaments or "bonspiels" at the Veteran’s Memorial Ice Rink in Cranston, RI, the Ocean State Curling Club is a "social club for anyone interested in recreational curling." The club also offers lessons for those who want to learn the sport.
Across New England
It's practically a tradition for a lot of people, but ice fishing is an interesting winter experience. Head out to the ponds and see what you can get.
But be safe, it takes 4-6 inches of ice to support a person and 8-10 inches to support a vehicle.
Photo courtesy of Dushan Hanuska/flickr
Get the House Organized
The weather isn't great, it's freezing outside. Winter presents a great opportunity to get the house organized. It's not the most fun thing in the world of course, but it will pay off and at the end of it, you will be glad you did it.
Here are some ways to get organized this winter.
Go Snowshoeing at Wachusett Mountain
For those who can't ski or snowboard, snowshoeing is another way to get around in the snow. Wachusett Mountain is the perfect place for snowshoeing.
PHOTO: Matt, just Matt
See the Lights at La Salette Shrine
By far one of the coolest lighting displays you will see anywhere in New England and maybe even the country.
The Festival of Lights runs from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. every night until January 1.
Do not miss out!
Sing-a-Long with the Boston Pops at Symphony Hall
301 Massachusetts Avenue, Boston, MA
Held at Symphony Hall, the Boston Pops holiday concert is filled with food, sing-a-longs and a visit from the one and only Santa Claus!
Have some holiday cookies as the Boston Symphony Orchestra plays holiday classics for you and your family.
The seven kids afternoon shows include post-concert photos with Santa as well as special treats.
The concert runs until December 31.
Give to the Community
While the winter holidays are generally the biggest volunteer days of the year, any day of the year is a great time to give to organizations or people in need.
Items like food, clothes, and blankets are just some of the things that are needed most this time of year.
First Night Hartford New Years Eve Celebration
Join First Night Hartford for its 29th year of celebration! The multi-venue event will include performances by aerialists, Circophony Youth Circus, the Connecticut Academy of Irish Music, and Crafts and tours at Bulter McCook House.
Don’t forget to stay for the fireworks starting promptly at 6 p.m. with a second showing at midnight to ring in the New Year!
Mount Washington, Bretton Woods New Hampshire
Soar down Mount Washington on a series of tree-top zip lines! The Canopy Tour is lead by one of Bretton Woods Adventure Guides as they describe the native fauna and flora. You'll descend over 1000 feet of elevation on this 3-hour tour. Each tour guide can take a group of up to 8, so grab some friends and zip down the mountain!
Cross Country Skiing
East Bay Bike Path, Bristol to Providence RI
Grab your poles and skis and head down to the East Bay Bike Path for some Cross Country Skiing. Of course, you can go cross-country skiing anywhere there is snow and some flat land, but the East Bay Bike Path stretches about 14 miles from Bristol to India Point Park in Providence.
Ride the Polar Express
Woonsocket, Rhode Island
Buy your ticket now for the Black Stone Valley Polar Express! Watch the popular book and film come to life before your eyes as you take a 90-minute train ride with Santa and the Conductor.
Rides will be available every Friday through Sunday with the final stop on December 23. There will be light refreshments and cookies made available, children are encouraged to wear pajamas.
Take a Nature Walk at Squam Lakes
Holderness, New Hampshire
Squam Lakes Natural Science Center in Holderness, NH offers a wide arrange of guided tours of live animal trails. A staff naturalist leads and teaches groups how certain animals are adapted to the winter climate in New Hampshire. The guided tours are run on weekends and can be a great way to experience and learn more about nature in New England.
Forget about winter by painting a picture of a tropical sunset at Paint and Vino, Rhode Island's first paint and wine studio. Bring children for family paint events and parties, or leave them at home to enjoy complimentary "adult beverages" as you paint.
Perfect for date night, girls night out or a fun Friday night, Paint and Vino's classes run for 2 1/2 to 3 hours and a spot must be reserved.
Photo: Yelp Inc./Flickr
Snow Tubing at Ski Ward
1000 Main Street, Shrewsbury, MA
Sledding, skiing or snowboarding not for you? Grab a tube and enjoy the ride down one of the many hills at the Ski Ward.
Don't forget to take the whole family out to Slopeside Bar and Grill after a long day in the snow.
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