Daily Update 4/7/10: Newport, RI! And free Movie TONIGHT

Please vote again for the Wheel Questions art project. You can vote every day through April and help us win $25,000 to spread community art.

I have free tickets (one, if I’m going, two if I cannot make it) to The Warlords, the new Jet Li action movie, TONIGHT, Wednesday at 7pm at the Kendall Square Cinema in Cambridge. Email me to win at johnny@weirdbostonevents.org.

Continuing the story about parks and beaches, here’s a focus on the sweet spot of Rhode Island: Newport.

It’s important that everyone go see the Mansions in Newport, RI. There are nearly a dozen historic homes that are open to the public, and they’re all places that rich people built and then couldn’t afford to keep up. So you get the thrill of being surrounded by greatness, but you can gloat a little too that you just can’t hire an entire household staff for peanuts these days. Damn unions and fair wage laws! The wackiest of them, Beechwood Mansion and Belcourt Castle hold special events, like a murder mystery dinner, a big band dance party, and “ghost tours”. They are all situated along Bellevue Avenue, and the season begins in April, but some of the mansions don’t open until June.

Also nearby is the Green Animals Topiary Garden, which has several animal-shaped shrubs. It’s not nearly as big as one would hope from reading the book The Shining, but it’s convenient to stop by.

My favorite Newport attraction, however, is the Cliff Walk. It starts from Newport Beach, which is a decent beach but very popular and can have red kelp, and winds for 2 miles behind all of the mansions. Of course it is free, and perhaps the best way to feel like you’re a resident rather than a tourist.

Newport has several festivals every year, but there’s so much to do — like Salem — that you don’t really need an excuse to visit. For example, you can go to International Tennis Hall of Fame, try skydiving, and get a tour of the countryside at Murder Mystery Night on the Newport Dinner Train, which is a comedy thriller theatre performance.

Finally, need I say it, Newport is a quaint New Englandy town that’s fun just to walk around and visit all the small shops. No doubt you’ll find great seafood and painted clam shells without even trying. And there’s all manner of whale watching and pirate ocean tours. Hint: bring dramamine. I went whale watching once in grade school, and it consisted of 90 minutes of looking at the flat, featureless ocean while moving slower than I can run, not seeing any whales (May is a bad time to go whale-watching, apparently), half the kids throwing up (which is how I learned that I have above-average constitution), and 90 minutes back.

To wrap up from yesterday, for people like me who don’t have a car, here is a complete list of public beaches accessible from the subway and commuter rail: Red Line: Wollaston Beach, Castle Island & L Street Beach, Carson Beach, Malibu Beach, Tenean Beach. Blue Line: Revere Beach, Winthrop Beach, Constitution Beach. Commuter Rail: Nahant Beach (Lynn stop), Lynn Beach (Lynn stop), King’s Beach (Swampscott stop), Singing Beach (Manchester stop), Long Beach (Rockport stop).

I’m doing my best here to bring you good content. Please take 30 seconds and vote again. As always, the full Johnny’s List of Weird Boston Events is at www.WeirdBostonEvents.org. I’ll give up blogging daily and go back to weekly around May 1st. Thanks!