Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Newport, Rhode Island to Portsmouth, New Hampshire

Rhode Island, “The Ocean State,” was the first colony to declare independence from Britain and the last to ratify the Constitution, holding out until the Bill of Rights was added. Rhode Island isn't actually an island. It does, however, include 35 or so islands spread around Narragansett Bay, including an island formally known as Rhode Island. The island is now called Aquidneck Island, to avoid confusion.

Little Rhody is 48 miles long and 37 miles wide. Now I'll finally know what people are talking about when they say something is “the size of Rhode Island,” though I found out on this website that the comparison is often incorrect.

Newport, settled in 1639, established itself as a shipbuilding center by 1646 but was left in dire economic straits after occupation first by the British and then the French from 1776 to 1783. The town was revitalized in the 1800s as it became the hot vacation spot for the super wealthy, such as the Astors and the Vanderbilts, who built extravagant summer “cottages” overlooking Rhode Island Sound.

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Vanderbilt mansion, "The Breakers"

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"Ochre Court," now part of Salve Regina University

The Cliff Walk is a 3.5-mile walking path along the bluffs behind many of these mansions, with dazzling views of the rocky coastline and the beautiful blue water of Narragansett Bay. We parked at Easton's Beach, on the north end of trail, and spent three hours exploring the path, as far as Sheep Point. The weather was fantastic - 72, sunny, and breezy. What a gorgeous day!

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Easton's Beach

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We've been warned!

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Beautiful view

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The Cliff Walk

At one point we passed a surfer memorial bearing the words “RIP - For all the souls we lost this summer.” I left a rock in memory of my little best friend Spike.

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Surfer memorial

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RIP, little friend

After returning to our car, we drove Ocean Drive, a 10-mile-long drive along the Newport shoreline, including Fort Adams State Park. In the early 1900s Narragansett Bay was the principal anchorage for the Atlantic Fleet, which was protected by Fort Adams.

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Along Ocean Drive

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Call me Ishmael

No breakfast this morning, but we finally got around to lunch about 2:30. Hunger sure makes an IHOP awesome. A nice healthy pot roast melt and fries for me and a Philly cheese steak and fries for Tom. That oughta stick to our ribs!

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Sunset in New Hampshire

The thing about these New England states is you sure can get across them in a hurry. We drove from Newport, Rhode Island, to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, in less than four hours, passing through the length of Massachusetts and making a detour to the beach on the way.

Right at dusk, we checked in at a Motel 6 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. No view of an adult video store this time, but at this one I ended up getting bed bug bites. Last Motel 6 of the trip!

For dinner we ate for the first time at a Chipotle. It was okay, but it's just a fast-food chain that thinks it's cool because the dining room is bare and industrial and they serve “Food With Integrity.” At least there's beer. We had the Sam Adams Octoberfest – always a good choice!

Continue to September 26, 2012

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