Tuesday, September 25, 2012
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
Newport, Rhode Island to Portsmouth, New Hampshire
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.
Vanderbilt mansion, "The
"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!
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.
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.
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!
Sunset in New
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
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!
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