Tuesday, August 06, 2013

Exploring Rhode Island without Kyle

[Maryanne]In Bristol itself there remain a host of tourist sights I’ve ignored to date but hope to squeeze in before I leave. I did manage to visit Lindon Place, an 1810 mansion in the center of Bristol. It describes itself as the “crown jewel” of Bristol; I’m not so sure about that but it did seem a nice place for a wedding, and was a pleasant distraction for an hour on a sunny day. It has hosted at least four US presidents and has a chandelier in the dining room believed to be originally from Buckingham Palace.

Bristol also has a great library: the Rogers Free Library (with plenty of summer fun activities for kids that I would have loved to join in with; so ageist!)

On the water there are so many pretty coves, and places to stop, swim, relax, but Newport is by far my favorite; there is plenty to do, but also plenty going on if you just sit and watch.

Newport waterfront scenes

I did take a solo trip to Newport, primarily to visit the Museum of Yachting, and walked (voluntarily) 3.5 miles to visit it from the town bus station. Unfortunately this was only to discover the museum had moved. I must have passed by it around mile 1 (oh, well, the exercise won’t do me any harm, but I lost the incentive to seek out the museum after that.). I also ended up walking nearly all the way back (but that is just due to my stubbornness and stupidity, and wanting to walk by some of its famed mansions one more time).

As a respite during all that exercise I did force myself to stop off at Gary’s Handy Lunch diner while in Newport – Oh boy, it’s a classic and I love it (established 1967). They serve simple food at crazy low prices, the décor is retro diner (probably original, but definitely clean and in good order), and the service is FANTASTIC.

A random Dog bar (on one of the wharfs), and scenes from the great Gary's

I am a huge fan of the American Diner scene, and actively seek them out as we travel about America. I did drag Kyle to the diner in Bristol. I didn’t match up to Gary’s, but had it’s own special kind of grumpy, grimy charm (that will make it a one time only visit).

I joined Kyle on one of his his commutes to work, for the bus ride into Providence. I had imagined I’d be a tourist in Providence once Kyle took the train on to Boston, but the weather was questionable so I spent most of my time in the mall (so unlike me) and hidden away in the warm, dry cinema for a movie treat. There was some sunshine while I was there, and I walked along the canal to discover not only a gondola service, but also to find it full of wedding parties snapping photos during a brief spell of sunshine – a happy walk.

Providence Canals with unexpected gondola

Yet again the presence of Sotito is ensuring that we have way more fun that we should expect (the chore list is definitely growing with Sotito as such a wonderful attraction and distraction). I joined them in Newport (along with a new selection of their wonderful friends) – only to experience yet more stunning views and enertainment from her decks (and, of course, more great food). For this visit it was the Jazz festival that dominated the town. Although we had a mooring in the harbor we spent a great few hours anchored right off the fort where the festival sound system seemed to be perfectly setup for us, and there was even a giant screen projecting close-ups of the stage performers; SUPERB!

Great views, Great company and food, and the odd totally unexplainable sighting

Back at the mooring we relaxed and awaited the sunset. As we were assembled on the bow a row boat, with a team of 10 people rowing and a coxswain to coordinate, approached and passed us, they were having fun (their rowing was not that coordinated, so it was great to hear them laughing). They would occasionally just jump in the water to cool off, and they would take plenty of rest breaks. One of the guys just swam up to Sotito to chat with us at the bow and found a place to relax on our mooring can. A big seagull, a seal, a cockroach – there were plenty of friendly nicknames bandied around and when they all climbed back aboard and rowed away it was with a farewell of “Sotito – Salute!”.

The row boat "Savage" entertains us for a while in Newport

We’ll be leaving Bristol shortly and I need to really address some of the items on my growing chore list. However the weather is great, there is still a host of attractions I’ve yet to enjoy; I feel my list will only grow.

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