Day one of our
New England tour had
us flying into and renting a car to drive
to our first night’s lodging in Boston Logan
(A word of advice about driving a rental car in or around Newport, RI Boston:
don’t.) The most stressful part of the entire
trip was the drive from the airport out of town. We had a GPS
we had never used before, so as I was trying to figure out how to read it and
orient myself on Boston’s roads, we
found ourselves in tunnels and guess what?! You lose satellite service for a GPS
in a tunnel. (We’re lucky we’re not still
circling Boston underground.) I
have no idea where we actually were, but we did eventually get out of there and
on the road to Newport.
|Admiral Fitzroy Inn|
After escaping from
we drove to our first night’s hotel, the Admiral Fitzroy Inn, a former convent
that is now a bed and breakfast. It was overcast and drizzling and we were
tired and frazzled, so we dropped our bags in our room and went in search of
dinner. We walked to The Mooring, recommended by the desk clerk (who also lent
us an umbrella). We loved the food, and one dish, the “bag of doughnuts” (lobster,
crab & shrimp fritters with chipotle-maple aioli), was possibly the best
single thing I tasted the entire trip.
We made an early night of it (possibly because we were stuffed with good food), and got up the next morning to begin exploring.
has an interesting history, and was at one point the summer playground of some
wealthiest families. We went to see The
Breakers, the grandest and most famous of the Newport
“cottages” (if you can call a 70-room mansion a cottage). I have never seen a
more ornate home in my life. Sadly, we were not allowed to take photos of the
interior of this house (or any house on the entire trip, actually) but I assure
you, it was stunning and worth a visit.
|He'd be fun to sketch...|
We walked around the corner from The Breakers to an entrance onto the Cliff Walk, a 3 ½ mile trail along the eastern shore of the island. We wandered only a small section of the path, enjoying the ocean views and a peek into the back yards of some enormous houses. (Part of Cliff Walk is still closed because of damage from Hurricane Sandy in 2012.)
From Cliff Walk, we headed to The Elms, another of the
mansions. Modeled after a mid-18th century French chateau, it was
completed in 1901 for coal magnate Edward J. Berwind. Much less ornate than The
Breakers, it was still a grand mansion.
After our mansion tours, we hit the road again. We stopped at
Stonington’s (CT) Old Lighthouse Museum
(thanks, Cheryl, for the suggestion) and stopped briefly at Mystic for a late
lunch—and no, we didn’t eat pizza. We
were too tired and it was too late in the day for us to hit Mystic Seaport, so
we’ll just have to go there another time.
|Stonington's Old Lighthouse Museum|
|Part of the view from the lighthouse|
|More views from the top|
|Climb back down|
We wanted to be in position to ride the Essex Steam Train the following day, so we pushed on to the town of
Old Lyme, where I’d heard about a bed and breakfast I hoped to stay at, The Bee and Thistle. Built in 1756, The Bee and Thistle was my favorite lodging, and why not? We had a gas fireplace in our room and an extra-long bathtub I could stretch out in. On top of that, they served the best breakfast and coffee we had on the trip. I would have liked to explore Old Lyme a bit more, but we had to move on.
|The Bee and Thistle|
Next up: Riding the rails and the river in the
the “ruined” castle on the hill… Connecticut
*We named the
because its voice reminded me of Angela on The
Office. “Great White” was our nickname for our car, which had a sort of
shark fin-like thingy on the roof.