Tuesday we were up and out fairly early, and tried to find a specific scenic overlook - which we eventually found, but the "overlook" wasn't anything spectacular. We had plenty of time, so we parked at the Cliff Walk instead, and walked out the first mile and back in the hot hot hot sun. Suitably sweaty, we proceeded into Newport to Bowen's Wharf to our sailing boat tour on the Adirondack II. The Adirondack II is an 80-foot schooner, and she was lower to the waves than I expected, but she gives a very gentle sail.
We took the Mimosa Sail and it was an hour and a half out on the bay. I was really glad to come back in off the water, because even with my sunglasses, the glare was starting to hurt my eyes. But we saw many things, although the more interesting things pointed out by our captain were things in the harbor - Athena, the largest sailing yacht owned privately (also the most expensive at a cool $200 million). You can charter it for a mere $500,000 per week. There was a boat that won the America's Cup with a titanium mast. There was a very pretty sailing ship called the tree of life (according to Captain Chris, the ship is owned by a husband and wife, the wife was diagnosed with cancer and they bought the boat to take their world-round trip they'd been dreaming about. Long story short, she no longer has cancer).
Back in Newport, we got back into the car and drove north to Green Animals, the last of the Newport Preservation Properties we were going to tour (we'd bought the five house package). A quick lunch in the shade of the 130 year old copper beach tree, and we proceeded onto the grounds. Green Animals is a topiary garden, and other than the fact it was hotter than the face of the sun, it was enjoyable to wander the grounds to identify the various topiary animals. I liked the elephant the best, I think. It was being shaved as we wandered, and it was interesting to see the guys working to "trim" and clean up the privet and boxwood.
After we rested on the wide, deeply shaded porch, gazing out over Narragansett Bay, we decided to see if we could find the butterfly farm - which we did. It was very hot inside the structure, but the butterflies were so worth the effort! They had a huge number of amazing species of butterflies - some brilliantly colored, and some that fade into the background. All were fascinating, even the one drunk fellow who didn't want to leave one of our party alone.
Then, we wound our way to Little Compton to find the oldest general store in the country called Gray's Store. We came upon it rather suddenly - but we wandered inside and drvsilla
found a MOXIE - which seems to be a carbonated beverage from her childhood (smelled like root beer candy, and tasted sweeter, but similar to root beer). Fortified, we set off to see if we could find the grave marker monument of Elizabeth Alden Pabodie, considered the first white girl born in New England to John Alden and Priscilla Mullin, both who came to America on the Mayflower. We spent some time wandering the graveyard wondering at the folks who lived in the area during the 17 and 18 hundreds. Lots of Pardons, Rebekahs, Lizzies, and even one Wanton.
Wednesday we had a leisurely start to the day, getting on the road by about 8:30. Our first stop was to be the Museum of Rhode Island History at the Aldrich House, but that was a bust, as the house is the headquarters of the Historical Society of Providence, and only administrative offices were housed there.
Denied that we tried to find the Culinary Arts Archive and Museum - which after some circling and the questioning of a helpful person, we eventually found! We spent a good amount of time there, wandering the hall. I loved the stoves - large and small cast iron to white enamel. The vast array of cooking implements on display were dizzying - I wish the tools for cooking over an open fire had some explanation to what they were actually used for. Other favorite items were the mustache cups - coffee cups that have a guard so the mustache of the drinker of the coffee does not soak his mustache in his beverage - the exhibit of industrial size pasta makers, and the fruit crate art exhibit. Also appreciated were the two cooking-inspired Mr Potato Heads that flank the front doors ("Baking Potato" on the left as you entered, "Italian Chef" on the right).
Then we went off to find the Roger Williams Park Botanical Center - which was deceptively difficult to get to. But we persevered, and with a little circling, we made it. A nominal fee, and we were in! Lots of tropical and subtropical plants. They had all the doors and windows wide open, and it was likely because the humidity was so high, the plants could use the fresh air. Also inside was a container "bog" filled with carnivorous plants - itty bitty venus fly traps, pretty, but sinister pitcher plants, and sticky fly-paper traps. Fascinating! We walked the labyrinth of a rose garden, and wandered about before deciding it was time for lunch.
Lunch in the Roger Williams Park near the Temple of Music underneath a great ginkgo tree that seem to have had a healthy appetite for kites (it had at least five in it's upper branches). A local skunk wandered close to our picnicking spot, but must have been on a mission, because it did not tarry and was quickly gone.
One more try for the Historical Preservation Society of Providence - we stopped by their main offices to pick up a guide to the Benefit Street Mile of History - which we toured ourselves, and saw a whole lot of houses built in the early 1800s. Also passed by quite a bit of RISD, as well as either a pack of prospective students, or a herd of new freshmen. On the way back down into the city, we stopped to see the Roger Williams monument from the back (he is in a really silly pose - kinda looks like he is vogue-ing) in the upper bit to Prospect Terrace.
Then down to Waterplace Park, and the General Ambrose Burnside Statue - neither of which we really spent a whole lot of time, as we were tired, and more interested in going home.
Overcast and rainy tonight, but we still had dinner on the deck - the rain didn't begin 'til we were well and truly finished. It is quite a bit windier than it has been, and we watched another tanker (car transporter we *think* but it is dark, and overcast, so who knows what it actually was) going out to sea. Plus a couple of ocean kayakers went by one way, and then came back. Rhode Islanders seem to take their leisure time seriously, as most attractions have weird hours (11am-3pm, not open Wednesdays, Fridays or Sundays). We've gotten the odd "how did you hear about us?" question, usually paired with a look of surprise or shock. We are all of us geeks - and we love the strange and ridiculous. I mean, we spent an hour reading headstones in an old cemetery yesterday afternoon, and we actually sought out the oldest continuously operating general store - we drove by the oldest continually operating tavern *twice* - once purely by accident! The tavern was constructed in 1652 as a home, and has been operating as a tavern since 1673.
Tomorrow we'll be looking at villages and parks. Possibly a covered bridge. Big plans!