Right up Route 84 and over to the east is nice little spot called Newport, Rhode Island. You may have been there but I haven’t, and I’d certainly like to know why. It’s not too far, maybe about three hours by car if there’s no traffic. We encountered traffic however, which slowed us to a standstill. I expected there to be a good reason for this, such as a 20-car pile-up or an accident where somebody hits a Brinks truck and everybody stops to pick up the money so that they can say that they were planning to give it back the whole time and were just waiting for their plans to firm up. But then when we got to the place where a pile-up should be piled up, there was nothing there and the cars just started moving again. As far as I’m concerned those people should be arrested for not sticking to the speed limit, which was 65.
I’ve never been to a bed and breakfast because it seems so much like staying at somebody’s house, and I’ve always been afraid that I’ll break something or somebody’s mom will come down the hall and tell me I’m making too much noise and can’t I break things more quietly. But we checked into a charming place right on Newport Harbor across from Goat Island. We were with our trusted companion Gidget, The Prettiest Dog in the World, who seemed disappointed that her breakfast was not included and her bed was the floor.
The place to see and be seen is Thames Street, which is where all the action is. Eateries, drinkeries and shopperies line the bustling avenue which was named after the river in England but the locals pronounce phonetically. It was one of the original two streets two streets laid in Newport in 1654. Here you can find all the goods and services you need during the day, and all the trouble you might need at night. When we showed up after dinner for some evening cocktails there was an ambulance already waiting at the side of the street, and I should have gone over there and given them my name for later, in case it was first come, first served.
On Saturday we bicycled over to the Cliff Walk, which is a beautiful paved trail overlooking Easton Bay and curving south around Boathouse Gully. The 3.5 mile walk begins up the road from Easton Beach and ends in an oxygen tent at the hospital. There are great views of the shore, and you can see across to the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge from here. That’s also where the Sakonnet River Shellfish Management Area is. I’ve been thinking of getting into shellfish management, since they are too shellfish to manage things on their own. Along the way opportunities for selfies abound, but don’t be one of those idiots who gets too close to the cliff and tumbles down the rocks into a cormorant nest or something. How many times do you hear about somebody taking a selfie on a safari in the middle of a herd of rhinoceros, and they get the shot of a lifetime but the lifetime is suddenly shorter than expected?
Newport is a great place to visit if you enjoy the sport of tennis. Once they took our money at the front desk, we were officially inducted into the International Tennis Hall of Fame. The place is a working club, and we signed up to play a match of lawn tennis, since I’m a bit of a tennis enthusiast myself, which is a nice way of saying I suck at it. Playing tennis is not the dumbest thing I’ve ever done while on grass, but it ranks right up there. They say it’s the fastest surface, but I was a able to slow it down to a moderate crawl. My serve was actually quite dangerous on the turf because I think I killed a bee, but that’s the way the ball bounces.
We walked down Bowen’s Wharf and there was a HUGE yacht parked there. The guy at the marina gate wouldn’t tell me who it belonged to. I threatened to torture the information out of him, which seemed to cheer him up. “Is it a hedge fund guy?” I asked. “I can’t tell you that, but no,” he said. “That means it’s a celebrity. Is it Tom Cruise? The name certainly fits.” “I can’t tell you if it is or isn’t. It isn’t.” “Tell me one thing and I won’t ask anymore questions- is it who I think it is?” “I’m not allowed to say anything about who owns the yacht, but it’s someone with untold wealth.” “Well not anymore, you just told it. HA!” The owner charters it out sometimes, he told me, along with its 18 crew members. I’d like to hire it out for a pirate mission, do some looting and pillaging, and show off my big booty when I return.
The next day we went to Easton Beach, and there was so much traffic on Memorial Boulevard that it was like a parking lot, so when you do finally park your car you’ll hardly notice the difference. There was a lot of pressure to be gorgeous, since now we were part of the gorgeous view from up on the Cliff Walk, and I didn’t want them looking down on us. There is plenty to do at the beach the locals call “First Beach.” There’s a snack bar, an aquarium and even a carousel. The sand itself is expansive even at high tide, with gorgeous views of the poor suckers up on the Cliff Walk. There are sometimes reports of red algae, so check before you go.
The end of the three day weekend came much too soon, but it was fine with me because by that time I was ready to go home. I was sick of all the nice weather, the beautiful views and the endless things to do. I couldn’t wait to get out of there and feast my eyes on somebody homely.
Join Rick and the No Options band for some Rock & Roll, Saturday evening, 09-21-19, 9:30 p.m. at PJ’s Restaurant, 84 Route 6 in Baldwin Place.
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