Tuesday, October 6, 2009

On tour of New England

Remember when Randy, the Internet Ronin, went on a tour of England, and posted all those great photos? He's doing it again, in New England this time. Some noteworthy leaf-peeping can be found at Rambling Around.


Randy said...

Thanks for the link, Hector! Aren't you somewhere in RI?

Hector Owen said...

Yes, I'm in Newport — when I'm at home. I won't be here on Thursday, which I see is your Newport day, due to a prior commitment.

You seem to have researched the places you are visiting, so you will probably have some of these on your list already, but here are some suggestions. We have lots of old things. America's oldest synagogue. America's oldest lending library. The art museum is next door, and across the street, the enigmatic "Viking Tower." Next to that is the Elks Club, in a beautiful old mansion that served as the US Naval Academy during the Civil War. It's the only bar I know of with a stained glass ceiling.

America's oldest tavern. America's oldest business still in the same location: The John Stevens Shop, finest stonecarvers in the world. No tours, it's a working business, but I think that if you ask nicely, Nick Benson will let you have a look around. Or say you're interested in a tombstone.

Newport's oldest house (1697.)

Everybody knows about the mansions, and if you're going to see only one, The Breakers is the most spectacular. Scenes in "The Betsy" and "The Great Gatsby" movies were filmed at Rosecliff.

The old YMCA where Theophilus North stayed while writing his book is now an outrageously expensive hotel. The old police station is a slightly less expensive hotel, where you can spend the night in a cell, if that idea amuses you. The Inn at Castle Hill has the best views going, with prices set accordingly. But there are lots of B&B's, such as the Poplar Guest House on Poplar Street in the Point neighborhood, which is a beautiful, historic, and walkable (i.e. flat, not hilly, part of town. Tell Walter that Jim Bennett sent you.

Tourists like Bowen's and Bannister's Wharves, though the Belgian block paving can provide tricky footing. Restaurants there are atmospheric but pricey. For a meal just as good but reasonably priced, try Yesterday's on Washington Square, across from the movie theaters. And, if you like that sort of thing, the world's wackiest open mike night, on Thursdays at Billy Goode's.

I almost forgot: the Ocean Drive. Start at the intersection of Touro St., Kay St, and Bellevue Avenue, and head south on Bellevue. When you come to the end, keep going. The water will be on your left. For miles.

Of course there's much more, but one day? Hardly enough. I hope you enjoy your visit!

Randy said...

What a great list! We won't be able to do half of them but it gives us a good idea on what to look for. Thanks so much, Hector! Sorry it looks like we will miss you. Friday was a possibility but the forecast for Friday is high winds and rain so I think we will go ahead and go on Thursday. If there is any change and we do go on Friday instead, maybe we can meet for coffee (?) My email address is ronin(at sign)internetronin(dot)com

Randy said...

Thanks to you, Hector, we had a great time (despite getting "lost" on the way due to the re-building of I-95 in Providence ;-). Lunch at Yesterday's was delicious. I had the New Bedford scallops. (Wow!)

As you know, we couldn't possibly do everything on your list of suggestions in only a day, but we did more than I thought we would. We went to The Breakers first thing, and enjoyed the opulence, but both of would rather actually live in Chateau-sur-Mer. (As if...) Given the tremendous upkeep costs today, we were also impressed at how many equally magnificent properties remain in private hands.

Thanks again. Sorry we missed you. (And now wondering if we'll wake up to snow here tomorrow ;-)