Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Newport, Rhode Island

Last week I got to cross two more states off my list. I had a training in Connecticut (in a town where they had frogs everywhere...)

but the closest major airport was Providence. The session was over by 10:30am, and my return flight wasn't until 7pm, so I had time to explore. With some input from my dear friend Marcy, I decided on Newport, RI. She was right on with that recommendation. It was gorgeous there! The drive was also very pleasant. At the border there was a big lake that was the bluest I've ever seen! Photos don't do it justice. But here they are anyway.

(Oh yeah, you bet I turned around just to get the CT sign. Hey, I wasn't leaving the state without proof, and it was dark when I passed one the first time the night before.)

I totally lucked out on the weather: it was sunny, about 75, crystal blue sky, and low humidity. Incredible! I had lunch at a little cafe between Banister's and Bowen's Wharf. The marina is very relaxing:

There was a lot to choose from in terms of things to do. I thought about the Cliff Walk, but I didn't have any tennish shoes. Then I thought about the Ocean Drive, but I didn't feel like driving any more than I had to. So my first choice was to go sailing, but the only departure that worked with my schedule was booked. My next choice was touring one of the mansions. I learned that Newport was the playground of the rich and famous in the early 1900's, and once Vanderbilt came to the area, everyone tried to outdo each other with their lavish houses. Although the most famous one is The Breakers, I chose to tour The Elms instead because of a recommendation I saw on TripAdvisor.

There was a self-guided audio tour where you could go at your own pace. It was the neatest contraption, like an MP3 player, where you can listen to the main narration that takes you through all the rooms, but you can also punch in three-digit codes as you go around to hear more about particular aspects (such as etiquette when you're in the dining room). It was a delightful experience, because all the windows were open, the amazing breeze was flowing through, and for a moment I could pretend I was the owner of the estate. Alas, they did not allow photos inside, but just imagine a big fancy old-fashioned house, and you'll get it.

The return flights were "on time" in terms of boarding, but for both legs I sat on the runway for over an hour. In Providence, it was due to "weather" between us and our destination. And then in Philly, it was due to backlog on the runway. Thankfully I did not miss my connecting flight; my coworker did on her last trip, again due to weather issues, and she ended up having to sleep in the airport. Egads!

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