In the morning we skipped the very crowded fuel dock and headed out after the fog lifted (or so we thought). We spent all but 45 minutes of our four hour transit to Newport in medium to dense fog arriving in Newport harbor as a race was ending with the wind coming up to 20+ kts and the fog still with us. With some skill and a lot of luck we managed to drop anchor and settle perfectly spaced between surrounding boats in a crowded anchorage.
The morning brought more fog which eventually cleared. This weather pattern of morning fog with clearing would hold for several days. Although we had been to Newport harbor before, it was a long time ago and there were changes. Most of the harbor is covered with private moorings and limited anchoring space. Dockage is even more limited and is consumed by the mega yachts. While we can't speak to the most of the mooring/dockage areas, the anchorage is a bit rolly because it is closest to the mouth of the harbor and experiences the tides more. We made a point of going into town each day in an attempt to alleviate the effect of this motion; especially for Pat who's vertigo was exacerbated.
Our trips to shore were both for mostly for pleasure. Two restaurants are worth mentioning: H2O and the Red Parrot. H2O is new, has a small menu, and great potential. The Red Parrot has been around awhile, large menu, has the feel of a chain (but isn't). The plus for the Red Parrot were the steamed clams eaten at the 2nd floor bar. It became our favorite. Our most interesting evening was the Keb' Mo' benefit concert for the International Tennis Hall of Fame. Putting aside questions about why the International Tennis Hall of Fame would need a benefit concert, Keb' Mo' is a 3 time Grammy winner of blues. Although he played more "lounge-y" music than blues, we enjoyed ourselves. One highlight was when he called a local policeman up to the stage and the policeman sang while Keb' Mo' played guitar. Great voice which the crowd appreciated.
Perhaps the most fun ashore was a visit to Fort Adams. From Block Island to Newport, Fort Adams is on your right (or "to starboard" if you want to be nautical) as you approach/enter the harbor. See www.riparks.com/fortadams.htm for a history of the fort. Our experience was fun because we had a great docent and an interesting historian. The fort is not part of the national monuments structure because no battle was ever fought and no lives lost at Ft. Adams. It was built to protect the harbor from a land attack by including a network of tunnels ranging for 6' to 4' throughout and outside the structure. Coming over berms would have resulted in gun/cannon fire from multiple directions. Some of the tunnels have been opened to the public so we joined a tour through the maze. There was a bench outside the entrance for any who felt that they would not be comfortable in enclosed, dark spaces. Pat has a technical/philosophical questions about the naming: should it be called "tunnels" or "underground passages". Why the question? The "tunnels" were not dug out/shored up, but built first (brick) and earth placed over them to form the berms. Pat's inclined to call them underground passages. Regardless of what they are called, we received stickers making us tunnel rats for making it through the maze. During the day we visited Ft. Adams, there were re-enactors demonstrating the usual clothing, food, weaponry, and tactics of the Civil War area. The historian told an amusing story of the turn of the century (19th-20th) when the Newport city fathers thought it would be great fun to fire all the cannons at the same time. All the windows in Newport were broken and to this day there are cracked windows from that adventure.
|Early morning light fog in Newport Harbor|
|Once the fogs lifts the boats come out to play|
|Docent leads us through the fort|
|Cleared but not restored section of the fort|
|A four foot section of the tunnels|
|A badge of honor|
|Noise and smoke from the Northern side|
|If you are that sailboat, you know you're going to win the race that day|
After a week+ in Newport, we decided to return Iolair to the Chesapeake to take care of some personal issues. However, because we had planned to visit Joe's mother in Maine and because we had shipped things there, we decided to load the kayaks on the car and head to Maine after returning to the Chesapeake.
Joe's mother lives on a lake in Southern Maine and kayaking was a pleasure. The pictures below are from a Fall/Winter (before snow), but the location is timeless and with the leaves off the trees, the lake is more visible.
Although our activities at the house in Maine are usually sleeping, reading, kayaking, eating clams at Teds, Pat also scans the local (Portland) newspaper for non-DC stories. While the Portland paper covers the debt crisis, the deaths in Afghanistan, upcoming debates in Iowa, etc, it is the local that catches the eye; and, local does not mean the latest lobster fest or a 10k to a lighthouse. Pat appreciates local papers because they give a sense of community and offer potential for amusement over the morning bowl of shredded wheat. During this time in Maine, the following caught Pat's eye:
"Man lying down in road is hit by pickup truck" The favorite quotes from the story: " "..he (the driver) could not avoid what he thought was a dead animal in the narrow two-lane road..." And, "...Over the years, a number of times, he (the victim) has been located in the roadway..."
Imagine Pat's surprise when a couple of days later, the following appeared:
"Pair lying in street charged under new graffiti ordinance" No one knows why they were lying in the street because it had nothing to do with the graffiti charge. The writers of each "lying in the road" story are different. Maybe the editor has a sense of humor.
But, the headline and story that most reflected the sense of community was:
"Responders to moose collision hit second moose" The opening and closing paragraphs say it all: "Firefighters who were called to the scene of a collision between a van and a moose on Route 161 late Thursday night struck and killed another moose on the way..." "...The tanker had heavy damage to the front and had to be towed from the scene." No human was hurt.