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» Friday, October 23, 2015A Million Shades of Blue
Last day. Last day. It has such a plaintive sound.
As always, I was awakened ten minutes early by a call of Nature. I wish I could put Nature on the Do Not Call list, but sometimes you need the bulletins. :-)
After breakfast we headed south on I-95. I did want to at least say hello to my cousin Debbie! Downtown was pretty quiet after rush hour antics and we could appreciate the twisted new intricacy of the I-195 interchange, which is now south of the electric plant and the Fox Point Hurricane Barrier rather than north, leaving a big swath of land at India Point Park ripe for development. Providence is presently trying to talk the Pawtucket Red Sox into relocating to a ballpark-to-be-built there. Watch out, guys, it's a trap!
We also noticed that Nibbles Woodaway, the "big blue bug" on the pest control company on I-95, isn't decorated for Hallowe'en. What's up with that?
So we made our way back to R&D Tool, and there was Debbie, and we hugged and chatted. Richard was inside, working on one of his antique cars. The latest is a black Triumph that he has finished restoring. Debbie had to run an errand, so she took us by the cemetery and I was just rows away the other day. How silly is that? Debbie had put some beautiful fall flowers and autumn leaves on Mom and Dad's grave. It looked very pretty, and of course the beautiful maple trees in the cemetery just added to the lovely serenity. As we left, a funeral was just entering; we had noticed there were funeral masses at both St. Mary's and St. Ann's this morning. I hope both people lived long, happy lives.
I was heading for Newport, but I made a short detour and we stopped at Solitro's Bakery (still going after all these years) and we each picked out a pastry: James a lemon square (he loves them as much as Dad did) and me a cinnamon "stick" which is basically a large version of what Lin Butler makes after she does her Christmas baking: crust made into a flat stick with cinnamon and sugar. No ick on it, it doesn't need it. Just piecrust and sweetening and perfection.
I also got a little Italian torpedo roll, and was happy when they still understood what I meant when I said, "May I have a bun?" We always called them buns.
We went south via I-95 and Route 4, as we had to go to Quonset Point, then turned east on Route 138, over the Jamestown Verazzano Bridge and then the Pell (Newport) Bridge. Narragansett Bay was a deep glassy reflective blue with a surprising number of boats out despite the windy conditions; I suppose if you can afford to have a boat you can afford to take the day off to sail it.
Downtown Newport was very crowded for a weekday as two big cruise ships were anchored in the harbor and tourists were being shuttled over in boats to shop at the Brick Walk Marketplace and at Bannister's and Bowen's Wharves. I would have liked to have stopped at the store Only in Rhode Island! Instead we threaded our way down Thames Street, around the corner and down the road where the statue of General Rochambeau overlooks the harbor, dotted with all manner of white craft: cabin cruisers, sailboats, schooners, houseboats, catamarans. Then we turned down Ocean Drive until we got to Fort Adams.
We didn't know how much of the tour would be accessable, so we didn't go on it, but we did go up to the old stockade, which is now a tiny museum, with memorabilia from the Fort including a Spanish-American War era uniform of a Fort Adams sergeant. The fort was active from 1799 (although rebuilt after the War of 1812) through World War II, and my dad had memories of Fort Adams when he was in the National Guard before going into the Army and being deployed to the European Theatre. It was pretty much abandoned and going to seed when we stopped there for Sunday rides in the 1960s, but historical associations saved it and now tours are given there, and this week there are Hallowe'en events.
Oh, my goodness, the wind! We had to struggle to get out of the van and retrieved our hats and scarves to keep us warm. It came right in over the cove and marina, where more sailboats and motorboats bobbed up and down in the chop. The two big cruise ships could be seen plainly here, one a Princess liner out of Hamilton, the other a smaller line I didn't recognize out of Nassau. But it was wonderful, too--as long as I am warm I love a good cold wind. It makes me want to fly like the seagulls wheeling over the water, and it puts heart into me. I'm simply so worn out by the heat during summer that this makes me feel alive.
After walking about a bit we drove down to Brenton Point and sat in the van with the windows open and ate our bakery goodies. The wind actually seemed less intense here. Viking Tour buses kept showing up, disgorging tourists for about fifteen minutes to take pictures, and then whisking them away again. A couple with a camper were sitting on the steps down from the sea wall. There were a few dog walkers as well. The blue glass of the ocean was peppered with little whitecaps and small rollers crashing against the damp rocks, again dotted with sailing and motored craft, including what looked like a trawler and a smaller lobster boat. The sky was a paler blue, but intensely so, almost hurting the eyes.
We figured finally--although I could have stayed there for the rest of the afternoon!--that we needed real food and had lunch at the Newport Creamery on Bellevue Avenue after cruising slowly by all the "summer cottages" of the 19th century wealthy. There are so many "Christmas in the Newport Mansion" events, and they do decorate the homes, that people forget that these huge homes were only used at most ten weeks during the height of the summer, mostly for balls within "the 400" of society.
Had an American grilled cheese sandwich and onion rings with a little bowl of chicken soup for lunch; James had chili dogs and the soup, and we both had a single scoop of ice cream in a dish as a "chaser." James had their sugarless chocolate and said there was no difference in taste from regular ice cream. I had a coffee that they had particularly gone very strong on the flavor. But then Newport Creamery has always had the best coffee ice cream. This particular Newport Creamery has photos of all the old stores from the 1950s-1960s in the restaurant area, and they had a photo of the old place at Garden City shopping center, which was known for its long glass windows until a car drove into them one day and killed a customer, a little boy. When the building was repaired, the long windows were gone. In the doorway is a photo of the original creamery "milk bar" from the 1920s.
I was particularly amused during the meal by the folks in the booth behind me, three elderly ladies and a gentleman of similar age. They were evidently in town for the weekend and enjoying the shopping, and they were teasing each other about the menu and one woman who was overwhelmed by the ice cream choices. They were also telling a story about someone--maybe one of their husbands--at a gathering who was talking so much that when a particular dish was passed around, complained afterwards he hardly got any. One woman said in tart triumph, "Of course not! You were talking the whole time!" I could hardly keep from bursting out laughing.
We were headed home through Routes 138 and then 114, which would have taken us through Bristol and Warren to I-195, but there was an accident on the Mount Hope Bridge, which is only two lanes, and I was still driving and didn't want to wait. So we went home north through Route 24, which was actually a longer route. I didn't mind driving, but the sun was in my eyes during a lot of the trip and I simply can't take that bright for long. People who wonder why I like it cloudy so much don't know how much the sun hurts my eyes.
So when we finally got into the hotel, I took three ibuprofin and removed my shoes and pretty much slept for the next two hours.
I thought we might have a steak on our last night, but that would have meant Texas Roadhouse and I couldn't bear the noise there. It sounds like the uproar in the bar at the Hyatt during DragonCon. We just went to Friendly's. Every night we've been here someone has had a birthday; it's a popular place, evidently, for a birthday dinner. I like the Friendly's birthday song:
"Friendly's has a birthday song,
Not too short and not too long.
If you're good you'll get your wishes,
If you're bad you'll do our dishes."
When we got back to the hotel, I went to the lobby to use their computer to print out our boarding passes, having already checked in via my phone when we got to the room earlier. This morning I had seen a gentleman carrying some wrapping paper and a gift into the hotel and said, "Someone's having a birthday!" He told me it was a wedding. When we went out for dinner there was a small wedding reception taking place in the hotel meeting room. One of the party was at the desk when I was printing and I told him I wished the couple a happy future.
Tomorrow's another airport day. With luck and love this time tomorrow we will be back with Tucker and Snowy.