If You Can’t Be Annapolis, Be in Newport!
Let me start out by saying that WE ARE HOME. I am catching you up on the second half of our trip in this post and the next, but we are snug as a bug in a rug at home, so no worries about us dodging storms in the boat – just in case it crossed your mind.
So there are TWO major sailing meccas in the U.S. – Annapolis and Newport, Rhode Island. And if you asked Frank two of his favorite harbors, he will answer with those two places in that order. Newport has more LARGE sailing vessels, and more vessels of all types overall, but Annapolis has that pure sailor kind of feeling. Of course, the America’s Cup did start in Newport… well, you get the idea. For us, they’re both pretty spectacular. So when we got to Newport, we were in no rush to leave.
Having found an excellent spot to anchor on a Tuesday (right outside of the New York Yacht Club, a VERY impressive looking building), we were poised to stay through the weekend.
We do a LOT of walking around the place. The last visits included a scooter ride around the cliffs, one mansion tour and a visit to the Tennis Hall of Fame – all things we would recommend. This visit we wanted to change it up a bit. No mansions, no scooter. We can be pretty easily entertained just sitting in the cockpit and watching all the yacht eye candy float by which is one of Frank’s favorite past times.
We did revisit one place – the IYRS or International Yacht Restoration School. This is a place that keeps the art and craftsmanship of boat building and restoration alive. We wanted to see how they were coming along on Coronet – a historic American schooner restoration project. It is a LONG TERM project, but we could see her progress as they meticulously and lovingly bring her back to her former glory. Here are a few shots of the work that’s been done. Even just looking at the massive pieces of rigging and furnishings that are waiting along the sides of her hull, waiting to be the final pieces of the puzzle reassembly one day…well, they look like their own pieces of art. Even the old piano was still sitting there waiting. I remembered that piano from our last visit.
Okay, I may have mislead you. That wasn’t our FIRST stop as we wandered around town…
Newport has some beautiful architecture and historic mansions. We enjoyed strolling and peeking inside some of the gates at the gardens and buildings.
Now, if you’ve read some of our previous blogs, you know that art galleries and museums aren’t always the first places we’re drawn to, but there are definitely exceptions to that! These signs piqued our interest and we had to go check it out. We do love music and musicians! The exhibit was photographs of musicians – jazz and country – spanning decades. It was a nice exhibit. This is the home of the Newport Jazz Festival after all.
After many hours of walking, we had to find a place to have a pint. Within that category, we had a couple of goals: 1) To check out the place that our new friend, Frances, recommended (the lady we met at the bar in Watch Hill… ) and 2) See if Tommy, our #1 bartender from last trip, was still in town. So first we went to Frances’ recommended place: 22 Bowen’s Wine Bar and Grill. And, we found a seat at the bar. And we found our NEWLY CROWNED #1 Newport bartender, Rachel. Who is Irish. (That automatically ups your rating.) We had a GREAT meal at the bar visiting with Rachel who has convinced us that we must visit Ireland some day! And although we did not go on one of Frances’ regular nights, as soon as we brought up her name, it brought a big smile to Rachel’s face. Of COURSE she knew who we were talking about! Frances, we’re sorry we missed you in Newport, but your spirit was there with us!
Now, there was one museum that we wanted to see… the Herreshoff Museum in Bristol. We had toyed with the idea of taking Eleanor Q up there, but there isn’t a lot else to do in Bristol, and frankly, we didn’t want to give up our prime anchoring location before the weekend, so we opted to take Uber there instead – only a 15-20 minute ride. Herreshoff made beautiful boats back in the day – we wanted to check the place out. And it was lovely.
We returned to Newport and stopped in to see our old buddy, Tommy, at the Oyster Bar. He was still there and we still enjoyed chatting with him, but somehow it wasn’t the same. The place has become very popular (congrats on that) but it didn’t have the same feel. It was cool, but no longer the place where Tommy would have two Narragansetts sitting on the bar waiting for us before our bums hit the bar stools. (Don’t gag because we like Narragansett… especially if you like Yeungling – then you DEFINITELY should not be judgey!! Just sayin’.)
We hunkered down for a day of rain the next day. We happily sat in the cockpit with the enclossure zipped up and were amazed as the tour boats and sail expeditions that continued to buzz in and out of the harbor, undeterred by the weather.
Then Saturday brought us some fun in the form of our friends Kevin and Dee from Marblehead. They were gracious hosts to us when we passed through Marblehead with Eleanor Q in 2013, and we were delighted when they made time to drive the 2 hours to come join us for the day in Newport! It was a true summer day, so we started with some quality time on the boat! Kevin rarely passes up an opportunity to swim!
They took us to lunch afterwards and we had a delightful day together. Thanks, Kevin and Dee!
I had a nature moment on the boat… one of those, “Ahhhh, aren’t they cute” spectacles that caused me to run for the “good” camera!
Yeah, not so cute any more…followed by….
Ems cleaning the bird dirt off of the bow. Sigh. Followed by…
Me totally stealing another boat’s idea to tie an extremely tacky looking plastic bag to the rail providing just enough flapping in the wind to make it a less peaceful place for our feathered friends to frolick.
And just a couple of other sights around Newport to close us out here…
So being away from Annapolis makes us a little homesick, but being in Newport is the next best thing! But it’s about time to think about heading back…