Sunday, October 11, 2009
First port - Newport Rhode Island
First Port: Newport, Rhode Island
The Caribbean Princess arrived in Newport, Rhode Island at dawn this morning with the Pell Bridge brilliantly lit up as if to welcome us. I didn’t know much about Newport but this place is older than dirt. We actually walked by a tavern, the White Horse Inn that was established in 1673. That’s a long time ago.
This little state, which is about the size of the greater Houston area, (i.e., Conroe to Galveston) goes back to 1663. It was founded by Roger Williams in the name of political and religious freedom. Seems like old Roger thought the strict Puritans in Massachusetts were too legalistic. Rhode Island soon became a place where piracy and smuggling thrived. They really hated the British king for imposing a tax on their imported sugar and molasses and exported rum. Later this place became famous because the rich and famous built some huge estates here, notably Cornelius Vanderbilt.
M.A. and I started our day at the breakfast buffet after which we followed the signs to the tender boat departure area. There is no dock to accommodate the Caribbean Princess so it anchored in the harbor and you go ashore in groups of about a hundred at a time on these tender shuttles.
Once on dry land, we walked around the local yacht harbor. MA picked out one with for her retirement someday, as sort of an advance present. I tried to find a salesman but unfortunately for me they were closed on Sunday. I told her that we would look around a little more and to just be patient. These yachts are really small ships. They actually have their own versions of “tenders” attached to them that in reality are larger than some of the boats you see in Galveston Bay.
We located the local visitor center, found a map and decided to grab a bus to the “Breakers” where all the famous Rhode Island mansions are to be found. We hopped aboard #67 and got off at the “Cliff Walk”. This 3 ½ mile trail along the cliffs overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and it takes you behind some of the mansions and trust me, they are huge. We finished at the Cornelius Vanderbilt Estate and walked back to the bus stop to get back to town.
One of our table friends said not to miss having a bowl of clam chowder, so we stopped at a small restaurant and had a bowl of the stuff. I am not impressed. I’ll take some Texas chili any day over clam chowder!
We didn’t want to miss lunch of course and a nap, so back to the dock area we went, grabbing a shuttle tender back to the ship. Later found the Fox NFL game and enjoyed a fine Sunday afternoon. Tonight is formal night so we’ll get all dressed up for that.
Next port of call: Boston! Later!