We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
If I claim that there is no more saiboaty place in the US than Newport, RI in June, I know somebody will argue for San Francisco or Annapolis. All I can claim is that I have never seen as many lovely or majestic sailboats anywhere as I did in Newport this weekend.
I will share some of my pics this week, at the risk of producing boredom. It's an interesting salty 3-day getaway spot with plenty to do besides sitting and watching the scenery.
For those not familiar with this famous New England seaport summering spot, it sits on the southernmost part of Aquidneck Island (once known as "Rhode Island"), helping to define Narragansett Bay. It's about 30 miles south of Providence. Newport has a giant, well-protected harbor and, in the 1700s, was one of the 5 busiest harbors in North America - a major factor in the "Triangle Trade," in privateering, piracy, and general trade.
Newport, like all of Rhode Island, was settled in the 1600s by refugees from Massachusetts. The town was fortunate in having had no major fires during its history (although the Brits were tough on the town until the French navy chased them off), so large parts of its entire architectural history is well-preserved - predominantly early to mid 1700s dwellings and taverns.
Because it sits on the Atlantic, but guards the entrance of the Bay, it has been a naturally air-conditioned popular and fashionable summering spot since the 1730s. While it may be most famous for its Gilded Age summer "cottages," these ostentatious European palace imitations are not of much interest to me (but I don't mind the Shingle Style ones). However, Newport still has a considerable High Society, old money contingent. It's a good mix, but free of low-lifes and hippie-looking people. Preppy and wholesome mostly, but with a hedonistic flavoring to it. Nothing tacky about it.
Because of its night life, charm, and excellent harbor facilities, Newport remains a standard stop for those cruising the New England coast. Thames St. along the piers is one pub or open-air bar or restaurant after another. Lots of seafood, and Kobe beef for the rare seafood-avoidant. The boaters are known to get rambunctious at night: it is expected. John Hiatt and his group were playing at one of the open-air places on Sat. night, and you could hear him for blocks. Not bad at all.
Beaches? Newport has only a few, but the best are small and are owned by exclusive private clubs. It is not a very beachy place. It's a rocky coastline. People swim by diving off docks and boats.
Photo on top is a 1720s dwelling in the Point area, near the causeway to Goat Island. Photo below is the rear view of one of the Gilded Age cottages along Bellevue Avenue, from the Cliff Walk.
"as many lovely or majestic sailboats anywhere as I did in Newport this weekend."
At this moment, the S.F. Bay is no-doubt littered with sailcraft, but most will be small and/or cheap. Any comparable spot on the East Coast will have not only bigger boats, but more finely crafted. Crafted crafts, I craftily note. But that's the big dif that I spot -- overall quality.
The scenery is amazing, but like you say, there is so much more to do here (even during the winter). Touring historic Fort Adams is a great way to spend an afternoon (great kids activity), or if you're here to party, St. Patrick's Day and the 4th of July are crazy.
The Tennis Hall of Fame is pretty cool too, even if you're not a huge tennis fan.