The Crankshaws Meet the (old) 1%

Moving on in our New England exploration, we find ourselves in Newport, RI.  The drive from North Adams was fairly short – still not much indication that October is here.20150927_121144 There just isn’t any color out here. Our time in Newport was spent in 80 degree, humid weather. We’re unsure if this is weather as usual around here, or if it’s some weird abberation. In any case, we wish it would cool down a bit.

We lucked out with our campground choice for this stop. Without much information, we chose Melville Ponds CG in Hope Valley – about 8 miles from Newport. It was a gem. Don’t think I would want to be there in the middle of the summer though when it’s crowded – there seemed to be very few bathrooms and showers for the number of sites in the park.  But, for this time of year, it was perfect.

Newport is a city of extreme contrasts. We pedaled into the city on our first full day there, across an extremely complex route. We love Google navigation – never would we have figured out how to get to the places we want to be via bike without it. It has become an indispensible tool for us in strange places.

We pedaled through a neighborhood of tired duplexes which were located very near the Naval Station. A few toys were scattered in some yards, landscaping and flowers were nonexistent. Twenty turns, and five miles later, we’re in downtown Newport.20150929_12213920150928_112331 wpid-20150928_114029.jpgPrim Colonial homes in impeccable condition line narrow streets, showcasing their glorious late summer blooms. It’s a visual delight.20150928_11304620150928_11342920150928_11314920150928_114458 I never seem to get tired of streets and views like this. We passed St. Mary’s Church, where JFK and Jackie were married in 1953.20150928_11423720150929_122436 Another curiousity in Newport was a croquet lawn, located at the Tennis Hall of Fame. We briefly watched three elderly players, dressed in their proper whites, whacking the wooden balls with their elaborate mallets. Genteel to the extreme.20150928_14440920150928_144745But, our main quarry for the day was to wander the Cliff Walk, a 3.5 mile (one way) meander alongside the famous mansions of Newport.20150928_103406 These magnificent summer ‘cottages’ were built in the late 1800s and into the early 1900s. Many have undergone several renovations. The most famous of these mansions undoubtedly is The Breakers.20150928_123646 Built by Cornelius Vanderbilt, it’s a staggering display of wealth and oppulence. Currently, the Breakers, as well as several lesser-known, and slightly less extravagent homes is owned by the Newport Preservation Society, and is open to the public for tours. We elected not to tour (although I’d love to go back and do that sometime), but to gawk at the magnificent exteriors and beautiful setting of these homes along the Cliff. Incredible as it may be, most of these homes are still privately owned. This truly is the old 1% in action – the upkeep on these palaces must be staggering. I really cannot imagine life on this scale. 20150928_14260720150928_12312920150928_12045620150928_12584120150928_13525720150928_13380620150928_135143The first portion of the Cliff Walk, where we chained up our bikes, it an easy-to-walk, paved path, accommodting strollers of all ages and abilities. The problem we had was that it was beastly hot and humid. Here we are, walking along a cliff on the Atlantic ocean on September 29, and it was absolutely airless. We plodded along, stopping to admire the homes and the spectacular view. 20150928_12421020150928_12390620150928_12100620150928_130400The easy paved path ended somewhere past the Breakers, and the next two miles involved scrambling over a seawall of huge boulders. 20150928_130422We struggled – so hot! And, naturally, we hadn’t brought water along. We finally got to the end, hoping to find a spot to grab a bottle of water. Nope. We had to walk another 3+ miles back to our bikes. We grabbed cold bottled water at the first party store we came to, and had most of it downed before it was even paid for it. Will we ever learn?

After breaking camp the next morning, we decided to wander down to the wharf, since that was one area we hadn’t seen the previous day. We saw an obviously damaged wooden sailing ship in drydock called the Providence. 20150929_120011The huge wooden mast was snapped off. Apparently, the ship fell off its cradle during a blizzard last winter, shearing the mast.The Providence was the official Tall Ship for Rhode Island, built for the 1976 Bicentennial. News reports in the winter said that the ship would be repaired, and ready to go by summer, but apparently those plans went awry.

Now that our time here is up, I’m sad that we didn’t plan to stay longer. There really is more ground to cover than we could manage with the short time we had. Although we travel at a very leisurely pace compared to most campers we know, there still just isn’t enough time to squeeze everything in. So much to see, so little time. Story of my life.


18 thoughts on “The Crankshaws Meet the (old) 1%

  1. So that’s how the 1% live, pretty amazing, I wouldn’t mind giving it a try. ;)

    I’m surprised that they allow the public to get that close to the “cottages”, what with the possibilities of some one with crime in mind getting access to those homes.


    • Most of the homes have large high iron fences between their property edge and the Cliff Walk. So, it looks like there’s just a line of shrubbery there, but mostly it’s fortified directly behind the greenery. I really cannot imagine what it would be like to live in such opulence. Wouldn’t it be scary to ever leave home?

      But, when you decide to join the 1%, let me know. I’ll come over a visit.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. As you’ve been traveling, you’ve been surprised about the lack of fall color. The fall colors are coming on *very* slowly here in the Upper Peninsula–we just had our first consecutive nights of frost yesterday and today. Nat’l Weather service is saying that the unseasonably warm nights, in combination with ample rain, is pushing peak colors back by at least a week–if not more (though hard to say, because last year the colors came on early!). I follow some nature-loving blogs from the East coast (Maine) and their weather has been pretty much the same as ours (though a few days later), so I’m thinking they’re in the same boat as far all fall colors. Enjoy your trip–I love traveling through your blog and daydreaming about hitting some of those destinations with my husband and kids. We’re getting close to them being able to handle all of the car time (one is 6yo and the other is 4yo).


    • So, were just not stuck in a colorless void here? Is that what you’re telling me? If you’re in the UP and are just starting to get color, I guess that’s so. Bummer, because we had hoped to catch color season while we are still East. Now it sounds like well be back home,and can watch it fall into our yard.

      This has been a very different trip for us – we’ve never had such an urban adventure before. So much of the stuff we saw in the Boston area are things that I first learned about in elementary school. Your kids will probably be learning the same stuff soon. Sightseeing here is the best.

      Thanks for checking in, Jill. You’ve got so many wonderful spots to camp in the UP. You just have that really long winter to deal with!


    • Thanks, Jen. The water hasn’t drained off our campsite here at all from rain two days ago. Our awning stakes are below water, and half our patio mat is actually floating. Packing up tomorrow morning will be ugly – more rain coming in this afternoon….


  3. Truly stunning homes! I totally would have dragged my Jon on a tour of the Breakers though. You never know when you’ll be back to someplace! I wonder if those folks would mind if I knocked on their gates and asked if they would be my anonymous benefactor? They seem to have extra… :)


    • Not taking a Breakers tour was more a time issue than anything else. I’ve seen a few photos, and it’s grandiose on an over the top scale. We dawdle over the most trivial of things, then run out of time for the big stuff. Happens every time.

      Guess that’s why I was so amazed at the distance you and Jon covered in a short period on your Colorado trip. Endurance like that is beyond us!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Newport is an amazing display of wealth back in the day. We went through there a couple years back (when we ran into you all in Maine), but weren’t able to stick around very long. Pulled our T@B through a 10K race. Perhaps a future vacation.


    • So, the T@B won the race, right? Have you gotten your new one yet? I was thinking that a new T@B is one helluva birthday present.

      I’m still mentally working on my response to your trip planning question. As of today, we’ve run through our planned itinerary. For the next few days, we’re just going to move off the coast and see if we can get away from Joaquin. Think its going to be rainrainrain no matter where we go.


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