Published: November 10th 2007November 6th 2007
A Very Fast Boat
Obfuscator writes: Now, to be fair, almost any place will look worse, and be less interesting if it rains during the entirety of your stay there. That said, considering how pricey I've heard Rhode Island is, I was expecting a much nicer place. It's also tiny. We arrived in Woonsocket, RI in the previous night, and looked for a motel there, perhaps against our better judgment, since Woonsocket had a distinct and unpleasant odor. We found a motel without too much effort, but I think by that point we had already crossed back into Massachusetts. To put things in perspective even more, the scale on the map for Rhode Island goes up to 4 miles. Everything on the map should be measured in one mile increments.
We left our motel after enjoying a continental breakfast (not one of the ones with waffles), and set off for Newport and the actual island of Rhode Island. Newport, if you're not aware, is home to some of the most expensive mansions and estates in the United States. Always prepared to capitalize on anything, some crafty people have opened these mansions to tourists, so that they can open up their wallets to the billionaires
who had them built. These palatial estates were impressive, even in the rain. Most of them were closed for the season, which was too bad, since we could have enjoyed the indoorsyness of it all on a day like this. Of course, we did find a few that were open this time of year, but they were exorbitantly expensive, so we drove on.
Newport has some stunning shoreline amidst its mansions. Craggy rocks jut out into the ocean, and funny little islands with buildings on them dot the water passage between Newport and the mainland. In some ways, it was actually probably prettier with the foul weather. It seemed somehow appropriate. That said, it was not photogenic, so there's little evidence of our passage. We saw signs for Fort Adams, and decided that it was worth a shot. It turned out, rather unsurprisingly, to be closed, but it looked pretty interesting. It's also near the Eisenhower House, which also turned out to be closed. Newport was, in other words, more or less a total bust.
We headed back to the mainland of the state, and up into Providence to see the capitol. Providence seems a little down at
the heel, and didn't strike us as a particularly nice city. To its credit, it comes equipped with an outstanding statehouse though. Apparently Rhode Island is one of those states that rebuilt their Statehouse about a hundred years ago, when it decided that its old one just wasn't nice enough, but unlike some newer Statehouses, they did theirs right. It has really great lines and symmetry, and nice chambers for their Senate, House, and Governor.
Following our exploration of the capitol, we attempted to find the home of Gen. Nathaniel Greene, the Great Swamp Fight Monument, and the Royal Indian Burial Ground. Rhode Island, it turns out, doesn't believe in erecting any sorts of signs. Their roads are largely unmarked, and their historic sites are apparently the most fun if you're not able to find them. After lots of turning around and looking over the same stretches of road over and over again, we simply gave up on Rhode Island. Any state that makes these things that appear on the atlas so hard to find obviously doesn't want you to visit them. Couple this with the weather, and we were ready to leave.
We drove on into Connecticut,
and through Mystic. It didn't seem to have much to offer, so we mosied along until we got near New London. Since Connecticut only had camping sites on the other side of the state, we acquired a motel room, and ate some pretty hearty ribs in a nearby rib joint.
There are more photos below