Newport, Rhode Island - Saturday, June 28
Rand and Marcia have planned to show us around today, so after breakfast we left in their SUV for a drive to Wickford, the nearby town where their marina and their boat are located. It’s a picturesque little community and very pretty and inviting. Before stopping in town we went first to their boat. There is an air show today and they were hoping it will be visible from the marina.
Their boat is named Huntress, and she’s a beauty. They invited us aboard and showed us the boat, then since the air show was not really doing much yet we returned to town and did some gift shopping while we were looking around. It’s a very nice village and there were a lot of nice things in the stores.
We returned to the boat and enjoyed a delicious lunch of barbequed hot dogs while we kept watching for some activity at the air show, but except for a flight of helicopters that kept circling, everything else was too low to see. Since nothing much was happening there, they decided to take us to see Newport, and on the way we stopped at the restored and preserved Snuff Mill where the artist Gilbert Stuart was born. It’s a lovely group of old buildings and mills, with a shady and serene mill pond beside it.
From there we continued on to Newport, crossing a graceful suspension bridge on the way. We went first to the Newport Art Museum, which is housed in an elegant building that dates back to the Civil War. It has beautiful polished wood floors, and in each gallery the wood is different in design. There were some fine paintings, and a show of an artist Rand and Marcia especially like. I liked her work too - a painterly blend of realism and abstraction that worked very well.
Next door to the art museum is the Newport Library, a real treasure of both architecture and history. It dates back to the American Revolution, and while they don’t think George Washington ever entered the building, they believe he saw it and patterned some of Mount Vernon after it, and there is a fine statue of Washington in front of it. They have some eight of Gilbert Stuart’s paintings in their collection.
It’s a wonderful mixture of museum and working library, with the latest magazines and periodicals spread out for use on tables overlooked by period paintings of Andrew Jackson and George Washington. From the library Rand took us on a drive to see the ocean beaches. The fog was coming in and while it obscured the view somewhat, it gave a lovely mood to the rocks and water.
We returned to their house having seen and done a lot for one day. Rand made a wonderful clam linguini, and Madolyn made fruit salad and brought asparagus. Rand also steamed a huge pot of clams and mussels for appetizers, and we topped off a great day with and equally great meal. Did I say how lucky we are to have such wonderful friends?