may not find this terribly rewarding unless you're included here, so this is a
good time for casual and random browsers to turn back before they get too caught
up in the sweep and majesty of the proceedings and can't let go.
autumn trip to the USA
to the embarrassing parts of it, though)
Narragansett, Galilee on a rainy day
captures the essence of planning our holidays for late November. We've come over
to visit Jamestown, Rhode Island, in the middle of Narragansett Bay, and even
our umbrella is cutting up rough.
of the meeting is that we should fold up our WWF umbrellas and come back to Jamestown
another day. When the storm's over. (And look into replacing the umbrella in the
on to Narragansett, then, on the mainland of Rhode Island (is that a paradox?)
* . . . FOR LUNCH. In the Coast Guard House restaurant,
which in the heyday of Narragansett used to be the Coast Guard house, duh. Not
a bad lunch at all, with the rain beating upon the windows and what not (might
have preferred a bratwurst and a beer, but you take what you can get).
The main island in the Orkney Islands, home of the capital Kirkwall,
is called Mainland.)
are the famous Narragansett Towers on the pier, just next door, all that's left
of the Casino Resort that drew the Idle Rich from all over New England and New
York City in the Victorian "gilded age" (or "Guilded Age",
as the brochure says), the gateway to a world of casinos, polo, tennis, beaches,
boating, gourmet restaurants, cards, shooting, billiards, bowling, theatre, a
bandstand and a ballroom, and palatial hotels that seduced people off the New
York-to-Boston train before they could get as far as the docks for the steamer-ferry
across to Newport.
shingly Casino was built 1883-1886, with landscaping by (you guessed it) Frederick
Law Olmsted, but burnt to the ground on 12 September 1900, leaving only the stone
towers behind. (Everything's changed since 9/12!)
The Casino was rebuilt in 1905 and the Towers renovated in 1910, but the Narragansett
society noon had become early evening, and in 1965 another fire put paid to the
big dreams. The Towers (being nonflammable) stand as a landmark and are hired
out for elegant parties and receptions.
was such another grand old place, dating at least from 1902, much appreciated
by students of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston in the mid-1970s for
TGIF parties, until it, too, burnt down in about 1976, this narrator seems to
silly but entertaining contrast between the holiday social life of Newport and
Narragansett in 1902 can be found in the odd book "Two Thousand Miles on
an Automobile" by a man called "Chauffeur", who was actually Arthur
Jerome Eddy, 1859-1920, art collector and friend of Whistler. I've
reprinted an excerpt here.
let's move on to the south coast.
plunging on in the rain (one of us driving, the other reading The New York Times
with his feet up on the dashboard) to Galilee, Rhode
Island, grim, rainy, and windswept in what's distinctly not its best season
of the year. It's the second largest fishing port in New England and the terminus
for the Block Island ferry, and a special place for the present narrator because
of the rock jetty.
are quite poignant memories of time spent with one's late daughter on the rocks
of the jetty, and the narrator has been privileged to be able to revisit the place
twice in later years, and stare long at it again.
not unmindful of Kristin shivering under the WWF umbrella waiting for us.
very chilly, rainy day on the beach of Galilee, 30 November 2005; good thing Kristin's
got the car's defroster going.
fried clams in New England (one recalls), but not today. We're headed back to
Newport, but by way of the Great Swamp and Kingston, home of the University of
Rhode Island and its famous library school (or rather "Graduate School of
Library and Information Studies - GSLIS"), for a quick decennial look-in.
a lovely suburban "ranch"-style house in the rain, just down the road
from the campus of the University of Rhode Island in Kingston. In fact, it looks
familiar, and it should. We lived
there from 1975 to 1977, no WONDER it looks familiar. It doesn't take much to
jog the old memory these days.
we're out of the rain, back in the Harborside Inn in Newport, anticipating a pigout
at "Le Bistro" across the road, checking out Raw Story and the BBC News in case we might have missed anything in the past few hours. News is
breaking fast these days.