Dwight Peck's personal website

Winter 2005-2006

Short breaks from poring over the newspapers as the Bushies implode

You 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.

An autumn trip to the USA
(not to the embarrassing parts of it, though)

Jamestown, Narragansett, Galilee on a rainy day

Kristin 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.

The consensus 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 meantime.)

We're 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.)

These 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.

The 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.

Green's Inn 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 recall.

A 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.

Now let's move on to the south coast.

We're 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.

There 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.

But not unmindful of Kristin shivering under the WWF umbrella waiting for us.

A very chilly, rainy day on the beach of Galilee, 30 November 2005; good thing Kristin's got the car's defroster going.

Best 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.

Here's 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.

And now 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.

Trip to carefully selected parts of the USA,
November 2005

Boston: Jamaica Pond, Blue Hills

Newport, Rhode Island

Jamestown, Narragansett, Galilee

Brookline and the Bosnian diner in Somerville

Feedback and suggestions are welcome if positive, resented if negative, . All rights reserved, all wrongs avenged. Posted 1 February 2006, revised 15 November 2007, 15 August 2014.

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