Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Big Cruise--Newport, RI



The last stop on our cruise was Newport, Rhode Island. Newport is another big East Coast vacation spot, and summer home of the rich and famous, current and past. Think F. Scott Fizgerald, the Gilded Age, the Great Gatsby, Vanderbilts, etc. The distinguishing features of Newport are boats and mansions.

Entering the Newport harbor, there were zillions of boats, little and especially big.





This was my favorite, right in the center of the harbor...


After getting ashore, we'd arranged a bus tour of the famous mansions lining the coastline of Newport. I noticed right away that from the street, most mansions were hidden by foliage. The tour then stopped for a 1.5 hour tour of a single mansion (boring!)... so, consulting my local map, I took off for the 3.5 mile cliff walk along the coast. What I found was... mansions! Of course, the mansions were built with unobstructed ocean views, so hiking along the coast trail exposed them to my camera. So here are a zillion mansions, with a few coastal views to break things up.







One mansion had its own oriental tea house... now serving tourists expensive sandwiches...









Here's and info sign concerning some of the more distinguished mansions.


Along the cliff walk, I did find a path back to the main street where the tour bus was parked. Damn if I wasn't a great hiker... I was soon back on the bus headed for the famous Breakers mansion, summer home of the Vanderbilts. What an example of conspicuous consumption! These people were mad with their wealth. I could have lived in just one of the spacious rooms.



The tour bus took us back to the docks via the funky and preserved downtown of Newport, then it was back on the BFB and off to NYC and a plane from JFK to SLC.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Big Cruise--Boston



The big fucking boat cruised into Boston. Suddenly we had a zillion possible things to do, and we didn't know what to do! Finally, Miriam decided on the Isabella Stuart Gardner Museum, which was a beautiful if curious place... but didn't have any art after about 1400... We didn't know at the time that this museum was involved in the biggest art heist in history (do a web search... a zillion entries). But we didn't stay long, and, after passing Fenway Park...


...it was off to the Quincy Market downtown for lunch and cheap thrills (see punk Houdini below).






We had to be back on the BFB kinda early, but as we left the dock, we passed some cool stuff. First, Logan International Airport (and a scary tourist boat).



The Boston docks area fascinated me (as usual... cranes and boats and storage (check the symmetry of the grain elevators)... commerce on a crazed level).





Then there was this fort protecting the entrance to the harbor.


Then goodbye to Boston.


A couple lighthouses, and out to sea.




The Big Cruise--Bar Harbor



Our next stop was Bar Harbor, Maine... a kinda upscale vacation spot, still somewhat quaint within its heavily forested environs. I enjoyed the village, however, but it was kinda maddening... a small town overrun with 3000 cruise ship tourists. Still, a beautiful bay with lots of sailing and other boats, and a nice walk along the beach.



There are a million inns, lodges, and B&Bs serving the summer vacationers. Here's one of the most classic and most beautiful.


Along the beach, we ran across a summer pre-school program with these cute, color coordinated, kids...


As a farewell to Bar Harbor, another lighthouse pic...


The Big Cruise--Saint John

I have to admit... Saint John did not impress me much. Maybe it was the drizzly weather, but the town seemed dingy, and hurting... a fishing village without fish. The historic area of Victorian houses had some nice examples, but wasn't that great... Lunch wasn't very good and the local beer was disappointing as well. Or maybe I had a bad day... Anyway, I do have pics, and maybe in retrospect Saint John will improve in my mind.

First, a few old churches, one of which was up for sale...




Now for some of the better Victorian homes I found.








There was a good effort going on to update the downtown area with a couple nicely done, interconnected, indoor malls and an extensive indoor farmer's market. However, this left a couple classic buildings partially empty.



So I wasn't sad to leave this place. I'm sure it is more interesting than I've indicated in this post. And the Bay of Fundy is certainly beautiful. Someday, given the chance, I'll try Saint John again.