Ross: Hey Mom. Can I tell the people about the Cliff Walk?
Cathy: Well, if you want to wait a few minutes. I was just starting to write about Newport, so you can talk about that part of the city. Just lie down and be patient.
Ross: Okay. Always gotta wait.
Cathy: Before visiting Newport, Rhode Island, I expected to see mansions from the “Gilded Age” (1870-1900) as well as sailboats and yachts along a rocky coastline much like Maine.
What I didn’t expect to find was a lot of farms and agriculture. Newport is located on Aquidneck Island where rich, though rocky, soil supports a variety of farms. As we drove around, we saw dairy and cattle farms, equestrian estates, flower gardens and many small farms. Fencing was made from the rocks that had to be removed from fields before making them profitable.
Though it was hard to choose which to visit, we went to Sweetberries Farm for lunch and because they were featuring you pick raspberries. We had delicious sandwiches and soup as well as homemade cookies before visiting the raspberry patch. Raspberries are so pretty with their deep red against bright green leaves. I settled for a pint knowing that our tiny camping fridge can’t hold much, but I wished for a large kitchen where we could have made preserves. They were so good and added to my morning smoothies for a couple of days.
We also did the usual tourist things joining a trolley tour for a trip around the island and on Ocean Avenue to see the mansions. We learned the location of Jay Leno’s house (distinguished by multiple chimneys), watched children learn to sail, and drove past beaches that require a much-coveted membership.
We also visited the Newport Car Museum, consisting of the large automobile collection of one man. When I visit a museum, I can’t take my historian hat off and look at the furnishings, artifacts, labels, panels, and lighting. The labelling was some of the best I have seen consisting of a short sentence or two about the importance of the car, a longer statement putting the car into historic perspective as well as talking about its production and a list of stats about the car including type of engine and number made. The labels appealed to those who just wanted to know why the car was special as well as those who wanted more details
I fell in love with two cars. The first, a soft yellow 1954 Buick Skylark convertible. It was beautiful from all sides, with just the beginning of fins which were popular on the backs of late 1950s cars. And of course, having had two Dobermans named Sky Lark (one Sky and one Lark), I was partial to the name. The other was just the opposite of the Buick, a bright red, tiny Isetta 300 BMW. Built on a motorcycle frame, it was barely big enough for a driver and passenger. It opened from the front, so you climbed in and scooted behind the wheel!
I think the highlight of our stay in Newport was the Cliff Walk which Ross wants to tell you about. Ross. Ross. ROSS! Wake up! It’s your turn.
Ross: Oh, okay. Um. What was I going to talk about?
Cathy: The Cliff Walk.
Ross: Oh, yeah right. The Cliff Walk is dog friendly. We passed lots of dogs out for a walk with their humans. We went late in the afternoon before supper because it was cooler. Boy, I miss the nice weather of Maine. Its hot here. Anyway, the Cliff Walk runs along the eastern shore of Newport. It’s a National Recreation Trail in a National Historic District. That means it’s important to history which made mom eager to see it. It runs between the ocean and the “cottages” of rich people built about 150 years ago. They call them cottages, but they were huge mansions made of wood, marble, and granite. They were built during a time that some people were making a lot of money building new industries and making inventions. Some people say that those people made American what it is today. Whatever.
The trail is 3 ½ miles but the southern end is very rocky and rough, so we just went the first part about 1 ½ miles each way. That was plenty, my poor foot pads were hurting when we were done.
We started on the northern end at Easton’s Beach. I was upset that I couldn’t get on the beach. I jumped up on the wall and tried to get over, but Mom jerked me back. She says in times other than summer, dogs can visit the beach, but in the summer, we can only go very very early in the morning. That’s never going to happen because my mom likes to sleep LATE. I thought the time restriction was dumb because the beach was not all that crowded, and I don’t take up that much room anyway. But, nooo. We had to get up on the walk.
Another dumb thing was that the houses we went to see were covered up by big hedges so we could see them at all! Even where there were gates that we might have peeked through, they had a double row of trees; they really didn’t want us looking at their house!
So, we focused on the views of the ocean. There were some footpaths that went off the trail and down the cliffs below. I kept trying to go down them, but there were signs that showed a person falling off the rocks and Mom wouldn’t let me go. It was a person dropping off, not a dog!
Finally, we got to a section where we could see some of the houses. Mom was all excited. She took a lot of pictures. Dad was more interested in the fire trucks at the cliff which had a ladder hanging over the trail and the cliffs. We couldn’t see what they were doing, but Mom said that they were probably looking for a dog that went over the side. Yeah right.
That’s when we turned around and went back to Easton’s Beach where I still couldn’t swim even though there were even less people on the beach. So, if you like to walk, try the Cliff Walk. If you want to swim, wake your human up before the sun rises so you can go to the beach.
Cathy: Thanks, Ross. I think.