Blackjack!

My time in Massachusetts ended on Tuesday morning when I departed the Crowne Plaza, paid one last toll on Mass Pike (I can’t begin to add up the amount of money I spent on tolls in MA) and headed south for Rhode Island.  I had thought about heading to Cape Cod or taking the ferry to Nantucket or Martha’s Vineyard but with temperatures dropping, I figured sitting on a ferry and then wandering around an island probably wouldn’t be a lot of fun.  So will have to see these places another time.

I’m proud to announce that Rhode Island is my 21st state on this journey!  And even though it’s the smallest state in the union (even smaller than Hawaii), the capital is quite impressive and the downtown Providence area quite pretty.

After a quick stop to the visitors center for advice, I re-parked the MoHo and Juno and I had a lovely stroll around historic Providence.  The church is the oldest Baptist church in America, founded in 1638.  The building here was open for business beginning in 1775  – and clearly in much better shape than the poor Mayflower 2 in Plymouth which is falling apart after only 60 years.

Just up the hill from the church is Brown University so that was our next stop.  Side note:   I had applied to Brown early admission but wasn’t accepted.  I found this interesting considering I had never visited the campus.  Not sure why I chose this school for admittance but think how different my life would have been had I been accepted.  Maybe I’d feel better about living in a place that has real winters had I gone there?  Then again, maybe not.

The campus was beautiful – more picturesque than Harvard, IMO.  The main gates are only open twice a year – inward on the first day of school and outward on the last day.  Despite my four years of Latin, no clue what the sign on the bottom right meant, so I looked it up:

“Haec studia adolescentium alunt, senectutem oblectant, secundas res ornant, adversis perfugium ac solacium praebent,” translated, “These studies fortify one’s youth, delight one’s old age; amid success they are an ornament, in failure they are a refuge and a comfort.”    The quote is from Cicero

The nice thing about Rhode Island is because it’s so small, it only takes a few minutes to drive across the state.   I posted up in Narragansett for the last two nights at a nice state park that only cost $25 per night.

I spent all day yesterday in Newport and absolutely loved the town. I toured two of the Newport Mansions – The Breakers (upper left and top right) and Marble House (middle right). The house in the bottom pic is Rosecliff.  I wanted to see the Topiary Gardens but sadly those were closed for the season.

I should mention that trying to get a complete picture of The Breakers was basically impossible as the house is so gigantic that I couldn’t fit the entire thing into the frame.  The tours are self-guided and I learned a lot about the Vanderbilts, as well as the house and how it was kept up.  For example, there was a footman whose only job was to wind the clocks.  Here are a few of the pictures of the interior – the entry hall, the dining room, the kitchen, the view from the second story and the morning room (the muses are accented with platinum which is why they have never faded):

Marble House, while not nearly as large as The Breakers, was still impressive in its own right.  The Gothic Room was truly unique and the grand salon is done in actual 22-carat gold. The picture in the lower right details the amount of staff required to run the house.

Anyway, it was a really good thing I spent yesterday in Newport because today the temperature hasn’t gotten out of the 30’s and it’s raining.  I’m back in Connecticut now and Juno is getting groomed today in Mystic.  I foresee a visit to Mystic Pizza in my future… But for now, I’m drinking tea in the MoHo and just trying to stay warm and dry.

State count: Blackjack!

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