Category Archives: Rhode Island

Happy Birthday USCG – The Eagle has Landed!

Well, happy birthday to our United States Coast Guard – 222 today! Looking great…….thanks for protecting our shores and helping to keep us safe.

 

The USCG Cutter Eagle normally homeports in New London, CT at the USCG Academy, but has been moored at US State Pier 9 on Long Wharf in Newport, RI this weekend. I really wanted to get the chance to visit while it was open to the public, and I was glad to make it down there, despite mid-90s heat and a fair bit of humidity!

Tall Ship Eagle – a beautiful three-masted sailing Barque, and the only square-rigged sailing ship in US government service – acts as a training ship for our USCG Academy cadets.

Apparently Eagle was built in 1936 in Hamburg, Germany as a training ship for German Navy cadets, but after WWII was taken by the US as a war prize!

And what a prize indeed – a beautiful ship.

Happy birthday once again – thanks to all who serve in the USCG!

High As A Kite

This past weekend when I was in Newport, I also got to enjoy their annual Kite Festival.

It was just the perfect day for it – beautifully sunny, and with a wicked ocean wind to whip those kites around.

The festival is free to attend – it’s held at Brenton Point State Park, the most southern tip of the town. The park is literally on the ocean front, so the views out onto the Atlantic are amazing – a great location for the festival. Just about every day during the summer months you’ll find someone there flying their kite, but the festival weekend is something else to witness.

The place was hopping with visitors, and parking was quite an event, but I managed to find somewhere before too long. The lucky ones came by spaceship…..

Some kite clubs attend, and put on cool demonstrations with enormous kites which are always fun to see. And there are usually various events through the day, especially for the kids – kite lessons, the candy drop, face painting, kite ballets, and games, etc.

Kitt Kites is the company whch has organized the event since 2009 now – the gentleman who owns the company spends about $8,000 to host the event, but it’s completely free attend – what a great gesture!

And with the spectacular ocean views along Ocean Drive, and thousands of colorful kites flying high throughout the weekend, who wouldn’t want to spend some time there!

Civil Unrest

Another beautiful weekend, and more importantly, another work-free weekend for me. I could get used to these, but I’d better not!

I was particularly excited to be heading down to Newport, RI again because it was time for Fort Adams to host its Civil War Reenactment Weekend.

Now we all know the ending to that story, but that never stops me getting to any reenactment within reasonable driving distance!

And there’s nothing like watching the Civil War unfold with few-million-dollar yachts in the background on Narragansett Bay! A tad surreal…..

I just love these things, and it was a good excuse to be able to get inside the grounds of the Fort, which aren’t typically open to your average yahoo like me. Plus, I’ve been missing my weekend jaunts and picnics around the Fort – it’s been closed up to the public in recent weeks due to the America’s Cup being held there, and then even after it ended, lots of the boats and gear remained onsite for a while. So the place has been off-limits for a few weekends.

July tends to be festival season down there, with various things going on at the Fort much of the time that prevent you getting in to just walk around.

I always love watching reenactments – the reenactors are always so enthusiastic about their work, and take it very seriously. So cool!

Can’t say I’d enjoy wearing those big uniforms and outfits in 90 degree weather though – I was melting in my sundress, so I can only imagine how insane I’d feel in such heavy gear. And clearly this young lady was feeling the heat as I caught her paddling in the water after the Confederate surrender!

Hope you all had a nice weekend, and hopefully stayed cool somehow.

 

 

Tall Ships & Baseball

Last weekend was heavenly. I had the whole weekend off – no work interference. I headed down to Newport, RI after work on Friday, and enjoyed a lovely day and a half there.

The Tall Ships were in town over the weekend, so I had to get a glimpse of their glamour.

The town was just hopping, as you can imagine. Newport is busy enough in July at the best of times, but throw in some big ships & you’ll find traffic queues that are unimaginable.

The weekend brought some baseball too. The Newport Gulls were playing on their home turf – they’re a summer collegiate team, and tickets are a hefty $5!

It was actually the first time I’d ever been to a Gulls game, and I was so surprised to find the park quite full – really nice!

It must be great for the young kids (I doubt anyone on the team was over 21) who play to see so much support from the town.

Sunday was a beautiful day here in Massachusetts – actually a wee bit too hot for me, but I coped admirably. I met up with a couple of friends for lunch – hadn’t seen them in a few months, so it was lovely to catch up. Especially because I’d had to miss their wedding in Maine at the beginning of June since I had to go to my exam committee meeting in Fort Collins, Colorado. Sadly that was a date fixed in stone, and I had to be there because I head up one of the exam sections so had to present my draft. Such a bummer to miss your friends’ wedding. But it was nice to see them on Sunday and hear all their news.

And did I tell you how great it was not to do any work all weekend?

Happy Birthday America!

Hope you all have a wonderful July 4th celebration!

It’s raining cats and dogs here in the Boston Metropolitan region, but there will still be history and celebration to be had today!

 

Goodbye June

Well I hope July is a little less chaotic, that’s all I can say.

June took a nosedive as the 2nd week began. I knew it was going to be busy – I had a work-related trip to Fort Collins, Colorado. My annual exam committee meeting where we put together the certifying exam for the specialty field in which I work. It’s always a 3-day weekend fraught with angst – long days cooped up indoors at the vet school while we debate what should or shouldn’t make it onto the exam. But it was fruitful, as always. And also really nice to once again catch up with the great folk who make up the committee. This is all voluntary work, so you can imagine it tends to attract more benevolent and less egotistical folk! Always a bonus when you’re trying to gather collective opinions.

As if that wasn’t stressful enough, over that same weekend I began to experience some similar symptoms to what I’d experienced last year. The acid feeling. After a few days, I decided to take some Prilosec. Ye Gods…..the cure was worse than the disease!

I took it for 4 days and couldn’t handle the side effects. I was nauseous, headache-ridden, groggy, and ridiculously tired (even when driving – not good). So I stopped, and felt much better the next day. However, a couple of days later, I developed the most horrendous rebound acid imaginable. I’ve heard about this in relation to folk who’ve taken the drug long-term, but didn’t expect it to hit me after 4 days.

Fast forward about 10 days, and I’m now beginning to emerge from the acid bath! Things are much better now, so hopefully that’ll continue. I’ve read that it can take a month in most cases (longer for some) for things to settle down. Meanwhile I’m taking care about what I eat and drink. I’ve been off coffee for 3 weeks now, and I’m mostly restricted to either water or chamomile tea for drinks. And being a staunch coffee drinker, you can imagine the chamomile tea isn’t cutting it for me! I only drink decaf usually, but even that is quite acidic, so needs to be avoided. Mealtimes are highly exciting – oatmeal, wholewheat bread, egg whites, chicken and brown rice, bananas, and melons have become my staples. All of these I eat anyway, but usually I get to have other things too! But not right now in this new phase of acid reflux……

Apart from the burning……we’ve had some nice stormy weather here in between the hot days (that I despise so much). I love stormy weather – not only for the cool relief it brings me, but for the great skies it brings too.

Work has been too busy, lots of deadlines that have left me working evenings and weekends. So I have to get creative when the weather is nice. Last weekend I decided to take the laptop to Starbucks (with my chamomile tea) up in Bedford, north of Boston. I worked for much of the day there, and took an hour or so off before heading home, and meandered around Minuteman Park since the weather was beautiful.

Oh, and on a fun note, I got to play the Queen in a skit we put on at work earlier this month! It was hysterical, a big group of us did it in honor of a fellow vet who was leaving our division after being there for 12 years. To say we made fools of ourselves is an understatement, but she did enjoy it!

I hope June has been less eventful for you! Here’s to a more peaceful July.

 

Lights Out

Last week was very trying in work. I felt like I was running a kindergarten instead of a university lab……it’s become increasingly that way over the past 18 months or so, and drives me insane. In the middle of the week I also had to attend a 3 hour poster presentation meeting. It was useless to me – not even CE-worthy – and I had bucket-loads of work piling up in my office. But it’s an annual thing that my boss always wants me to attend so that I can stand at our division’s poster that advertises our services. This is the 4th year that I’ve attended. And the 4th year that nobody has shown any interest in our poster. It’s completely out of place because it’s not a research presentation per se – it’s worth having it there amongst the rest of our research posters so that people know how to contact us if they need our services, but it’s not worth having me stand there for 3 hours when I could be getting work done. But it’s what the boss wants, so I just grit my teeth and get on with it. I choose my battles.

I did, however, come across some cool DNA Lego on display while I was there! So I had a bit of fun at least……

But all in all, Friday evening couldn’t come quickly enough. I celebrated at the gym, and followed that up with a beer on the couch, but by about 9pm I was ready for bed! Must be getting old…..

Yesterday was just beautiful here though. Bright sunny skies and temperatures over 70 degrees. So I took a day trip to my favorite location, Newport, RI. No surprise there. I’m predictable if nothing else.

I’d decided to head to the Middletown region for much of the day. Just in case you’re interested, Newport is on Aquidneck Island in RI. Being a coastal state, RI comprises a bunch of islands on Narragansett Bay. Aquidneck is one of them in the south, is about 44 square miles, and is made up of Newport, Middletown, and Portsmouth. Newport is inevitably the region where most tourists flock to, but the other 2 towns also have much to offer.

So yesterday I visited a couple of places in Middletown for the first time.

I started off at Prescott Farm. It’s situated right off a main road, but once you get in there, it’s very hard to believe you’re on a main highway!

It’s a historic preservation of a colonial farm – founded back in the 18th century, and occupied by British General Richard Prescott before the Battle of Rhode Island. Some colonists kidnapped him from the farm on July 9th, 1777 and took him to Providence, and he was later exchanged for US General Charles Lee.

Back to current day, and the land was eventually bought by the Newport Restoration Foundation and opened to the public.

It’s so beautiful there, and I just love their windmill.

It’s the Robert Sherman Windmill – first built back in 1812 and used in Warren, RI where it was connected to a distillery. It’s been relocated a bunch of times over the years, and eventually went into a state of disrepair, so was bought and restored by the NRF and now lives here in all its glory.

I also visited Aquidneck island’s other surviving windmill! It’s amazing to find a bunch of these things kicking around down there, I love them. There’s one in nearby Jamestown too, although that’s not on Aquidneck. Anyway this next one was at Paradise Valley Park. This is a little gem of a place – tucked away on a quiet road. It would be a happy accident if you just randomly came upon this place, and it’s so easy to just drive by without even seeing the place.

 

It was amazingly quiet here – I saw a couple of folk walking dogs while I was there, but otherwise, it was like having the place to myself. I visited around sunset since I wanted to see what the lighting was like at that time. I think I’d also like to head there for sunrise some day too, since the sun should rise from behind the mill, so that might be a nice project one day when I’ve stayed overnight in the area – I’m an hour and a half drive away, so otherwise it would be a very early start to get photos!

This is Boyd’s Wind Grist Mill anyway – built in 1810 in nearby Portsmouth. Middletown Historial Society eventually acquired it as a donation and restored it here in the park.

It was very peaceful just sitting there watching the light change as the sun went down for the evening.

A lovely end to a lovely day!

 

The Week in Review

Another week seems to have flown by. Last weekend I had the luxury of being “mostly free”, work-wise. I did some work on Saturday, but took Sunday completely off, and that was great.

I drove down to Newport, RI for the day, and although we started off with a grey, overcast morning, things progressed to full sunshine later in the afternoon, although it was a tad cool even in the sun. But what the heck, it wasn’t raining, and I wasn’t working!

I wandered around Fort Adams State Park. One of my most favorite locations. I never tire of it. or anywhere in Newport, for that matter.

Once the sun was out later in the afternoon, I took a spin along Ocean Drive. Scenery (and real estate) doesn’t get much better than this!

Tuesday brought along my usual USO shift. It was quiet most of the night, and I managed to get quite a bit of work done while I was there. We’d also received a shipment of Girl Scout Cookies, and an adorable letter to accompany them.

Brought a wee tear to my eye!

Otherwise, not too much going on. Lots of chaos at work. And usually when there’s chaos at work, that means someone is going to make their chaos my problem. Had a fair bit of that this past week. Friday came around just in the nick of time.

One piece of hopefully good news – you may recall the problem I’ve been having with my downstairs neighbors since they moved here in the fall last year. Horrendously noisy. Obnoxiously so. Anyway, I give our apartment complex lots of points – they took the matter seriously, and gave them an eviction notice. They were due to leave May 5th, but that didn’t happen, they kept coming up with excuses. So the apartment complex took them to court this past week. Initially they asked me if I’d appear too, and I said yes, of course. But then they told me I wasn’t needed. Anyway, they contacted me after the appearance on Thursday to let me know that it all went well and that the neighbors will be gone by the end of the month.  It’s been a very long few months. I’ve honestly never experienced neighbors so horrific, and I’ve been renting for the past 25 years. (I really need to buy….)

And on that note, I’m going to head off to bed!

A Newport Kind of Day

We had another beautiful day today here in Massachusetts, and I just couldn’t bring myself to not take advantage of it. It’ll be the depths of winter here soon enough, so once again I felt compelled to get out and take advantage of it. It was actually almost 60 degrees, and beautifully sunny.

So after the gym & a wee bit of work that I had to catch up on, it was off to Newport, RI for the afternoon. I just love wandering around the town – no purpose required. And it’s never more perfect than on a sunny day. And now that tourist season is out of the way, it’s even more of a pleasure to be there since there’s no competing for sidewalk space with the visitors!

One of the things I love is just how colorful the town is. They have some very quirky, and interesting buildings, and in the sunshine they just seem to shine. So inviting!

One of my favorite places to go in the town is Fort Adams State Park. I’m happy even to just grab coffee and a sandwich and hang out there by the bay, just sitting in my car listening to music. If you’ve never visited Fort Adams, I’d highly recommend it if you’re in Newport.

Newport is a stopover point for some of the cruise ships – here’s “Crystal Symphony” of Nassau Cruise Lines, anchored in Newport for the day. Quite the floating palace, isn’t she!? The cruise schedule detailed this as the final leg of their 10 day cruise – looks like they started out up north in Montreal, headed south along the east coast, en route to their final destination of New York City. I’ll have to add that little jaunt to my “to-do” list!

My Newport day-trips used to last longer, but our shorter daylight hours tend to put an end to my walks at around 4:30 pm now. I was lucky enough to catch some more lovely colors as the sun was going down though.

This was the scene at Fort Adams itself.

And this is how it looked along Ocean Drive as I left the park and headed homeward bound again.

Another lovely weekend anyway.

Now for another busy few days in work in the run-up to the Thanksgiving holiday!

Newport, RI: My Favorite Haven

Over the past couple of months I’ve made quite a few trips down to Newport, RI. I just adore that town. It’s only about an hour and a half away from me, but every time I’m there, I feel like I’m on vacation. It has a little bit of everything – the shore, culture, history, great restaurants, sports, wonderful architecture, numerous memorials, cool shops…..you name it, I can probably point to it for you.

I especially love it there when the sun is shining, but to be honest, even in the snowy winter, it’s a wonderful place to see. One of my favorite places to hang out there is Fort Adams State Park. It’s a great place to take your picnic and read, walk, watch the boats on the water, or just do some people-watching. I always see folk trying to catch fish near the harbor!

Another of my favorite places is Castle Hill Lighthouse. You access it via the grounds of Castle Hill Inn, a beautiful hotel on its own 40 acre peninsula off Ocean Drive. After parking in the parking lot, you just walk a little way up the track to the shore to get to the lighthouse. I’m quite a lighthouse fan, I just love the things, so I’m always hanging out there, as well as at Newport’s other lighthouses. Castle Hill’s lighthouse is so picturesque, though, and it’s usually quite a peaceful place to be at, since it’s not exactly a hub of tourist activity. I think this is one of my favorite photos that I’ve ever taken in Newport – it was just an amazingly beautiful day.

Just “next door” to Newport, across the bay, is the lovely Jamestown. A few weeks ago I finally managed to make it to see the Jamestown Windmill while it was open – previously I’ve only ever seen it from behind the wall since it’s only open for a few months of the year.

The windmill was built in 1787 to grind corn, operated until 1896, and is actually still maintained in working condition. It’s currently owned by the Jamestown Historical Society & is listed on the National Registry of Historic Places. Amazing to see it and to be able to go inside. And I was lucky enough to be able to capture it on yet another gorgeous day.

One of my promises to myself over the past couple of years is that I’ll live there one day! God knows if it’ll ever happen – I’ll certainly have to be a telecommute worker if I do live there, since there isn’t any kind of industry based there that corresponds to what I do for a living. I’ll just keep working on it though!

Do you have any favorite havens?