New England Coast Road Trip – Day Four

Marble House

Newport, Rhode Island is a vibrant town with so much to do that a single day doesn’t really seem enough.  But we crammed so much in today that it felt as if we’d spent a week here.

Our first jaunt was on Ocean Drive, marveling at the expansiveness of the mansions and properties for which the city is known.  Rocky cliffs give way to views of isolated homes perched overlooking Narragansett Bay. On this perfect day, the sky and water were deep blue, a perfect backdrop for stunning views.

From there we headed to Marble House, one of the renowned “cottages.” Marble house was built in the late 1800’s for William Vanderbilt, grandson of Commodore Cornelius Vanderbilt railroad magnate. Cottage is an interesting term for all the Newport summer homes – they are as opulent and over-the-top as anything built by Louis XIV.  Marble House is insanely ornate.  To my eye it is unattractive, though if they’d asked me over for a weekend, I would have not turned down the invitation. 

Back downtown at Bowens Wharf (established by Benedict Arnold), we boarded a sailboat for a cruise around the bay. Once back on land a short drive took us across the bay to Jamestown for yet another view.  Seeing the same location from different perspectives helped to fix images in my mind. It also reminded me of the importance of multiple viewpoints to really understand a place (or almost anything).

While on the sail, we’d seen a building with a massive lawn with Adirondack chairs on it. The crew told us the property is now a hotel, Castle Hill, and that the chairs were outdoor seating for their bar, “the Lawn.” They also mentioned it was one of the best spots to view sunset. Who could resist watching sunset, drink in hand watching the water?  Off we went to Castle Hill to the “Lawn.”

Our last stop was a seafood store, with a restaurant annex, Anthony’s. It had been recommended by our B&B proprietor who raved about their chowder and the freshest seafood around. He claimed it is a local favorite, not fancy but better than most of the high-priced establishments. He asked us to bring him back containers of chowder. He was correct, the food was great. We brought him back his chowder.