Newport, RI is fancy! Staying here is just a tad different than Woonsocket. This is where the old money is and people meet their spouses on Ancestory.com…hey, got to keep the bloodline pure, amiright? Keep the fortune in the family…
Right outside our hotel is Bruce the Shark! Currently he’s only about 50 feet from my Jeep. He resides in front of Flo’s Crab Shack, a restaurant that has blessed this area for over 80 years. It might have one of the best slogans in the area: Famous for Clams Since 1936. That says it all. I don’t like seafood and Dr. Jen’s a vegetarian, so we didn’t eat there. But I’m sure that it’s true that they have had clams since 1936!
I will always be the Alex Kintner to Jen’s Martin Brody.
Since she’s a nerd, Jen wanted to stop at the Redwood Library and Athenaeum. Unfortunately it was closed and possibly charges money to tour. Weak. They did have a lot of marble busts in the windows looking out as if Kevin McCallister were in there trying to keep The Wet Bandits out. It was hard to figure out who each bust represented but one certainly looked like Nero!
Urban Dictionary defines roshambo as: a game; to kick each other in the [private parts] over an object, last one standing wins.
I misunderstood. He was Rochambeau, the Frenchman who helped America in the Revolutionary War by winning the decisive Battle of Yorktown. Sorry about the kick, dude. You can keep your fancy hat.
If you want to know more, here is a fantastic documentary about him.
Like all good tourists in Newport, we took the Ocean View drive to see all of the super fancy mansions. Of course I had to make up stories of who each family was and how they got their Hapsburg chins. I was extremely pleased with my detailed story of how one young heiress lost the family estate on a bad investment deal. She paid way too much for the rights of the Thompson Twins catalog. I mean, I like their music but it certainly didn’t pan out well for her.
Here’s me pretending to be old money…
I don’t think we ever found the one that’s supposedly haunted and we could barely see the one that served as the exterior for Dark Shadows, but we did find this gem! Apparently the owner created an alarm system. He brought home monkeys from his many adventures and would have them sit in the chair at the top of this circular gate. They would go ape (ha!) if someone approached, or so it was hoped. I’m not sure how it worked out.
After our drive about we stopped in for a flight and Friday pizza at Taproot Brewing Company. Jen likes her whites and I like my reds; Yuppie Hobo gang colors. I was surprised, I liked their house red the best which was their least dry, typically my favorite. Also I loved the glass of port I got after eating. Dr. Jen stole a sip and liked it as well. Are we port people? Starting to seem that way. Damn, we fancy.
After our lunch we headed out to the main shopping area of Newport for gifts. Fortunately there were a few good sites along the route. Below is the Hurdy Gurdy Man. It’s an organ grinder with a monkey. Not just any monkey though, one with a hat. Brilliant. I’ve had trouble finding much info about the meaning of the statue but did discover it dates to 1983 by local artist Kay Worden.
Kay created the next sculpture as well. Aptly called The Feet and the Wave, it was also created in 1983.
A gentleman that went by “Fud” Benson was commissioned to engrave stones with famous quotes by JFK. The goal was to surround his grave with these to make a reminder of his wisdom. Ultimately the idea was scrapped and somehow one of the stones ended up outside the Newport, RI Boys and Girls Club. Weird.
In a small park there lurks the Newport Tower, also known as The Mystery Tower – dun dun duuuuuun. Scientific study and historical documents show this was a stone windmill probably created by Benedict Arnold (not that one) in 1677. But what do science and history know about anything?! The (conspiracy) theories range from it being made by the Chinese, Portuguese, and/or Norse explorers (there’s another stone not far supposedly made by the latter rascals), and of course, everyone’s favorite historical conspirators, The Knights Templar.
Look, Dr. Jen has an idea! “Let’s find the first gas lamp in America, Hobo.” Anything you say doctor.
Our last dinner on the vacation was at the Newport Creamery. Started in 1928 they are known for two things. First they have waffle grilled cheeses. It’s basically a panini but with a waffle iron. Sadly Dr. Jen’s sandwich wasn’t waffled! I believe she did enjoy it though.
They are also known for their Awful Awful. It’s supposed to be a thick milkshake made with ice milk and syrup instead of ice cream. It was created in 1940, a year before Japan attacked us. Suspicious? Not really…
Anyway a business by the name of Friendly’s asked to use the Awful Awful drink and name at their establishment and in 1948 a deal was struck. As long as Friendly’s didn’t expand into New Jersey, a market Newport Creamery was eyeing, they could produce Awful Awfuls. And what did Friendly’s do? Moved into New Jersey.
A contest was held to rename the drink and three contestants came up with Fribble. The recipe was changed to use soft ice cream instead of ice milk, and an iconic drink was born. But lest we forget it’s forerunner, the Awful Awful, Jen set out to try a chocolate one. I thought it tasted just like a thin Wendy’s Frosty. That’s not a bad thing.
While Dr. J ate her non-waffled waffle grilled cheese, I had their grilled cheese with mozzarella sticks gently tucked into it. Holy cow was that good! I never knew my life was missing another 1000 or so calories buried in my grilled cheeses.
Now we’re home and work seems like such a chore. I’m back on my diet to get to pre-Covid weight and shunning all grilled cheeses, mozzarella stick stuffed or otherwise. Jen and I are planning our 2023 and 2024 big trips now, but those are so far away. Don’t fret though, I’m hoping to update the blog with more road trip music trivia, day trips, and goofy pictures.