Saturday, August 13, 2011

A Fort-uitous Trip

Okay, so it wasn't fortuitous, it was planned. But a day trip to Newport to explore Fort Adams and a little bit of Newport on Friday was fortuitous in the sense that we had a lovely sunny day of low humidity to do our wandering.

Set at the tip of a peninsula, Fort Adams State Park is a gem of an area. You not only have the fort to explore (guided tours only at this time), there is a yachting museum, the marina area, a beach, a picnic area and beautiful views whichever way you turn. Denny and I took the hour and a half long tour guided by Bill, who had a rather distracting vocal and physical resemblance to Gilbert Gottfried, but who was extremely knowledgeable about the fort itself.Construction of Fort Adams was begun in 1825 but it wasn't fully completed for another 30 years. Built as the largest coastal fort in the U.S., constructed with walls of granite and shale to repel cannon balls, built with special defenses for attack by land and sea, the fort never came under attack. But the story of the time and effort and type of defenses built into the fort, including the spooky "listening tunnels" was fascinating. A lot of the area is fenced off due to ongoing restoration but the goal of the state is to open the fort to the public without the need of tour guides to control access to the more dangerous sections of the fort.
We were allowed up on the top tier of one section to view the coastline that the fort was built to protect.

Of course there was a strange juxtaposition of the old and the new when some of the view was this cruise ship docked for the day at Narragansett Bay.Strangely enough, even though you can't enter the park without a tour guide, you can rent the park for parties and functions, such as the Special Forces military families' party that was being set up while we were touring.There was a ton of information packed into that hour and a half and a good amount of walking in the hot sun so at the end of the tour Denny and I were ready to find a shady spot in the park to eat our picnic lunch. It happened to overlook the harbor and we watched people take lessons in how to operate tiny sailboats as we ate.Once we finished our lunch we took the driving loop of Ocean Blvd., passing many huge mansions, most of which were hidden behind clever landscaping. There are about five mansions that you can tour but we chose to simply do a "drive by" this time around.

Along Ocean Blvd. we did pass at least two sections of state park where you could park your car and cross the street to climb down the boulders to the ocean. It's not an area for swimming but rather exploring tidal pools and simply enjoying the view and the sunshine which many people were doing. The town of Newport itself was jammed with tourists wandering the historic homes which now house businesses and the mansions that are open to the public were doing a good business also. We had to be really careful on the narrow streets with our very large truck and the rather oblivious tourists who crossed the streets wherever they could. Denny was glad to finally cross the two bridges that led us out of town.
If you love to browse shops, this town is for you. And for those of us who would rather take in a scenic view, they have that too. Win/win.
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2 comments:

colenic said...

One of my all time favorite cities in New England. I actually went to school about ten minutes away and loved the walks...there is actually a beautiful path that goes behind The Breakers called the cliff walk...wonderful way to see some great scenery....our favorite time to go into Newport was always in the early fall...late Sept or beginning of October...just enough of a chill in the air that we could wear sweatshirts and no tourists!! It's been awesome reading your tours around new england...

Arkansas Patti said...

Now that is a fort. Most I have seen are a fraction the size of that one.
Are you sure that wasn't Gilbert? Haven't heard a word from him since since that gaff and they muted the Aflac duck.

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