My Colonial States Trip~Part 19

25 Mar

A Slice of Life

 Bill Lites

 

Next I headed east on SR #138 across Narragansett Bay to visit the Breakers and the Mansions of Newport, RI where I was surprised at the number of tourists there were lined up at the Newport Visitor Center trying to get on a tour bus ride of the area. The affluence of the area was brought home to me in an unusual way, when I stopped at a Shop-N-Go to pick up some granola bars. The first thing I noticed was the parking lot had an overabundance of expensive cars in it with names like Mercedes, BMW and Lexus. Then as I was walking the aisles looking for the granola bars, I saw this elegant looking woman, dressed in a beautiful flowing black silk dress, with her hair done up in some kind of fancy French looking hairstyle and 7-inch heels, pushing a shopping cart down the aisle. What a picture that was!

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The Newport mansions were huge and unbelievably beautiful! They were too spread out for a walking tour (for me), and I didn’t want to take the time to go on a bus tour, so I just drove to a few of them, parked in their free parking areas, and toured outside the mansions and their grounds, taking photos. I had a brochure of all the different mansion locations, so was able to see several before I got bored with all that extravagance and moved on to the next museum on my list.

While I was in Newport I dropped by the White Horse Tavern just to say I had seen the oldest tavern building (1652) in the U.S. and get a photo of it. Over the years the building was expanded and used for other things, such as a boarding house and as a meeting house for the Rhode Island General Assembly. It’s rumored that a pirate (name unknown) ran the tavern operation during the early 18th century. It wasn’t actually named the “White Horse Tavern” until 1730, and during the American Revelation, Tories and British troops were quartered in the building around the time of the British occupation and the Battle of Rhode Island in 1778 (also known as the Battle of Quaker Hill).

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Battleship Cove is a maritime museum located on the Taunton River in Fall River, Ma and is said to be the home of the world’s largest collection of naval vessels in one place. Included in the collection are the U.S. Battleship USS Massachusetts (BB-59), the U.S. Destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (DD-850), the U.S. Attack Submarine USS Lionfish (SS-298), the German Tarantul-class Corvette Hiddensee and the U.S. PT Boats, PT-617 and PT-796. As I mentioned earlier, since I have toured several U.S. Destroyers, Battleships and Submarines, my main interest at this museum was the PT Boats. I was impressed with their size, armament, speed and ability to go up against some of the enemy’s largest ships, sink them, and live to fight another day. It reminded me of the day I was walking with DiVoran in the woods near our house when I got too close to a wasp nest. I never saw the wasp that stung me and was gone before I knew what had hit me. I would guess that was just how some of those enemy ship’s captains must have felt like, after being torpedoed by a PT boat, and their ship beginning to sink under their feet. I can just hear them screaming, “What was that and where did they come from?”

  

 

—–To Be Continued—–

 

 

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