More rain today… But the caravan continues with a trolley tour of Newport, RI, and a harbor tour on the Amazing Grace…

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Our convoy of caravanners arrived and parked at William Rogers High School in Newport. We were promptly picked up by two trolleys and we were given a nice overview of Newport. We saw the port and the fort.  We saw President Eisenhower’s summer White House (this was before the days of Camp David…).  We drove along and peeked behind the gates of the “Summer Cottages” of New York City’s elites.  We heard gossip and other stories about the cottages and their owners and their guests.  We heard about the servants and their lives.  It was a nice general backdrop for our future visits.

Eisenhower’s house, on the grounds of Fort Adams:

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After the trolley ride we had lunch at the Brick Alley restaurant.  Lobster Bisque, stuffed quahogs, clam chowder, lobster rolls, steamers…

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The trolleys took us to the docks where we boarded the Amazing Grace:

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The harbor tour was great. If there is anything I like as much as houses it is boats.  And houses overlooking boats are about the best!

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There some pretty nice boats in the harbor, but it was not a very pleasant day to be boating:


The house at the top of this post is called “Clingstone” by its owners, but the locals call it, “The House on the Rock.”  It was built in 1905, perched atop a small, rocky island in an island group called “The Dumplings” in Narragansett Bay, near Jamestown, Rhode Island.

The dwelling, designed by Philadelphia socialite J. S. Lovering Wharton and artist William Trost Richards, is a three-story 23-room 10,000-square-foot shingle-style cottage.  The structural system of heavy mill-type framing was designed to withstand hurricane force winds.

The original owner, relative of industrialist Joseph Wharton, built the house in response to the government condemning his earlier summer home in order to build Fort Wetherill.  Wharton summered here until his death in the 1930s. Heavily damaged by a hurricane in 1938, the residence was vacant from the time of his wife’s death in 1941 until it was purchased in 1961 by Boston architect Henry Wood.  Wood, a distant cousin of the Philadelphia Whartons, was able to purchase the property for $3,600, the amount owed in back taxes. It has been restored and is now available as a summer rental…


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After the harbor tour we were shuttled back to the high school. A few of us decided to stop in at a tavern in town.

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The White Horse Tavern, constructed in 1652 in Newport, Rhode Island, is believed to be the oldest tavern building in the United States.  Everyone in the place will tell you so… They will also tell you that they have documented that John Hancock, Paul Revere, and Samuel Adams all were here.  Jackie Kennedy Onassis often lunched here while spending time at her family’s summer cottage nearby…

Frances Brinley constructed the original building on the site.  In 1673, the lot was sold to William Mayes, and the building was enlarged to become a tavern. The building was also used for large meetings, including use as a Rhode Island General Assembly meeting place, a court house, and a city hall.  William Mayes, Sr., obtained a tavern license in 1687 and William Mayes, Jr., a well-known pirate, operated the tavern through the early eighteenth century.  The operation was named “The White Horse Tavern” in 1730 by owner Jonathan Nichols.  During the American Revolution, Tories and British troops were quartered there around the time of the British occupation and the Battle of Rhode Island.  After years of neglect as a boarding house, Newport’s Van Bueren family donated money to the private Preservation Society of Newport to restore the building in 1952. After the restoration, the building was sold and once again operated as a private tavern and restaurant.  Today it still remains a popular drinking and dining location.  

We had some drinks and snacks and enjoyed meeting a few other caravanners.  An enjoyable time was had by all…