By William Carlos Williams
Flowers through the window
lavender and yellow
changed by white curtains—
Smell of cleanliness—
Sunshine of late afternoon—
On the glass tray
a glass pitcher, the tumbler
turned down, by which
a key is lying— And the
immaculate white bed
Touro Synagogue, oldest synagogue in the United States. No photos were allowed in the sanctuary, but they have a 500+ year old Torah from Spain and a letter from George Washington assuring religious freedom for all the new states (Newport has always been a haven for religious dissidents; Quakers, Congregationalists and others who found themselves unwelcome in Boston moved there).
The remains of a mill facility, now a public park, of which this city has several...as well as an old Jewish cemetery right downtown. This is an unusually beautiful town with dozens of historic houses and churches of every denomination. It was also heavily involved in both the American Revolution and the Civil War due to its sea trade.
Fort Adams, the Civil War fort which is also home of the Museum of Yachting which has one floor devoted to model yacht competitions and another devoted to the America's Cup and similar races. We had lunch on a hill above the fort and met a family from Annapolis in Newport for their kids to compete in a kids' regatta, which we could see from the windows of the museum. I had no idea seven year olds were allowed to sail unassisted!
The Breakers, a 70+ room home built for the Vanderbilts in the late 1800s, one of several famous mansions overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. We did not pay to tour the interior, figuring they already had enough money. *g* (Actually the kids weren't interested and we were all anxious to get to the beach!) We drove along the peninsula, stopping at a couple of public areas to see if there were urchins or starfish in the tidepools, and looking at the mansions from the car.
This is the view from Easton Beach, down below the cliff walk which allows the mansions to be seen from the waterside. Do not attempt to adjust your monitors, nor to question my camera's color separation; the seawater is actually purple out to a certain point.
This is because the water is full of this red seaweed that dozens of happy gulls were devouring when it washed up on shore. We thought at first that the appeal must have been bits of the crabs and large clams whose shells we found...
...but apparently it was the seaweed itself -- a little slimy and quite good at sticking to skin, but otherwise harmless, we all thought...
...until we pulled a chunk out of our son's bathing suit after he had taken it off and found a great many of these things living among it! Eek!
But other than the Red Menace, the afternoon at the beach was lovely; the water was warmer than the air, and they were setting up for an outdoor jazz concert in the evening by the time we left (we picnicked on chicken-and-cheese sausages and fudge from Mystic). The Newport Jazz Festival is in two weeks and will bring far greater crowds than those we encountered today, when other than ourselves there were only two people -- both Orthodox women -- on our tour of the synagogue, and we were the only people in the yachting museum. The beach, too, was relatively empty until it approached the time for the concert, and we had two lifeguards all to ourselves. </center>
Tonight we are in Fall River, Massachusetts so we can go to the New Bedford whaling museum tomorrow on the way to Cape Cod. I'm posting early because I got too much sun today and have to go to bed early -- shall try to write to people tomorrow night!