Rhode Island: longest name

What’s not to like?

Rhode IslandRhode Island I always favored conceptually because it was founded by Roger Williams in the 17th century. As a kid, I was a sucker for people named Roger: Bannister, Daltrey, Maris, Miller, e.g., but not Taney.

Williams was “a Puritan minister, theologian, and author… He was a staunch advocate for religious freedom, separation of church and state, and fair dealings with American Indians, and he was one of the first abolitionists.” What’s not to like?

Ironically, the smallest state in the United States bears the longest official name. It is the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. The state is the seventh least populous, but the second-most densely populated.

The Ocean State is also the 13th state, the last of the original colonies to ratify the Constitution, on May 29, 1790. In fact, it was “the only state not to send a representative to the Constitutional Convention,” which had approved the document on September 17, 1787. The First Congress subsequently “passed 12 proposed amendments to the Constitution” without RI, most of which became the Bill of Rights.

I have visited Providence a few times. Its view of the Atlantic Ocean was spectacular. My daughter particularly enjoyed it. But back in 2007 or so, a friend of mine tried to wean her from her fear of dogs with his very tame canine; it did not work at the time.

In 2012, many of my in-laws were staying in Newport at a couple of timeshares. We spent a good chunk of time visiting the mansions of the Gilded Age. Very Upstairs/Downstairs, or I suppose now, Downton Abbey.

Some of us also visited the Tennis Hall of Fame. I STILL get emails from the organization, where I give my opinions on who should next be enshrined. I’m a sucker for a good Hall of Fame, and that one definitely qualified.

RI Rhode Island, a US state in New England. Capital and largest city: Providence. I recommend the New England Clam Chowder.

Little Rhody for ABC Wednesday

T is for Tennis Hall of Fame

“Without the guidance of Dr. Robert Johnson, Althea Gibson, Arthur Ashe, and countless others might not have succeeded so mightily.”

When we were in Newport, RI five years ago, we found ourselves at a sandwich shop. I happened to walk around the corner, and there was the International Tennis Hall of Fame & Museum. I swore that next time we were in town we’d go, and in April, the Wife and I did.

From the Wikipedia: “While the modern game of tennis originated in late 19th century England, most historians believe that the games ancient origin is from 12th century France, but the ball was then struck with the palm of the hand. It was not until the 16th century that rackets came into use, and the game began to be called “tennis”, from the Old French term Tenez, which can be translated as ‘hold!’, ‘receive!’ or ‘take!'” One can play “real” tennis at the Hall, though we did not.

There were plenty of artifacts Continue reading “T is for Tennis Hall of Fame”

The Vacation in Newport

He says, “My name is Peter.” I say, “Hi, Peter. Would you like me to call 9-1-1 for you?”

I recently mentioned visiting the mansions in Newport, Rhode Island, but not much else. It was school vacation week, and the Wife suggested that we could go to a timeshare of my parents-in-law there. The Wife, the Daughter and I had been to visit a friend of mine in another part of the state some five years earlier, and we briefly visited Newport as well.

What she didn’t tell me until the morning we were leaving was that her brother, his wife, and their twin 11-year-old daughters were ALSO going on the trip, staying at a different resort. Not that I minded; I just didn’t know.

We got to Newport in reasonably short order. As you enter the city, the first major street one is on is called Farewell Street. Can you guess what dominates the road? Continue reading “The Vacation in Newport”

N is for Newport mansions

I doubled back in the Marble House mansion to catch up on items I had passed by quickly while watching The Daughter, which evidently perplexed the staff, as I overheard on their walkie-talkies.

Last week, my wife, one of her brothers, and their respective families were in Newport, Rhode Island, during the school break. Among our activities: visiting the mansions that were built primarily between the end of the US Civil War in 1865 and the beginning of the first World War in 1914. This was dubbed “The Gilded Age” by Mark Twain in 1873, and this was NOT meant as a compliment. By this, he was saying that the period was glittering on the surface but corrupt underneath. But those so dubbed took the term as positive, noting the rapid economic and population growth.

While each of the four mansions warrants its own narrative, there were some characteristics in common. Each was built with money from captains of industry, and most were considered summer homes or even cottages. They were inspired largely by the palaces of Europe, and often used Greek gods in the motif.

The families living there Continue reading “N is for Newport mansions”