Richard (our gracious host from Day 2) was brimming with exciting sounding recommendations as we loaded up our rental Toyota Yaris car to leave East Providence. One especially stood out: taking a trip to Newport, RI. We drove south and encountered two successive bridges crossing ocean water. These engineering marvels both arched upwards into the air at their centers to let ships pass through.
Arriving in Newport, we definitely sensed a unique vibe. The streets were very narrow, made for horseback transportation in this old town. Aged houses lined the streets. Michelle and I happened upon a hole-in-wall place called ‘Scratch’ for lunch. The joint was an order at the counter kind of place and the food was spectacular. Sometimes, those small restaurants can really surprise.
We followed the Newport road down to the beach and parked along the side of the road. On either side of the beach were cliffs rising above the Atlantic and extending out. There were mansions lining both sides of the cliffs. Behind the cliff walk to our right were huge and fancy mansions. To the left were certainly nice mansions but not as expansive. I figured one side was the billionaires and the other the lowly millionaires.
Proceeding down to the beach, Naomi excitedly began exploring the sand and charged toward the water to splash in the waves. I got some pictures of her as she played and watched as she ran to Michelle, giggling like crazy. This was one of those moments that brought me a lot of joy as a dad and I realized this would be one of the moments I would always treasure. People always tell me how fast the years go by and I know this scene will be a warm reminder of Naomi at this specific age with all her curiosity and goofiness.
We left for Connecticut and settled in for a long drive to Falls Village.
We woke up in a historic house built in the 1840s in Falls Villlage, CT also known as Canaan. Our delightful host was Laura, who had lived there for 27 years. At the front of her house were two doors, originally entrances to the town’s post office and a law office. Her black Labrador, Lucy, was a friendly canine soul that appeared well-fed and wanted a certain degree of attention. Laura seemed to enjoy the company as she showed us her property which was a lawn that sloped downward into a fairly large field/ clearing.
Much to our protest, Laura cancelled some previous appointments to show us around town. She showed us the town center that was comprised of the town hall, post office, a quirky coffee shop, an auto repair shop and a random caboose. Laura took Michelle down to the local section of the Appalachian Trail which follows along the Housatonic River. She explained that July is usually the busiest time along the trail as the through hikers, the hardcore of the hardcore, typically reach this point around that time.
She then hopped in the car with us and took us on a drive to the Great Falls. Of course, we drove the long way through town and viewed some architecturally impressive houses. Laura remarked that a lot of New Yorkers lived here and commuted to the city (train ride was 2 hours).
When we arrived at the Great Falls, we noticed the trees here were just starting to change. We were also officially on the Appalachian Trail by walking out to the falls. The scenery really was poetic.
Saying our goodbyes to Laura, we roared up (or is that whimpered) our trusty Yaris and made our way north to Deerfield, Massachusetts.
Kicking off our stay in Deerfield, we drove to the top of Sugarloaf Mountain, a whopping 692 feet. There was a good view of the Connecticut River and this was good timing as a cloud cover was overhead and really enhanced the beauty of the area (and picture taking). On top of the ‘mountain’, there was a tower that one could take a spiral staircase to the top. A nearly 360 degree view was waiting.