The journey southward continues! I loved Newport, RI... We even discussed the possibility of living here, what a great town. It just felt... nice. I suppose on holiday, everywhere feels nice. During our stay in Newport, we lodged in one of the oldest houses we managed to stay at on this trip, built in the 1750's. (The oldest house we've stayed in though, was in the UK, est 1066!)
After we arrived, we went for a walk through town to see the sights. One of the most striking in the town centre is this beautiful church. As we walked by, we took a couple of photographs, and a young man sitting in the park struck up a conversation with us. Firstly, I'll describe him. He was wearing the grunge era flannelette shirt and torn jean shorts. He had long blonde scraggly hair and was weather-beaten in a lovely way that comes from generations of fishermen. He leaned back on his elbows and said to us (and a drawling voice that was a cross between Sean Penn in Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Captain Ahab): "Cool church huh guys??... You knoooww. Bruce Willis is up there maaan. And Bill Muurrray. Yeah. It's pretty coool huh? They blew up that steeple today. It fell onto a car, man. But it wasn't really that steeple, you know? Cos they weren't allowed to blow up the real steeple. Nah man, they totally built a fake steeple and blew that one up!! And Bill Murray is up there man. And Bruce Wiiillis! Cool huh?"
As speechless as that rendered me, C managed to smile and say "Neat." We wandered off, wondering exactly what he'd ingested to reach such a state of wonder. Little did we know, Bill Murray and Bruce Willis WERE there. The following day we drove past the church (which was only a block from our B+B) and saw Wes Anderson and his crew filming scenes for his new film "Moonlight Kingdom". Now I am a HUGE Wes Anderson fan, so this pretty much blew my mind! I'm going to the Australian premiere screening for the Sydney Film Festival next month, and trust me, I'm going to be scrutinizing the backgrounds of the film in case I sneaked in!! I will also probably declare loudly "Been Dere" as I am always really excited to be able to say that when I've been to a location in a movie or TV show!
After recovering from all the excitement in the town, we went for a walk along the cliffs, which is a popular attraction in Newport. There are many old mansions perched on these cliffs, which were summer homes for the very wealthy and powerful from the earliest times of European settlement in the USA. The mansions beggar belief, they are so incredibly decadent and grand. I've seen palaces in Europe, and these seemed just as grandiose. We didn't go inside any of the homes, we just wanted to see the coastline. It made me think how amazing it was that in Europe, this was the style of royalty, and in the USA, it was the summer homes of the pioneers of industrialization. Quite amazing, considering the plight of the many small towns we passed through.
We had a hard time figuring out what we wanted to have for dinner in Newport, so I settled for a Ben and Jerry's banana split. About 2 bites in, I was wondering what I had been thinking. Those things are huge! We sat in the grounds of a church with the resident mice and attempted to put a dent in the enormous sundae. A carload of male college students pulled up to the traffic lights, hanging out of their soft top (top down) 4x4, with "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" blaring out of the stereo. They were singing and dancing and it was just like that scene out of Zoolander. I sincerely hope they didn't decide to have a gasoline fight that night. (edit - Cae does!)
Oh Newport. Surreal, beautiful, old, seaside town. I hope I see you again soon.