We eventually ended up on Memorial Drive in Newport proper, and turned down Bellevue Avenue, passing the bulky shadows of a few mansions before turning down a side street to get to our BNB. Ivy Lodge was lit up, and the innkeeper answered the buzzer when we arrived at 9pm. We pushed open the huge door and walked into the impressive foyer. Mr. McKenzie dug out our key, led us to the Library room, demonstrated the lights (with dimmer), the fireplace (gas, one switch operation), and the jacuzzi tub (with bubbles). We were a bit brain dead and sugar low, so we just smiled and nodded and hoped he'd stop talking soon. He did give us directions to a good restaurant, the India Grill I think it was called, and we walked down to Thames St and got a table there, no problem, though not before Cris presented me with a gorgeous bouquet of red roses. We'd been warned that the city was all booked up, and I had to be reminded that it was due to Valentine's Day. There was a family and a couple of couples at the restaurant this night, and the tables were just a bit too close together, but we were able to enjoy our grilled fish without too much distraction. My mango lassi was also quite good.
The walk back to the BNB was up a hill that we hadn't really noticed as we'd walked down it, but it was a bit more lively as we went back, more people on the street, but still fairly quiet. The cold had intensified a little, though, so we made it a brisk walk.
The day was surprisingly pleasant, above freezing and fine with a sweater under and open jacket, with bright sunshine in a blue sky, and just enough wind to dramatically billow my trench coat. We made our way to the nearby 40 Steps and an entrance to the Cliff Walk. We took some pictures there, then took off toward the Ruggles point, passing by an impressive grey building that we later figured out was Ochre Point, a building associated with Regina University. There were a few couples and a family or two sharing the walk, but it didn't feel crowded at all. After Ruggles, we passed the Breakers and then some other estates. We made our way around a few points, just going through the tunnel underneath the Japanese Tea House. The track was getting rough at that point, covered in ice and mud, so we decided to turn back. Coming back, we spotted some amusing signs that had been attached to the wooden fence that lined the chain link fence that kept the public on the cliff walk and off the private properties we were passing. The tunnel underneath the tea house was very cool and echo-y. We walked back to the last exit from the path, at Ruggles, and then walked around the front of the Breakers, and back to our BNB, much more quickly without the distractions of the waves crashing on the shore, the suited up surfers, the birds diving for fish and staying under a worryingly long time, the sun and wind creating a picturesque atmosphere with the town spread out along a series of points.
We stopped in and grabbed some cookies (we'd smelled them baking earlier as we were leaving, oatmeal chocolate delicacies) and a drink from the stock they kept out, and then headed out to find lunch. We ate at Katrina's deli, I had a really good pasta salad, and a Tazo iced tea, and then we wandered over to the Coldstone Creamery for ice cream with mix ins. We investigated the supermarket and a smaller specialty market to make sure that we'd be able to make up a picnic lunch that night, then wandered back down Bellevue Ave.
We used one of our vouchers from our Newport Winter Getaway package to tour the Elms. We had an audio tour and took advantage of the extra information to get a full tour. It wasn't very busy, we'd have at most one other couple in a room with us. We shuffled through until we were ejected from the servant's entrance. It was an austere sort of house, a childless couple entertaining on a coal fortune.
It was about 4 by then, we'd just gone through before the house closed for the day, and sunset. So we went back to the BNB and got Cris' car, and hopped in for a tour along Ocean Drive. We got out and walked down on the rocks at one point, watching a huge container ship tracking across the horizon. The rocks were worn into triangular points along mostly horizontal planes, good for walking upon, but I'd not want to trip and fall. The sun was going down, lighting the scene with a golden light. Time to sort out dinner, so it was back to the market, where we picked up some tarragon chicken salad sandwiches, clam chowder, strawberries, some Lady Grey tea to supplement my tea collection (and add to my series of odd towns in which I've picked up that brand of loose leaves), and some crackers for the cheese that Cris had brought. They'd set out some champagne and chocolate dipped strawberries for the guests. We set up a blanket in front of the fire and had a nice picnic, with wine and cheese to start. Much nicer than fighting for a reservation at a crowded restaurant which would try to enforce an ambiance of romance. Plus this way we could talk freely and celebrate a somewhat early three month mark in our relationship.
Then it was back into the car and off towards Boston to the
as we had a voucher for a free wine tasting there in our Package. This was
apparently the most dangerous vineyard ever, as the road was winding from the
highway, with a sign for Dangerous Curves, sharp rock protrusions at the curves
and the dirt surface was pitted with pot holes. And next to the visitor's
center was a dangerous water hazard that could swallow small children.
We did two wines before seeing the tour video, and then didn't get the tour
as the power had gone off the night before and not come on again in the morning.
We finished up the last 4 wines, with me doing the dessert ones, and Cris
the reds. I bought two bottles (the 2000 Chardonnay that I'd tried, and which was
on sale, and the Sirius dessert wine) and so did he, and I threw in a small bottle of
blackberry jam as I had finished my supply before leaving home. Then it was off
home, as it was around 2pm at that point, but we'd gone about 45 mins closer
in order to get to the vineyard, so we were back at my place around 3. We
snacked a bit in the car, and then ordered out at Cris and Chris's place during