What we've been doing -- 08/28/06

Okay, so what have I been up to the past couple of weeks... well, mostly working and having fun... That is, most days I've been working, but I've also tossed in several vacation days and Nancy and I have played tourist on a few days and put in some as attendants at The Towers and at Kinney Bungalow for weddings and have gone to some history lectures and have done yard work and gone to plays and have been cleaning and reorganizing things around the house and... well, each day follows the next, like grains of sand through an hourglass, these are the days of our lives. Oh, somebody already said that, right?

So in my last entry I mentioned biking to the Beavertail Light -- we had originally planned on taking the ferry to Block Island and riding our bikes to North Light (previous Block Island biking trips reported here were to the Southeast Light and to Mohegan Bluff) but when we got to Galilee we found the parking lots were full and a huge long line of people waiting to board the ferry (it turns out that, in part because that happened to be the Victory Day holiday in Rhode Island, commemorating Japan's surrender in World War II, there was a special Veteran's Appreciation Day being held on Block Island) so we quickly devised a plan to drive to Conanicut Island (i.e., the Town of Jamestown) and ride our bikes to Beavertail Light.
(That bridge that was blown up earlier this year is the old highway bridge from the mainland to Conanicut Island.)

We drove over to Jamestown and parked in the "downtown" area (by the harbor) and then biked to Beavertail State Park. It was about a four mile ride -- and hillier than I had anticipated. Conanicut comes very near to being two islands with the smaller piece of land being connected to the larger by a very low and narrow strip of land that has just enough room for the road and for the town beach. For some reason, I had thought that the smaller part of the island was flatter than the main part. I was wrong.
There were paths through woods overlooking the bay. With some gorgeous views of rocks and water...
And views across the western half of Narragansett Bay And rocks and surf on the southern tip of the island
(where the lighthouse is located)
The hills meant that we got a bit more exercise than we had anticipated... which I saw as a good thing because I have really been trying to keep up my exercise level and loose some weight this summer.

Bevertail State Park is quite lovely... woods, cliffs, and water views to the west, water views to the south, water views to the east.

The first lighthouse there was built in 1749 (but there had been a tradition of warning fires dating back thirty or forty years earlier than that). It burned down a few years later, was rebuilt, and the was burned down again by the British, was rebuilt, etc. The current lighthouse was damaged by the deadly Hurricane of 1938.
Above: The site of defensive gun emplacements during World War II. On the right: Nancy and me posing by the current (vintage 1856) lighthouse

The tip of the island near the lighthouse is a favorite spot for kite-flyers, picnickers, photographers, painters, sailboat-watchers, and people who want to enjoy looking at the water without being on a beach. (We're standing by the foundations of the 1749 lighthouse, which had been built at the edge of the rocky slope leading down to the water.)

During the Revolution, Conanicut Island was occupied at various times by American troops, British troops, and French troops. During the Civil War (and World Wars I and II) there were defensive gun emplacements on the island (some here and some at Fort Wetherill just a couple of miles away).

Other jaunts during the past couple of weeks have included visiting another mansion (Rosecliff) in Newport and touring some historic homes in South Kingstown and Narragansett. I took pictures and hope to post some of them in the next couple of days.
View from the harbor in Jamestown -- that's the Newport Bridge (connecting Jamestown with Newport)

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