It was that time when we women who contribute to this lovely blog reunite for our once a year gathering. Rhode Island was the destination that marked our fourth year together. There were only four of us: me, Dotti, Terri, and Carol. Carol invited Michele Yacovello (you may know her from instagram). The two of them go shooting together quite a bit and have become good friends. She was a delightful addition to our small group. I have never been to the East Coast except for very brief times in NY City and Boston on business trips when I worked. So I don't count those times as being visits to NE. Barely saw anything but hotel rooms and work places.
The weather was very cooperative, cool and sunny Tuesday thru Friday, cloudy and sprinkles on Saturday and rain on Sunday, the day we left. New England or I should really say Rhode Island was much as I expected, rocky coasts and beautiful waterfront homes, boats in all sizes, lighthouses and birds aplenty.
Newport is a wonderful coastal town that entertained us with it's beautiful neighborhoods filled with "saltbox" homes, beautiful churches, lighthouses, and lobster bisque and clam chowder that did wonders for my taste buds.
While in Newport we stopped by St. Mary's Parish Church which is the oldest church in Rhode Island. Also this building witnessed the wedding of John F. Kennedy and his bride Jacqueline Lee Bouvier in September, 1953. Sad to think that they are both gone, along with their son, John.
That evening we made our way to the lighthouse in Beavertail State Park near Newport to photograph it at sunset.
Birds are caught in fine nets, removed and then taken to the banding station where their wing span is measured, and the bird is checked for the amount of stored fat, body weight and sex are all recorded prior to banding. The birds are then banded and released back into the wild.
Kim took us on a walk around to all of the nets where we found about 10 birds. She does this walk almost every hour during the spring and fall migration season. On a busy day she can band up to 300 birds.
We each were given multiple opportunities to hold the birds after their statistics were recorded and banded and then release them. This was a rare opportunity to see these beauties up close and personal and to actually hold one in the palm of my hand before freeing them into the air.
Kim became super excited when she realized that a male Connecticut Warbler had landed in her midst. She really had a hard time letting him go since apparently these are quite rare on Block Island.
After spending the morning with Kim we then left and drove to the Block Island North Lighthouse. Again, rocky terrain with a small sandy beach.
A little lunch and shopping and then it was time to board the ferry back to Rhode Island. Another grand day.
On Friday we decided to visit the rich and famous by touring the Cornelius Vanderbilt Mansion entitled "The Breakers". Cornelius Vanderbilt was the richest man in history and there was absolutely no doubt of that as we toured this very elaborate and lavish home that is now open to the public. There are dining rooms, breakfast rooms, billiard rooms, libraries, morning rooms, a ladies reception room, a gentlemen's reception room, kitchens, bathrooms, and bedrooms galore. Bigger and grander than Downton Abbey.
That evening we walked along the Cliff Walk which is immediately behind many of the mansions built on the RI shore, including "The Breakers".
It was rather cool at night and I imagine the water temps are pretty chilly, but it sure didn't stop this fella from braving those cold waters to ride his paddle board.
Our last day we drove to Mystic Harbor (after all isn't that Julia Roberts' first film, "Mystic Pizza" in 1958?) Didn't see the pizza place but I did see this....quintessential New England.
Later that afternoon we drove to Watch Hill to have lunch, shop and drive to the Watch Hill Lighthouse. By this time the clouds and sprinkles rained down on our parade and we headed for home.
We are pretty sure we drove by Taylor Swift's home in Watch Hill, big, white, and privacy gates surrounding it. Let's just say we didn't hear her singing nor did we see her romping on the balcony. And Carol is positive she saw Lena Dunham (HBO's Girls) walking out of the restaurant we ate lunch in. We were just surrounded by fame.
I know there were lots and lots and lots of pictures to this post, but it was a mere scratch of the surface of the many I took during this lovely holiday with my FOL sisters. Can't wait until next year.