20 Seconds in Newport


Newport is beautiful, and my stay here has been far too short. Between deck duties and preparing for our next transit to Martha’s Vineyard, there has been very little free time in port.

The good news is my time here was not wasted. My aunt and uncle who live in Narragansett  gave me the must-see tour of Newport. Here’s my video of Newport’s famous mansions, replete with iron fences and camel hedges. Yes, camel hedges.

In the evening, I strolled along the Newport waterfront admiring the thousands of luxury yachts. Their masts were stood tall and were backlit by the sunset. It looked like a forest.

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A game of sunset basketball

The church where JFK and Jackie were married.

The church where President Kennedy and Jackie were married.

When the Morgan opened to the public on June 17, I was lucky enough to meet the man who maintains the grounds at Fort Adams. Larry is his name, and he offered me a behind-the-scenes tour of one of America’s most impressive military strongholds.

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The outer walls of Fort Adams

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It turns out that mowing the lawns at Fort Adams is a gargantuan task. Larry is responsible for mowing the top of the “tenaille,” a wide, angular defensive barrier constructed of earth and granite. Underneath the tennaille, there is a labyrinth of “listening tunnels” to prevent the enemy from tunneling through the outer walls.

Side story: I am a tall man. I’ve banged my head on just about every part of the Charles W. Morgan, so when the opportunity comes to leave the ship, I really enjoy the extra headroom. A mere 30 minutes had passed on my fort tour when I thought, “Gee, wouldn’t it be fun to run around in dark and narrow passages with nothing but a flashlight?”

So I was inside this tunnel with a ceiling only 4 feet tall in some sections. I was heading up towards the end when I felt a presence behind me. Then I heard this bizarre scraping sound. I whirled around my flashlight to see what was there. Everyone in the group heard the thump of my head as I tripped over myself and let out a high pitched yelp that echoed through the fort. That was fun. The scraping noise turned out to be my backpack rubbing up against the ceiling. I am considering wearing a crash helmet the next time I go out in public.

Inside the fort’s interior is the parade grounds. It’s gigantic. It’s 6.5 acres and can house Fort Sumter, Fort Ticonderoga, and Fort McHenry within its confines. The fort could hold 2,400 troops and at one time had 468 mounted cannons that could bombard targets in Narragansett Bay more than a mile away.

Fort Adams was never attacked, probably because no one dared to try. Its outer walls stretch down the entirety of the peninsula and the sections that have been restored are very impressive. I highly recommend a visit.

The voyagers have now arrived for the second transit to Martha’s Vineyard. They filled up the fo’c’sle. In anticipation of the sea of snores, I decided to sleep in the hammock down in the hold. I think it’s an appropriate place for a stowaway.

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It looks like the weather front has passed by during the night. The fog is clearing and we’re ready to set to sail for Vineyard Haven. Although my time here was limited, I enjoyed what little I got to see of Newport, and I look forward to coming back.

Early morning before we set sail for the Vineyard

Early morning before we set sail for the Vineyard

See you on the Vineyard!