Saturday, June 16, 2012

Fun in the Sun

Smallpoint Cafe

Breakfast at Smallpoint Cafe
We kicked off the weekend with special plans in Newport, Rhode Island. For our fourth and final day before checking in to Brown Summer College, we got a nice early start by meeting for 9:00 AM breakfast. About a block from our hotel, Smallpoint Cafe was a charming discovery.

The undercurrent perfectly fits in and stands out in the downtown Providence domain, from the organic offerings, delightful fresh-squeezed OJ, shelves of games for guests, to the blackboard-mural hybrid of the downtown skyline- chalk included for cafe-goers to get creative.

Cafe Connect Four

Downtown Providence
With my ever-present appetite, a pesto mozzarella sandwich with tomatoes and greens was a palate-pleasing energy boost before some power shopping. Pit-stopping at CVS, we finally had a chance to pick up some necessities. Savvy sale-shopping even yielded enough laundry detergent to last both sessions of Brown and some lucky dorm mates. This was our first bout of free time to get a feel of Providence. Just walking down the block, I was charmed by the special street style and the draping lights strung between the overhead foliage. I imagined how lovely the place would look lit-up, when nightlife and music is abuzz and Waterfire comes to life.
Westminster Street shops
The Rum Runner harbor cruise
Afterwards we were introduced to Providence Place, an expansive four-story mall complex. Strolling around in a not-so-inclined-to-spend mood, we picked out some beach towels and noted the well-organized presentation not so common in facilities back home. Comparatively, Newport's affluence  was a whole other world compared to either Providence or Hercules. 

Appropriately, we toured the Rhode Island port neighborhood and playground of the rich by harbor cruise in a restored motorboat from the Prohibition bootlegging and smuggling days, known as the Rum Runner II. We hopped aboard after some Ben & Jerry's on Bannister Wharf for the real treat on the open bay. The highlights in photographs include whizzing by Tom Brady's yacht, mansions galore, Gatsby's dock from the 1974 film, spectacular vistas of the 2-mile suspension bridge connecting Newport, cormorants, and arriving American Cup contestants. While pictures may speak a thousand words, they fall short of conveying the thrilling experience sailing the Atlantic with 25 knots of wind at your back filled with the briny scent of sea spray. We closed out this truly New England experience with a run through the surprisingly warm water at Eastman's Beach and maritime grub at Anthony's Seafood.

Bannister's Wharf
On the Rum Runner cruise
Tom Brady's yacht

Newport mansion which once belonged to the
grandson of Brown University's founder. 
Dock from "The Great Gatsby" film (1974)

Cormorants spied on sea stacks
Back lawn at the Breakers

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