Posted by: shrewspeaks | September 5, 2008

This Next One Goes Out To Jackie B. – Part One

We started Sunday Morning going to St Mary’s Church.  MusicMaven, a good Cajun Catholic wanted to go for faith and I am glad I didn’t pass the opportunity by.  St. Mary’s Church is where JFK and Jackie Beauvier tied the knot.  

St. Mary’s is an intimate, yet rather formal Catholic Church; too grand for a chapel to small for a cathedral. But pretty, oh so pretty.

Here is MusicMaven looking all saintly…


Gooseberry Beach and the Sunset Concert

Posted by: shrewspeaks | September 4, 2008

Saturday Night Sunsets

After MusicMaven and I returned back to SGDT base camp with the “medicinal” items, we changed and went down to the pool.  Now you must understand, there was a strict NO CAMERA POLICY around the pool.  No, not enforced by the Wellington, but by me!  But let me paint you a picture…

Lots of sun, blue skies, crystal clear pool water.  Plenty of these…

and plenty of…

We hung for hours, talking about life and finding laughter everywhere.  Periodically, one of us would take a quick crisp dip in the pool to cool off.  In essence, a perfect afternoon.

We changed for dinner, but before leaving, we took advantage of the setting sun. 

Before Dinner

After dinner

We watched a few hours of the Olympics and turned in.  A very honorable beginning to the SGDT!

Tomorrow, “This dedication of Otis’s ‘I’ve Been Lovin’ You’ goes out to Jackie B. “

Posted by: shrewspeaks | August 29, 2008

When WILL this bike ride be done already?

Seems that it is taking me as long to post about this bike ride as it took Music Maven and I to complete it.

Let’s go to the map again…

So we leave Brenton Point State Park and make our way down the windy edges of Ocean Drive.

The retaining walls on Ocean Drive are emblazoned with the Rooseveltian WPA seals.

Here just beyond the park are beautiful rocky natural jetties gracing the Atlantic.

As I pressed the shutter on this image, Music Maven pointed out the fisherman sitting re-baiting his line.

Music Maven then calmly glanced at the map and said “I was told there would be cocktails & food…where is the COCKTAILS and FOOD?”  ZOINKS!  Well, off we went.  I, peddling a bit faster, as I felt MM’s eye’s boring into my back.

Next we came to the most beautiful cove.

Dotted along the shore were scads of artists capturing the perfect moment on various canvases.

Flowers were plentiful along this stretch o the drive.

MM and I heaved a large sign and climbed back on a trusty two wheeled steeds and made our way toward the “cliff walk” …(see mile marker 7).

The stretch of road between the cove and the entrance to the cliff walk is residential in a way.  Each home was as large as the hills we kept climbing.  With every hill, I heard more explicatives coming from behind me.  With each explicative, I peddled harder fearing for my well being.

We fianlly made it to the beginning of the cliff walk and Bailey’s Beach Club…

Bailey’s Beach Club, is the super exclusive aquatic playground for the beautiful and rich.

The beach is surrounded with “cottages”…Oh look, what luck…one is up for sale.  I think I will call about it.  MM said…”write the cheque!”

Well, we still didn’t see any place to eat (and drink), so we needed to move down Bellevue Ave.  We flew past Doris Duke’s Rough Point, the Astor’s, The Breakers…I spied the town section before me and my feet flew, peddling like a demon.  I left poor MusicMaven in the dust with my single view…..FOOD, DRINK, and by this time…a soft LARGE seat!

We ended up eating at The LaForge which is a little bistro attached to the Newport Casino.  MusicMaven had the best Rueben evah!  I had fish and chips and 80 million gallons of water.  We asked our waitress how long she thought the Ocean Drive biking was.  

“You girls peddled all the way from the Wellington along Ocean Drive? WOW!  You were cranking it.”

A few minutes later she came out and informed us that the Ocean Drive to Bellevue is at least 10 miles.  MM and I pulled out our “NOT TO SCALE MAP” and guessed if Ocean Drive alone was ten we must have done at least 15, 18, NO, 19 miles.  YES, 19 miles.  And so the tall tale of the 19 mile bike ride was born.

After the lunch we picked up some medicinal items…

So we figured out the way home via down hill streets.  

Hey, MM wanna do that again tomorrow?

Posted by: shrewspeaks | August 28, 2008

So After Mile Marker 3 and the encouragement of MusicMaven…

We gathered ourselves and peddled just around the bend to Brenton Point State Park. If we weren’t dazzled by the ocean views…

…we were taken completely in by the charming kites that were available for rent.

Mile 4 done…

Pant, pant, pant…oh yes…more to come.

Posted by: shrewspeaks | August 27, 2008

Pardon the appearance while we draft the next installment…

Every book I read on Newport mentioned that Newport was the perfect cycling city.  So I talked MusicMaven into renting a bike while she was in town.  See, this was purely altruistic.  As you may or may not know, our MusicMaven lost a nasty battle with a barstool this past year and her ankle has not been 100% since.  So what better way to maximize traversing the miles than on two wheels?  See the most spare the rod, so to speak.  Saturday, we woke up after a most excellent night of Radiator fun and thought the best way to begin our week was to see Ocean Drive.  We had the local freebie map and set off on our bikes.

We rounded the corner and we were greeted instantly with the most luscious views of Newport Harbor.

The skys were bright and the activity level was high.  I was grateful for all of these photo opportunities as I was already winded and perspiring like a leaky faucet…I think we had peddled about 40 feet.

Some boaters were coming or going to their yacht…I assume it is a yacht owner based on the brevity of his suit.

The scene before us was so perfectly “Newport”.  Here many vessels bob before the famous Newport Bridge.

At the time I took this following photo, I had no idea how well it summed up all that is this fascinating city.

Within this image are local small boats, large historic sails, ritzy yachts and the historic liberator Rochambeau all over seeing the many time shares and 18th century dwellings along the water.

Before shoving off on what will be known as “the ride”, one last shot of Music Maven with the “Holy Cow, I am in Newport.” Smile.

The next leg of the trip encompassed, farms and creatures of the like…oh yeah and HILLS.  BIG HILLS.  Ugly Hills.  Hills so big, I forgot to pull out my camera and take pictures because I was shaking, big.  Old people on their bikes were whizzing by us at embarrassing fast clips.  Yet we pressed on.

We were in front of the Newport Country Club when we read the disclaimer on the map “NOT TO ACTUAL SCALE”.  Horrors!  What is actual scale?

Let me show you.  See The Newport Country Club…yup Mile 2 marker.

But we pressed on…

And boy am I glad we did, for we were treated with the most beautiful sights Newport has to offer.

Around mile marker 3, we came upon the world famous Castle Hill Beach.

The sandy beach of this famous resort was crowned with rows of rose hips (thanks Karmardav for the education on this little floral note)

Around this peninsula, the rich schwoosh by on their aquatic toys.

The scene was spectacular and warranted a lens change (and an opportunity to stall and catch my breath) to the fisheye.

And thankfully, MusicMaven was still smiling…

Even as I documented the fact that MM was on this bike at the 3 mile marker…

…she spoke those now infamous words…

When I catch my breath, Shrew, I am going to beat you for every mile.

Tomorrow…miles 4-10+

Posted by: music maven | August 25, 2008

A Music Maven Odessey into Foreign Lands

While I make somewhat frequent trips to the Northeast for work, very seldom is their any time for fun or frolic.  However, I was able to back up a client visit in Boston, for the Shutter Gourmet Dive Tour which allowed me to be up north at the start of the confab.

I flew out of Mobile on Thursday and arrived in Boston, on time, in the late afternoon.  With my trusty Tom Tom GPS, I easily found my hotel and enjoyed a nice dinner with my client.  On Friday, I had an all-morning meeting that concluded around 12:30pm.  After checking out of the hotel and getting my car from the valet, I programmed the trusty GPS for Newport and was on my way.

It was a very enjoyable ride with pleasant weather and relatively little traffic.  After about an hour, I encountered what I was looking for….

I could almost feel the water when suddenly I caught a glimpse of it…

….and then, to quote Renae, “Shit.  The biggest bridge I’ve ever seen”…

While I couldn’t get a picture of it, the harbor was a literal sea of sailing vessels and some of the loveliest scenery that I’ve ever seen.  After a few guided turns from the trusty Tom Tom, I came to the first big turn.

With the prevalent lobster motif, I knew that I had to be getting close.  Just a few more turns and there I was.

Very shortly, I arrived at The Wellington and met up with Shrew.  We checked in and immediately went to check out our view.  Stunning.

After unpacking and having a happy hour cocktail, we made our way to our first Dive stop. 

After a very nice dinner that included some awesome crabmeat ravioli, we staked out our concert seats to see The Radiators.  We were about 12 feet from the stage in the intimate venue that included about 250 attendees. 

Now, at first glance, The Radiators look like an ad for the new face of Medicare and I think that both Shrew and I were a little apprehensive as to what the set would entail.  However, I gotta tell you guys, these dudes rocked the house.  A cross between The Meters and The Grateful Dead, The Radiators showed that talent and pure love of the music translates anywhere.  Here’s a video I took with my camera of The Wrong Road.

The distortion is a little annoying, but you have to see these guys to really appreciate the performance.  The lead singer, Dave Malone, has the most infectious smile and guitarist Camile Baudoin (far left) is simply having the time of his life up there.  Bassist Reggie Scanlan played with Professor Longhair many years ago, and Ed “Zeke” Volker provides balance on vocals and Hammond organ.  They are rounded out by Frank Bua on drums.

Here are a few choice cuts from the concert. 

 The Wrong Road

 The Weight

Mood to Move

And, the piece de resistance, Burnin’ Down the House.  The dudes were serious.

All are available at Internet Archive.  The Radiators actually encourage the taping of their shows.

So, after walking back at about 1:15am, Day 1 was in the books.  A great start to a great vacation and I wasn’t such a fish out of water, after all.

Posted by: shrewspeaks | August 24, 2008

Getting to Newport, Part Two


As I drove through Mystic, I was commando shooting trying to capture images while staying on schedule.  Here is the famous Mystic Pizza. Next Stop…Stonington.

Stonington has these winding little roads that make it impossible to pull over and get shots.  So I had the bright idea to shoot out of my sun roof.  Yeah, I have about four of these shots.

But I did go down to the wharf landing and park.  The sun was working really hard to break through by this time and some boaters were taking advantage of this.

Stonington is known for, well, it’s stoney shores…but also for quiet money and lock jawed lifestyles.

Even some of the local birds seem to have a bit of a ‘tude…

This little “park” on the water was popular with the locals for lunch and for some…a little lovin’.

After Stonington, I made my way east to Watch Hill, RI.  Talk about no place to pull over and take pictures!  Watch Hill has a charming city center bustling with summer visitors, but the price to park was too steep for a photo op. So on I went to Point Judith….

I had no idea Point Judith was a big security point for our coastline.  As you pull up, you do feel like you are encroaching on something you should not be visiting.  However, the parking is free and the surfers were present.  This guys was really good.

This guy…not so much.

In fact…DUDE!

I wasn’t the only person enjoying the sights…

After Point Judith, I headed to the Shaw’s supermarket in South Kingstown, RI to pick up a few necessaries for our week. I made my way and then…I saw the Jamestown Bridge.

Notice the name on this bridge…this bridge is named after Giovanni da Verrazzano, the same explorer who was the first European to enter New York harbor and whom the Verrazzano Narrows is named after. 

By this time I was really excited and was pulling IvoryHut’s all over the place, poorly I might add.

But then I went over the Newport Bridge and finally…I was there…Doesn’t this little guy look like he is saying “Whooooo Newport!”

But nothing said Newport more than our view from the Wellington.

Tomorrow…”When I catch my breath, I’m gunna beat you for every mile.”

Posted by: shrewspeaks | August 24, 2008

On the way to SGDT…

As I planned, I made my way up the coast on my way to Newport. The weather was being stubborn and it was exceedingly difficult to see past the warm thick soup to capture any pictures. I did manage to get one shot of the New London Lighthouse, but it certainly lacks the sunny warmth of my mind.

I looked at my watch and it was close to noon, so I made my way through the back roads to Noank, CT and Abbott’s Lobster in the Rough.

Abbott’s has been a favorite of our family for decades.  My father used to go to Abbott’s when he worked at Davis Standard in the 60’s.  Abbott’s is famous for simple seafood cooked to perfection.

Here is my lunch…Rootbeer, chips, corn and a hot lobster roll.

Hot Lobster Rolls are a Connecticut thing.  Instead of mayonnaise, the lobster meat is simply warmed and tossed with melted butter and placed on a toasted roll.  Simple perfection indeed.

The sweet taste is still fresh in my mind. (These foodie images were taken with Jenfer in mind.)

The location of this little lobsta shack is right amongst the marinas of Noank.

Which makes for a beautiful setting while you eat…

Yet, provides for a few issues with the “locals”.

And this little guy seems to be saying “You gunna eat that?”

Many boaters and fishermen come and use the public slips to pick up lunch.

All of this for the larger than life flavor of lobster.

Hey…MusicMaven will be done with her meeting soon and will be making her way down from Boston.  I better get a move on.  But before I do a few parting shots of Noank.

Whew…we haven’t even made it to Rhode Island, yet!

**MusicMaven and Jenfer…post what you need when you need to…we have some hungry viewers and it is going to take me sometime to get through all the images.

Posted by: music maven | August 22, 2008

Amateur Night

So you can appropriately appreciate Shrew’s fantastic shots, here’s a few of my “amateurs”….

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