Saturday, 19 July 2014

Day 26 - A Church and a Cruise

On Wednesday, June 25th, we went into Newport again. On the way, we passed 'Oak Glen', the Portsmouth home of Julia Ward Howe (who wrote the 'Battle Hymn of the Republic').

Our first stop in Newport was at Trinity Church, founded in 1698, and built in the early 18th century. Its ''wedding cake' steeple was, and still is, an important navigation aid for sailors.

The church still has its original box pews, originally paid for by the parishioners for their families. During the 'Gilded Age' (the later 19th century) the Vanderbilts and Astors attended the church when they were visiting their summer 'cottages'. Their servants occupied the narrow wooden pews in the gallery.

Pew 81 is now known as the 'Distinguished Persons' Pew' as it is said that George Washington attended services at the church in 1781. Other notables who have occupied the pew in more recent years include Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Andrew, Princess Margaret, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, 3 American Presidents - and of course, me!

After what we thought was a 'snack lunch' (which turned out to be a huge chicken wrap - so huge I forgot to take a photo of it!), we headed for the harbour.

Here's our 'cruise' ship - MV Gansett

And here are some of the sights we saw on our cruise around Newport Harbor and Narragansett Bay.

Fort Adam

Hammersmith Farm, home of the Auchinloss family. Hugh Auchinloss was Jackie Kennedy's stepfather, and this was her childhood home. It later became known as the 'Summer White House' as JFK spent his summers here during his presidency.

Not a real lighthouse, but a playhouse, built for the Kennedy children.

This one is real - Castle Hill Lighthouse, built in 1890 on the site of an earlier watchtower.

The House on the Rock, built in 1905, and restored by the current owners.

The yacht 'Columbia' which was the America's Cup winner in 1958.

A distant (and hazy) view of Newport Bridge.

Yachts in Newport Harbor

And to end the day, a large burger at Fieldstone's in Portsmouth!


  1. My kind of day! A bit of history. Beautiful homes. Water ans sun. AND fab food! Oh yeah, that's a great day!

    1. It was a great day, Jo. A bit of everything, as you say!

  2. I love Hammersmith. When it was open to the public, it was so beautifully appointed. It looked so much more comfortable and livable than the other mansions. Kennedy used to fly in by helicopter and land on that huge lawn. And the "house on the rock" is always fascinating. The Bay Queen cruises out of Warren go right past it.

    1. I'd love to have seen inside it, Elaine. I like places that looked like they have been lived in!