Our stay in Jamestown/Newport has been very pleasant with Interlude on her old mooring in Jamestown and now anchored in Brenton Cove, Newport Harbor (41d28.74'N, 71d19.74'W). Touring the mansions was the highlight and a trip to Mystic Seaport by rental car with some friends was a fun time.
We visited five of Newport's famous Gilded Age mansions. Now owned and operated as museums by The Preservation Society of Newport County these 'summer cottages' of rich industrialists (Vanderbuilt (railroad), Berwind (coal), Oelrichs (silver) etc.) are some of the most elaborate and expensive homes ever built in the US. The advent of income tax, inheritance tax, property tax, etc. rendered them unsustainable and slated for demolition. Recognizing this fate the non-profit Preservation Society was formed and many were saved (no taxes) with much of the auctioned furniture donated back to the original houses. A package deal allowed us to chose five of eight mansions for $31.50 pp. A better deal would be a yearly couples membership to the Society for $75 allowing unlimited access and further discounts on special events ( www.newportmansions.org ). We also enjoyed the Cliff Walk trail winding along the coast behind the mansion properties and leading to the new mansion district along Ocean Drive. Not as elaborate as those of the Guilded Age (a derogatory term coined by Mark Twain for the late 19th century and its conspicuous consumption) these are still quite spectacular. Continuing on across Newport Neck and past the County Club we ended our trek at Fort Adams State Park and the Museum of Yachting with its exhibit on the yacht Coronet (1880, being restored in a boatyard downtown).
Mystic Seaport is to preserving colonial maritime history what Williamsburg is to showcasing an early settlement. Many of Mystic's historical trade shops (sailmaker, mast hoop, rope, cooper, etc.) are open to the public and converted to museums. Several antique vessels are docked and open for touring and the last surviving wooden whaling ship is being restored at the cost of five million. We were a bit disappointed that the docents were not in costume like in Williamsburg and the price of admission was quite steep ($24 pp).
After taking on 226 gallons of diesel in Jamestown ($4.60/gal), we got outward customs clearance, prepared several meals and now plan to head for Panama with a stop in Bermuda if weather permits. Hurricane Nadine, mid-Atlantic near the Azores, is forecast to downgrade in a couple days but we will be keeping an eye out for further tropical developments.