Wednesday, December 19, 2007

December 14, 2007 - Newport, Rhode Island

Sten grew up in Newport. No matter where we have lived, Newport has always been home to him. For the 6 years that we lived in Boston, his mom's place in Newport was our weekend retreat. I used to joke that Suzy ran the best bed and breakfast in Newport.

When we originally set out on our cruising adventure, our kitty, Lenore, was aboard with us. To say that Lenore did not take to the seafaring life is a bit like saying that Richard Henry Dana's Two Years Before the Mast was a tough slog - a bit of an understatement. Last April, I brought her home to live at Suzy's. These past few weeks we have been filled with anticipation about seeing Lenore again. After her difficult experience on the boat, we were worried that she would be standoffish with us. So we were relieved to find her purring away, happy to see us again. As I type this, she is curled up next to me, sleeping on one of Sten's sweaters.

The first order of business was to head over to The Mooring for their world famous chowder. A few years ago, in conjunction with a major renovation of the restaurant, the menu was revamped. The good news is that they didn't monkey with the chowder recipe. The better news is that they introduced a new appetizer called a "bag of doughnuts" - a half dozen fritters stuffed with lobster, crab and shrimp, served with a chipotle - maple aioli; heaven on a plate. Unfortunately, they eighty-sixed Sten's favorite chicken sandwich, but I think it was a fair trade for the fritters. Now, there are some folks, particularly those from the Boston area, who claim that Legal Sea Foods makes the best chowda. They are sadly mistaken. After lunch at The Mooring, we headed down to the docks to take a look at Suzy's boat, a sweet little Cape Dory Typhoon, named Papillion.

On Friday night we had an amazing meal with Bill and Laurie at Spark, a new BYOB in Newport. Great food and service - we hung out and caught up long after desert was done and our plates were cleared, without any pressure to vacate our table.

It hasn't all been stuffing our faces - we have some boat related work to do while we are in town. Our first full day here, we headed down to Armchair Sailor to pick up some charts and look at some cruising guides covering the area that we'll be exploring next season. While sitting on the floor, flipping through cruising guides, I heard the sound of the door chime. I looked up just in time to see Sten's sister, Ingrid, strolling through the back door of the shop. Newport is such a small town.

We've mostly been spending our days seated at the breakfast bar in Suzy's kitchen, researching various things online, and ordering parts to bring with us back to New Zealand. We've found that the marine stores there just don't have the selection or low prices available in the States. Therefore, we'll be taking full advantage of our combined 230 pound baggage allowance on our flights back to Auckland.

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