Founded by Roger Williams after exile from the Massachusetts Bay Colony Puritans, this state has many remarkable “first” and “oldest” institutions. Fortunately, most of them are in Newport, Rhode Island, which is a very nice place to visit. The historical societies in town have worked hard to certify many buildings as historic monuments, and pride of ownership keeps most homes here spit and polished, and maintaining their original architecture externally. The current residents are proud of their independence and tolerance too. How many small towns in the U.S. have erected a park to memorialize Jewish patriots?
However, we were saddened to learn that Rhode Island is the only New England state that has not passed a same-sex marriage law. Maybe this year, their defiant history and good ethics will give them the strength to do what’s right.
Larry Ellison, CEO of Oracle has joined the Newport “elite” like Vanderbilt, and Roosevelt, to enjoy the grand mansions on Bellevue Avenue, showcasing 35-75 room “Cottages”, traditionally used for one month each summer. Doris Duke’s “Cottage” (above) and the featured image are the gates along the Cliff Walk in front of the mansions.
The America Cup Sailing Race was run (and consistently won by the U.S. for many years) out of Newport. Townspeople are still hoping that San Francisco’s bid will blow up, and it will return to Newport. Being from San Francisco and thrilled to see the Race in our Bay, we hope all the greedy San Francisco real estate barons (including Ellison) can work it out with the Mayor and Supervisors so We, The People …can exercise our right to watch those skinny airborne hulls and gigantic sails scream by our boats and bridges!
We attended Shabat services (Modern Orthodox) at the Touro Synagogue, the oldest synagogue in the country, and the only surviving shul from before the Civil War. We also walked the dog around the grounds of the Redwood Library and Athenaeum, the first lending library in the country.
Of course, we had to raise an ale at The White Horse, the oldest tavern in the country…
…and we felt free…to be…you and me, enjoying our right to raise a tankard!