After a breakfast of fresh fruit, scrambled eggs with cheese and toast, we bid farewell to Brooklyn and New York.
We’d left late to avoid the commuter rush but the roads were still busy with every road seemingly at a standstill.
Fortunately the interstate wasn’t far, through Queens and the Bronx, but whilst it was moving, it wasn’t moving fast.We didn’t have a long way to go, 200 miles or so, but we wanted to get to quieter roads.
Our route took us along the Merritt Parkway, a garden highway, one of the first in the country, with pretty bridges, narrow grass verges and wooden crash barriers.
We left it to visit the Essex Steam Railroad Company, a charming little company that runs steam trains along the Connecticut river valley.
We literally just made catching the train – we paid after our ride rather than before.
There were a lot of old-fashioned carriages, open sash-type windows and mahogany woodwork.
We got a running commentary on points of interest along the route.
There is an option of getting off at Deep River and catching a steam boat, the Becky Thatcher, for a cruise along the river, but we stayed on the train. There is a further option of getting off and walking to Gillette Castle too, but we were going there afterwards anyway.
Aboard were the president of the railway, President Lincoln and Mary Todd, all in period costume, and they took the time to walk down the train and talk to all the passengers.
At the northern end of the line the train reverses and goes back to Essex, stopping to pick up and drop off boat passengers.
The whole journey took about an hour and was the complete antithesis of New York!
Of course we took the obligatory photos of a steam train! We visited the gift shop and had bratwurst in the cafe before continuing our journey.
Gilette Castle was custom built by an actor of that name and tours are available. It looks like a ruined castle.
To reach it we caught a ferry, with the car, for the short journey across the Connecticut.
A roll on roll off ferry, it takes about 10 minutes and costs $4 and is one of only a few car ferries that don’t operate 24/7 on a highway.
Taking our leave we drove through Niantic to Mystic and the seaport there.
A short visit was on the itinery, but when we got there it cost $24 each to enter but we only wanted to be there an hour.
We didn’t go in but we could see the various buildings and boats connected by a boardwalk.
Instead we drove the short distance to Mystic itself. This is sailing country and the inlets abounded with small craft.
A drawbridge guarded the entrance into the village proper, and a pretty village it was, shouting money from every quarter.
On our way out we were held up by the drawbridge being raised and our view was obstructed, not only by the raised road but the large bascules counterbalancing its weight.
Our hotel for the night was in Middletown, Newport. Two long, high bridges carry traffic to the islands of Rhode Island.
After booking in we went for a scenic drive round Newport’s Ocean Ave. Bellevue Ave and surrounding roads, is full of mansions, in large grounds largely hidden from camera view. You get tantalising glimpses through gateways but nothing long enough to take a photograph of from a moving car.
We took a quick look at the harbour, with a great view of one of the bridges, and Fort Adams.
For dinner we wanted seafood and the hotel receptionist had given us an idea of where to find the restaurants …. but we couldn’t park anywhere close. We tried! Backwards and forwards along two lane carriageways looking for a space, for roads in that we could search in.
Finding ourselves at the top of a hill, a long way from the harbour, we found a empty meter.
Luckily the perfect restaurant was just across the road. Clam chowder, lobster bisque, grilled shrimp and a steak washed down with beer and wine, perfect.
The night was warm, the promised rain hadn’t arrived and were in a lovely town. Tomorrow is our last day.