Life's Adventure

Beating the Austin Heat in Newport Rhode Island

As you’ve probably observed, Mrs. Horne and I love hosting guests in our home and of course aboard Relentless. We thank God every night for our blessings and all of our wonderful friends we can share them with.

Last week we hosted some newer friends – Kent and Gail from Austin Texas. They are both seasoned sailors who longed to get back on the water.

Kent is also one of My Buzzard Bay loyalest fans and he often calls me after reading about one of our adventures for more details…

Captain Kent Takes The Wheel

By late June Texas is typically getting uncomfortably hot and steamy, so a trip to New England to cool down made sense, at least “on paper.”

But not this June – where we were enjoying our own seven day heat wave…

Our original plan was to head to Newport on Friday and continue on to Block Island for the weekend. I always ask our guests who are flying in for cruising to arrive a day early or depart a day late, to give me some “weather wiggle room.”

Sure enough, the forecast for the weekend began to deteriorate, but the good news was Thursday still looked like “A Perfect Bluebird Day!”

I invoked Plan B and asked our guests to meet at us Mattapoisett Boat Yard Thursday morning for a 10:30 departure. We’d spend the beautiful day on the water and then head south to Newport for at least 3 days.

My logic was driven by the weather forecast. The rain was coming up from the south and the timing looked best for Newport.

If the forecast held true, the rain would hit Newport just after dark on Thursday night and then clear out Friday morning. On the other hand, if we headed north to Provincetown or Boston, we’d likely have rain for most of Friday.

Gooseberry and Rubens

One of my favorite detours when heading to Newport is to drop an anchor behind Gooseberry Island for a picnic lunch, particularly when we have a late start.

Gooseberry Cove – Newport

The temperature was in the low seventies and up on the shaded fly bridge with the breeze blowing through it was actually cool…

Kent and Gail

We tucked Relentless behind the lee-side of the island and dropped the anchor. Once I was sure it set, I headed to the galley and whipped up a plate of my near-famous Captain’s Rubens (complete with homemade pickles)…

Captain’s Rubens
Gail Lounging – Gooseberry Island

Biking Ocean Drive

Gail and Kent are avid tennis players and wanted to tour the Tennis Museum in Newport. In “Plan B,” they were going to have them visit the museum while Mrs. Horne and I washed down Relentless.

Gail made an excellent suggestion to move the Tennis Museum visit to Friday and go biking Thursday afternoon while the weather was still beautiful.

I unloaded our folding eBikes while Kent went up the street to rent a couple of regular bikes from Scooter World. For some reason, there is no one renting eBikes in Newport – this could be a business opportunity for someone!

We headed down Spring Street and took a right out to Fort Adams and Ocean Drive…

After about an hour, everyone was getting a little parched. Unfortunately, we were out near Mansions Row and there weren’t a lot of stores nearby.

I suggested we head over to kite shop hoping to find bottled water. Instead we found a Del’s Lemonade truck…

We got back to Relentless around 4:00 and hung out taking in the end of this gorgeous day…

Newport Harbor

I didn’t plan on being in Newport on Thursday, so by the time I got around to making dinner reservations, all of the iconic Newport venues were booked (The Moorings, 22 Bowens, Midtown Oyster, and Fluke).

Much to my delight, The Reef had a table at 6:30 and I snatched it up. I also requested an indoor table near the water and got a great one…

We were seated in the bar, but both sides have wall to ceiling folding glass doors that completely open.

As mentioned in my review, The Reef is quickly becoming one of my Top Five Newport restaurants…

Salvaging Friday

It turned out that Gail’s idea to bike Thursday probably saved the entire trip. Friday morning saw the rain passing to the north, but sunshine was still a little scarce.

Kent and Gail took off to tour the Tennis Museum while Mrs. Horne and I reversed Thursday’s bike ride and added a loop around Salve Regina College.

I was listening to Howie Carr on my earbuds and he was ranting about RI Senator (D) Sheldon Whitehouse’s hypocrisy by belonging to an All White Beach Club in Newport…

Ironically, we took a turn on Ocean Drive and pulled up right in front of it!

Don’t get me wrong, I believe in Freedom of Assembly- meaning clubs should decide who they want in. But I do take great joy watching a hypocrite go down.

Quiet Afternoon

We met Kent and Gail at another new restaurant we’re falling in love with – Bar and Board Bistro

Beyond the great food, it’s also very close to Newport Yachting Center.

When we got back to Relentless, we saw them setting up for a wedding at The Bohlin. They told us it was at 5:30, which was perfect (for us) since we could “crash” the entire ceremony while enjoying cocktail hour from the fly bridge…

Clarke Cook House – Proceed With Caution

After decades of visiting Newport, we finally dined at the Clarke Cook House. It’s probably the toughest dinner reservation in town and Mrs. Horne actually booked it back on May 15.

It’s in a spectacular location on Bannister’s Wharf with lots of open doors and windows facing the Harbor. It’s extremely crowded and quite funky.

The Good

The food was quite good (apologies for the low light photos)…

The service was also excellent. I’m not sure if it was due to our servers or the fact that they want to “turn” the tables as fast as possible – either way is good by me.

The Not So Good

Let me say at the outset that I really try to avoid saying anything bad about any restaurant. It’s just too hard to run one. That said, this place has a great reputation and one I’m sure people struggle to secure reservations for, so check it out, but please proceed with caution.

To me this place suffers from three major flaws…

1. It’s way too loud – My hearing is far from perfect. In fact I wear hearing aids that really help. And while I admit that I struggle at times in loud restaurants, even Mrs. Horne and our guests had a tough time conducting a conversation in the never ending din at the Clarke Cook House.

2. You’re packed in like sardines – Our first table was so cramped that we were literally touching elbows with the people next to us. We asked to move and we did get more elbow room, but the table was no bigger than two feet squared – barely enough for two and not enough for four.

3. No climate control – It’s pretty much open walls from the harbor to Bannisters promenade. It was cool that night and there were no signs of heaters.

I put this place on your “Newport Bucket List,” but I won’t be going back any time soon – there are too many better options in Newport.

Long Run in the Fog

I woke up suddenly Saturday morning around 5:30 to the sound of people talking outside our window. I got up just in time to see the trawler that was docked in front of us leaving…

Of course that wasn’t the big problem, the big problem was the fog! I had alerted the crew Friday night that we might be leaving around 8:00 AM to beat the forecasted wind and waves back to Mattapoisett. I hadn’t anticipated fog.

I turned to NBC Boston 10 to check the local TV forecast and they were saying that indeed the winds would pick up. They also said “the fog on the south coast may linger all day.”

That was certainly not news I wanted to hear (Mrs. Horne hates fog). I postponed the 8:00 departure hoping for the fog to lift, but finally woke Mrs. Horne up and gave her the plan.

Nobody was crazy about the fog, but everyone agreed that fog in flat seas was better than fog in heavy seas, so we prepared to depart.

Before we did, I went into the autopilot route home and modified it to run mostly three miles offshore- in the major shipping lanes. My logic was that there’d be no small craft out there, anyone out there would have commercial grade radar, and probably no lobster pots.

I had line cutters on our straight shaft Back Coves, but it’s not an option on pods. I did some research on hitting lobster pots with pods and the consensus seemed to be that it was almost impossible to foul one if you hit them at speed.

The thinking is that the water flow from the bow at high speed will push the pot buoys far enough away to keep them from wrapping the props. I liked the theory and since I didn’t have any options, I went with it.

Anyway, we left Newport Yachting Center at 8:45 and we couldn’t see 100’. Newport Harbor was tough because there were so many boats that the radar looked like a sea of red.

I picked my way out around Fort Adams at 5 MPH. Once clear of the moorings, I eased it up to 10 MPH while calibrating my mind with the radar screen. In clear visibility, we never worry about a boat that’s 1500 feet away as long as it’s not on a collision course. It takes a while to hone in on the same envelope of safety using radar.

Once we left Newport and hit the open ocean, I eased it up to 20 MPH and motored out to the three mile line. Then I turned north toward Mattapoisett and took it up to 25 MPH. After a few minutes in open ocean at 25, I took it to thirty and pretty much hung there till we got inside Mattapoisett Harbor…

At first Kent was jumping around like a rabbit looking for God knows what. Eventually he told me that this was his first time running in the pea soup. I wouldn’t have known if he didn’t tell me.

We got back to Mattapoisett and grabbed lunch at the Inn at Shipyard Park…

After a tour about town, everyone took naps while I went for a bike ride and discovered a new bike trail behind the Bay Club…

When everyone woke up I served up a lobster dinner. Sunday morning we walked out to Angelica Point and I discovered a dozen infant Horseshoe Crab skeletons…

Considering these are prehistoric creatures, this was pretty weird.

We wrapped the visit up with a great lunch at The Black Whale in New Bedford…

While the weather may have been better, you couldn’t beat the company….

Categories: Life's Adventure

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