It was a beautiful drive out of the city, heading along the eastern edge of the island. In preparation for the long drive, I had done some research on good places to eat along the way on a site called “Roadfood.” It seemed like all of a sudden we were far from the Manhattan, and the cities where I had found places to eat began to pass us by. We frantically began to call ahead trying to figure out just where these places were and how late they were open. We knew we were out of the city when some of the places stopped dinner service at 9pm. Ashley loves lobster, or maybe she loves the accompanying butter, but in any case, when she read about Flanders Fish Market and their excellent lobster rolls we knew we had found our dinner. The restaurant was indeed charming, though almost deserted at the late hour of 8:30. The quality of the food did not disappoint and I was introduced to the lobster roll for the first time in our lives. It was an instant favorite with lumps of succulent lobster (hot—as they like it in Connecticut) and melted butter on a toasted roll.
After dinner we pressed on to Newport. We arrived late in the evening where we were met with the usual efficiency and courtesy we’ve come to expect from the Marriott. In the morning, we enjoyed their complementary breakfast while looking over the port. It was lovely indeed, and was a great way to start our trip.
I had read about the Cliff Walk and the many cottages one could see and was eager to begin exploring. The cottages are more aptly called mansions; they were the retreats of the richest Americans, such as the Astors and Rockerfellers, and were built in the late 1800s before the 16th amendment allowed property tax. Consequently, to say they are big is a gross understatement.
We started at the far end of the path and began the walk. Being so close to the water was lovely; we decided to forgo all but one of the mansions. The Breakers was designed and built by Richard Hunt for the Vanderbilts, who also worked on the Louvre, designed the pedestal for the Statue of Liberty, and the 5th Avenuefacade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Of all the mansions, this one sounded the most intriguing. The approach to the house… er… cottage… um, castle… was impressive; a few people we picnicking on the lawn and were enjoying the same view its owners would have had years ago.
As the path wound through, we were presented with breathtaking views of the coast and of the other cottages lining the coast. The cliff walk, which started as a paved path, degraded into something more consistent with its namesake, and at some points we just skipped across the tops of rock cliffs. Nothing challenging or technical, but I was glad I had good walking shoes.
The end of the walk is somewhat anticlimactic, and we turned back onto the road for the long walk though the island to where our car was parked. We had worked up an appetite and were ready to find somewhere to eat. Cross referencing our Frommer’s guide with Roadfood.com, we decided to try Flo’s Clam Shack. A short jog from the beach, this shanty had an attractive, relaxed feel and an excellent selection of straight shooting seafood. Ashley opted for another lobster roll while I tried the fried clams and a crab roll.
Reluctantly, we left Newport and headed back to the city. Wishing to take full advantage of the car and explore Connecticut, we detoured off the main road and headed into Mystic.
Though we were too late to see the historic seaport, it seemed that if you had a day or half a day, there was much to explore there. We headed instead to the main street of Mystic. A market was just wrapping up, so we got out and strolled through the street and over the drawbridge. We were tempted by Mystic Pizza, but we had our sights set on somewhere else for dinner.
own drinks so, in accompaniment to our dinner, we shared a mini bottle of white wine. Our dinner arrived just as the sun slipped into the ocean. Ashley finished off the trip with the last, and one of the most delicious, lobster rolls, while I opted for a crab roll and Stuffies (a regional specialty of quahog clam, breadcrumbs, and veggies cooked together in the shell). Everything we ate was wonderful, enhanced I am sure, by the sauce of the fresh air, a beautiful view, and excellent company.
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