Generation Z. Cruising in an RV.: OLA: Finding that Small is Beautiful, Connecticut and Rhode Island

Monday, June 11, 2012

OLA: Finding that Small is Beautiful, Connecticut and Rhode Island


tourists go around Newport, RI in these cute toy cars for two
Rhode Island is the smallest state in the US, followed by Delaware, then Connecticut.   Delaware was the subject of my post, Finding Gems on the Way to the Jersey Shore, so this post is about the other two.   Our adventures in all three states show that there is a lot of truth to the saying, ‘small is beautiful’.

the Harbor at New Haven, Connecticut
Connecticut

Connecticut is the 5th fifth of the original 13 states and, as of the 2010 census, is the 29th most populous and 4th most densely populated of the 50 states .   Its first constitution, the "Fundamental Orders", was adopted as early as 1639 and heavily influenced the framing of the US Constitution (Roger Sherman of New Haven was one of the authors) and the development of the federal government.  

Fr. McGiveny, founder, Knights of Columbus
at the Knights of Columbus Museum, New Haven, Ct
The growth of industry and finance created a need for insurance the poor.  Fr. Michael McGiveny, up for sainthood at the Vatican, saw a need for an organization that could be a partner in the parish to help poor immigrant families. In 1882 he founded the Knights of Columbus, the largest fraternal service organization in the Catholic Church today with 1.8 million members and 15,000 councils worldwide.

The state’s geography has given it a strong maritime tradition, which continues today. Connecticut's other traditional industry is financial services. One of the most distinctive landmarks of the state is the Travelers Tower at the Travelers Insurance building in downtown Hartford. These combine to give the state has the highest per capita income, Human Development Index, and median household income in the US. 

Travelers' Tower, from where you can get a good view of Hartford, Connecticut
Trash Museum in Hartford, Connecticut leads the way
Even the recycling industry is benefitting from the innovative spirit in Connecticut. The CRRA (Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority) has established a country’s first, the Trash Museum.  It proudly demonstrates not only what trash accumulation does to the environment, but also demonstrates single-streaming  recycling (no need to sort) , leading the way in this industry.  

Yale Chemistry Building in New Haven, Connecticut
The other city of note in Connecticut is New Haven, home to the beautiful campus of Yale University, an Ivy League school. Bill finally saw this college that had offered him a full scholarship after  graduating from Pittsburg High School. He chose to go to Oberlin College near Cleveland, Ohio, though.  He found the Yale campus, especially the old district, so charming that Bill has no doubt he would have enjoyed Yale at least as much as Oberlin, if not more.

Mark Twain House in Hartford, Connecticut
Harriet Beecher Stowe house in Hartford, Connecticut
This is accompanied by excellence in literary works! The lovely Mark Twain (1835-1910) House, where he saw much of his wealth disappear due to bad investments in the printing industry, is in Hartford.  It was amazing to find out that the Harriet Beecher Stowe (1811-1896) Center and House sit on the same block.  Harriet Beecher Stowe’s landmark novel was ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ which helped lay the groundwork for the Civil War. Mark Twain published the ‘Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ 20 years after the Civil War, a scathing look at entrenched attitudes in the South, particularly racism.

flowers, rocks and water merge into one beautiful scene
at the Cliff Walk, Newport, RI
lunch at The Porch, soaking up the scene, Newport, RI
Rhode Island

Rhode Island, officially the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations (former names of Newport and Providence), is the 8th least populous but the 2nd most densely populated of the 50 states. It shares a water boundary with New York's Long Island to the southwest with many bays and inlets (14% of its area). It holds the distinction of being the first of the 13 original colonies to declare independence from British rule.

Roger Williams still overlooking the city he founded, Providence, RI
Betsy Williams' cottage at the Roger Williams Park in Providence, RI
Roger Williams was a theologian forced out of the Massachusetts Bay Colony so he and others founded "Providence Plantations" and he became the voice of religious freedom and the separation of church and state. Beautiful ideals! His statue and memorial stands at the highest hill overlooking the city of Providence, at Prospect Park. There is also a lovely Roger Williams Park and Zoo. The Sentinel Dog is supposed to be in the Zoo but it was closed.  But we found his wife’s cottage, a lake and the carousel village.

Amazing Waterfire at the Waterplace Park and Riverwalk, Providence, RI
Waterplace Park Memorial in Providence, RI, stands like a candle
 We stayed until sundown which came at 8:45 PM in Providence to watch ‘invisible men, all dressed in black, light 80 sparkling bonfires on Waterplace Park and Riverwalk along Providence’s three rivers. A moving and powerful work of art, Waterfire, with torch-lit vessels traveling up and down the river and haunting music that accompanied the ritual, has enchanted 10 million visitors since 1994. Each year about 25 lightings are sponsored from March to October every year.

at Forty Steps along the Cliff Walk of Newport, RI
Bill contemplating life at the end of the Cliff Walk, Newport, RI
But Newport is downright special. The Cliff Walk is a 2-mile walk along the coastline of the city which featured beautiful panoramas of the sea and land meeting together in spectacular beauty. We didn’t walk it though but drove to three of its most picturesque points: Forty Steps, The Breakers, and Ledge Road at the cliff’s end.  The Walk also gave us a wonderful vantage point to the backs of the elegant historical mansions on Bellevue Avenue, closely paralleling the Walk and coastline.

we found this mansion right on the Cliff Walk at Newport, RI
International Tennis Hall of Fame, Newport, RI
And, not to be forgotten since I am a die-hard tennis fanatic is this: the International Tennis Hall of Fame is in Newport. Tennis stars are regularly inducted to this elite honor every year. It was the first time I saw a beautifully manicured grass court. And, of course, I went berserk at the gift shop which featured many ordinary things in tennis motif! And at the Newport Casino was La Forge…there we had lunch al fresco at its Porch and noticed those cute little cars for two plying around town!
Venice-type gondolas are available at the Riverwalk, RI
                                                                            What beauty in history, traditions, governance, literature, nature, architecture, and sports in the two smallest of states: Connecticut and Rhode Island! Small is indeed beautiful!
made three new Filipina friends at the Riverwalk, RI