Waterfire, Sleepy Hollow, Villages and Mansions!

We drive from Camden to Providence, Rhode Island for Waterfire.  Waterfire is an art installation on the three rivers of Providence.  It consists of nearly 100 braziers with wood fires burning over the water.  Some small boats circulate with passengers and some tend to the fires.  There is music, food and entertainers.  There are 17 lightings scheduled for 2017 and we will see the second to the last.  


Once we reached our inn, Old Court B&B.  We were pooped out from the drive and it didn’t help that we were on the third floor, no elevators.  We just grabbed what we needed from the trunk and headed for the shower!  The B&B was an easy walk to Waterfire and we enjoyed the music and fun.  Though I wouldn’t fly out specifically to see this, it was fun to see.  It’s different.  Unfortunately, we don’t have much time to see Providence on this trip.  There are some interesting museums and the Rhode Island School of Design was just around the corner from our room.  I think it would be fun to visit Providence again.  


Sunday,  10/1/17 – Monday 10/2/17 Back to Newport, Rhode Island


It’s an easy 50 minute drive to Newport. We were here less than two weeks ago, on the Princess cruise.  That day, we spent by the harbor and on Rose Island.  Now we have a few days on our own! We opt for membership to the Preservation Society of Newport County which gives us admission to all their mansions and we hope to see several of them! We certainly made a dent in the list.  We toured:  The Breakers, The Elms, Marble House, Rosecliff, Isaac Bell House, and The Hunter House.  All were interesting to see, the first of the three are huge estates that were built during the gilded age.  They are lavish and over the top!  The conspicuous consumption here is a testament to wealthy Americans desire to be not just rich, but royal.  The homes say, “Feel impressed, and intimidated.”   Like Hearst’s Castle in California or the Biltmore Estate in Asheville, NC. they borrow their bling from European palaces and chateaus.   The mansions were breathtaking.  It’s fun to imagine what it would be like to be that wealthy, but there was more than one quote that showed that at least for some of the owners, money wasn’t the key to happiness.  


The Isaac Bell House was a large, impressive house,  but much less grand than the previous three.  I imagined where I would put my furniture in this house.  It was human scale and really unique.  The last place that we toured, The Hunter House, was much older, 1748.  It was built right in the heart of the busy port of Newport during colonial times.  It wreaked history, the stories it could tell!    


We got a chance to walk along Cliff Walk.  It is a 3.5-mile (5.6 km) public access walkway that borders the shore line and is below some of the gilded age mansions.  The views are wonderful, and the walk is well used.  


Tuesday,  10/3/17 Historic Massachusetts – Deerfield


We have a drive back to Massachusetts today and plan a couple of stops.  The first is Historic Deerfield, which is unusual in that that most of the structures here were built here.  Deerfield shows what life was like 300 years ago, how difficult it was to stay alive.  Many of the reinactors talk about how the inhabitants survived a horrible Indian attack, and that they were on the edge of the wilderness.  We learned that the early settlers cleared 75% of the forested area to set up farms.  Today approximately 75% of the area is reforested.   I have a chance to card wool, spin it and try to weave.  Barry tries out tools in the carpenters workshop and admires the craftsmanship and labor needed to make the furniture that they have on display.  We both enjoy history and this place is the right scale and is relaxed and fun.  I love this geeky stuff and would recommend it!


Late in the afternoon we had planned to go to Amherst, (I had even researched a great pizza place there),  but we decide to save it for another trip.  We head back toward Sturbridge for a couple of nights. I learn that we are near Worcester and that I have been publicly pronouncing it incorrectly, it is  “Wister” – Geeze, really!?  That’s as bad as the Brits mangling location names just to make tourists feel stupid! 🙂


Wed 10/4/17 Sturbridge and Sleepy Hollow!


Our night in the well reviewed Old Sturbridge Village Inn and Lodges was OK, but by morning the noisy road noise was putting me out of my colonial mood.  We are cheered by the increased autumn colors that are arriving and looking forward to seeing another historical village.  Sturbridge is more theme park than Deerfield was, though not at all off putting!  It also represents a later time period, the 1830s. It is full of reenactors and great buildings to see.  One that really impressed me, food related:), was a typical breakfast for the farmers of the time.  It smelled delicious, but when we got close to it, it was filled with flies.  She said, well, that’s how it would have been at the time.  Geez, we just passed a farmyard filled with animal shit, I KNOW where those flies have been.  They were sturdier people back then!

This evening we are going to come back to Sturbridge Village for “The Sleepy Hollow Experience”.  As per their website:  Sleepy Hollow Experience is an immersive, outdoor theatrical experience that reimagines Washington Irving’s iconic 1820’s tale. They started it last year and every performance was sold out.  So, a few months ago, I set my alarm for 3AM (6AM EST)  so that I could get tickets for us for this evening’s performance as soon as they went on sale online.  


It is worth it!  This is so well done!  The performers are extremely talented, the production is very, very well done.  The sound and lighting were great.  The BEST part is that you can walk through the story in a village that is authentic to the settling of the book.  They have an intermission time in which you are the Van Tassel’s party.  The actors come into the audience and play period games.  The finale is the headless horseman galloping through the covered bridge after Ichabod, as the audience is lined up against the walls.  Chilling…






Thursday,  10/5/17 NYC and Home


An uneventful drive back to NYC, turn in the car at La Guardia.  A long, but not horrible flight and we get home just after midnight on Friday, 10/6/17. Such good memories, so many plans on what to see next!

Here’s the movie from the last leg of the trip.



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