Excitement about Rhode Island

A couple of weeks ago, Jason and I took some time off from the midwest to head out to the east coast. The primary goal was a memorial for Uncle Fred with other family in New Hampshire, but we were able to add some extra time for sight-seeing.

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Jason has been doing a little digging into his ancestral history, so he was really interested in visiting Quincy, Massachusetts. Somewhere along his family tree, his family married into the Adams family — as in John and John Quincy. In Quincy, MA, there is a two-hour tour of the original birthplaces of these fellas, as well as a tour of their home in their later lives.

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First, though: lunch at the beach. After dipping our feet in the water, we picked up a lobster roll and some scallops and enjoyed the view. (You can see downtown Boston in the background behind us.)

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Then it was on to the tour! I am a good wife.

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These homes, in the middle of a very busy, traffic-y, industrial area, were built in the mid-1600s! These are the birthplaces of those two Adams I mentioned. Not far from where Abigail Adams watched the Battle of Bunker Hill begin. Also some interesting lens flares in these photos — because I’ve watched too many ghost hunting TV shows.

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We weren’t allowed to take photos inside the homes (I wish I could show you amazing spinning wheel we saw! And all of the super crooked doorways! And the bumblebee ovens!) so I had to settle with a few from the National Park Services’ gift shop.

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Who doesn’t love a new Facebook profile photo opportunity? Jason was in genealogical heaven by this point.

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Peacefield was much more spacious and opulent, of course. Several generations of Adams lived here, starting with John Adams. In the mid-1900s the house was sold to NPS for continued upkeep.

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There was a really beautiful flower garden between the house and the library, but my camera was misbehaving. These photos don’t do it justice.

Okay: in hindsight, I enjoyed the tour. It didn’t actually feel like it was two hours long because we were trollied between the two original homes and Peacefield. If you’re into history or architecture or you’re ghost hunting, I would recommend this tour.

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Afterwards we crossed the street to visit the cemetery where several of John Adams’ direct descendents are buried. New England cemeteries are so fascinating — overcrowded, headstones so old that they’re barely legible. And you can find one every other block or so (or so it feels like, in some areas that I’ve visited).

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“The sweet remembrance of the just, Should flourish when they sleep in dust.”

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That evening we continued south to visit Jason’s cousin, Michelle, in Newport. She lives a block from the downtown area, so we took a walking tour after grabbing dinner on a pier.

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I liked this illustration, but there were seriously so many cars and so much traffic. I suppose it’s not a large expanse of land, but I was grateful to have parking at her place — off-street.

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The next morning we walked to a corner diner, passing the church where JFK and Jackie got married. No big deal.

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Before we left town, I had to hunt down a thimble for my collection so Jason and I quickly checked out Bowen’s Wharf again.

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Alva Vanderbilt Belmont, a noted suffragette, held meetings and fundraisers to support women’s right to vote at her home mansion in Newport. It sort of all started in Newport! I didn’t know that.

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Jason and I tried to find a parking spot on the other side of the island to check out the mansion walk, but it was insane with (other) tourists, so we opted for a little driving tour on the aptly named Ocean Drive.

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SO many mansions. Everywhere.

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We also stopped for a peek at a mansion named The Elms. I think we were technically supposed to pay to walk around the grounds, but, uh… we just visited for a few moments anyway.

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Check out that gargoyle!

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I mean — I make my flower gardens look like musical notations, don’t you?

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We determined that we’ll have to visit Michelle again, perhaps more in the middle of the week, and make more time to tour inside a mansion or two and walk part of the famous Cliff Walk. But this time around we were running out of time, so we left the island around noon with another stop in mind before joining the rest of the family up in New Hampshire. To be continued!