New London, Connecticut to southern Rhode Island June 3 -5, 2019

Posted: June 19, 2019 in New England trips

Arriving into New London CT by ferry the steeply gabled houses and rocky coastline immediately screamed “New England.”

New London CT is not a fru-fru place.   While not a complete wreck like Bridgeport CT or Trenton NJ,  New London looks like a working class town just trying to get by.   I find it exotic.  Its big employers are the U.S. Coast Guard and the large submarine construction base in Groton, just across the river.   My ferry landed in downtown New London.   I biked off the ferry and headed towards the address of an Airbnb.

 

 

 

This is the house of my Airbnb and the proprietor’s bumper stickered Volvo station wagon.  I had no idea what to expect.   It was an unusual Airbnb.

 

Her living room.

The Airbnb was a portion of an upstairs bedroom.    Most of the bedroom was my hostess’ art studio.

The opposite side of this small room was for me.   We shared a bathroom.

We found we had a lot of common interests and she was a pleasure to chitchat with.

That evening I biked the mile or two back to downtown New London to look for somewhere to eat.    There is not a huge selection of restaurants in New London anyway and on a Monday night many places were closed.   Thames Landing was only just OK.

 

The next day I bicycled east towards Westerly, Rhode Island.   This was my day’s route.

On the way out of town Muddy Waters Cafe in central New London is a really nice place for my kind of breakfast.    Those from Durham NC take note:  there was a Merge Records sticker on their front steps!

 

I crossed a high bridge over the Thames River.

I then bicycled east mostly on small and curvy roads, frequently with short bursts of very steep grades.

 

 

Brick walls were are ubiquitous.   I cannot imagine all the work in earlier generations hauling these stones out of the ground to enable trying to eke a living out of this rocky landscape.    You see these walls for miles through otherwise wooded areas, indications that these areas were once farmland.

 

I was still on the lookout for great clam chowder.   Clams and especially lobsters are pretty foreign in North Carolina.   Right near the Connecticut / Rhode Island state line there was a takeout seafood store with two chairs and one table for those who wanted to eat-in with plastic utensils.   After polishing off a bowl of clam chowder I ate $ 8.70 worth of amazing lobster salad, also sold by the pound.

 

 

I bicycled a long way through surprisingly wooded and remote-seeming land.    I was quite tired in the late afternoon when I pulled into the charming town of Wakefield RI.   There was a place called Brickley’s with very good house-made coffee chip ice cream.

I had not completely planned this bicycle expedition through Long Island and New England.  I had had vague ideas about going all the way to Boston.   One advantage with Amtrak is that it is relatively flexible.    I had had a great trip but I had spent enough money and I was ready to go home.  I haggled a deal over the phone for a quite nice (fru-fru!) conventional Bed and Breakfast in that same town Wakefield RI.  I booked Amtrak to leave the Kingston RI station at 7:11 AM the next morning, taking me all the way back on one train to my Toyota parked in Richmond VA.  I would be home in Chapel Hill NC by 8:00 PM that same evening.

Leaving at 6:15 AM I bicycled the eight miles to the station, almost all of it on a rail-trail bike path.

 

 

I have a special shout-out to TLC Coffee Roasters in West Kingston RI who I found at 6:55 AM.  They had, “to go” a large decaf coffee, refrigerator oatmeal for breakfast, and a quite good pastrami sandwich for lunch.    On Amtrak you should always bring your own food.

Tootie had a delicious dinner waiting for me in Chapel Hill when I got home.

 

Comments
  1. Sometimes people tell me my.blog posts are too long.i always think it just takes however many words it takes and if you don’t have time, that means you didn’t like it. That’s ok.

    I started reading yours and it seemed that it was getting long, and.there were so many pictures. But in true travelogue style (I guess – what do I know?), I found the factual recounting and maps useful, the historical notes and observations engaging, and the photos well done and illustrative. So,.well done!

    What may have been missing for me was a little more.about the bike riding part. Even though you touched on it a few times, I’m curious how it was on a folding bike. Any close calls, bad drivers, incidents with cops, challenges biking that far every day. And more emotional impact of.seeing things.

    But it was quite good overall and detailed. If the goal was to entice people to tak a bike trip to Long Island, you succeeded. (By the way my godparents were from there, and boy did they have thick accents, which fascinated me as a young Texan boy!) Thanks for writing and keep it up!

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