We had a hard time figuring out exactly where we should go in Rhode Island. As some of you might know, we have a 2-nights-and-a-bite minimum for visiting states. We must stay for 2 nights and we also must eat at a local restaurant before we can count this state as one we have visited.
You guessed it, we are at another Elks Lodge. This one is in East Providence and when we looked them up they did not have any information about parking overnight.
We made a call and they told us to come on over so we did. It is a pretty small parking lot on the side of the lodge but they told us that since it’s mid week, we can take up half of it if we needed to. That was pretty cool of them to be so accommodating. We just stayed one night here as we didn’t want to wear out our welcome. We really are just here to check out Providence a bit and also see the only National Park site in Rhode Island. It happen to be right in the city and it is called Roger Williams National Memorial. Roger Williams is the founding father of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations. He believed in the separation of church and state which made him a target in the early colonial era. He was persecuted so he fled here to live free with his beliefs. There isn’t much to see here but we learn a good bit of the founding of Rhode Island. Definitely something we never would have known had we not visited Providence. Our next stop is Newport, Rhode Island. This is probably the town that most people visit when they come to Rhode Island. It is very touristy and has a great waterfront. Once again we called up the local Newport Elks Lodge which does not say that overnight parking is allowed. When we drove here, the narrow roads of the old city made it very interesting to pull the Airstream through. We were once again allowed to stay the night on a very slanted parking space at the corner of the lot. Another lodge member came to us after we had been here for a couple of hours asking if we were staying the night. She told us that the last time they let someone stay here, that person ran the generator all night which will pissed off the neighbors. Being that they are in the historic area of the town with lots of residential neighbors, it would be a pretty lame move for them to pull. We promised that we were solar powered and no generator will be deployed. This Elks Lodge in Newport is the former Naval Academy building. It is a huge Victoria house with a giant wrap-around porch. The people at this lodge were really awesome to us. In fact our experience has been that all of the Elks Lodges welcomed us with open arms. I think they were just really happy to see families with young kids as members. As you might imagine, many of the members at the Elks are near or over retirement age. From this Newport Elks we can walk right down to the touristy part of the waterfront so we gave it a shot with Luka in the stroller. This is St. Mary Church in Newport. It is famously known as the church that JFK And Jackie Bouvier got married. This whole area is full of old and well preserved homes from the 1800s. This is the Redwood Library right across the street from the Newport Elks. It is the oldest lending library and the oldest continuously used library in the country. Founded in 1747 and it is still open to the public today. Here in Newport, there are 3 beaches that people can visit. Even though they have official names, locals lovingly refer to them as First, Second and Third beach. This is first beach. It cost something like 10 bucks to park here for the day. I wouldn’t know because the Elks Lodge actually has a parking pass that visitor’s can check out for free with a small deposit. That was pretty sweet. The water here was perfect. Jut cold enough to give you an idea that it is the ocean but not too much where you couldn’t spend all day here. Luka and the girls loved it. While we are here, we also tried a local favorite. Del’s frozen lemonade. This was also officially the last day of summer for the kids. Tomorrow we start school. As we left Rhode Island we drove into Connecticut. We connected with an Instagram friend who was here for the summer living in their Airstream. Michelle and Thomas Gardella had been full time traveling in their Airstream but decided that it wasn’t for them after a few months. They settled in Austin but came back here for Michelle to work with some of her clients in her photography business. They still owned a house that was vacant and they graciously allowed us to stay on the driveway even though they were not there. The Gardellas were staying at a nearby summer RV resort and invited us to visit their camp. It has a really cool summer camp vibe with tons of trees and huge spaces between the sites. They have two kids Braeden and Lily. Braedan is a teenager and Lily is just about Mila’s age. They got right to it with no hesitation. It’s like they’ve known them forever. Of course the kids favorite was getting to swim in the resorts pool. There is even a lake here with boats that you can rent to putt around. We came here during golden hour to capture some photos of everyone and fly the drone. Michelle took her camera and got some really amazing photos of the kids. We wrote our name into the sand on the beach and shot a dronie of everyone. We left the Hartford area and started making our way towards New York. Before we get there, we had to make another stop at the only National Park Site in the state to earn Junior Ranger badges for the girls. This is Weir Farm National Historic Site. If you plan to come here, know that there is no RV parking whatsoever. We drove up there with the Airstream only to find that we had to drive to a nearby town with a parking lot to unhitch and come back. The Weir Farm is to commemorate the life and work of J. Alden Weir who was an American impressionist painter. He settled on this 153-acre land in 1882 after getting it in trade with the former owner with $10 and one of his paintings. This was one of the coolest Junior Ranger programs for the kids to earn. The Junior Ranger program consists of mostly a scavenger/geocaching hunt along with several art projects that the kids had to complete. We actually received a request to use our photos of the kids during our visit here from the National Park itself. So if you happen to visit Weir Farm, look around and you might see one of the Mish kids staring back at you. 🙂 Art is one of the girls favorite activities so they were really into this one. And Luka, you just give him a magnifying glass and hope he doesn’t look into the sun. A frog is better. This is Mila’s masterpiece. Ava the artist hard at work. Luka is really more of an expressionist than a impressionist. The kids got to hang their paintings up on a wall. They got to look at all of the other pieces from other Junior Rangers. Luka now insists on being involved in all of the ceremonies. He does his best to repeat after the ranger even though he has no idea what he is saying. The rest of the day we spent in the parking lot to finish their first day of the school year. This is Mila on first day of Kindergarten. And Ava on her first day of 2nd grade. Next up, New York City!
over and out, dan